Namibians Warming up to Online Shopping
Shopping online can be one of the most convenient experiences you ever have. It has taken some time, but it is finally catching on in Namibia. A couple of years ago, the thought of buying products online made most Namibians shudder.
- Who is on the other side?
- How do I know if I am really going to get my product?
- Will I get the right product?
- What if it gets lost in the mail?
- What if I want to return the product?
"These are some of the questions we've been asked on numerous occasions over the last couple of years", says one of the help desk managers over at Voomka.com, a popular Namibian online store. He goes on to say: "It's not too surprising that people are skeptical. I think most countries, especially in Africa, had to go through or are still going through a phase where people need to get used to the idea of shopping online. But I have no doubt that shopping will become more and more accepted over the next few years as it is already showing a huge improvement."
Going from Brick and Mortar to Digital
Managing an online shop can be tedious, especially for those that have a physical premises as well, like Andre Louw from Supplements.com.na. He has found that starting an online shop can have many unexpected challenges: "I thought creating a website was going to be the hardest part, but thanks to the great help I had, that turned out to be the easiest. The hard part for me was managing all the products on the site and making sure pricing was right at all times. Technology helps, but at the end of the day, these can become cumbersome tasks, especially if you want the kind of detail I was after." Although Supplements.com.na does not sell any electronic products, they do sell a much wider range of supplement products than Voomka.com, who currently only offers USN supplement products.
Getting the Logistics Right
Online shopping is opening up very important opportunities in the logistics industry. Delivering products on time and without any damage is an extremely important part of the process when it comes to online shopping: "At Voomka we make use of a variety of delivery companies. We have had phenomenal service from all of those who do deliveries for us in Namibia." People also don't easily realise that shopping online is very similar to running a normal store. You can very easily end up with returns or breakages. It is therefore important to keep in mind that delivery isn't necessarily one way. You might end up in a situation where you need to also send the item back, which could or could not be at your own expense, depending on your Terms and Conditions.
Sunny future for online shopping in Namibia
People are getting more comfortable with the idea of buying online. The risks that were previously there aren't nearly as scary as they used to be. in fact, thanks to credit card laws, it is often safer to shop online than it is in a real brick and mortar store. However, these irrational fears are getting calmed with great service and unbeatable prices by the many Namibians currently running online stores.
Starting your own shop
It has become a lot easier to start your own shop. For most new-comers, you can have a basic shop up and running in less than 24 hours. The real challenge comes when the products on the website are in the thousands. Managing that kind of inventory can become very time-consuming. If you want to accept credit card payments, you will have to look at what is available in Namibia. Namhost.com uses 2checkout as their payment gateway. 2checkout has slightly higher transaction fees, compared to other options, but it's the easiest way to get going and doesn't require a "merchant account" at the bank. You can literally be accepting payments in a matter of minutes. Other options usually require another merchant account at the bank, which comes tied with more expenses.
We highly recommend checking out the Voomka End of the Year Sale. It's a great way to find some amazing Christmas Deals in Namibia. 5 days of specials, with 6 mind-blowing deals being released every day. If you still have some Christmas shopping to do, check this out.