Posted: July 1st, 2012
A friend of mine, a serial entrepreneur told me that the next billionaire in Africa is going to come from the tech sector. There is certainly a lot of buzz around the tech industry in Africa at the moment. With facebook and google setting up shop in different parts of Africa as well as the numerous tech start-ups and incubation hubs, it is safe to say that that there is a large niche. What does this have to do with fashion? Well the answer is e-commerce, (An e-commerce site is the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet for example, amazon and asos).
Over the last few months there has been a boom in e-commerce sites, you may have noticed the online adverts for various e-commerce sites. There is even an e-commerce site where you can buy live goats!
Since distribution is key for a thriving fashion business e-commerce will definitely contribute to the growth of the fashion industry. Upon reviewing various Nigerian e-commerce websites, none of them stock Nigerian designers. So far there are 2 types of e-commerce sites; the ‘mediator’ sites that allow you to order from popular international e-commerce sites such as amazon and asos, the other is the e-commerce site where you can buy international brands directly such as Sabunta.com. In the past few months Sabunta has executed a large marketing campaign to be the number 1 fashion commerce site. It gives you the option of paying on delivery as well as being able to return the item within 14 days, not to mention free delivery. The site is easy to navigate and looks promising.
Of course there are e-commerce sites overseas for African designers such as Myasho.com, Agnesandlola.com, Malakhnadsco.com, and the more recent Heritage1960.com. These are great platforms for African designers that want to be available for people to buy in markets with a larger consumer base however I imagine that these websites may suffer from competition from more popular e-commerce websites.
It is early to say if e-commerce will positively impact the fashion industry but undoubtedly it is a step in the right direction.