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Ghana Online ShoppingE-commerce in Africa is on the rise, especially in progressive countries like Ghana. While the state of e-commerce in the country leaves much to be desired in terms of sufficient infrastructure to facilitate high speed, reliable Internet connections, smooth online transactions and cyber-security, more and more innovations are being adapted by online merchants to foster smoother trade across digital platforms.

Ghana first joined the online bandwagon in 1995, which opened the country up to the benefits of communication through email and expansion of knowledge through information sharing. This led to the establishment of Internet cafés that provided on line access to the masses who eagerly snapped up the services provided by Yahoo, Hotmail and similar platforms. However, e-commerce was still in its infancy at this time. Virtually no one traded online, since buying and selling were predominantly done through cash. Online transactions and better record keeping for commercial enterprises started to gain popularity when software company SoftTribe came out with its point of sale desktop software that streamlined selling and buying for merchants. This was followed by the launch of the ShopAfrica53 service, advertised as the complete e-commerce package that streamlined delivery, fulfillment, inventory and payment processes.

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Ghana Online Shopping Sites

Jumia Ghana
Jumia Ghana offers a wide variety of quality products at affordable prizes. It was established May 2014 and quickly grew to become the largest and probably the most trusted online retail platform in Ghana. Jumia market  is a part of a conglomerate called Jumia Group with braches in other African countries such as Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Egypt and morocco. The company is well known for it's wide range of electronic appliances, mobile gadgets, hardware, fashion and a host of other household devices. The platform is very user friendly and their customer service is remarkable.

Zoobashop
With Zoobashop online shopping, residents of Ghana are embracing new technology and taking their consumer experiences to the digital realm. This has created a number of extraordinary opportunities for businesses. Founded by Albert Biga, Zoobashop is one of the very first Ghanaian business to begin selling retail products on the web.


ShopAfrica53 service was originally created to link creators and sellers to buyers, and targeted the artisans and small business owners selling traditional African craft such as beads, pottery and glassware. Because it was a digital platform, increased the exposure of African art and merchandise in the global market. However, the popularity of the service was short lived and it eventually closed down due to low patronage.

A decade later, MTN launched its Mobile Money service in partnership with local banks. This was followed by Airtel Money and Tigo Cash, services which enabled convenient, cash-less transactions. However, these services continued to be plagued by glitches and unreliability, and eventually served a more popular purpose as a remittance tool for people who did not keep bank accounts to send and receive money.

Other entities stepped in to provide options for cashless payments, such as the Bank of Ghana, which launched its e-zwitch cards as a convenient alternative to cash payments. However, it did not gain a wide following, with few e-zwitch terminals and very few establishments willing to accept e-zwich payments.

A more effective solution was provided by mPower. Voted in 2013 as the best e-payment service in Ghana, mPower was launched by SMSGh and Encodev Labs. The service acts as an aggregator, allowing users to make e-payments using their existing ATM, credit and debit cards. By this time, more and more merchants were accepting payments through credit and debit cards, so taking a leap to electronic payments for online shopping was a small step. Today, almost all major banks in Ghana utilise card services for online shopping payments, and this is fueling the rise in online shopping activities among Ghanaians today.

The Rise of Ghana Online Shopping Sites

E-shopAfrica.com may be the very first e-commerce site that catered to a large consumer pool when it launched in 2001. This was followed by DealEasy.com, ugoDeal, and Retailtower. Google jumped in by launching an online marketplace in 2010 but this portal was closed down in 2013. Participation of big names like Google opened opportunities for major players like Tonaton.com and OLX to follow suit.

Online Shopping in Ghana Today

Today, there are a number of big and small retail outlets that cater to customers online. These retailers offer fully online transactions and deliveries that are made accessible through mobile portals, giving shoppers access to the online marketplace using their phones, laptops, or tablets. Retail outfits that are hugely popular in Ghana include Jumia, Konga, and Kaymu.

The introduction of Ghana's Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems encouraged small business owners to participate in e-commerce, especially with the help of retail sites like eShopAfrica, Tonaton and Souq Afrique. eShopAfrica focuses on the creation and support of sustainable business for traditional African art.The site invests in artisans which allows for the creation of more traditional African merchandise that can cater to the export market. Tonaton is Ghana's eBay, where virtually anyone can buy and sell anything. The site has a very efficient geographical algorithm that matches searches to nearest locations for convenient transactions. Tonaton has the widest collection of second-hand items for sale in the country. Souq Afrique is a small company that focuses on African creative arts and sells products made in or inspired by Africa.

Challenges to the Growth of e-Commerce in Ghana

E-payments still not a popular option

Little work has been done to actively promote the benefits of e- payments. People still prefer cash transactions because e-payments are either viewed as confusing or cumbersome or they are seen as unsecured. Without any form of promotion by major institutions like banks or the government, the situation is unlikely to change. Online payments are largely viewed with fear and suspicion due to the lack of a safe and secure payment system, exacerbated by the rise of financial malpractice that has been known to target users.

Lack of a reliable shipping service
Currently the lack of a reliable shipping service is another roadblock to the rise of e-commerce in the country. Necessary improvements are needed in infrastructure such as roads, location labeling, and the private sector needs to be encouraged to set up more direct shipping and courier services to support a growing number of e-commerce consumers.

The local market in Ghana is definitely ripe for an e-commerce revolution, but consumers and service providers, including big and small business owners and entrepreneurs must demand that these services be put in place and that the average user be taught how to shop online to create a lively, vibrant online marketplace.


Shop Online Now, Get the Product in a Few Days, Shop Jumia.

 


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