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DHL Africa

 

African consumers are increasingly choosing to purchase gifts online – DHL

With the increased availability of broadband access, more affordable data costs offered by mobile operators and the consistent development of mobile devices, online shopping is gaining great traction in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fatima Sullivan, Head of Retail at DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa says that with the upcoming festive season fast approaching, consumers are increasingly choosing to purchase gifts online from both local and foreign retailers due to the ability to select from a wide range of products at competitive prices, without being limited by geographical locations, at any time that is convenient to them.

“With improved infrastructure, in terms of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and online safety and security, more people are choosing to make use of online shopping over traditional brick and mortar outlets due to the variety of products available to them at just a click of a button,” says Sullivan.

She points to the amazing successes of local ecommerce start-ups like Zando in South Africa and JUMIA in Nigeria; both part of the Africa Internet Holding, who are gearing up for the festive season. JUMIA, which only launched in 2012, has already expanded into six markets, to take advantage of this growth, with Zando planning expansion plans in the near future.

Jeremy Hodara, Co-CEO of the Africa Internet Holding and Sascha Breuss, MD of Zando agree, that “it is very expensive to buy abroad.” They also emphasize on the importance of a strong logistics partner to gain the customers trust. “This is the biggest test, since there are many fears of frauds and we have to educate consumers about shopping online securely. For example, we have to be transparent on prices, taxes, or shipment costs. That’s why JUMIA and ZANDO accept payments on delivery and offer free returns to deliver a safe, stress-free and convenient shopping experience.”

Fatima Sullivan, says that while online shopping has many benefits, not many South African consumers are aware of the regulations involved with importing products purchased online from international retailers, which could lead to consumers incurring additional expenses, thereby making the product less of an attractive buy.

“As an example, all shipments transported across international borders must be cleared through Customs, where, depending on the type of goods being shipped, they may also be subject to certain other restrictions and regulations. There are goods such as clothing that attract high rates of duty and are subject to interventions by Customs where the price, contents and country of manufacture are often interrogated to mitigate a wide range of risks.”

She adds that confirming any possible restrictions attached to particular goods is vital and should be the first action taken by consumers before making a purchase online in order to avoid suffering any financial losses in the event that goods are detained by Customs.

When purchasing goods online from international retailers, Sullivan says that it is important to bear the following factors in mind to avoid additional costs or a delay in delivery of the goods:

• Import taxes and duty: Usually taxes and import duty costs are calculated specifically on the value of the imported goods. Consumers should also be aware that certain products such as footwear and wines are calculated part in value and/or in quantity, and may be subject to permit requirements based on quantity, while others, such as clothing, jewellery, perfumes and mobile devices, may only be calculated on the value of the product.

• Customs clearance: Depending on the item, various levels of customs clearance might be necessary. This could delay your shipment due to processing or physical inspection, so it’s important to order your goods well in advance, to ensure they arrive in time.

• Choose a suitable courier service: Larger express operators like DHL have a strong footprint in Africa, and have a well-established working relationship with Customs and local authorities, ensuring a speedy clearance and delivery of goods.

• Gifts: In most countries, gifts are only acceptable between individuals and a full description of the contents is required, the generic description “Gift” is not accepted. Again, this varies per country.

• Be aware of the different shipment costs: It is important to establish what costs the shipper and the customer will be responsible for prior to the shipping of the goods.

There are ultimately three main costs associated with the movement and clearance of goods: a) the cost of the goods payable to the shipper, b) the shipping costs to the customer’s door, and c) the duties, taxes and Customs clearing costs.

In most instances, the duties and taxes payable in the country of destination cannot be accurately determined by the shipper at the point of ordering the goods and these costs are not included by the shipper in their quotations to the customer. As a result, on arrival, these charges are billed to and payable by the customer before the package can be claimed – often to the customer’s total surprise. This ultimately could result in the landed cost (the total amount of all costs) of the e-retail merchandise becoming much more costly for the buyer than expected and could potentially put them off repeat on-line purchases.

“It is advisable for consumers to speak to the online retailer or a local expert / service provider should they be unsure about any regulations that may apply to their purchase,” concludes Sullivan. With the festive season boom expected, you don’t want to be in for an unexpected surprise in terms of duties and taxes, or that your Christmas present arrives on December 28th.”

Promoted by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of Deutsche Post DHL.

Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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