Cloud and app store support play a critical role in ensuring the success of e-commerce platforms in Africa.
This was the view from Lulu Haangala Wood, co-founder and CMO of Afrishop, an e-commerce hub offering suitable, standard shopping and affordable logistics to the African market.
She was speaking at the Huawei Cloud & AI Forum at the online AfricaCom 2020 event, part of the Africa Tech Festival held between November 9-13.
Afrishop launched its product supported by Huawei Cloud, providing convenient online shopping and affordable logistics and courier services. Afrishop’s focus is to design a more convenient and affordable delivery service for consumers looking for quality goods from China.
In its launch and development, Afrishop got support from Huawei Cloud infrastructure and Huawei AppGallery, the app store on Huawei smartphones.
“We are accessible on Android and Apple app stores, but our competitive edge has been that we are accessible on the Huawei AppGallery on Huawei phones, which are largely used in Africa,” said Haangala Wood. “Having that partnership from Huawei to push our app in the app store really helped us, and we saw a big uptick in downloads.”
She said there had long been a need for a good supply-chain management system to African consumers. Afrishop set out to offer suitable and affordable last-mile delivery, right to the customer’s doorstep.
“We offer B2C and B2B services for customers who want to purchase individual pieces, as well as fulfillment of bulk orders,” said Haangala Wood. “Our main services are online shopping and supply chain management, and our solution is faster, easier and more convenient than other platforms. Our customer has access through both our app and our website because apps don’t have a big uptake in all African countries yet.”
Haangala Wood said Afrishop had seen 10 000 downloads in its first week and had continued to grow over the past nine months. The platform operates in Zambia, South Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Angola.
“Influencer marketing has been a huge part of our plan, as well as offline marketing through traditional media, which is still pertinent in the African market,” said Haangala Wood. “However, our core has been digital marketing. With our current app, distribution and listing in the Huawei app gallery comes at zero cost.
“We continue to upgrade our app and hope we can continue our great partnership with Huawei Cloud,” said Haangala Wood. “Covid-19 did hit us, but we are thrilled to see that more people are looking to e-commerce as their preferred shopping channel.”
The Huawei Cloud & AI Forum is an event regularly hosted by Huawei for the African ICT industry. The theme at this month’s event is “New Value Together”, with the aim to establish an open, cooperative platform for customers and partners to tour new opportunities for an intelligent future.