E-commerce is not as huge as it should be in Zimbabwe. Just last month Choppies announced a deal with Kamelee, a ‘click and collect’ platform. This allows the purchase of groceries online and collection ‘offline,’ that is in person. Choppies is mainly targeting those in the Diaspora, allowing them to buy groceries for family here in Zim. Grocery shopping is done every single month and so the idea is actually not bad.
At the Broadband Economy Conference we found out that men are shopping more than women online. We also found out that the 35-44 age group was the busiest online. The reasons given were varied and we shall not go into them again. What about everyone else? What would it take for us to give e-commerce i.e online shopping a go? Grocery shopping at least. Let us analyse further the Choppies model.
Click and collect
For this to work a few things would be necessary.
- Cost – this can only be marginally more expensive than simply going with my card and swiping. I’m talking cents here. If it is not comparable to offline shopping, forget it, it’s not going to cut it.
- Payment methods – right now in Zimbabwe we have many options when it comes to making payments. Mobile money is the biggest payment solution currently and so should always be available no matter what. This cannot be the only solution though. If feasible, every payment solution should be available. Even cash payment on collection.
- Efficient collection process – it should not take as long as it would take to queue up and purchase the old way. Packages should be prepacked and the buyer verification process should be swift. I’m talking flashing I.D and text message swift.
- Extensive branch network – no one is going to want to travel to a different neighbourhood to collect their wares. Some who work in town may not be averse to collection from branches in town though. Admittedly this is harder to implement for retail chains. This may work in favour of those who already have the network.
Click and wait for delivery (traditional e-commerce model)
The cost and payment methods issues raised above apply here too. the following would need to be addressed too.
- Delivery period – nobody likes waiting. This is more so when you have paid for something you have not handled physically. Even more so when what you bought are perishables. Same day delivery should be available, for perishables at least. The cost too should be reasonable.
- Customer service / Refund policy / Replacement policy- this should be world class. We have heard tales of goods disappearing in transit. Should this happen, which it could, we need to know we would get replacements or refunds as appropriate. We need to be sure we do not get the ‘sorry but i can’t help you’ response. Trust is a big issue and from the onset nothing should shake that trust in the system.
Have you been shopping online yourself? You probably have encountered challenges along the way. You may have further concerns that you would need to be addressed if you are to shop more online. Please do let us know what those are and if you could, tell us what solution to the said problem would be sufficient for you.