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We are all gaga for online shopping. It’s true, South Africa’s ecommerce space is currently growing at a rate of 30% annually and is projected to grow even faster as barriers to entry drop. Armed with this information, the tinkerers at Media24 eCommerce — a division of Media24 — today announced the launch of Efinity an ecommerce fulfillment service. According to the company, the service integrates with a retailers ecommerce site.
This move makes perfect sense for a company like Media24 and an inevitable outcome. Publishers with inbuilt ecommerce in their site are already a step ahead of the curve with the current rate online consumption. According to the Media24, Efinity will be able to empower small, medium and big eCommerce merchants with the same “sophisticated fulfillment service” that currently powers Spree.co.za — the company’s biggest ecommerce site.
“Retailers in South Africa, irrespective of size, are looking for ways to take advantage of this channel but the challenges posed by back-end logistics and fulfillment have been a major deterrent,” the company says.
The idea is for small or big retailers who want to move to the ecommerce space on a low budget to be able to manage all aspects online business without resulting to expensive infrastructure.
“Without our efficient and low cost fulfillment operations, it would not have been economically viable for Spree to subsidize transportation costs and offer free shipping, free same-day delivery and free 30day returns to customers,” said Louna Lohann, GM of Spree, a division of Media24 eCommerce.
The way the platform is structured retailers can plug into an existing site and there is no need for long term contracts as the offering exclusively on a pay as you go basis. All logistics is handled by Efinity. Retailers can send their products to the company’s warehouse, users then order from the retailer’s site, which integrates with Efinity, where products are shipped from.
“At Media24 we are uniquely positioned to have the resources and expertise to create powerful infrastructure that can scale seamlessly; to warehouse, manage and distribute stock. Importantly, Efinity is designed to facilitate online retail cost effectively through a pay as you go pricing model. With Media24 leveling the playing field through the Efinity solution, we can ensure that South African eCommerce reaches new heights in 2015, both for retailers and consumers,” says CIO of eCommerce at Media24, Jonathan Muir elaborates.
Efinity argues that one of the challenges South Africa faces is the lack of reliable delivery infrastructure that is cost-effective leading to retailer concern to move online. It is hoping that some of these challenges can be countered with a Pay-as-you-go model, which has seen success in other markets. Most retailers are unable to give a quantifiable estimate on the business potential that will be driven through their online portal.