Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Internet provider, YoAfrica, sets up e-commerce store

Depending on how much you follow the internet packages and services we have locally, you might have noticed that some internet providers are not as loud and aggressive with ad campaigns and neither are they quick to tweak their packages.

YoAfrica is one internet service provider that’s part of that list. It turns out that its silence has also meant some product development on its part. The ISP has launched an e-commerce site called YoShop.

This is an online retailing platform focused on tech hardware and software. As a YoAfrica project, you’d expect the sale of YoAfrica internet packages and its WiFi hotsposts called Chilli spots. There is nothing on the YoAfrica broadband product list, though. Instead, there 7 categories represented on the site; Hardware, Printers, Peripherals, Storage, VoIP, Networking and Software.

YoShop-3A quick tour of the online store showed a fairly thin product range. But as a new platform, this will hopefully change to match other e-commerce platforms. Part of the reason behind this is probably the inventory challenge facing all e-tailing platforms, which YoShop is trying to address with a pre-order system.

The payment process involves the traditional cart system and you can also use various payment options that also include mobile money thanks to an integration with the Paynow gateway. Delivery is an option and for folks in Harare, there is a free delivery for products that costs anything above $50.

One interesting aspect about YoShop is the workaround for product variety being offered by YoShop. This is the delivery of goods that you want to order from another e-commerce site Amazon.

Looking for that specific item? We have the ability to source and import almost any type of item available from the USA store. It will take a little time to bring the item in, but we have experience in this trade, and we will make it a pleasure for you to get that particular item. Send us a mail with the URL linking to the exact product you want and we will send you a quote.

Besides the opportunity to sell the ease of getting online goods delivered from the USA on your behalf, it looks like a strategy meant to stretch the YoShop product range and diversity.

The only snag with this is that it’s gotten easier to get products online thanks to debit card options like the EcoCash MasterCard. I guess having YoShop assume the risk of delivery is worth whatever price they will attach to it.

With the issue of net-neutrality violations on e-commerce lingering in the air (remember Tengai), YoShop doesn’t seem to come with free access to the site for YoAfrica subscribers or anyone on a YoAfrica Chilli Spot. We haven’t gotten confirmation from YoAfrica whether this is the case, though.

Is this e-commerce adventure going to be a revolutionary new business line for YoAfrica? I wouldn’t be so quick to think so. The ISP seems to be leveraging on a couple of factors that make online retailing a reality for it like relationships with Webdev and the appreciation of tech and networking as demonstrated by the shop’s product lineup. Still, it will be worth the watch to see how YoShop is going to evolve.

Have you had a chance to look at YoShop or to buy anything from it? What are your thoughts? 

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