The future of e-commerce on the African continent will not appear, despite the obstacles inherent in its creation, such as connectivity or infrastructure. In addition to the first African unicorn, Jumia, the leviathan Ali Baba is increasingly settling in Africa.
In Morocco, as elsewhere, e-commerce activity is constantly increasing, according to the Monetary Center Interbank (CMI) report on e-commerce monetary activity. Furthermore, the country has one of the highest internet penetration rates in Africa (93%) and has good road infrastructure, especially in the large suburbs. However, the sector is struggling to take off.
A sector is advancing step by step
The crisis has made clear, as never before, the digital advantage of e-commerce, and has accelerated this trend. All indicators are green for a model full of promise.
Despite this, the number of online stores in Morocco is scanty: “Only 10,000 e-commerce sites, while according to the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC), Morocco has two million companies, 61% of which are engaged in commerce. . For comparison, in France, the number of commercial websites has increased to more than 270,000”, notes Idriss Elmi, founder of Egio, an agency specializing in developing commercial websites, most of whose sales take place abroad.
He recommends “If you are thinking of starting your own e-commerce store, there is no better time than now.”
However, if the online store is a window into new domestic and international markets, the fact remains that before deciding to launch on this channel, the show must be regulated. “Products are visible 24/7, moreover in the four corners of the world; that is why the quality of the online store is required. It must be up-to-date if you want to target the international market,” adds Youssef Boubet, founder of Numeric Way Agency .
“The majority of Moroccan merchant websites are small merchants who just need to have an online presence. They can do better because the potential is huge. The sector is still in its infancy and is becoming an increasingly part of Moroccan consumer habits.”
Creating professional e-commerce websites is a must
In the jungle of SAAS solutions for creating e-commerce websites, the ability to create an online store is accessible even to the technically hobbyist.
However, to create an efficient and optimized online store, “It is highly recommended that you call in professionals and draw up detailed specifications that include all necessary functions. Added to this is an elegant design punctuated by high-quality images, clear product descriptions, and customer reassurance elements to improve the efficiency of the online store, such as returns management, product warranty, and Delivery etc. The platform should inspire confidence; the consumer places great importance on the first impression he has when he comes to an e-commerce site”, emphasizes Youssef Boubet.
Regarding the real cost of these sites, it depends on the required functionality, related to the five pillars of an online store identified by Idris Elalamy.
– Product: This component includes work on visuals, copyright, product description and price, personalization, catalog richness … This column highlights marketing generated by content creation and, of course, thoughtful pricing. “The most successful merchant websites in Morocco are those that offer products with a price tag of around 300 dirhams. This is a down to earth note based on our experience in the Moroccan market,” asserts Driss Elalamy.
– Store: It includes the design part, user experience, maintenance and especially CMS technology, whether it is hosted or SAAS such as Woocommerce, PrestaShop, Magento or Shopify. “Whatever the technology choice, or design approach, it is important to pay special attention to several elements: flexibility of the customer journey, access to the product catalog and ordering process, and loyalty features,” notes-us.
– Logistics: involves answering the following questions: “Will it be outsourced or managed in-house? Will there be international delivery options? How many deliverers will they be involved in? What are the delivery times? At what cost? In terms of inventory, will it be in-store Or is it for e-commerce?
– Payment: This section allows you to consider payment options: on delivery or online? Which payment partners? etc.
Digital Marketing: To improve the flow of visitors, convert them into buyers, and enhance the brand. This process uses several tools that support your digital marketing strategy. Among them, natural references, e-mail or advertising on social networks. “The Internet user must feel the presence of the brand even behind their screen,” explains Idris El Alami.
Depending on the functionality required, the e-commerce expert distinguishes three price ranges according to the implementation approach: “In general, small e-commerce merchants with projects turn to national SAAS platforms such as Storino or Youcan, or international companies such as Shopify or Wix, which provide them with DIY tools, For an average monthly subscription of 400 dirhams and/or commissions on sales. For VSE/SME sites, they are generally accompanied by small agencies or freelancers, their prices range from 15,000 to 30,000 dirhams”, emphasizes Idris Elalamy.
Egio positions itself as structuring e-commerce themes for retailers or brands whose project budgets start from AED 200,000. “Our mission is to develop tailor-made e-commerce platforms that combine two axes: brand design and engineering user experience, through integration with different processes, and corporate value chain solutions such as inventory management, CRM/ERP (customer relationship management/integrated management software package, note). Editor), Logistics and Transport Companies. Idris Elalamy explains that we rely for our references on sites that offer a catalog of more than 50,000 products and e-commerce volume has exceeded 10 million dirhams/year.”
Small merchants must define their presence on digital.
Numeric Way supports companies of all sizes and individual project leaders. The company has about thirty brands such as Kitea and Bricodeco in its e-commerce portfolio.
However, its founder stresses the importance of online sales for small traders. He remembers that Numeric Way was created in 2011 with French TPE which, at the time, did not fulfill more than five orders per day, with an average daily turnover of €500. Today, “Un Amour de Tapis has become a leading brand in Europe, present in more than twenty markets, with a catalog of more than 70,000 products and announcing a daily sales rate of 20,000 euros”, says Youssef Boubet. He concludes that “the real outbreak of e-commerce depends on its capture by VSEs”.