eBay will partner with e-Commerce startup MallforAfrica in a bid to expand their footprint on the African continent. First of all, we should categorically state that eBay’s partnership with MallforAfrica, a Nigerian online shopping startup is a marriage of convenience, and not a buyout.
The partnership will involve a logistical, financial and marketing symbiosis between the two companies. eBay is looking to get a foothold on the African continent, whose online spending habits are expected to grow to over $75 billion by 2025. A partnership with an already established e-commerce platform eases the challenges of starting up the business in a new unfamiliar territory. MallforAfrica as well will bump up sales and traffic, adding eBay to other prestigious partnerships such as Macy’s.
eBay Powered by MallforAfrica
The new platform, eBay Powered by MallforAfrica will connect Americans looking to sell items on eBay to African buyers. African consumers will be able to shop on eBay with MallforAfrica handling the logistics, shipping the items back home. Under the financial arrangement, MallforAfrica will accept payment in local currency at their offices and also mobile money with Nigeria’s Paga and Kenya’s MPesa platforms. These are the initial markets targeted in the partnership with more African countries added in due course. On the other hand, the American retailers will seamlessly receive their payments in US dollars.
Quotables: “The platform will enable inventory from all eBay U.S. individual and business sellers with a 300+ star rating to be purchased by buyers in Nigeria and Kenya.” Fernando Saiz, eBay Business Development Director.
“We are creating a unique ‘eBay Powered by MallforAfrica’ app to run on all our platforms. When buyers in Africa shop with this app, they’ll be able to shop on eBay, buy what they want, check out, and pay through MallforAfrica,” Chris Folayan, MallforAfrica CEO
A Marriage of Convenience
MallforAfrica founded in 2011 is the brainchild of Nigerian entrepreneur Chris Folayan. His eureka moment came on realising he could start a business from the large volume of shopping requests he got whenever he traveled abroad. MallforAfrica connects African online shoppers with brand-name stores in the U.S.A and the U.K. The company ships the items to Africa once the purchase has been effected. MallforAfrica is financed by Helios Investment Partners , a UK private equity firm, along with other companies like Macy’s.
On the other hand, eBay is a popular online auction site for buying/selling new and antique items. Interested parties place in their bids and the highest bidder takes the item. Against a backdrop of stiff competition from the likes of Amazon, eBay sales have taken a battering lately. In addition, the divorce with sister company, PayPal last year didn’t help much either.
Therefore, an entry into Africa will open up eBay to an emerging market with encouraging spending potential. Both eBay and MallforAfrica stand to gain both in traffic volumes and revenue. One of the biggest limitations Africans have faced shopping online is the absence of channels to send items back home. Consequently, countless online shopping startups have attempted to bridge this gap. The partnership with eBay places MallforAfrica is an enviable position -call it legitimacy- that will inspire trust. eBay Powered by MallforAfrica will start operations in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, opening up new markets with time.