Sefalana Holdings changes introduced a first in Botswana’s retail industry when it launched its online shopping website last week.
The website effectively cements Sefalana as a pioneer in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. Items in the website are categorized into various types of consumer goods which the consumer can easily choose from. The categories include groceries and toiletries, appliances, home and catering as well as electronics, just to mention a few.
The website also gives consumers a list of goods that are on promotion. To start placing orders consumers must first register on the site following which delivery will take place based on the time slot chosen by a consumer. Consumers are advised to book a minimum of 12 hours in advance. While delivery is currently restricted to Gaborone, a roll out plan is in place to ensure that the service is extended to other areas across the country. The roll out will be implemented over the next 18 months. The online service is available 24/7 but delivery takes place within specified hours during the week and on weekends. During the week, from Monday to Friday, delivery takes place between 09:00 and 17:00 hours, while goods can be ordered online and delivered between 09:00 and 13:00 hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
“Simply register, pick your basket of goods from a range of over 20,000 products and click on the checkout button. All in-store specials are available online. Minimum order value of P500 and delivery charge of P50,” says the mass retailer.
Sefalana has entered into partnerships to offer its new shopping service, one being with Botswana Post to deliver goods baskets to consumers’ doors and the other with Barclays bank to enable online payment transfers through a credit card or any other card that permits online purchases. According to information on the website credit card information is not kept by Sefalana as payments are processed directly with the banking partner to ensure the highest levels of security. “Although no method of transmission over the internet or electronic storage is 100% secure, Sefalana implements generally accepted industry standards,” it highlights.
It might be interesting to find out how many people will actually access the service given that it is restricted to the banked population. Using figures from the 2014 Finscope Consumer Survey Botswana, 50 percent of the population remains unbanked particularly those in rural settlements.
“The main barriers to banking according to the study are not having a job (54%), irregular income (45%) and not having money to save (22%). The study shows that between 2009 and 2014, about 128 021 adults fell off the banking system,” cites the Finscope findings. The information presented by Finscope puts into perspective the reality that online shopping will experience a slower than anticipated adoption if a significant population is underserved, particularly that Sefalana intends to roll out the service across the country.
Currently, Sefalana owns the local space of online shopping in the FMCG industry. However, if other retailers follow suit consumers will be able to compare retail prices as this will only be a matter of moving from one website to the next.