Precious Maphosa, Business Reporter
THE country’s trade promotion body, ZimTrade is urging local companies to embrace e-commerce so as to reach out to potential clients across the globe.
ZimTrade Matabeleland regional manager Mr Similo Nkala said there was a need for local firms to utilise latest technologies to enhance their visibility as well as marketing their products across the world.
“E-commerce has opened a gateway of new opportunities for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to access international markets, find new sources of demand, and build value through exposure to new technologies,” said Mr Nkala.
Statistics from the International Trade Centre indicate that global e-commerce trade is expected to increase to $7 trillion by 2020, while Africa’s e-commerce trade is also projected to reach an average of $50 billion by the end of this year.
“Zimbabwean companies are encouraged to develop online stores, which offer opportunities for customers to purchase products online. The online stores allow convenient shopping for customers as they can instantly make purchases as well as pay for the products through online payment methods such as PayNow,” said Mr Nkala.
Countries such as China have successfully increased access to export markets for Small to Medium Enterprises through the creation of online stores such as Alibaba.
“Businesses in the handicrafts sector, decorative and fashion wear, health and cosmetics industry can increase their connectivity to international value chains through e-commerce,” said Mr Nkala.
He said social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are also ways in which Zimbabwean companies can easily tap into the export markets through marketing their products online.
“Businesses can also increase the number of visitors to their online stores through linking the online store to their company website as well as social networks,” said Mr Nkala.
ZimTrade associate trainer Mr Stephen Mudawarima concurred with Mr Nkala’s sentiments stating that: “Companies should use social media and online marketing, to maintain and grow business relations worldwide.”
E-commerce is the activity of buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems and automated data collection systems.
Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web for at least one part of the transaction’s life cycle although it may also use other technologies such as e-mail.