Cameroonian eCommerce entrepreneurs need intelligent and pragmatic digital retail practices to address the eCommerce challenges, especially in the delivery chain. This article addresses the top challenges that eCommerce operators in Cameroon face, and six easy ways to overcome them and emerge as a leader in the sector in Cameroon.
It is worthy to note that with the proliferation of the internet and social media, more and more Cameroonians now spend a significant portion of their time on the internet. Thus, making it a fertile ground for eCommerce entrepreneurs to reach them (internet users) with their products and services.
This becomes even more feasible with the present internet and social media user statistics obtained in 2021.
According to Datareportal.com, there were 9.15 million internet users in Cameroon in January 2021. The number increased by 1.3 million (+16%) between 2020 and 2021, with an internet penetration of 34.0% in January 2021.
For Social Media, there were 4.30 million users in Cameroon in January 2021. The number increased by 600 thousand (+16%) between 2020 and 2021.
This, however, is not an easy adventure to reap the fruits of these statistics for eCommerce stakeholders. A lot of money has reportedly been spent on advertising, but the delivery of the products still leaves more to be desired given the top eCommerce challenges in Cameroon.
As effects of these e-commerce challenges in Cameroon, clients have reported orders that were never delivered, high cost of delivery charges, and the overall trust issues still associated with online purchases.
As a digital marketing researcher, in one of my trial experiences, I ordered a product that cost just 1000frs in an e-commerce store based in Yaounde. They actually received my order with the delivery address (Kribi, Cameroon), together with the payment that I made already.
For the product to reach me, it required that they had to displace someone from their warehouse to go and send (mail) the parcel (that cost 1000frs) to reach me in Kribi. I never received the parcel nor heard from them, till today. The reason is obvious.
When Jumia existed in Cameroon, they only delivered in Douala and Yaounde – as big as it was. Do you know why? That is where they had their warehouses – where they stocked goods, and delivered just a few minutes, meters, or kilometers away from someone who placed an order. This was being pragmatic in their marketing approach as it improved the overall ease of product delivery both in cost and time. They understood these eCommerce challenges in the Cameroonian marketspace.
You see, it is not how wide you extend at start-up, but building a good delivery system and credibility that will prepare you to eventually conquer the market nationwide and even internationally.
How does an eCommerce store based in Garoua deliver a 1litre of honey to someone in Kribi, if they do not have a product warehouse near or in that city?
I know as an eCommerce entrepreneur in Cameroon, these challenges have been a nightmare to the smooth overflow of your marketing efforts. But today, I have outlined practical solutions that you will implement immediately to see a breaking rise in your operations, product delivery, customer satisfaction, and an overall increase in Return on Investment (ROI).
- Get a warehouse near every possible delivery area.
Every successful eCommerce operator has a warehouse near the cities in which they do product delivery. This cuts down delivery costs and delivery time. Since eCommerce may not necessarily operate a physical store, getting a warehouse out of the booming areas will be cheaper to pay rent.
- Limit your market to towns where you are more likely to deliver efficiently.
This is an alternative to point one. If you can not get warehouses outside of your base area, it is ideal to operate only in towns where you are based and the nearby ones. This will ensure that your delivery system is efficient.
- Create partnerships with shops that deliver similar products as you.
This may be a little surprise for you, but it is a reality. There are eCommerce entrepreneurs who do not own a warehouse or a store of their own. What they have is the eCommerce website or platform, where they display products. Orders are then channeled to partner shops to do the delivery, and they earn their commission. In this case, you act more like an online advertiser.
- Do weekly delivery schedules, instead of daily.
Instead of doing hourly or daily delivery, it is ideal to schedule a weekly delivery plan. This will enable you to deliver in bulk, leading to less spending on delivering the products to customers in a single location. That is, if within a week, 10 people order your product in Buea, all the deliveries can be done in bulk. Then you take the turn for the next seven days’ delivery.
- Partner with travel agencies on a win-win agreement.
It is ideal to create partnership agreements with travel agencies in a win-win agreement. In this case, you promote each other. How can this be done? A travel agency can transport/deliver your products from one town to the other at a very low cost, and in turn, you use your online platform to promote their agency. If such agreements are done rightly, there is a greater chance of success for both parties.
- Make pick-up points, instead of home delivery.
This point is very important, and an alternative to cutting down costs. Instead of making home deliveries, which are more costly in terms of transportation, it is recommended to establish pick-up points where clients can collect their orders. If you reach an agreement with a travel agency, it is possible to use their agency as a pick-up point for your products. This will also eliminate the cost of renting a warehouse in that town.
Now that you know all these, it is my greatest wish that you implement these tips efficiently to see a steady rise in your ROI. As an expert in the industry, Faithworks Tech has been working with businesses to deliver revenue-generating web design and digital marketing solutions. We specialize in building systems that make growing businesses in the digital era easier, quicker, less stressful, and more fun, while doubling or even tripling your revenue in the process.
WE DELIVER REVENUE-GENERATING WEB DESIGN AND DIGITAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS
We build systems that make growing businesses in the digital era easier, quicker, less stressful, and more fun, while doubling or even tripling your revenue in the process.