EPIC NEWS — Ecommerce now available on thebestofzambia.com

Sara Drawwater
25 March 2020
Our Ecommerce facility is now live! Any business in Zambia can now take online payments and sell their products through thebestofzambia.com

EPIC NEWS — Ecommerce now available on thebestofzambia.com

Today we have taken a giant leap forward and made our new Ecommerce facility live on thebestofzambia.com!

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In this article

  • Adapting to a cashless and more remote way of selling
  • New ‘add to basket’ button
  • Any business in Zambia can now effectively sell online
  • What does our new Ecommerce feature mean for people in Zambia?
  • Why you can trust our Ecommerce platform
  • We’ve stayed with our vision

Any business in Zambia can now take online payments and sell their products through thebestofzambia.com. We know it is a very difficult time but we can work with you to launch your online shop right now — over the phone, via email, and through video conferencing facilities. We’re here to help.

This Ecommerce facility started off quite simply to take businesses in Zambia to the next level and offer shoppers in Zambia more convenience. Sadly, we find ourselves launching amid a global health crisis. We find ourselves in a very different launch landscape than we were expecting, with a tool that can to some extent challenge the negative impact of the virus.

Now, with the very real presence of Coronavirus, the launch of our Ecommerce facility has become much more importantly about making trading more remote and minimising human contact in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

To help incentivise people in Zambia to buy online, and in light of the likely impact of the Corinavirus, together with our launch partners we’re offering a 5% discount on all Click and Collect transactions. While 5% isn’t huge, we trust that every little helps.

Adapting to a cashless and more remote way of selling

In response to the spread of the Coronavirus, on Friday March 20, 2020 The Bank of Zambia issued a statement announcing measures “aimed at reducing cash transactions and facilitating increased use of mobile money transactions” with the aim of reducing “the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through the handling of cash”. The bank is calling for people to “stay safe, go cashless”.

Suddenly we feel a heavy sense of responsibility. We have to ship this feature fast, help businesses in Zambia to transition, and do everything we can to do our part in conquering this pandemic.

We encourage businesses to work with us. Our Ecommerce facility is now open for business, ready to help you adapt and reach your customers in what needs to be a cashless, and more remote, business environment. Our approach is to:

  1. Give people a shopping tool that minimises their contact with other people as well as being more convenient and accessible.
  2. Encourage the massive cultural change that is needed to move the majority of local shopping transactions online and to help our clients offer a more Corona friendly shopping experience. To do this we’ve reduced our commission to 6% and are working with our clients to offer a 5% Click and Collect discount.
  3. Provide extra support to our clients, doing everything we possibly can to help them transition to the online space and continue to do business in a fast changing and difficult economic environment.

New ‘add to basket’ button

So, from today you will:

  • See an ‘add to basket’ button next to some of the products on thebestofzambia.com
  • Be able to pay by bank card or MTN money
  • Select the best collection point for you and pick up your order at a convenient time. Your order will be ready and waiting for you.

Over the next few days and weeks, more and more of the products listed in our product marketplace will become available for people to buy online through thebestofzambia.com.

Any business in Zambia can now effectively sell online

Our new Ecommerce facility means that it is now possible for any business operating in Zambia to effectively sell online to buyers in Zambia. Whether you’re a South African supermarket chain (with Ecommerce facilities available in South Africa but not in Zambia), a builders merchants or fashion boutique start-up — we can help.

  1. Get a new shop in a prime location — this is like opening a new store in a busy mall because 125,000 people already use thebestofzambia.com every month. Plus we expect this figure to significantly rise as more and more people have stronger reasons to come back to our website.
  2. No technical know-how or large investment needed — you don’t need technical expertise or a big financial investment to develop your own online shop because we’ve done it for you. In fact, existing clients of thebestofzambia.com can register for their own online shop without any investment at all! The costs are a yearly set up fee which starts from K4,176 (including VAT) + a small commission on items sold.
  3. Distinguish yourself — stand out from your competition and help customers choose you by offering easily accessible products and information together with safer, more convenient and flexible ways to purchase them.
  4. Drive valuable foot traffic — research shows that when buyers come to collect their purchase, they are likely to buy something else.
  5. Be part of the movement — The Western world adopted ecommerce and click and collect years ago and many other African countries, like Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are following suit. Right now there is a very strong message from all Governments that staying home is better. Join us in this cashless movement as we introduce our new Ecommerce option for your customers. This move can help to keep us all safe and healthier, and sustain businesses through an extremely difficult time.
  6. Reduce your costs — with Ecommerce you won’t incur the usual store costs, such as shop rentals and staff salaries.

Our new Ecommerce facility is here for you. Clients who opt-in to Ecommerce, and commit to a close working relationship with us, can be assured that we will guide them every step of the way.

What does our new Ecommerce feature mean for people in Zambia?

As well as offering a 5% discount on all Click and Collect transactions (in partnership with our launch partners) we also want to encourage a shopping experience that is compatible with social distancing.

While Click and Collect doesn’t completely eliminate human interaction, it does move the majority of shopping time spent browsing and making choices from a very public and crowded shopping space to a customer’s own private space. This means the only human interaction needed is a quick in and out pickup, as Click and Collect means that your package will be ready and waiting for you.

So, we’re working hard to:

  1. Quickly get on board lots of businesses operating in Zambia
  2. Ensure we have the infrastructure in place to handle the pace of change
  3. Add a delivery service to Click and Collect sooner rather than later

Going forward shopping online will certainly offer you convenience, as well as encourage more and more sellers to ensure stock availability and provide detailed product and pricing information.

People can forget the frustration of taking the time to fight traffic and go to a shop only to find the product they want is out of stock. Trying to call a store to check stock and prices becomes a thing of the past. With more transparent product and pricing information available, it will become easier and easier for people to research and compare products.

Why you can trust our Ecommerce platform

In 2019 thebestofzambia.com quietly turned 10 years old! We want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful clients — businesses that have stuck with us through thick and thin. Without them we wouldn’t be where we are now.

We are a small honest team that like to do things properly. It is extremely important to us to develop an Ecommerce system you can trust. We have spent more than 12 months solving the impossible’s, and the if’s, but’s and maybe’s of adding a dependable online shopping feature to our well-established platform. We’re tackling major challenges like online payment options, product delivery, customer service, stock management and the volatility of prices in Zambia.

A carefully selected online payment system you can trust

As far as we are aware, there are now two dependable online payment providers available in Zambia. We are launching with Flutterwave who support payments through your bank card and MTN mobile money. In time we are likely to also partner with DPO who support Airtel Money too.

Convenient product fulfillment

So as not to delay our launch we are kicking off with a Click and Collect model. You buy your products through thebestofzambia.com, select your best collection point and pick up the order at your convenience — either in person or by sending someone to pick it up on your behalf. The Click and Collect model is a lot more convenient, saves on delivery costs, ensures your item is in stock when you go in-store and is the responsible thing to do for your and other people’s health. Plus we are already exploring how to quickly introduce a delivery option.

Customer service is central to Ecommerce roll out

It is no secret that there’s room for improvement in regard to standards of customer service in Zambia. This is problematic for us because we want the people who use thebestofzambia.com to have a positive user experience, from initial online product search through to product fulfilment.

Thebestofzambia.com is simply a piece of technology that connects a business to a customer for the purposes of a transaction. But we recognise that we have to be available if people using our site to make purchases have a problem. We are partnering with our clients to facilitate acceptable levels of customer service for those using thebestofzambia.com to buy goods in Zambia.

Closely managed stock levels and prices

Due to systems we have in place with partner companies, stock levels will be fixed for one week and prices will be adjusted daily if required. These efforts have been put in place to ensure, as far as possible, that products you purchase are in stock and at the right price.

We’ve stayed with our vision

In conclusion, despite the many challenges and naysayers, we’ve stayed with our vision to:

  1. Offer the best online trading tool for any business operating in Zambia
  2. Transform the Zambian shopping experience — because shopping should be convenient and enjoyable

Right now we find ourselves adapting on a daily basis to accommodate the changing landscape of life with Coronavirus. Our message is that we will do everything we can to help businesses and people here in Zambia to operate in a way that helps us all stay safe and healthy.

Do visit thebestofzambia.com on a regular basis to get the latest updates on our Ecommerce facility and the latest products available for you to buy online. Here’s to convenience, happy shopping and staying safe.

If you run a business in Zambia and want to quickly set up your online shop, please email us on marketing@thebestofzambia.com and we’ll guide you through the process.