When it comes to retail, the African continent is not lagging behind nor is it playing catch up. So, if you mention the big retail and ecommerce companies in the world like Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, Flipkart and eBay, the African continent would be represented. You must include ecommerce platforms like Jumia, Takealot, BidorBuy and others. In fact, in the case of Jumia, it has been tagged the Alibaba of Africa. There is no doubt that the future of African retail will definitely be led by local retail companies.
There are already countless reports out there that capture the region’s economic growth rates, e-commerce penetration, experiential retail and millennials’ shopping habits. As local companies utilize online and offline channels, Africa is primed to educate the rest of the world about the ultimate retail experience. We discuss the trends that will fuel the next winning retail innovation. These trends point out where shopper expectations are headed to, and what they will start demanding from you.
More focus on customer experience
Over the years, quite a number of brick and mortar stores in certain countries have closed shop. At the same time, online retail platforms have also come on board to disrupt the business space in the African continent. These have forced many retailers to offer a customer experience that meets or exceeds customer expectations. In fact, leading retailers are taking advantage of their online reach to maximise the experience and the real-life interactions customers have.
Use artificial intelligence
Retailers are discovering the value that AI can bring to their business. According to the research firm, Garner Inc, they predicted that by 2020, 85 per cent of customers interactions would be managed without human involvement. It will be common for chatbots to manage customer service queries and to make intelligent purchase recommendations. Jumia is already taking the lead here with Jumia Bot. So, whether you are a food lover, a world traveller or a shopping addict, Jumia Bot is ready to assist.
More attention to consumers who make value-based judgments
Customers are becoming more sophisticated and they now make informed decisions. AI has given rise to a new breed of customers who make value-based judgements about what to buy and where to shop. They are very concerned about the origin of products. This is leading many brands and retailers to focus more on what they have to offer these customers.
Increased focus on real-time response, instant gratification
Since the retail space is very competitive, the customer now has so many options to choose from. So, when they make demands, they expect it to be met immediately or else they move on to the next retailer. Today, well-performing retailers like Jumia have changed their businesses to adapt to consumer demands.
Trust of home-grown platform
Amazon, eBay and other foreign online retail companies have been looking for ways to enter the African retail market. But it has been a bit difficult because Jumia is already on the ground. Over the years, Jumia has studied and understood the complexities of the African market and it is offering services based on this. As a result, a lot of Africans now trust home-grown platforms and believe that they can perform as well as their foreign counterparts.