African e-commerce
How to decide on which products to sell online in Africa

Africa is not too different from the rest of the world in terms of online shopping. Apart from the vast logistical issues in getting products delivered to remote rural areas and densely populated townships with no addresses, shoppers are very similar across the board when it comes to what they are looking for. They want value for money, good products at good prices!

Globally the top trending niche product categories for 2019 according to Cloudways is listed as:

  1. Shapewear / Activewear
  2. Travel Accessories
  3. Healthy and beauty products
  4. Smart watches
  5. Health Care
  6. Skin Care
  7. Hobbies and Craft
  8. Lamps & Shades
  9. Mobile Accessories
  10. Pet Products
  11. Fine Jewelry
  12. Sleepwear

However, how to you decide on what you want to sell to the African online community though? Here are some pointers when you develop your product offering for the African continent:

  • Try your best to find products that are new to the country you are targeting. If the country has easy access to your product, you will find it very hard to sell it.
  • Aim to provide products that are very difficult to source within the country you are targeting. This will help you to gain the first-mover advantage.
  • Make sure the product is unique and that there aren’t any counterfeit products of this product in the market. The harder the product is to counterfeit, the better!
  • Ensure the products you sell has enough margin to compensate for carrying stock and/or delivery costs.
  • Do your research in terms of average basket size of the country you are trying to sell to. Try to be within the appetite of the buyers when it comes to average online basket size.
  • Payment options are very important. Although this has less to do with your product sourcing strategy, it is vital to understand if you have the right payment options for the intended market you are trying to penetrate.

Cassie van Wyk is the main author of this blog and has years of experience in the field of channel marketing and e-commerce respectively. He has a passion for writing and sharing knowledge, and does a lot of research in order to bring factual information to all the blog visitors. Feel free to reach out at any time!

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