The future of e-commerce on the African continent is not to be demonstrated, despite the obstacles inherent in its establishment, such as connectivity or infrastructure. In addition to the first African unicorn Jumia, the Alibaba behemoth is increasingly establishing itself in Africa.
In Morocco, as everywhere, e-commerce activity is continuously growing, according to the Interbank Monetary Center (CMI) report on e-commerce monetary activity. Furthermore, the country has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Africa (93%) and has a decent road infrastructure, especially in large suburbs. Yet: the sector is struggling to take off.
A sector that is advancing step by step
The crisis has made the digital advantage for e-commerce visible like never before, and has accelerated this trend. All indicators are green for a model full of promise.
Despite this, the number of online shops in Morocco is negligible: “Only 10,000 e-commerce sites, while according to OMPIC (Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property, ed) Morocco has two million companies, of which 61% operates in commerce. By comparison, in France the number of commercial sites has risen to more than 270,000 “, observes Driss Alami, founder of Egio, an agency specializing in the development of commercial sites, whose turnover is generated mainly offshore.
“If you’re thinking of starting your own e-commerce store, there’s no better time than now,” he advises.
However, if the online store is a window on new local and international markets, the fact remains that before making the decision to launch on this channel, the offer must be structured. “The products are visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, also in the four corners of the world; for this the quality of the online store is required. It needs to be updated if you want to target the international market “, adds Youssef Boubia, founder of the Numeric Way agency.
“Most Moroccan merchant sites are small traders whose only need is to be present on digital. They can do better because the potential is huge. The sector is still in its infancy and is increasingly becoming part of Moroccan consumer habits, ”she continues.
Creating professional e-commerce sites, an imperative
In the jungle of SAAS solutions for creating e-commerce sites, the possibility of creating an online store is also accessible to technically amateur people.
However, to create an optimized and efficient online store, “it is highly recommended to turn to professionals and establish detailed specifications that include all the necessary functionalities. Added to this is an elegant design punctuated with good quality images, clear product descriptions and reassuring elements for customers to optimize the efficiency of the online store, such as returns management, product warranty, means of delivery, etc. . The platform must inspire trust; the consumer attaches great importance to the first impression they have when landing on an e-commerce site ”, emphasizes Youssef Boubia.
As for the real cost of these sites, it depends on the desired features, related to the five pillars of an online store identified by Driss Alami.
– The product: this component includes work on images, copyright, description of the product and its price, personalization, richness of the catalog … This pillar highlights the marketing produced by the creation of content and, of course, the prices studied. “The most successful merchant sites in Morocco are those that offer products whose price is around 300 DH. This is a field observation based on our experience on the Moroccan market ”, emphasizes Driss Alami.
– The shop: includes the design part, the user experience, the maintenance and above all the CMS technology, both in hosting and SAAS such as Woocommerce, PrestaShop, Magento or Shopify. “Whatever the technological choice, or the design approach, it is important to pay particular attention to several elements: fluidity of the customer journey, access to the product catalog and the order process, loyalty characteristics”, note-t -we.
– Logistics: it involves answering the following questions: “Will it be outsourced or managed internally? Will there be international delivery options? How many providers will be involved? What will the delivery times be? At what cost? As for the stock, will it be in the physical store or dedicated to e-commerce? “.
– Payment: this section allows you to consider the payment options: on delivery or online? Which payment partners? Etc.
– Digital marketing: to optimize the flow of visitors, convert them into buyers and enhance the brand. This process uses several tools that support the digital marketing strategy. These include natural referencing, email or advertising on social networks. “The internet user must also feel the existence of the brand behind the screen”, explains Driss Alami.
Depending on the desired functionalities, the e-commerce expert distinguishes three price ranges based on the implementation approach: “In general, small e-merchants with projects turn to national SAAS platforms such as Storino or Youcan, international companies like Shopify or Wix, which provide them with DIY tools, for a monthly subscription of 400 DH on average and / or commissions on sales. For VSE / SME sites they are generally accompanied by small agencies or freelancers, whose offer the price ranges between 15,000 and 30,000 DH ”, emphasizes Driss Alami.
Egio positions itself on structuring e-commerce topics for retailers or brands whose project budgets start at 200,000 DH. “Our task is to develop bespoke e-commerce platforms that combine two axes: brand design and user experience engineering, integrating with different processes, and company value chain solutions such as management inventory, CRM / ERP (customer relationship management / integrated management software package, ed), logistics and carriers. We count in our references sites that offer a catalog of over 50,000 products and an e-commerce turnover that exceeds 10 million DH / year ”, explains Driss Alami.
Small traders need to mark their presence digitally.
Numeric Way supports companies of all sizes and individual project leaders. The company has around thirty brands such as Kitea and Bricodeco in its e-commerce portfolio.
However, its founder stresses the importance of online sales for small merchants. He recalls that Numeric Way was born in 2011 with a French TPE which, at the time, did not execute more than five orders a 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 markets, with a catalog of over 70,000 products and an average daily turnover of 20,000 euros”, says Youssef Boubia. “The real outbreak of e-commerce is based on its appropriation by the VSEs,” he concludes.