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ICT solutions firm launches internet shopping site called Zimazon

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Zimazon

ZimazonHave you ever wanted to buy a new gadget and had to resort to travelling to South Africa for it, because locally it’s either just unavailable or has an obscene price tag? On some occasions, have you had to ask someone travelling from the UK, the US or some other such country to bring a laptop, digital camera or phone with them? Has that someone had stuff stolen from their bag at the airport and the thief somehow targeted your priced new gizmos?

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These are common problems when buying imported goods in Zimbabwe. Most people end up just buying inferior unbranded (or shameless imitations) in downtown Harare.

This is the problem a new start-up called Zimazon is trying solve. www.zimazon.co.zw is an online shopping website setup by local ICT solutions company, Ministro Zimbabwe. The shopping site was built using open source technologies, notably the OpenCart open sourse shopping cart system.

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Zimazon has a typical internet merchant system providing a catalog of products which, when a customer clicks to buy are ordered on the customer’s behalf from global suppliers. The goods are ordered from outside Zimbabwe and shipped once a customer confirms the order. The goods are delivered to a customers door step in Harare in 7 to 14 days.

On the big question of how Zimazon processes payments, Bruce Grobler, Ministro’s Technical Manager says it’s cash and bank transfers for now:  “Zimazon is supposed to be as easy as going to your local store and buying a laptop, even more so as your aren’t driving there!, Cash on delivery is brilliant, I believe people still don’t quite trust online services especially when it has the potential to hurt their pocket, one of us had to take a leap, so we did”

Grobler however is looking forward to the convenience mobile banking will bring to online transaction. “With organisations such as ZimSwitch and the MNOs pushing hard for new m-commerce platforms we are confident that the shopping experience for all Zimbabweans will transform in the next 6 to 12 months” he explained.

It’s too early to see how much success Zimazon is likely to have, or if it’ll manage to leverage mobile connectivity to go mainstream. It’s just two months since Zimazon launched. Still, a startup taking strides in the direction of tomorrow’s commerce is interesting.


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14 thoughts on “ICT solutions firm launches internet shopping site called Zimazon

  1. I like it this is so gud, keep it up guys I am sure one of these days, I will see you at my doorstep

  2. Interesting and encouraging initiative. Just got on the home page and they say this: “You don’t pay a cent until the purchase is in your hand… delivered to your door!”

    For an E Commerce site, I am wondering how they will manage this, considering goods being shipped from as far as USA. What guarantee does the company have that customer will pay after good are delivered? The cost of fulfillment has already been suffered. And they must have some liquidity to finance orders with no upfront payment!

    An escrow type of system would have been better. Otherwise, users should have enough assurance and confidence that they will receive goods after a 100% payment.

  3. Brilliant idea! But will it survive Zimbabwe’s dull internet market? Ive seen numerous failures,anybody remembers bargainhunter.com? Im sure few do. I do hope they did their homework…I would propose a marriage with mukuru.com or any reputable firm in that line of business…

  4. Obviously I have concerns with their TOS and viability but the bottom line is that its a great initiative and I hope they iron out these challenges in time and blend them in line with the Zimbabwean economy. I don’t believe Zimbabwe has a dull internet market, its just that we had(or maybe still have) limited options for internet access and online payment. Remember the long queues when econet introduced mobile broadband. all we need to do is set up internet based shops which are in line with payment methods available to most pple in the country.

  5. From a tech point of view, yes there is light in the internet market. From a web developer/marketer’s point of view we have a long way until an application like Zimazon would make sense to an average internet user and generate real profit at the same time.

    Yes we need a full mobile commerce solution, and mobile money solutions should come first. I believe we should develop from the ground up and not jump to developing application when the operating system is still in its infancy.

    “(or maybe still have) limited options for internet access”

    We have Econet Broadband now there is no excuse to not having internet…

  6. From an economic point of view, this is a product that the market needs, but for which i am not sure has a big market yet, due to poor connectivity in outlying areas outside big cities. But i applaud the move. I did a cross check of price parities between global prices on identical items…………it seems quite competitive. (Its a good price…..if you consider going to fetch similar stuff yourself in SA or abroad. What needs to happen now is aggressive marketing based on the selling point which is brand originality in items sold as well as price savings on the alternatives. Target the young generation…………technology touches like fire with this demographic group. Lobby for other guys to work on the e-commerce platforms. Also include solar panels and generators on your offerings…….with little electricity around, people are always shopping for these fallback plans.

    Also, kitchenware, like stoves and fridges, may work, since you dont stock this stuff before order, it shouldnt be a problem.

    Go Guys Go, we are entering the tech-age.

    @soul- kabweza. Keep us informed.

  7. Bruce is my son, and I’m supporting him all the way! And for those of you who have been hmmming and hawwwwing to your girlfriends for years, they also have DIAMOND RINGS so you can do the right thing.

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