Role of mobile commerce in Africa’s economic growth

Posted on September 24, 2014 11:39 am

Home to world’s second largest mobile market by connections, in Africa, it’s clear that mobile is more than just a device. Mobile based payments has proliferated across devices and beyond, including mobile web and apps.The mobile commerce industry is being driven by increasing number of mobile consumers, as well as the governments initiatives like is happening in South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda and there is no better time for retailers and advertisers to kick-start their mobile involvement.In South Africa, the country with the most sophisticated mobile consumers in the continent, research has shown that they tend to be more satisfied with their brand exposure makes it more likely to buy the products. In cities like Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg, retailers targeting their mobile ads at the right consumers are said to ensures that their mobile advertising budgets are optimised. Creating a personalised experience for mobile audiences can be made simpler and more effective with a powerful analytics solution that consolidates customer data, allowing a retailer to tailor a personalised advertisement that caters to a customer’s needs and habits. South Africa has also seen consumers progressively seeking an integrated shopping experience that includes digital channels with Multichoice owned DSTV, a pan african satellite television operator with presence across Africa being the market leader.

A recent study by a UK based company reported that shoppers in South Africa are using their mobile devices to check prices and reviews while in-store, spending an average of 24 minutes online per brick-and-mortar store visit. The average smartphone owner in East African countries of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are said to be spending more than four and quarter hours per day on their smartphones, toggling between emails, news sites, social networking, chat apps like vibe and Whatsapp, games and multimedia.That has seen retailers keen to keep up with their mobile consumers will benefit from having tools with real-time capabilities.One of the retailers whom I cannot mention for fear of revealing my source, is developing a tool with real-time capabilities to use predictive software algorithms that will enable the tool to think and act on behalf of advertisers, intuitively featuring the most relevant product recommendations from the supermarket chain. Also, the ongoing development of the system will see real time advertising targeting visitors immediately after they leave brand’s website. This according to one of the developers involved will be done by delivering personalised performance display ads that infuse real-time data with online and in other instances through in-app banner advertising spaces that have been purchased beforehand.

Real-time capabilities are also expected to enable marketers to reach out to a user.In another project am familiar with, a group of dynamic marketers have set up a software developers team that is building a system that would effectively evaluate the return of investment on mobile advertising strategies.They are also incorporating metrics that provide deeper insight, such as average mobile order values and conversion rates.The average order values and conversion rates would enable the marketers to segment a brand’s mobile customers into different categories based on how much they spend when they visit the site. With the right data analytics tools, marketers will be able to examine their mobile advertising strategies at a granular level from whether their ads are attracting viewers, turning viewers into clickers and ultimately, converting them into customers.With increasing mobile phone penetration and mobile commerce initiatives spearheaded by mobile network operators and businesses, the mobile commerce industry in Africa is set for unprecedented growth. There is no better time than now for retailers and advertisers across Africa to take advantage of the tremendous upsurge in mobile device usage and realise the opportunities this creates for mobile commerce.

Contador Harrison