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
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
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.