An online shopping service, Compra.co.mz, was launched in Maputo last week. The service boasts over 12,000 original technology products and has already attracted attention by launching an affordable range of 3D-Printers and a “wearables” section for sports enthusiasts. The site is called www.compra.co.mz and touts itself as a Mozambican company, but company representatives admit they have received outside funding and support. The products can, apparently, only be ordered via the online checkout and are delivered in Maputo and Matola, though Communications Manager, Celestino Masunga, says that expanded deliveries and additional product categories are coming soon.
The demand for a broader range of consumer products and efficient customer service is what is driving a spike in online sales throughout Africa, and it is services like this which signify a maturing of the Mozambican online market. What makes Compra.co.mz different and quite unique is that it manages the “entire customer relationship”, from payment to delivery, and doesn’t just offer a listing service as other players in the market.
Another unique value proposition of Compra.co.mz is that “the majority of products offered are not available for sale anywhere else in the country” says it’s Swiss M.D., Jon Novotny. Whereas previously consumers had to travel abroad to source specialized technology items, the ability to order online from the company website and checkout have created an enormous value for shoppers.
The online payment market in Mozambique is growing steadily on the back of massive increases in the number of active credit and debit card users. National carrier LAM recently made it easier for clients to order and pay online by allowing the use of authorized debit cards on their portal.
While Novotny admits that the target consumers on the Compra.co.mz site are “high-earners” he points to the success of other payment mechanisms as a sign that ecommerce in Mozambique has the potential for all income levels. “Credelec, MPESA and MKesh have little to do with the online payment market, but their growth in both use and prominence point to strong potential for online paid services for a larger market spectrum within the next few years.”
Growth in Online Activity
Other significant payment methods and successful online ventures such as local job listings site, www.emprego.co.mz, show that Mozambique is ready for a more efficient online eco-system and that its benefits can truly be transformative. Previously urban job-seekers were at an advantage on the market, now however, anyone with internet access in rural or peri-urban areas can be just as informed and responsive to a listed employment opportunity.
Within the academic circles online engagement is also increasing with Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane allowing online pre-registering for exams (http://prereg.uem.mz/ ) and some attractive online university-level courses being offered via a local online study portal. Facebook and Google are also seeing record numbers in online activity it looks as if the domestic internet economy is on a very steep increase and that the next 3-5 years will see a strong, emerging sector of young and successful Mozambican online ventures.
The real economic value of the online ecosystem is yet to be realized, but Compra Director, Jonathan Novotny says they are already hitting initial revenue targets and has found the logistical deliveries as “working better than anticipated.” When asked regarding Compra’s goals for the New Year he mentioned he wasn’t at liberty to discuss them publicly but suggested pop-up stores and group-buy are on the cards as well as an investment in “Customer Support Hubs” in the first and second-tier cities of Mozambique.
Press Release by: AE Communications
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