Amazon is currently exploring e-commerce customers in Kenya who want to pay for goods in cash.
The e-commerce giant recently began a service that will let customers buy goods and then pay for them at a local Western Union retail agent. As you checkout, a QR code is going to be generated that will be used to verify the customer’s identity and matched to the order confirmation for payment. Nicknamed Amazon PayCode, the cross-border payment option started operating in Kenya, Africa, and a few Asia and Latin America countries.
The service underlines Amazon’s response to electronic-savvy customers in Kenya, who are ready to buy things online but do not have international credit cards or simply fancy buying goods wIth cash and in their own currency. This is especially vital as research have proven that shopping sales will represent 20% of e-commerce in 3 years time, with sales getting to $630 billion, improved by increasingly-advanced customers in African and Middle East markets.
Kenya as a country has gone through a mobile commerce revolution, aided by the ever-present mobile penetration, boosted smartphone adoption, and a mobile-first masterplan that lets shoppers to pay for goods and services online via mobile money platforms like M-Pesa.
Amazon’s partnership with Western Union is also a sign of the e-commerce platform’s progressive surge geared at the expansion of its footprint in growing markets as it battles with competitors like Alibaba. This is worsened by the fact that the company has not been able to repeat its US success story in China and India. Amazon presently caters for 10 African countries as part of its worldwide shipments operation, with its e-commerce subordinate, Souq, operating in Egypt as well.
The company with its headquarter at Seattle could also be following the lead of other global tech giants that saw Africa as a continent that needed their deepened presence so as to boost their revenue. Apart from fronting a project to grant those in remote areas proper internet access, Google, in 2018, engaged in the integration of Kenya’s M-Pesa mobile money service as a way to pay in its store. Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba has also displayed total readiness to all things Africa after they recently launched deals with Rwandan government to improve on e-commerce, regular trading and tourism.
Amazon and Western Union’s partnership also proves the growing interest from multinationals and fintech companies to improve financial inclusion and ensure more customers engage in digital transactions. In 2018, Kenya’s Telecomm giant, Safaricom sealed deals with both Western Union and PayPal to let its customers shop and transfer cash both at home ad abroad via their e-wallets.