Darlington Baloni

  •  ·  Standard
  • V

    H

    25 friends
  • V

    H

    26 followers
  • 311 views
 
 

5 Strategies for Effective Marketing in Africa: Insight

A marketing strategist who develops executes marketing plans, analyzes trends, and identifies growth opportunities | At Dolph media we specialize in multimedia services for high Profiles across the globe

Africa is a diverse and dynamic market, and a successful marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of local cultures, consumer behaviours, and market trends. Here are a few tips for Africa-based marketing agencies looking to improve their approach:

Focus on research and insights: Gather data on local consumer behaviours and preferences to inform your marketing strategies and make them more effective.

Localise your approach: Consider cultural differences and adapt your messaging, imagery, and campaigns to the local context.

Utilise digital channels: Many consumers in Africa are now connected to the internet and are active on social media platforms, making these channels crucial for reaching target audiences.

Collaborate with local influencers: Partner with local influencers and opinion leaders to help spread your message and build trust with target audiences.

Embrace creativity: Stand out by creating memorable and impactful campaigns that resonate with local audiences and effectively communicate your brand message.

By taking these steps, Africa-based marketing agencies can better connect with consumers, drive business growth, and build a strong reputation in this exciting and growing market.

  • 1

E-commerce in Africa - statistics & facts

African online retail has been growing fast in recent years and this trend is forecasted to continue. Several factors are contributing to this impressive growth. Africa has the youngest and second largest population in the world. Thus, there is potential for a vast digital audience. In addition, internet penetration has been rising due to the broad expansion of smartphones and mobile devices in general. Indeed, mobile e-commerce dominates the online shopping scene. Various digital payments are becoming more widespread in African countries, which is certainly a key aspect for e-commerce. Credit cards are still quite uncommon. Alternative payment methods such as cash-on-delivery and mobile money are being used by digital buyers.

Africa's most competitive markets

Particular attention should be paid to some of Africa's most competitive markets: Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Morocco, and Egypt. These are the largest economies on the continent. In these markets, online retail is booming thanks to several leading companies which operate in many other African countries, e.g. Jumia, Konga, takealot, and Kilimall. Nigeria is the headquarter of two popular online marketplaces in Africa, Jumia and Konga. South Africa is home to takealot.com, the largest e-commerce platform in the country, while Kilimall was founded in Kenya. Since mobile e-commerce plays an important role, a look at the most popular shopping apps can provide a better overview of the main players in these markets. Unsurprisingly, Jumia Online Shopping heads the rankings in Nigeria and Kenya, and is third after Souq and Alibaba in Egypt. Souq.com, renamed Amazon.eg in September 2021, is an Amazon company and the largest e-commerce platform in Arab-speaking countries. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the fashion e-commerce platform SHEIN is the most popular shopping app.

Payment methods and the mobile money revolution

Some other aspects which help to understand e-commerce in Africa are payment methods. As mentioned before, the African landscape of digital payments is quite unique. Data on the transaction volume of selected digital payment platforms in Africa shows that mobile money payments with M-Pesa were much more common than those made with African credit cards. Mostly unknown in advanced economies, mobile money represents a revolution in other markets, making financial services easily accessible throughout the country, including remote rural areas. Mobile money allows customers to receive, store, and spend money using a mobile phone even without internet access. Another common payment method used for e-commerce is cash-on-delivery, which means that users pay for their order on delivery. In economies with low credit card penetration and less trust in digital payments made in advance, cash-on-delivery remains a common payment method.

What African digital shoppers buy

Other characteristics which define online shopping in specific markets are consumer preferences on what to buy online. A survey conducted by Statista in several African countries investigated the items consumers in NigeriaSouth AfricaMoroccoKenya, and Egypt prefer to buy online. In all these countries, digital buyers stated to purchase clothing, shoes, and consumer electronics online. Despite the rapid growth of the e-commerce sector on the continent, online shopping in Africa is still under the global average, even in Africa's driving markets. According to recent data, some 38 percent of internet users in Egypt make online purchases. In South Africa, the share of digital buyers is around 48 percent, while the worldwide average is 58 percent. This text provides general information. Statista assumes no liability for the information given being complete or correct. Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date data than referenced in the text.

ZIMBABWE ECONOMIC CRISIS | US DEMANDS KEY REFORMS BEFORE DEBT TALKS

US demands key reforms before debt talks

HARARE - The US says it will only return to talks to resolve Zimbabwe's $17-billion debt if key reforms are made.

It comes as its new Ambassador Pamela Tremont takes up office in the country after a three-year vacancy.

She says a key reform is the restoration of human rights.

Tremont begins her tenure amid widespread outrage over a second bail denial for 77 opposition activists. 

She says she will push President Mnangagwa on the issue, adding she's not in the country to play golf. 

Botswana's Inflation rate falls to 2.8% in June

FILLING-STATION-1-696x464.jpg

Botswana’s annual inflation rate dropped to 2.8 percent in June from 3.0 percent in May, according to data released by Statistics Botswana on Friday. The decline of 0.2 percentage points highlights easing inflationary pressures in the country.

The report identified Miscellaneous Goods & Services, Transport, and Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages as the main contributors to the annual inflation rate in June. Miscellaneous Goods & Services contributed 0.8 percentage points, while Transport

How does the future of digital marketing look in Africa?

As we navigate the evolution of digital marketing in developing countries, there’s one question that has been ringing in my head for the past few weeks in the wake of the pandemic.

Are we expanding enough in digital marketing and new technologies in Africa?

Building a global presence through digital marketing presents one of the stiffest challenges in developing countries.

We can either choose to ignore the reality that the rules of marketing are changing and consequently be eradicated by the wave of digital disruption or we can start investing in better digital marketing tools for successful revenue growth.

Bear in mind, that it does not mean that digital marketing can be developed without any need for local and regional adaptation. We need to consider numerous demographical, language and cultural value systems to target and expand our reach of consumers online.

What works in developed countries might not necessarily work in local markets. However, finding a sweet spot between your local and global audience and knowing how to reach that audience through all the noise is the secret sauce to a successful digital marketing strategy.

I’ve listed some of the challenges that businesses in Africa face which might prevent them from evolving in the fast-changing digital era:

Adoption of new technologies

Although some high-tech industries are doing their best to invest in the R&D of modern technological solutions, underdeveloped technology is still a worrying concern.

Most businesses lag behind when it comes to the adoption of new technologies such as AI or other forms of digital marketing tools.

There could potentially be many reasons for this slow adoption however, resource constraints and lack of accessibility in developing countries still pose the biggest hurdle to digital transformation.

Poor technological infrastructure

Compared to developed countries, technological infrastructure, application and distribution in Africa are not really where they should be.

Most companies in Africa are in their early stages of economic development and rely heavily on international solutions or channels which could be quite costly for some to afford.

While new technologies can accelerate the growth of companies, the lack of suitable and affordable digital solutions and poor infrastructure forces businesses to scale back.

Businesses need to come up with smart solutions to cope with these kinds of challenges locally by firstly understanding local consumers and learning how to communicate with local audiences.

Lack of required skills and “global thinkers”

Given that many African companies are startups or up and coming businesses, they are not bound to the old way of business models or the “this is how we’ve always done it’ approach. However, the fear of unknown territories prevents many companies from stepping into innovation that could transform customer engagements, business operations and optimizing existing business processes.

As the nature of digital marketing continues to evolve and more technologies are developed, companies need a thorough understanding of their customers and modern business tools. In addition, businesses need to manage a healthy balance of keeping local consumers happy while expanding into new markets globally to overcome the struggle of saturation or stagnation.

If companies lack leaders/managers who are “global thinkers” my advice would be to start investing in the right talent to gain competitive leverage across markets and adopt a global perspective. Alternatively, train staff in-house to empower them to be global thinkers and unlock the true power of effective digital ecosystems.

Competing with new champions of AI

Most businesses are faced with a form of aggressive competition and the new champions are not making things easier.

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence has and will continue to impact the marketing and advertising industry. Automated solutions have presented numerous threats and opportunities depending on how you view these champions.

Learning AI capabilities accelerates growth and advancement in developing countries and can aid in bridging gaps between brands and their customers through simpler automated systems.

Instead of seeing artificial intelligence as a threat, companies need to embrace the opportunity it presents to simplify and enhance the way of doing business.

Artificial intelligence allows for improved systems and automation for working smart and efficiently which could save you time and launch you into new untapped territories in the long run.

Some useful areas to start investing in digital marketing include data and analytics, marketing automation, UX and design as well as content management and social media marketing tools.

In conclusion, companies that are learning to operate on a global scale need to start integrating their worldwide strategy to adapt to the ever-changing world around us. It is imperative for business leaders to accelerate their journey and embrace new ways of reaching modern customers across the different corners of the world.

Whichever digital marketing strategy you decide to implement for global sustainable growth, always remember your motive of why you are doing it. You can always change the method, however, the purpose and heart of your business should always remain the same.

  • 2

How does the future of digital marketing look in Africa?

As we navigate the evolution of digital marketing in developing countries, there’s one question that has been ringing in my head for the past few weeks in the wake of the pandemic.

Are we expanding enough in digital marketing and new technologies in Africa?

Building a global presence through digital marketing presents one of the stiffest challenges in developing countries.

We can either choose to ignore the reality that the rules of marketing are changing and consequently be eradicated by the wave of digital disruption or we can start investing in better digital marketing tools for successful revenue growth.

Bear in mind, that it does not mean that digital marketing can be developed without any need for local and regional adaptation. We need to consider numerous demographical, language and cultural value systems to target and expand our reach of consumers online.

What works in developed countries might not necessarily work in local markets. However, finding a sweet spot between your local and global audience and knowing how to reach that audience through all the noise is the secret sauce to a successful digital marketing strategy.

I’ve listed some of the challenges that businesses in Africa face which might prevent them from evolving in the fast-changing digital era:

Adoption of new technologies

Although some high-tech industries are doing their best to invest in the R&D of modern technological solutions, underdeveloped technology is still a worrying concern.

Most businesses lag behind when it comes to the adoption of new technologies such as AI or other forms of digital marketing tools.

There could potentially be many reasons for this slow adoption however, resource constraints and lack of accessibility in developing countries still pose the biggest hurdle to digital transformation.

Poor technological infrastructure

Compared to developed countries, technological infrastructure, application and distribution in Africa are not really where they should be.

Most companies in Africa are in their early stages of economic development and rely heavily on international solutions or channels which could be quite costly for some to afford.

While new technologies can accelerate the growth of companies, the lack of suitable and affordable digital solutions and poor infrastructure forces businesses to scale back.

Businesses need to come up with smart solutions to cope with these kinds of challenges locally by firstly understanding local consumers and learning how to communicate with local audiences.

Lack of required skills and “global thinkers”

Given that many African companies are startups or up and coming businesses, they are not bound to the old way of business models or the “this is how we’ve always done it’ approach. However, the fear of unknown territories prevents many companies from stepping into innovation that could transform customer engagements, business operations and optimizing existing business processes.

As the nature of digital marketing continues to evolve and more technologies are developed, companies need a thorough understanding of their customers and modern business tools. In addition, businesses need to manage a healthy balance of keeping local consumers happy while expanding into new markets globally to overcome the struggle of saturation or stagnation.

If companies lack leaders/managers who are “global thinkers” my advice would be to start investing in the right talent to gain competitive leverage across markets and adopt a global perspective. Alternatively, train staff in-house to empower them to be global thinkers and unlock the true power of effective digital ecosystems.

Competing with new champions of AI

Most businesses are faced with a form of aggressive competition and the new champions are not making things easier.

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence has and will continue to impact the marketing and advertising industry. Automated solutions have presented numerous threats and opportunities depending on how you view these champions.

Learning AI capabilities accelerates growth and advancement in developing countries and can aid in bridging gaps between brands and their customers through simpler automated systems.

Instead of seeing artificial intelligence as a threat, companies need to embrace the opportunity it presents to simplify and enhance the way of doing business.

Artificial intelligence allows for improved systems and automation for working smart and efficiently which could save you time and launch you into new untapped territories in the long run.

Some useful areas to start investing in digital marketing include data and analytics, marketing automation, UX and design as well as content management and social media marketing tools.

In conclusion, companies that are learning to operate on a global scale need to start integrating their worldwide strategy to adapt to the ever-changing world around us. It is imperative for business leaders to accelerate their journey and embrace new ways of reaching modern customers across the different corners of the world.

Whichever digital marketing strategy you decide to implement for global sustainable growth, always remember your motive of why you are doing it. You can always change the method, however, the purpose and heart of your business should always remain the same.

  • 1

3 WAYS IN WHICH DIGITAL MARKETING IN AFRICA DIFFERS FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD

AffordableLess Risk and More Reward

  1. In conclusion

Digital marketing in South Africa makes use of international principles to generate leads and increase brand awareness. The principles are: content marketing, search engine optimisation, social media, and Google paid advertising channels.

There are, however, three key areas in which digital marketing in South Africa differs which present unique opportunities for local businesses.

1. LESS COMPETITION DIGITALLY

Technology adoption in first-world countries is much quicker than in South Africa. For example, mobile subscription packages caught on in South Africa 7 years after it launched in the US in 1993.

Whether it is our lack of capital to invest in emerging technologies, or our lack of appetite for risk, South Africans take 5 – 7 years to catch on to international trends. This gives local businesses the opportunity to look across the pond at what’s been working in their industries (digitally) and apply it locally to become the pioneers.

Some of the industries that can easily take the lead with their digital marketing efforts (ranked from easiest to hardest):

  1. Industrial markets
  2. Manufacturers
  3. Some professional services (landscapers, general contractors, builders, construction companies)
  4. Beauty and Fitness Services
  5. Food and Drink
  6. Home goods
  7. Legal services
  8. Other professional services (plumbers, electricians, door installations)

2. DIGITAL MARKETING IN AFRICA IS MORE AFFORDABLE

The amount of competition in an industry plays an instrumental role in the amount of money that the business needs to invest to be effective. In some of the industries mentioned above a, comprehensive digital marketing package done through an agency will cost between R 15 000 and R 30 000 per month.

Compare this to the US market, where a small SEO package will cost you between $2500 and $10 000 per month.

Keep in mind, there are industries that have adopted digital marketing early because of the return on investment they enjoyed. As such, when compared to the other industries in South Africa, they will need to spend more on their digital marketing to be effective.

Some of these industries include (not ranked in a particular order):

  1. Financial Services (Medical aid, insurance, debt collection, etc.)
  2. Real Estate
  3. Pharmaceuticals
  4. Gambling
  5. Travel & Tourism
  6. Gifts and Baskets
  7. Jewellery
  8. Computers & Electronics
  9. Used Car Sales

3. LESS RISK AND MORE REWARD

Bearing in mind that it takes South Africans 5 years to catch up, we have the unique opportunity to see the results of the US’ new trends before we have to jump on a specific bandwagon.

Remember Snapchat? Launched in 2011, it gained momentum in 2017 and 2018, raising the question of how it should be used for business. At the time, we advised our clients that it won’t be worth the time and money due to the audiences available on Snapchat.

Two years later and Snapchat is the forgotten app that people sometimes use to apply funny filters to their selfies.

On the flip side, videos have consistently grown in their reach, where it is predicted that US consumers will watch 100 minutes of video content per day.

It is true, creating video content is more expensive (even if done with a GoPro and a semi-professional mic). But if local businesses invest the capital to consistently create (and optimise) video content, they can easily dominate the first page of Google with a paid ad, a local business listing, a video snippet from YouTube, and an Organic result.

IN CONCLUSION

Marketing budgets are often the first thing to go when a business faces troubled times. Especially a digital marketing budget because there is no tangible deliverable (like a billboard or a pamphlet) that is easy to understand.

But, with the affordability (comparatively speaking) and the measurability of digital marketing, local businesses can’t miss the opportunity to set the wheels of growth in motion that will ensure that their business remains alive and kicking 5 years from now.

3 Ways in Which Digital Marketing in South Africa Differs From the Rest of the World

  • 1

Digital marketing in Africa: The window of opportunity is now

Mckinsey-digital-marketing.jpg

Digital sales are the next horizon of business growth for all consumer-facing businesses in Africa, but only a fraction of this potential has been tapped. With competition increasing daily, those players that can make digital a strategic priority and systematically build the digital function in their organisations are likely to pull ahead, whether they are digital natives or not.

In the last five years, the share of Africans who choose to buy goods and services online has more than doubled; that’s about 10% of the entire population on the continent. And while this shift has largely been as a result of the pandemic, it’s becoming clear that even as economies return to a semblance of ‘normal’, online sales are here to stay.

The market opportunity for African businesses here is significant. Online sales in Africa are growing at around 25%, year-on-year – one of the highest rates in the world – with more than 10 million people starting to buy online each year. Yet online sales in most organisations are only at the beginning of their growth trajectory.

While bigger organisations have mostly prepared to take their sales and operations digital and have the necessary infrastructure in place to make this shift, few businesses have scaled digital sales as yet. We can see this in the numbers. In Europe, the digital sales landscape is so competitive that banks will pay, on average, about 25% of profit per client to attract a client. However, in Africa, competition is still low enough that banks can attract clients, spending no more than 10% of the profit on that client. However, this is unlikely to last.


As the window of opportunity continues to open for digital sales on the continent, we can expect competition for banks, retail, telecoms, logistics, and more, to intensify in the race to develop their digital business and transfer of familiar services to the digital field. To pull ahead, there are five key principles that African businesses could consider to develop a robust digital marketing function and claim their space at the vanguard of the digital sales frontier.

Engage global expert knowledge

Global advertising and social media platforms such as Google, Bing, and WhatsApp are disproportionately dominant across Africa, and tapping into the expertise of global specialists working with these channels will be key.

For example, in South Africa, the share of search queries on Google is 94%, followed by Bing at 5.12%. Google dominates the search market in Nigeria and Kenya, too, at 98.6% and 97.7%, respectively, according to Global Web Index (GWI) digital marketing research for African countries. Among social media platforms, WhatsApp is the most popular for networking at 93.2% in South Africa, 93% in Nigeria, 96.5% in Kenya, 83.9% in Ghana, and 73.7% in Morocco, usually followed by Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Investing in developing proprietary teams of digital customer acquisition specialists that understand these channels is likely to be a key competitive edge. Fortunately, as remote working formats have become more common following the pandemic, recruiting global talent has become easier for African organisations. This can be particularly important, given that there can be a lack of specialist talent in African countries.

Account for local context in marketing strategy

Even though they are working largely through global channels, African businesses ignore the local context at their own peril, especially if they are looking to scale across the continent. Each African market has subtle differences in consumption and channel behavior, which need to be considered when planning digital marketing campaigns. For example, in South Africa, PCs and tablets register higher engagement than smartphones, and time spent daily with desktops, laptops, and tablets rose to a remarkable 5 hours and 25 minutes on average in 2021. South Africa also registers high laptop/desktop ownership (83.3% of the population) compared with most other African countries. This high concentration of internet and social media users, coupled with device penetration, makes it imperative to leverage paid and organic search, social, and display advertising as effective means to reach consumers.

By contrast, Nigeria boasts high smartphone penetration (99.2%) and the highest number of absolute internet users in Africa; 82.9% of internet users aged 16-64 said they used social media as the main source when researching brands. Both WhatsApp and Facebook could therefore be leveraged with chat support call-to-action functionality alongside Google search to deliver instant and more tailored messaging and one-to-one services to deliver impact in that context.

Activate own marketing channels

While global advertising platforms create unparalleled opportunities to grow the customer base, there is potential to grow business locally by interacting with customers on owned channels. For example, businesses could consider using mobile apps, websites, email, and social media groups or messengers to deliver targeted information and improve conversion rates. The key to unlocking these channels could be growing relevant engagement with customers.

Data is the key to success

Digital marketing deals primarily with business mathematics, where it is necessary to calculate how much each user action costs: a click, an application, or a sale. Once a business learns to measure key metrics, it becomes possible to efficiently manage channels and campaigns using these precise metrics.

To build reliable analytics, organisations could consider building effective data tracking and storage systems and ensuring regular reporting that can give everyone involved a clear picture of digital sales status. It is equally important to build cross-functional teams that include analysts so all participants can access data at any time and use this effectively to leverage customer insights to drive further sales.


Experiment constantly

The main principle of digital marketing is to regularly generate, test, and evaluate the efficiency of new ideas. These may relate to working with new channels, launching new types of communications and formats for creative solutions, and testing new audiences. The secret of success lies in the organisation of a well-coordinated team and reliable processes allowing regular testing.

7 Key Digital Marketing Trends in Africa Today and how to use it to grow your brand

In recent years, the marketing landscape in Africa has undergone a significant transformation. The advent of digital marketing has revolutionized the way businesses engage with their customers. No longer are organizations limited to mass communication through traditional channels like television and newspapers. Instead, digital marketing allows for targeted, personalized interactions with customers on a one-to-one basis. As a result, understanding the digital marketing trends in Africa has become crucial for businesses looking to effectively engage with their customers and stay ahead of the curve.

Digital Marketing Trends in Africa — Predictions for 2025

When it comes to digital marketing in Africa, mobile phones play a important role. The statistics on mobile phone adoption across the continent are nothing short of impressive. According to GISMA, mobile broadband is projected to account for 87% of mobile connections by 2025, up from the current figure of 38%. Additionally, 3G is expected to represent 60% of all mobile connections by 2025. The number of active SIM connections is predicted to reach one billion in 2025, By 2025, it’s estimated that there will be 634 million mobile subscribers in the region, a significant increase from 444 million in 2017. The growth in smartphone adoption is also expected to nearly double, reaching 690 million active smartphones in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025.

The Importance of Content Marketing

One of the most significant trends in digital marketing is the rise of content marketing. This approach involves creating and sharing relevant, valuable content to engage with potential and existing customers throughout their buying journey. Content marketing offers a more effective alternative to traditional advertising, which consumers have learned to block or ignore. By providing valuable content, brands can establish stronger relationships with their audience and enhance their page ranking through search engine optimization (SEO).

According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads. Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without, and content marketing has conversion rates six times higher than other methods. The effectiveness of content marketing is particularly evident in the popularity of video content, with 70% of consumers sharing brand videos and 72% of businesses reporting improved conversion rates.

Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become increasingly prevalent in the digital marketing landscape. While the concept may seem futuristic, AI applications have been in use for some time. For instance, chatbots powered by AI provide a cost-effective way for brands to engage with customers. However, it’s important to consider the maturity of AI technology when it comes to maintaining relationships. While certain forms of AI, such as smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa, have seen success, the effectiveness of AI in fostering long-term relationships is still a subject of debate.

A study undertaken by PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated that “artificial intelligence technologies could increase global GDP by $15.7 trillion, a full 14%, by 2030. Companies are adopting AI for various reasons, including improving customer experience, streamlining processes, and gaining a competitive advantage.

The Role of Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is another significant trend in digital marketing. This approach allows brands to automate their advertising processes and tailor messages to the right audience at the right time. By leveraging audience insights and big data, brands can identify customer interests and engage with them in a more targeted manner. Programmatic advertising maximizes marketing budgets by responding to current trends and interests within the market. Retargeting is a common form of programmatic advertising, where users who have previously visited a website are shown ads on platforms like Facebook based on their browsing history.

The Power of Personalization and Individual Targeting

Personalization has become a crucial aspect of digital marketing. In the past, brands focused on large groups of customers, but with digital media, it’s now possible to target individuals on a one-to-one basis. Customers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences, and more than half of consumers are willing to share their personal information if it benefits them. By understanding customer behavior, purchase history, and feedback, brands can create stronger relationships and enhance customer lifetime value.

The Influence of Influencers and Micro-influencers

The use of influencers and micro-influencers has seen significant growth in recent years. With consumers placing less trust in brands, marketers have turned to influencers who have established credibility and a close connection with their audience. According to statistics, 63% of consumers trust influencers’ opinions of products more than what brands say about themselves. While macro-influencers may have a large follower base, brands have started to shift towards micro-influencers with smaller but more engaged audiences. Micro-influencers are able tp create content that resonates with their niche audience, leading to more relevance and stronger relationships with customers.

The Rise of Personal Messaging

Personal messaging has experienced significant growth as a means of communication between brands and customers. Personal messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger provide a more intimate and immediate way to engage with audiences. This approach works best with existing customers, as the relationship and credibility are already established. By distributing personalized and valuable content through messaging apps, brands can foster closer relationships with customers, who are more responsive due to their familiarity with this communication channel.

The Impact of Voice Search

Voice search has become increasingly popular, particularly among younger audiences. With improvements in accuracy and convenience, voice search has evolved to allow users to search for information and products using voice commands. Voice search may have implications for search engine optimization, as voice queries often differ from typed searches and may have a stronger focus on local search. Adapting to how customers use voice search is crucial for brands to stay relevant and capitalize on this growing trend.

The African E-Commerce Boom: Trends, Challenges, And Future Prospects

E-Commerce.png

Africa, with its youngest and second-largest population globally, presents a significant opportunity for a burgeoning digital audience. The proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices has contributed to the increasing internet penetration across the continent. Notably, mobile e-commerce is gaining prominence, with platforms like Kenya’s Wasoko, Nigeria’s Jumia, South Africa’s Takealot, and others expanding digital payment options.

The innovative approaches of the e-commerce sector in Africa are redefining traditional supply chains and business models. Kenya’s Twiga Foods, for instance, sources produce directly from farmers and efficiently delivers it to urban retailers, streamlining the agricultural value chain. Similarly, Egypt’s MaxAB acts as a marketplace connecting food and grocery retailers to suppliers in underserved geographies. Meanwhile, Fresh in a Box, a Zimbabwean company, facilitates door-to-door deliveries of fresh produce and groceries. This all adds another layer of diversity to the innovative solutions within the African e-commerce landscape.

The e-commerce market is poised for substantial growth, with an estimated

  • 2

Why marketers keep refreshing brands instead of betting on splashy ads

The widespread appetite for brand building is evident in how rebrands continue to proliferate alongside an advertising upswing.Ocean Spray rebrand OOH ads

Recent rebrands like the one by Ocean Spray are born out of marketers' need for agility and fluidity in their efforts and allow them to meet several different imperatives. For the third year in a row, many marketers have focused on rebrands, refreshes and repositionings over the type of creative swings that can make a big splash and create buzz. While mostly embraced by CPG companies the likes of Kraft Heinz, Unilever and PepsiCo, this approach also been adopted by QSRs, digital-first brands like Wayfair and Tubi and even agencies looking to engage customers — existing and potential — who have new priorities

Even as the pandemic moves further into the rearview and the Gen Z cohort becomes a top priority for many marketers, rebranding as a key marketing strategy does not seem to be going anywhere. Recent examples are born out of marketers' need for agility and fluidity in their efforts and allow them to meet several different imperatives: investing in brand building after years of performance marketing; finding a holistic strategy across channels; and better using insights about consumer behavior changes.

  • 1

What is stopping e-commerce from thriving in Africa?

planetearthwithdetailedreliefiscoveredwithacomplex

According to a recent study by the GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) team and the UK Department of Business and Trade, micro enterprises make up the bulk of African businesses.  

The research cited there were more than 44 million formal Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Africa as of 2018, 90 per cent of which were identified as micro and small. The amount is estimated to be much higher if informal businesses are included, and today, the sector accounts for 80 per cent of jobs in the region.  

This also means that MSMEs play a significant role in Africa’s economic position. In Ghana, the sector generates 70 per cent of GDP, and the increasing adoption of online platforms is believed to have been instrumental to the growth of this ecosystem.  

M4D’s research, which surveyed more than 1,500 MSMEs in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa, highlighted how online channels have slashed the barriers to entry by helping small businesses expand operations with little cost, while encouraging informal enterprises to blend into the wider economy.  

The impact of digital platforms to MSMEs in the region was most obvious throughout the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, which disproportionately hit a minority of women-owned businesses. During this period, M4D recorded a boost in online shopping across the six key markets, with Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana taking the lead.  

While the pandemic had incited a preference for online shopping globally, African MSMEs “have not shifted as rapidly to e-commerce as MSMEs in other regions”, with the study arguing much of the e-commerce opportunity in Africa “remains unexploited”.  

The challenges range from poor internet connectivity, handset affordability to lack of electricity, but the unregulated territory of online retailing and underfinanced entrepreneurs further isolates online marketplaces from being the desirable option for business owners.  

However, given the recent progress in internet penetration and mobile adoption rates, M4D believes African businesses have “a notable opportunity” to leverage sales and contribute to job creations via e-commerce, pointing to a gap in the usage of social media and online marketplaces.  

Why is e-commerce the less desirable choice?  

Though online marketplaces have not been the first choice for African MSMEs, the concept has been adopted for well over a decade in the region and was made popular by two of Nigeria’s e-commerce platforms Jumia and Konga, launched in 2010 and oiled by foreign investments.  

Today, M4D revealed the majority of surveyed MSMEs still turn to social platforms, notably WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook, to sell their goods. South Africa, however, stands out, with the study revealing a good mix of social media, e-commerce and official websites deployed by local MSMEs.  

This preference towards social media boils down to a higher sense of trust and confidence on the business owners’ side. 

Social platforms also allow them to interact directly with customers to negotiate prices, arrange logistics and run businesses with more flexibility.  

The analysis also points out micro and small entrepreneurs feel more comfortable advertising their products via media platforms of which they are already part, adding Facebook and WhatsApp groups have functioned as an information-sharing platform. 

Despite greater freedom in doing business via social media, Africa saw great investments within its e-commerce industry in 2022, with 330 online retailing companies securing funding throughout the year. 

However, “Africa only received one per cent of total global VC funding” in e-commerce and investments are concentrated in only a handful of start-ups due to the premature ecosystem of online marketplaces. 

Barriers explained 

The study emphasised the lagging adoption of e-commerce was due to a low level of business readiness to tap into B2C retail channels, a factor linked to other bottlenecks like digital literacy or lack of financing for MSMEs to legitimise their operation. 

But this low uptake is also rooted in the unreadiness of the e-commerce industry itself: as a latecomer to Africa’s online retail ecosystem, M4D noted marketplaces come with “an unfamiliar digital retail model”. 

While digital marketplaces are believed to make lives easier for MSMEs, such as streamlining payment processes and delivery arrangement in a single app, the industry is still saddled with “insufficient delivery solutions” and poor transport infrastructure to efficiently send goods ordered online. 

M4D observed B2B enterprises have been better at overcoming this issue as they can undertake bulk payments and deliveries, while a large pool of B2C retailers see this as a costly solution, especially when considering the commission they have to pay when using e-commerce sites. 

The study also showed cash-on-delivery remains the preferred method for online shopping, resulting in the underdeveloped digital payment infrastructure for e-commerce, despite peer-to-peer mobile money transfer being a popular transaction system. 

What’s more, 48 per cent of participating MSMEs expressed that customers do not trust transactions via online marketplaces and brand websites, while 43 per cent noted their customers prefer to “interact with merchants in person”. 

M4D noted entrepreneurs are still affected by constraints related to connectivity, skills gaps, and access to capital, limiting “their ability to adopt e-commerce and leverage it effectively”. 

More than a quarter of businesses surveyed also named slow internet and costly devices as key pain points in adopting e-commerce, compounded by lack of reliable electricity provision. 

Moving forward 

While up to 97 per cent of participating MSMEs reported an increase in sales after tapping into e-commerce — notably those in Egypt, Ghana and Kenya — the study underscores government actors and the private sector still have a pile of homework to do to develop and diversify Africa’s e-commerce ecosystem, particularly at a time when cross-border e-commerce is increasingly seen as fundamental to the region’s economic growth. 

Trust in online trading and e-commerce needs to be driven by specific regulations, which requires updating outdated or fragmented policies around cybersecurity, data privacy and copyright laws to protect “entrepreneurs selling unique products online”. 

Further, to address what the study described as the large gap in digital enterprise skills, the private-public sector needs to establish a coordinated effort to invest in programmes aimed at training local business owners to navigate an increasingly digitalised business environment, while encouraging initiatives to make handsets and data plans more accessible to everyone. 

  • 2