Cloud and app store support will continue to play a critical role in ensuring the success of e-commerce platforms in Africa, according to Lulu Haangala Wood, Co-founder and CMO of Afrishop, an e-commerce hub offering convenient, quality shopping and affordable logistics to the African market.
She was speaking at the Huawei Cloud and AI Forum at the online AfricaCom 2020 event, part of the Africa Tech Festival from November 9-13.
Afrishop launched its offering supported by Huawei Cloud, providing convenient online shopping and affordable logistics and courier services. Afrishop’s aim is to create 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 available on Android and Apple app stores, but our competitive advantage has been that we are available on the Huawei AppGallery on Huawei phones, which are widely 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 provide convenience 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 fulfilment 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 territories 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 strategy, as well as offline marketing through traditional media, which remains relevant 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 improve our app and hope we can continue our great partnership with Huawei Cloud,” said Haangala Wood. “Covid-19 did hit us, but we are excited to see that more people are looking to e-commerce as their preferred shopping channel,” Wood further said.
The Huawei Cloud and 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 explore new opportunities for an intelligent future.