TECHNOLOGY

DHL opens Africa to U.S. retailers with new shopping app

BY Dan Berthiaume

Logistics provider DHL is teaming with a local partner to manage e-commerce in Africa for U.S. and U.K. retailers.

DHL is rolling out DHL Africa eShop, a platform that manages front- and back-end online retailing in 11 African nations, with African e-commerce infrastructure provider MallforAfrica. On the customer end, a consumer in Africa downloads the DHL Africa eShop app, selects a participating store and items for purchase, and makes a secure, in-app payment. Items are initially shipped to a DHL warehouse in the U.S. or U.K. for quality assurance and then DHL ships the item to the customer’s home or a local pickup station in a timeframe it describes as “days.”

Currently, DHL offers DHL Africa eShop in 11 African countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda, Malawi, Botswana, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

On the retailer end, TechCrunch reports that MallforAfrica manages payments using local mobile payment providers, and also provides procurement and delivery services. U.S. retailers participating in the service reportedly include Neiman Marcus and Carters.

The US e-commerce industry is beginning to see the developing world as an untapped resource for revenue growth. The spread of digital payment systems is allowing consumers in developing regions who may lack traditional bank accounts new options to purchase items online. In February, Amazon partnered with Western Union to introduce PayCode, a service that allows consumers to make Internet purchases using local cash currency, in 10 developing nations including Kenya.

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