🛍️ 🛒 With the increasing demand for online shopping across the continent and the world, several homegrown e-commerce platforms have emerged to cater to the needs of Botswana’s tech-savvy consumers. This article explores the a few E-Commerce platforms in Botswana.
E-Commerce Platforms in Botswana
What is E-commerce? The e in e-commerce is electronic. Technology has progressed so much that we hardly use the word electronic in describing computing, but other words such as digital, and social have come up. Even mobile was a buzz word, but today mobile is the default. So, simply put, e-commerce is transacting online – buying, selling, paying, etc.
The primary benefit of e-commerce is convenience – ordering what you need from your phone or laptop, and having it delivered to you. Just in neighbouring South Africa, we have Uber Eats, where you can order from hundreds of restaurants, with thousands of options, and get them to your home in 30minutes while you are sitting on the couch. If you don’t feel like going to the store for toilet paper, you can order it on the apps by Checkers and Pick’n’Pay. E-commerce is about convenience.
Over the past few years, we have seen several e-commerce platforms in Botswana come and go. The question is, “is Botswana ready for digital commerce?” If not, why not? Is data too expensive, is there lack of trust, are payment methods not suitable, is logistics a challenge?
These questions are not easy to answer, and we don’t make an attempt at answering them. In this article, we simply list a few of them. There are many more, from fast-food platforms (e.g Nandos and KFC), to boutiques with shopify sites, those all count as e-commerce as well. We look at what are closer to marketplaces.
1. Meeticks – www.meeticks.com
First on the list is Meeticks, a chat-based e-commerce marketplace that connects consumers to various types of vendors. The platform allows entrepreneurs to create mini e-stores listing their products, whereafter shoppers can browse, add to cart and checkout, all the chatbot. The chatbot runs on WhatsApp, meaning anybody using social data bundles from Botswana’s mobile networks, Mascom, Orange and BTC can access the platform. This is likely to be a game changer, bringing convenience and accessibility as majority of people in Botswana have limited connectivity. Meeticks also has a partnership with Orange Money, allowing customers to complete transactions fully on WhatsApp and pay with Mobile Money.
At the moment, the platform is only available for users in Gaborone and Francistown, but we trust they will expand soon.
Users can access the shopping chatbot by texting “hi” on WhatsApp to 75504080 (or click here wa.me/26775504080)
Entrepreneurs (home businesses, farmers, manufactures) can register to sell on Meeticks at www.meeticks.com
2. Ponatshego – www.ponatshego.com
Next on our list, is Ponatshego, an e-commerce platform that was founded in 2020 as a response to Covid-19. They started as a company that enabled SMEs to sell their products online, allowing a wider customer reach and an increase in overall sales and profits for those SME’s. Currently, their primary product focus is on electronic goods, most notably Playstations and XBoxes, Laptops, iPhones and accessories, and other high-ticket items. This makes sense as the audience they cater to already has an affinity for the digital world, and would have the internet connectivity required for e-commerce.
They have a website, an iOS app, and Android app with over 1000 installs.
3. Apex Mart – www.apexmart.co.bw
Apex Mart is an online platform that started off selling a wide variety of goods, along with the convenience of deliveries. Initially, they stocked electronics and kitchenware, and because they also started during the Covid lockdown periods, they had digital thermometers, pulse oximeters, sanitisers and the like.
They have since pivoted to focus on solar products, selling a wide range of power backup solutions, including inverters, batteries, solar pumps, solar panels and more.
In neighboring South Africa, where load-shedding (scheduled power cuts) are the order of the day, backup power has been essential, and e-commerce businesses in this field have seen a large increase in demand of their products and solutions.
4. SkyMart – www.skymartbw.com
Skymart has been around for while (+-10 years). Safe to say, it has had resilience and has stood it’s, while many have come and gone. It is a comprehensive online marketplace that caters to a diverse range of consumer needs. From electronics and fashion to food and fitness equipment, from local indigenous products hashtagpushaBW, to international goods, they have got it all covered. It is the Amazon of Botswana. Skymartbw has user-friendly interface, tested payment methods, logistics in place as well as customer support. They are a marketplace that allows any business to list and sell their products.
5. Yamee www.yamee.co.bw
Formerly known as My Foodness, Yamee is the only online food delivery marketplace in Botswana. Yes, Debonairs, KFC and Nandos have e-commerce apps, but Yamee as a marketplace offers multiple options for food orders. They operate in a similar way to Uber Eats. Yamee offers restaurants a way of going digital, and many have grabbed this opportunity. They have a fair variety of cuisines from local restaurants such as Dickeys, Main Deck, Rhapsodies and more. On top of that, you can also order your groceries from Sefalana and Spar, and get them delivered – talk about convenience! The service is however currently only available in Gaborone. They have a convenient app available for download as well.
We would like to hear from you.
Have you used any of these platforms? If so, what are your views on E-Commerce in Botswana? If not, why not?
Are there any that we have ommited that should be here?
What are your desires for e-commerce in Botswana?
Send your remarks to firstname.lastname@example.org