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Cross-border e-commerce in Africa will be driven by the right technology and strategy


Infobip, a global cloud communications firm and omnichannel engagement leader, recently held a webinar on how digital transformation drives cross-border e-commerce platforms in Africa.

The event was themed “Driving Cross-border eCommerce Through Digital Transformation” and featured presentations by various speakers from Infobip and other organizations. One of Africa’s top 5 e-commerce firms, Konga, also presented during the session.

To set the stage, Loren Lubanga, an Infobip Key Accounts Executive, described the three most flourishing e-commerce markets in Africa: South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya. These three countries have a total of 22 million, 76.7 million, and 13 million shoppers, respectively, and their respective e-commerce penetration rates are 37% in South Africa, 37% in Nigeria, and 25% in Kenya.

These data come from the reports The Next Frontier, PayU 2021, and Statista 2020.

According to Lubanga, the immediate changes driving cross-border electronic commerce activity across the continent are:

  • The growth and diversification of online commerce.
  • The advent of mobile marketing (m-commerce).
  • The shift toward diversifying payment methods.

Others include increased internet access and financial services for the unbanked and underbanked, as well as increased foreign investments and partnerships between domestic and international players.

Tech infrastructure

During his presentation, Anthony Nwabuisi, Group Head of Marketing at Konga, said that any retailer who wants to do business across borders through an e-commerce platform needs to ensure that their entire technology infrastructure environment is positioned for their business to succeed. Lastly, Nwabuisi said, “companies need to look at the number of banked vs. unbanked people in their target market and see what opportunities this gives them.”

He went on to say that the instruments of digital technology are readily available and play a significant part in the success of businesses that decide to expand their operations internationally. These digital technologies are intended to give vital information businesses can leverage to expand their operations across national boundaries.

Accelerating the customer journey

Adele De Villiers, an Account Executive at Infobip South Africa, said that retailers who use and take advantage of digital technology interact with their customers in more ways, such as through their channels, platforms, products, and services.

Kenyan company Twiga Foods is an example of this. Using WhatsApp for Business API to improve customer engagement, they could keep more customers and cut costs.

These touchpoints function as channels that speed up a shopper’s journey by using an engaged information flow through and out of consumer data systems.

By adding digital platforms to their environment, eCommerce companies can offer an omnichannel presence that gives each customer a personalized experience, from easy order fulfillment to quick and safe payment. She went on to say that international online retailers who make use of the appropriate cloud communication technology have the potential to accomplish big commercial goals, such as expanding their client base and fostering a stronger sense of devotion to their brand.

They can also expect to increase sales and cut costs by automating tasks that are done repeatedly. This can also improve customer satisfaction along the entire customer value chain.

Cross-border expansion

Nwabuisi said that Konga, a genuinely omnichannel retail eCommerce business in Nigeria, has a five-year plan to grow into the rest of Africa. South Africa and Ghana have been chosen as critical markets because their eCommerce industries are already well-developed.

He went on to say that “we will develop across other verticals by taking the strong brands that we have across our group and bringing them into new markets,” 

Infobip is in an excellent position to help retailers participate in Africa’s domestic and cross-border eCommerce markets. Using chat applications and its cloud-based Conversations and Moment’s omnichannel suite of solutions can make it possible for enterprises to scale without complications.




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