African Businesses Urged to Embrace Cross-border e-Commerce

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Obinna Chima

Cross border e-commerce continues to provide significant growth opportunities for retailers and manufacturers with an international online product offering. According to a 2017 DHL report, cross-border retail volumes are predicted to increase at an annual average rate of 25 per cent between 2015 and 2020 (from $300 billion to $900 billion) – twice the pace of domestic e-commerce growth.

The Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, Steve Burd, who disclosed this in a statement, said the projection highlights boundless opportunity for African businesses looking to take a piece of the cross border e-commerce pie.
Burd said as the market leader in express logistics, DHL Express works with thousands of e-commerce customers around the world, with a lot of them at start-up phase.

“We are therefore well aware of the perceived hurdles involved when considering to trade across borders.”
He pointed out to five common areas which domestic e-commerce customers consider to be a challenge when deciding where to trade internationally.
These include cost of express shipping, returns rates, basket values, the customer’s business is doing well locally, and unfamiliarity with customs procedures and processes.

“We’ve found that the return rates are actually much lower on international shipping. Businesses could always do it on a trial basis and measure the benefits over losses and adjust their strategies accordingly.

“We have found that basket values often increase with the introduction of express shipping. Customers tend to buy more to justify the premium shipping costs,” he added.