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E-commerce / Online Stores

Rise of eCommerce in Africa

Marked by a high rate of urbanization, improving GDPs, increasing spending power, deeper infiltration of technology, the emergence of eCommerce platforms, and shift in customer behaviour towards online shopping, we can only say that this is only the beginning of the eCommerce revolution in Africa. And if you look closely, the reasons are not different than what they are for any other part of the world. Once the drive and conditions are met, one can bet on customers embracing online shopping.

While the developments may vary across regions and brick & mortar holding the majority share of the retail market the general trend points at rising eCommerce. South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya lead the B2C eCommerce race in Africa. Jumia (Nigeria), Takealot (South Africa), and Kilimall (Kenya) are some of the biggest players in the region. Some of the high-selling product categories include fashion and accessories, electrical appliances, electronic goods, fitness equipment, luxury products like jewellery, etc.

As a provider of retail and eCommerce online business consulting services, it is also our prerogative to highlight the not-so-green side of doing eCommerce business in Africa. Logistics, infrastructure, and technology are yet to attain maturity in many African countries. These factors are critical for seeding eCommerce. Let us elaborate on the challenges next.

Challenges in doing eCommerce Business in Africa

Reading the success stories of African eCommerce players is one thing and running an online business in Africa is quite another. The challenges can be unique for doing business in Africa especially if we talk about eCommerce that demands many modern-day requirements. We have highlighted a few challenges that should interest eCommerce businessmen and entrepreneurs.


Authentic, ethical, and value-based leadership is a highly sought-after attribute in business leaders. To own and run a business means you will be leading a team of competent professionals who in turn will lead their respective departments and teams. At the pinnacle, you are no less than a role model and a trendsetter for the rest of the organization. In Africa, this could be a more basic expectation than you might imagine.

Logistics and infrastructure

Adequate logistics and infrastructure is a major concern for eCommerce players in Africa where many countries lag behind a few of their counterparts. Across the supply chain, logistics and transportation network play a vital role in the movement of inventory from source to destination. In the absence of a robust logistical environment, order procurement and fulfilment becomes a painful task for businesses, let alone make delivery promises to customers. Even warehousing and distribution centres play a role of equal importance in storage and order fulfilment. Without an efficient ecosystem of logistics and infrastructure, even a high rate of mobile and internet penetration cannot provide sustainability to eCommerce. Through E-commerce Business Consulting services, we provide logistics and supply chain management, which will enable you to develop a proper logistic channel.

Low internet usage

According to the World Economic Forum, the major reasons for low internet usage in many countries in Africa are affordability, lack of adequate digital literacy, absence of content localization. The cost of handsets and internet subscription plans are still unaffordable to many people in different regions. In many regions, there is a lack of sufficient digital literacy. Coming to content, Africa is a land of linguistic diversity. If users in a region are not provided with the relevant language options, an eCommerce site is as good as useless to them.

A shade of apprehension towards online shopping and payments

Stemming from low banking inclusion and low internet usage is unfamiliarity and reluctance among people towards online shopping and use of online payment methods. This phenomenon holds for many less-developed regions. And it is quite natural and similar to asking if you would take a new vaccine that has been developed cutting short the process of vaccine development? There will be so many answers and assurances we may seek for that.

ECommerce niche for market position

At a time when eCommerce is growing steadily in Africa, there is also a steady increase in the number of eCommerce players. The success of other eCommerce players further validates the aspirations of the emerging eCommerce startups. In countries, where eCommerce has already found its roots or are beginning to, ‘market follower’ may not be a good competitive strategy. In emerging markets, businesses should go for market leadership. And in competitive markets, building a niche is a more sustainable strategy. For startups, entering new markets via proven routes like the Amazon retail business model but even then they need to develop strong UVP to sustain in the online marketplace platforms.

How YRC can help: a glimpse

In eCommerce business consulting, we endeavour to help our clients build a strategic, agile, and growth-oriented eCommerce enterprise for the African retail market. YRC’s role in Ecommerce Business Consulting shall not be limited to making assessments and planning and strategy formulation but also cover defining and mapping the eCommerce operations of your retail venture.

Our Online Business Consulting Services experts will guide you through the process of building the right online retail model and formulating effective eCommerce strategies for your business. In  Online Business Consulting Services, we shall identify your business niche and value proposition and define the required strategic framework of capabilities.

Through eCommerce Business Consulting, We will help you map the eCommerce retail financial model for your business that will enable you to foresee the financial viability of your project and forecast ROI and break-even. This will give you the financial vision and preparedness necessary to make important business and financial decisions before as well as after launching a business.

Like financial planning, planning for the organization is also as important. We will define the organization structure for your eCommerce venture, identify and define the required roles and positions for running the business effectively, carry out job analysis, and map the KRAs and KPIs for each position.

The website and the mobile application are the most important customer touchpoints for an eCommerce entity. Considering the industry standards, competition, and customers’ needs and expectations, our experts shall identify the critical requirements for your eCommerce website/app in terms of back-end IT, UX and user journey, language support, etc.

When it comes to managing eCommerce operations, businesses must be ready to handle hundreds and thousands of orders every day. This means the organization spins at a faster rate. This is not just a logistical challenge but also requires meticulous operational planning. YRC’s Online Business Consulting Services will help define the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for your eCommerce enterprise for the core and support processes like sourcing, warehousing, order fulfilment, inventory management, CRM, HR, finance, etc.

Ensuring a robust digital presence and visibility is a critical marketing requirement for an eCommerce brand preceded by a simple notion that we water where the plants are. With people spending more and more time being online, that is where eCommerce brands put their advertising efforts. From SEO and social media to CRM, YRC’s team of eCommerce SEO consultants and eCommerce marketing consultants will help you craft the right marketing strategies for your target audience. Our Ecommerce Business Consulting service provides a customized eCommerce marketing strategy for the growth of your business.


We are a boutique retail consulting firm. To learn more about our eCommerce consulting services or if you have any query, drop us a message and we will get back to you.

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