Perhaps you have heard of Kentex Cargo, Africa Salihiya Cargo, Aircom Cargo, perhaps you don’t, and don’t care……..but you should. Our new reality is that a while back connecting with somebody in a different continent was rocket science. You needed to access a phone or a fax machine, for instantaneous communication. Then the internet saved our struggles, we then realized that we didn’t have to wait 30 days for a mail delivery. Voice over internet was born and eventually, we lived web.
Today we have smartphones, with higher computing power that the apollo 11, that thing that went to the moon, that thing couldn’t event tweet. Technology has continued to help us positively in the way we live, work and connect, how we connect with different continents. We have played catch up in many areas. One thing that has really slowed the uptake has been infrastructure, it has taken a while to have it and even when it was in place, there was something else hindering progress, some of those were government bureaucracy.
The foundation for ecommerce was created in 1979 by Michael Aldrich. He connected his television to a computer using his telephone line. While it was unlike ecommerce as we know it today, his idea sparked the idea for shopping without having to go to a physical store. At the time, most people didn’t own computers. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs popularized computers for the average person. Bill Gates even said that his goal was to put “a computer on every desk and in every home.” Without computers, ecommerce would be remarkably different.
There are two ways to shop, you drive to your favorite store and pick up what you want paying at the counter or you login online to the likes of Amazon, eBay and the same thing will be shipped to your door steps. This has been possible in many countries except with suppliers who always say that they don’t ship to your address.
- Amazon: Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos. According to Alexa, Amazon is currently ranked the 9th most popular website worldwide, and 4th in the United States.
- Taobao: Taobao was founded by Jack Ma. Globally, it’s ranked 11. In China, it’s ranked 5th.
- Tmall: Tmall was also founded by Jack Ma. It has a global ranking of 15 and a rank of 4 in China.
- AliExpress: AliExpress was founded by Jack Ma. It’s currently ranked 40th in the world and 9th in Russia according to Alexa.
- eBay: eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar. On Alexa, the ecommerce site is ranked 33 globally, and 9th in the US.
- Flipkart: Flipkart was founded by Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal. Alexa has it ranked 147 globally and 9th in India.
If you are in Kenya, and you intend to buy something online, then you will care to know about Kentex and the likes. You send your good to an address they provide, either in the US, UK, UAE etc and they will ship it to you at an extra cost and normally its usually still fair. Mall of Africa, an app that gives you access to over 200 stores in US and UK. What this companies have done is to build a bridge in between the continent where the goods are originating to the recipient continent, and it works perfectly.
The ecommerce industry is expected to continue growing. According to N Channel, in the US, brick and mortar retailers generate $3.9 trillion in sales while ecommerce generates $294 billion. Over time, ecommerce will continue to take away market share from brick and mortar retailers as it has been doing over the past few years. This is good news for those looking to start online stores as sales will only continue to go up, though competition will also increase in the space.
Ecommerce will also likely evolve over the years creating a more augmented or virtual reality experience for shoppers. Stores may eventually include features to help customers ‘virtually’ try on clothing to ensure it fits their shape while allowing them to see what it would look like on. Shoppers may be able to ‘try’ on makeup using their laptop or phone’s camera.
Are you interested in getting started with ecommerce? Let me know in the comments below!