South African eCommerce technology firm uAfrica.com, has announced it’s rolling out into the rest of Africa with Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda as its first target markets.
uAfrica’s first phase targets Nigeria with a trial Proof of Concept (POC) partnership with MTN Business customers who will be able to develop their own online shops through uAfrica.com while phase two will see uAfrica.com launch their services in Kenya and later on in Uganda with key business partners established in both these regions.
In a statement to TechMoran, Andy Higgins, the Managing Director of uAfrica.com said,“uAfrica.com’s goal is to enable 1000 online stores outside of South Africa in the next 12 months. We have also identified Nigeria as one of our biggest markets in Africa and predict that in time they will outgrow South Africa and become our biggest market in Africa, so we’re thrilled to have launched our pilot project to such an enthusiastic response with our Nigerian partners.”
Targeting SME’s uAfrica will initially offer basic online storefront services followed by additional services around payments, logistics and marketing support and will later launch a multi-channelled selling solution to these customers. It will give SME’s the ability to trade via their mobile devices and to run their online retail environments.
However, uAfrica will face stiff competition from Konga.com (Nigeria) and Jumia (Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda), which are leading the pace on getting Nigerian and Kenyan retailers online and as well offering their consumers the convenience of being able to purchase a range of goods online that they also deliver.
Other challenges uAfrica.com will face include payments and logistics, as the maize of informal roads and walkways create undefined addresses to households with some consumers even resorting to pinning their delivery location on a Google map.
It’s first launch in Nigeria is inspired by the fact that predictions foresee Nigeria’s eCommerce industry to lead the African online retail environment and the fact that millions of dollars have been invested by global companies into Nigerian eCommerce retailers Konga.com and Jumia.com.ng. Another factor is the fact that Lagos has only two physical shopping malls servicing between 20 to 25 million people – numbers that will be tricky if not impossible to maintain long term. uAfrica.com is resolute to assist local entrepreneurs and SMEs to claim their piece of this pie.