Online retail platform MallforAfrica has continued with its aggressive African expansion by entering 11 new markets in response to demand for the company’s patented platform.
The desktop and mobile app lets Africans purchase products from more than 250 U.S. and U.K. online retailers. It will now be available in Angola, Chad, Guinea, Botswana, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, according to a MallforAfrica press release.
The app is already available and popular in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Rwanda, with over 8.5 billion items to choose from that are shipped straight to the customer’s door.
The technology used on the platform is bridging the gap between African consumers and global retailers.
This expansion will give far more African consumers access to a e-commerce and m-commerce platform that effectively manages every aspect of the order and return cycle, providing Africans in those new markets with more online shopping options than before.
A quick visit to the MallforAfrica site reveals that users can shop via their mobile device or computer at well-known international brands that include Victoria’s Secret, Payless, Ann Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works and Nordstrom.
These brands would ordinarily be inaccessible to consumers in most parts of Africa, but thanks to MallforAfrica’s patented platform and Africa’s high levels of mobile internet penetration, African online shoppers have more options at their fingertips.
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Global retail e-commerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021, which represents a 246.15 percent increase worldwide from 2014, according to Statista.
However, traditional markets will continue to be the dominant choice for African consumers for a while, according to a 2015 report by U.S. research group Nielsen, AFKInsider reported.
“The most common shopping channel of all is the simple tabletop: a stand set up on the side of the road or in a local market to capture passing trade,” said Allen Burch, head of Africa Nielsen. “Eighty percent of consumers shop from these table tops, of which there are no less than 200,000 in Nigeria alone.”
The Nigeria-based MallforAfrica platform wants to take advantage of a growing demand on the continent for online retail with the launch of its app in 11 new African markets.
MallforAfrica CEO Chris Folayan said he’s excited that his innovative platform is now available in more parts of the continent.
“Our rapid growth will afford millions of new customers the opportunity to shop from the most desired retailers,” said Folayan in a prepared statement. “Current customers in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda love our platform which is why we are rolling out in 11 additional countries and will continue to expand our platform to meet the needs of customers worldwide.”
Since 2011, Africans have been able to use the app to purchase goods in the U.S. or the U.K. for delivery to African countries. In 2017 MallforAfrica also made it possible for Africans in certain parts of the continent to sell their unique artisan products into the U.S. using the online platform, according to ITWebAfrica.
This was made possible through an extension of the existing partnership with global e-commerce market leader eBay.
In order to deal with the fact that many Africans remain unbanked and do not have credit cards, the e-commerce innovators came up with their own payment platform known as the MallforAfrica web-card, according to TheAfricaReport.
This web-card allows African users to pay for orders in local currencies to ensure that paying for goods via the app would not be a stumbling block.
In December MallforAfrica was awarded a fashion retailing accolade for its efforts to provide African consumers with access to international markets through innovative tech.
The African e-commerce business won the Drapers Award for Innovation in Fashion at the recently concluded Drapers Award ceremony in London, Techcabal reports.
Previous winners included H&M, Next and BooHoo.com.