In this podcast, I will talk about « E-commerce boom in Madagascar from this COVID-19 lockdown ».
Partial lockdown is set off for a longer period in Madagascar. This lockdown, even if it’s partial, means that many people are connected to the internet because they are confined to their homes. By saying « connected to the internet », it isn’t about access to all internet services, but mostly Facebook. Facebook is the most used internet application in Madagascar. Besides, for many people, using the internet comes down to using Facebook because the providers in Madagascar give advantageous offers for a connection with Facebook only. It’s a shame to net neutrality but that’s how it is and merchants want to take advantage of this opportunity.
Online merchants must first make themselves known to the public. Since the beginning of the lockdown, sponsored ads on Facebook have become a lot. Apart from public figures who are engaging in self-promotion, 90% of those paid advertisements are sales of products or services with the possibility of delivery. In short, that’s a beginning of e-commerce. 60% are food deliveries (from online restaurants) and deliveries of essential products because the ban of public transportation including taxis does not allow people to move easily to buy provisions.
I am currently browsing my news feed and I see right now some ads of:
Calypso un océan de vêtements pour tous
I have also tried a few since the start of lockdown. And satisfied so far!
But I have a few words to say about local e-commerce in Facebook mode. I find that our online vendors are not ambitious. The potential of selling on Facebook is too little: it is a hundred orders at most per day. With a phone number and Facebook messaging system, it’s only at most 1 order every ten minutes.
The true e-commerce exists but only those who have real internet that is to say only people having access to all websites can use them.
Two (2) solutions stand out for the moment: Ketrika.com and E-sanandro.
They are real e-commerce platforms with online catalog, concept of chart, checkout page.
But the difficulties are still present for:
1) Payment: it’s often COD (Cash On Delivery)
2) Delivery: I don’t know if these platforms would not collapse if there will be thousand orders to manage for delivery
Independent delivery services are created in Madagascar so these platforms can work with them. And for remote payment, we aren’t there yet although solutions do exist but with exorbitant fees.
Social distancing and lockdown measures due to this health crisis will accelerate the migration to e-commerce in Madagascar.