The future of e-commerce on the African continent does not need to be demonstrated, despite the obstacles inherent in its establishment, such as connectivity or infrastructure. In addition to the first African unicorn Yumia, the Alibaba juggernaut is increasingly settling in Africa.
In Morocco, as elsewhere, e-commerce activity is constantly growing, according to a report by the Interbank Monetary Center (CMI) on e-commerce monetary activity. Moreover, the country has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Africa (93%) and has a decent road infrastructure, especially in the large peripheries. And yet: the sector is struggling to take off.
A sector that is advancing step by step
The crisis has made visible, as never before, the digital advantage for e-commerce and has accelerated this trend. All indicators are green for a promising model.
Nevertheless, the number of online stores in Morocco is mocking: “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, 61% of which operate in commerce. By comparison, the number of commercial locations in France has grown to more than 270,000, ”said Driss Alami, founder of Egio, an agency specializing in the development of commercial locations, whose largest turnover is offshore.
“If you’re thinking of starting your own online store, there’s no better time than now,” he recommends.
However, if online shopping is a window to new domestic and international markets, the fact remains that before making a decision to launch on this channel, the offer must be structured. “The products are visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, next to four corners of the world; therefore, the quality of online shopping is needed. You have to be up to date if you want to target the international market, ”adds Youssef Boubia, founder of Numeric Way.
“Most Moroccan retail sites are small retailers 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 the habits of Moroccan consumers, ”he continues.
Creating professional websites for e-commerce, imperative
In the jungle of SAAS e-commerce website creation solutions, the ability to create an online store is available even to technical amateurs.
However, to create an optimized and efficient, it is advisable to invite professionals and establish detailed specifications that include all the necessary functionalities. Added to this is an elegant design interspersed with good quality images, clear product descriptions and customer safety features to optimize the efficiency of the online store, such as return management, product warranty, delivery method, etc. The platform must inspire trust; the consumer attaches great importance to the first impression he has when he comes to an e-commerce site, ”emphasizes Youssef Boubia.
As for the actual price of this site, it depends on the desired functionalities, which relate to the five pillars of the online store identified by Driss Alami.
– Product: this component includes visual work, copyright, product description and pricing, personalization, catalog richness… This pillar emphasizes marketing produced by content creation, and of course the prices studied. “The most successful retail sites in Morocco are those that offer products priced at around 300 dirhams. “This observation on the ground is based on our experience in the Moroccan market,” said Driss Alami.
– Store: includes part of the design, user experience, maintenance and above all CMS technology, whether hosted or SAAS such as Woocommerce, PrestaShop, Magento or Shopify. “Whatever the technological choice, ie design approach, it is important to pay special attention to several elements: the fluidity of the customer’s journey, access to the product catalog and the ordering process, and loyalty characteristics,” said our interlocutor. .
– Logistics: this includes answering the following questions: “Will it be outsourced or will it be managed internally? Will there be international shipping options? How many delivery people will be involved? What will be the delivery deadlines? At what cost? In terms of inventory, will it be in a physical store or dedicated to e-commerce? “.
– Payment: This section allows you to consider payment options: cash on delivery or online? Which payment partners? etc.
– Digital marketing: optimize the flow of visitors, turn them into customers and improve the brand. This process uses several tools to support digital marketing strategy. These include natural referencing, emailing or social media advertising. “Internet users must feel the existence of a brand even behind their screen,” says Driss Alami.
Depending on the desired functionalities, Driss Alami distinguishes three price ranges according to the implementation approach: “Generally, small e-retailers with projects turn to national SAAS platforms such as Storino or Youcan, or international ones such as Shopify or Wix, which provide them with DIY tools, for a monthly subscription of 400 dirhams on average and / or sales commissions. As for the VSE / SME sites, they are mostly accompanied by small agencies or freelancers, whose price ranges between 15,000 and 30,000 dirhams. »
Egio is positioned to structure e-commerce topics for retailers or brands whose project budgets start at 200,000 dirhams. Our job is to develop custom e-commerce platforms that combine two axes: brand design and user experience engineering, integration with different processes, and company value chain solutions such as inventory management, CRM / ERP (customer relationship management / integrated management software package, editor’s note), logistics and carriers. We are counting on our reference pages, which offer a catalog of more than 50,000 products and an e-commerce turnover of more than 10 million dirhams a year, ”explains Driss Alami.
Small traders must digitally mark their presence
Numeric Way supports companies of all sizes and individual project leaders. The company has about thirty brands such as Kitea and Bricodeco in its e-commerce portfolio.
However, its founder, Youssef Boubia, emphasizes the importance of online sales for small retailers. He recalls that Numeric Way was created in 2011 with the French TPE, which at that time did not perform more than five orders a day, with an average daily turnover of 500 euros. Today, Un Amour de Tapis has become the leading brand in Europe, present in more than twenty markets, with a catalog of more than 70,000 products and an average daily turnover of 20,000 euros, says Youssef Boubia. “The real phenomenon of e-commerce is based on its appropriation by EVERYONE,” he concludes.