E-commerce in Mauritius: Tips for e-Businesses - Share
Useful tips for Mauritian businesses venturing into e-commerce.
More and more businesses in Mauritius are being launched online – and across the country, an explosive increase in internet usage has taken place. By all predictions, it's reasonable to expect significant growth in local online shopping.
Here we outline continuing growth in e-commerce across Africa and on our island, and discuss some of the key strategic considerations for new e-businesses in Mauritius.
Continued surge in e-commerce across Africa
It's predicted that across Africa, e-commerce activity will continue to grow by as much as 40% per year over the coming decade.
Roughly a quarter of the continent's population already has internet access and – with rapid increase in the number of smartphone users – this figure is expected to grow fast.
A report by the McKinsey Global Institute predicts that by 2025, Africans could be buying R75 billion worth of goods and services online per year.
Mauritians are doing more business online
From 2000 to 2017, internet use in Mauritius grew by 824%. Roughly 87,000 Mauritians has internet access in December 2000. By June 2017, that figure had risen to 803,896 users.
The move to e-commerce in Mauritius has been gradual but is now picking up speed.
Banks, in particular, have led the way, with a dramatic increase in online banking. According to Bank of Mauritius statistics, numbers of internet banking transactions have tripled – increasing from 199,697 in March 2010 to 670,574 in March 2017.
Today, more Mauritians are shopping online. At the same time, local businesses – including small businesses – are realising the advantages of e-commerce. The internet is providing access to much broader markets, allowing even SMEs to "go global". It's also helping level the playing field between corporates and small but savvy new businesses in Mauritius.
However, e-commerce isn't without its challenges.
Guidelines for a successful e-business
Like any traditional business, e-commerce businesses in Mauritius face stiff competition and economic pressure. To succeed, they need to be strategic, focused on their customers and clever about keeping costs low.
Understand your market
Today, data analytics and the "big data" available via the internet make it easier for companies to find out who their customers are and what they really want.
The most successful e-commerce startups have highly focused target markets. Rather than trying to do everything and please everyone, aim to satisfy the needs and wants of a specific niche market.
Also, have a unique selling proposition. What is it that sets you apart from your competitors? How can you offer customers better value than they do? Communicate this in your marketing materials, and follow through.
Prioritise user experience
With so many competitors in the market, it’s important to provide customers with the best possible online shopping experience.
Numerous studies suggest that for e-commerce businesses, this is even more important than competitive pricing.
For example, in a Customer Experience Impact (CEI) Report by Harris Interactive, 86 percent of those surveyed said they're willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Similarly, independent researcher, Defaqto, reported that 55 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for better service.
This means that along with promoting your products, your website should help your customers through the steps of the buying process. Provide functions so customers can browse through your products quickly and easily, find what they need and purchase it without experiencing confusion, glitches or delays.
You can also personalise the experience for customers, for example by displaying recommendations based on their previous purchases and what’s popular with other customers.
Don’t hesitate to ask your customers for feedback, which can help you improve your business.
Almost no businesses operate exclusively online – and if it's products you're selling, you'll have to follow through on orders with reliable, timely deliveries.
Increasingly, online users expect to get what they want, when they want it – with little to no waiting time. So for many e-commerce businesses, a key to survival is finding a cost-effective way to handle deliveries, without losing repeat customers as a result of delays.
If your target market is a global one, this may be especially challenging. Either way, smaller businesses will need to find reliable but affordable logistics partners.
Find convenient, affordable storage of stock
Along with strategic planning of how to get goods to customers, online retail businesses need to consider how and where it's best to store their stock.
Traditional warehouse storage tends to be expensive and inflexible. To compete, it's important to find a storage alternative that's inexpensive, readily accessible and scalable, allowing for potentially rapid changes in your storage needs.
With the right storage option, your business may also save time and money on deliveries. Positioning stock close to the physical locations of your main customer bases will reduce shipping costs and allow faster turnaround times on local customers' orders.
What we offer at Multibox: ideal storage for e-commerce businesses
We provide affordable self-storage units in a range of sizes. You can access your storage units as often as you want and at any times during business hours, and our terms are flexible – so your business won't be locked into a long lease.
Also, because we have branches at Bagatelle Mall and in Forbach and Bambous, you can store stock near all your main markets on the island, without having to open physical branches for your online business.
As well as self-storage units, we rent storage containers – repurposed shipping containers that are durable, secure, easy to move to any location and ideal for keeping stock dry and safe.