After a first overview of e-commerce in Senegal, it is time to go into depth, and analyze these sites. Which tools, which performances, which functionalities for which offers and which service? This study is delivered to you free of charge and exclusively. Like and share back 🙂

Classification

We will not make you languish: immediately, the qualitative ranking of e-commerce sites in Senegal. The rating reflects the quality of the site itself, and does not take into account marketing efforts, nor the actual quality of service or customer relationship. It’s a digital snapshot. We only take into account sites that are open and capable of handling transactions and deliveries. No classified ads therefore.

The analysis compiles 23 indicators for each of the sites, in technical, ergonomic or functional areas, which are then weighted to assign a qualitative “score”.

Unsurprisingly, Jumia comes out on top. And that’s fortunate given their means. Even the absence of cross-selling (too advanced for merchants in a marketplace) and the massive presence of counterfeits were not enough to dethrone them. Everything has been thought out, polished, optimized … There are still gains to be found, but rather small, especially in light of the amateurism of the sites at the bottom of the ranking.

But then the surprises come: Calaoo, a generalist site unknown to the public is doing very well, followed by two specialized cosmetics sites neck and neck … Their total lack of marketing budget does not do them justice.

And we even see a dreadful but very functional site dawning in 14th place: Sakanal, a food wholesaler who has embarked on the digital adventure, and who has a very big room for improvement.

The study

Beyond the simple “raw” classification, it is above all the detail of the observations that is interesting, and which can allow all these actors to progress. Here is the tour of the analysis criteria that led to this ranking: There are 6 major families of indicators, each consisting of finer unit indicators.

The quality of the welcome

The reception is the first impression. The one you don’t get a chance to do well a second time. In digital jargon, the quality of this reception is measured by the “Bounce rate”, that is to say the percentage of Internet users who hardly leave have seen your site. A bounce rate can vary from 20% (that’s great) to 95% in the worst cases (when you arrive on a site through an unclear ad for example).

Reception largely depends on how the site looks on mobile. Over 50% of visitors are on mobile (I’m not telling you anything, I hope). A “responsive” site is designed to adapt to a smartphone or tablet screen, dynamically. drastically reduce the width of your browser to see … In Senegal, most sites have already made a good effort in this direction. Example of a good responsive site: http://calaoo.com/

Another major factor that is often underestimated is the performance of the site. How many seconds do you have to wait to see the first page? It is considered that one second of more loading equates to 7% less conversions (and therefore turnover). Also valid on mobiles, of course. Overall, we were forced to rate sympathetically, as sites in Senegal are often slow. Google offers a free test tool for this: Google’s TestMySite. Note that almost all of the sites are hosted abroad (mostly at OVH, and a little in Germany and the USA). When will we see a solid and competitive cloud offer in Senegal?

Finally, the design of the site, the ergonomics, the general look-and-feel tell you right away whether you are on Independence Square or at the Sandaga market. It is a clever mix of balance, ventilation, hierarchy, precision, simplicity, user-friendliness … There is no story here: you need a professional eye. And it is obvious that many Senegalese sites did not have the means, or that their boss considered that given the time he has already spent on the internet, it was quite legitimate for him to design it. Heavy (and dear) error …

Example of a well-designed site: http://patisseriegrainedor.com

Presentation and visual

Once the first impression is made, the user’s attention is captured, now they have to be convinced to buy the products. They must be easy to find, well presented, well detailed.

Unrecognized priority: The search engine. 96% of visitors to an e-commerce site consider using an internal search engine to be part of their buying process. In the absence of a functioning engine, the bounce rate exceeds 75% and the average duration of visits falls under 2 minutes! However, many engines that we have tested operate in a very limited fashion. Valuable bonus: these engines have logs that let the merchant know what customers are looking for.

Example of a site with a good search engine: https://afrimarket.sn

But the presentation of products remains essential: if we do not know exactly what the product you are selling, we skip … All the questions that may be asked must be anticipated. A beautiful photo, a clear and unambiguous title, a simple but complete description. The technical characteristics of products are often essential, but are very often forgotten, when only they allow to choose a smartphone or a television. And they prove that you are not just a cashier, but also a professional. When in a pharmacy the pharmacist asks you “paracétaquoi?” “, You want to go to the next one …

Example of a site that details its products: https://www.fabellashop.com

And finally, we do not hit the mark every time. Presenting complementary products, accessories (cross-selling), or products with color variations, or similar but more upscale (up-selling), this increases the conversion rate and the average basket. (The conversion rate is the number of orders per visit; it is often around 1%). And here above all, it is clear that very few sites are able to offer a shell or a hands-free kit when they sell a smartphone for example. Products are often presented in a minimalist and casual manner; in Sandaga mode …

Example of a site that does basic up-selling: https://www.sooretul.com/produit/boutique/

Delivery and warranty

Once the product has been chosen, the challenge begins: is this site serious? Does he deliver to home? quickly? It’s certain ? It’s expensive ? These questions are fundamental. Delivery times and costs must appear as early as possible in the process, so as not to even be asked; ideally from the product sheet. However, we have seen many sites which display the cost of transport at the last moment (bad surprise), and even worse, which never indicate how long it takes to deliver to you (you will see …).

The reference in terms of delivery communication: https://www.jumia.sn/

This error is far too common. A site like Jumia, for example, has understood this well. Costs and deadlines are constantly reminded, and regular emails reassure the buyer even after their purchase. Worries and questions are two sources of lost baskets. Note that very few sites make up for lost baskets; That is, to call back on the phone customers who have filled a basket but have not ultimately validated their order.

And to finish reassuring the visitor and convincing him to trust this unknown site, two complementary weapons are the presentation of the company, with in particular the address, the telephone, the access plan (in case), and the famous General Conditions of Sale (GTC), which are legally binding and which explain the merchant’s commitments (and the limit of his liability).

Example of particularly well written GTC: https://www.niokobok.com/

Means of payment

Delivery is great, but when it comes to e-commerce, everyone wonders about payment. This is in fact a false question: in French-speaking Africa, everyone pays in cash on delivery (over 90%). Orange Money, Wari, Joni-Joni, it’s all negligible detail, and often overlooked. What about credit cards? Senegalese banks do not allow merchants to cash them online. So apart from those settled abroad, forget your Mastercard …

Example of a site that accepts credit cards: http://africashop.sn; it also happens to be a cash-on-delivery site that denies them access to most customers.

For now, the cost of mobile transactions for merchants (4-7%) is the main drag. The second is the lack of a solution that can be integrated directly into the store. The third is the lack of geographic coverage. Orange Money was an early adopter of an API, but the number of Orange Money users with a funded virtual wallet is very low. Wari is arriving. Others like Tigo also offer solutions. But in Senegal only Wari has a significant coverage rate, and the banks do not seem in a hurry. BICIS made unfulfilled announcements in 2016 …

Purchase tunnel

We have a product in stock, a customer ready to pay, a carrier ready to go… all that remains to be connected. This is the delicate task of the “buying funnel”, or “ordering process”. Simplicity, clarity and speed are the variables in the equation. The merchant must identify the customer, his address (in a country where very few know their own address – when they have one), and offer a delivery method suited to the products ordered, the means of the customer, and his timing.

In practice, the buying tunnels encountered are very nasty, and are generally European tunnels twisted to work in Senegal. Mandatory postal code at the top. However in Senegal, the merchant will have to call back the customer to confirm, remind the conditions, make an appointment for delivery … so a simplistic tunnel can do the trick, the rest being completed by an operator on the phone. . 9-step tunnels should be avoided, which discourage customers; sometimes one is enough.

Example of a fairly original but very simple tunnel: http://www.tongtong.sn/marche

Another example of a “shielded” and robust shopping tunnel: https://www.jumia.sn/

The product offer

And finally, which is perhaps the most important although it does not really concern the e-commerce site itself but rather its strategy: the products, their number, their price, their quality, their depth of stock… And here I must say, the Senegalese offer is a bit disappointing.

On the quality side first; if a few sites are betting on mid-range products, many are leveling down. Others make stock funds last. On the one hand, Jumia, with a fairly large offer, but so full of counterfeits that sellers of “real” smartphones or perfumes are forced to specify “original” in the wording. On the other hand, there are many merchants who have a few hundred products, sometimes obsolete (playstations 3 for example), often out of stock (the famous empty shelf syndrome), and where the customer has very little choice.

Below is a summary of the offer (order of magnitude of the number of references), its regularity (based on the number of empty shelves, out of stock), and the efforts made by management on the authenticity of the products (counterfeit or contraband).

Unless, as some people try to sell products stored in Europe or the USA, and do their utmost to get them across the ocean and customs quickly … risky in Senegal, where Africashop (and Cdiscount before them) are announcing delays Express by plane of… 15 days! Difficult to get a customer to accept.

Example of a site with a somewhat broad and aggressive price offer: http://sakanal.sn

Below is a comparative analysis of a price index. Note that the exercise is particularly difficult because the catalogs are often very different. It is therefore necessary to research rather long, taking care to compare comparable things. When a site really has no comparable competitor, we put it at the top of the rankings. The lower a site, the less attractive its prices.

The price is the crux of the matter. Customers are comparing more and more, even though price comparison sites are still “under development”. This is why mature e-merchants usually employ someone who does pricing, regularly going to compare the prices of competitors online, but also in town. We are starting to see it appear on Jumia, where several sellers in the marketplace compete on smartphone models for example.

Conclusion

This ranking of e-commerce sites is not more than it is. It does not assess the success of a site, nor the efforts of a merchant, and even less the adequacy of its service with the specificities of Senegal. But it’s a good place to start, in a world where the best channel for business development has not changed since ancient times: word of mouth. In this regard: share this article with your network 😉

My digital and e-commerce consultant colleagues will do our best to ensure that the e-commerce landscape in Senegal at the end of 2017 is very different from what it is today. Customer friends, make some noise, let your voice be heard. Merchant friends, listen and let yourself be guided. We’re going to change the world …

Complete summary of the ranking:

And for the real tough guys, here is the full table, with the 23 indicators:

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