The future of e-commerce on the African continent should not be projected, despite the barriers inherent in its establishment, such as connectivity or infrastructure. In addition to the first African unicorn Jumia, the Alibaba juggernaut is increasingly living in Africa.
In Morocco, as elsewhere, e-commerce activity continues to grow, according to a report by the Interbank Monetary Center (CMI) on e-commerce monetary activity. Furthermore, the country has one of the highest Internet penetration rates in Africa (93%) and has decent road infrastructure, especially in large outdoors. And yet: the sector is struggling to climb.
A sector that is evolving step by step
The crisis has made visible, as never before, the advantage of digital for e-commerce and accelerated this trend. All indicators are green for a model full of promise.
Despite this, the number of online stores in Morocco is embarrassing: “only 10,000 e-commerce sites while according to OMPIC (Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property, editor’s note), Morocco has two million companies, of which 61 % operate in commerce. In comparison, the number of commercial sites in France has risen to more than 270,000 “, said Driss Alami, founder of Egio, an agency that specializes in the development of commercial sites, that most turnover is generated offshore. .
“If you’re considering starting your own online store, there’s no better time than now,” he recommends.
However, if online commerce is a window into new local and international markets, the fact remains that before making a decision to launch on this channel, the offer must be arranged. “The products can be seen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in addition to the four corners of the globe; This is why a quality online store is necessary. It has to be timely if you want to target the international market, ”added Youssef Boubia, founder of the Numeric Way agency.
“Most Moroccan trader sites are small traders whose only need is to be present in digital. They can do better because the potential is huge. The sector is in its infancy and is increasingly becoming part of practices of Moroccan consumers, “he continued.
Creating professional e-commerce sites, a must
In the forest of SAAS solutions for creating e-commerce sites, the ability to create an online store is accessible even to technical novices.
However, to create one that is optimized and efficient, “it is strongly advised to call professionals and draw detailed details that include all the necessary functions. Added to it is an elegant design with beautiful punctuation quality photos, clear product description and elements of assurance for customers to optimize the efficiency of the online store, such as return management, product warranty, delivery method, etc. The platform should be inspire confidence; the consumer values the first impression he has when he lands on an e-commerce site “, underlined Youssef Boubia.
Regarding the true value of these sites, it depends on the desired functionality, which is associated with the five pillars of an online store identified by Driss Alami.
-The product: this section includes the work on the visuals, the copyright, the product description and its price, the personalization, the richness of the catalog … This column features the marketing done by the creation of content, and of course the analyzed prices. “The most successful merchant sites in Morocco are those that offer products whose price is approximately 300 dirhams. This is an observation on the ground based on our experience in the Moroccan market”, emphasizes Driss Alami.
-The store: this includes the design component, user experience, maintenance and especially the CMS technology, whether hosted or SAAS such as Woocommerce, PrestaShop, Magento or Shopify. “Regardless of the technological choice, or the design approach, it is important to pay attention to certain elements: fluidity of the customer journey, access to the product catalog and ordering process, and loyalty features”, says of our interlocutor. .
-Logistics: this includes answering the following questions: “Will it be outsourced or managed internally? Will there be overseas delivery options? How many carriers are involved? What will be the delivery times? At what costs? As for stock, is it in a physical store or focused on e-commerce? “.
-Payment: this section allows you to consider payment options: on delivery or online? Which payment partners? etc.
-Digital marketing: to optimize the flow of visitors, convert them into consumers and beautify the brand. This process uses several tools that support the digital marketing strategy. These include, natural reference, e-mail or advertising on social networks. “The Internet user should feel the presence of the brand even behind his screen”, Driss Alami pointed out.
Depending on the desired functions, Driss Alami identifies three price ranges according to the implementation strategy: “In general, small e-merchants with projects turn to national SAAS platforms such as Storino or Youcan, or internationals like Shopify or Wix, which provide them with DIY tools, for a monthly subscription of 400 dirhams on average and/or commissions on sales.As for sites VSE/SME, they are usually accompanied by small agencies or freelancers, whose offer price varies between 15,000 and 30,000 dirhams. »
Egio is positioned in developing e-commerce topics for retailers or brands whose project budgets start at 200,000 dirhams. “Our job is to develop customized e-commerce platforms that combine two axes: brand design and user experience engineering, through integration into different processes, and value chain solutions. companies such as inventory management, CRM/ERP (customer relationship management/integrated package management software, note editor), logistics and carriers.Our references include sites that offer catalog more with 50,000 products and an e-commerce turnover of more than 10 million dirhams per year, ”explains Driss Alami.
Small businesses should mark their presence digitally
The Numeric Way agency supports companies of all sizes and individual project leaders. The company has approximately thirty brands such as Kitea and Bricodeco in its e-commerce portfolio.
However, its founder, Youssef Boubia, emphasizes the importance of online selling for small traders. He recalls that Numeric Way was created in 2011 with French TPE which, at the time, did not take more than five orders per day, with an average daily turnover of 500 euros. Today, “Un Amour de Tapis has become a leading brand in Europe, present in more than twenty market places, with a catalog of more than 70,000 products and posting an average daily turnover of 20,000 euros “, said Youssef Boubia. “The real outbreak of e-commerce is based on its allocation of VSEs”, he concludes.