STORES Magazine - April 2015 - (Page 36)

n BUSINESS OPERATIONS Into Africa E-commerce platform promises low-risk, low-fraud possibilities by LEN LEWIS H aving suffered the trauma of an unstable government, terrorist attacks by militants like Boko Haram and a steady stream of fraudulent emails from a seemingly unlimited number of "princes," Nigeria isn't generally seen as a blue-chip target for international business. But the "Giant of Africa" also has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and limitless potential for e-commerce - if companies can avoid the costly pitfalls of doing business there. A recent McKinsey report found that e-commerce throughout Africa now stands at about $18 billion and could rise to $300 billion by 2025. Nigeria alone is a multi-billion dollar market and could account for $75 billion in annual e-commerce business by 2025, says MallforAfrica founder and CEO Chris Folayan. MallforAfrica, the continent's first secure e-commerce platform, enables Nigerian citizens to shop on U.S. and U.K. websites using a proprietary, prepaid debit card. "When you think about Nigeria the first thing that comes to mind is fraud. But we're bringing retailers into Africa at zero risk," says Folayan, a native Nigerian. The concept, founded in 2011, now has more than 100 participating retailers and is in the process of expanding its service to consumers in Kenya and Ghana. LISTING CONCERNS Folayan was previously CEO of OCFX, a web design firm that is the principal architect of MallforAfrica's mobile and online platforms; he realized the need for a reliable and safe e-commerce platform for Nigerian 36 STORES April 2015 A recent McKinsey report stated that e-commerce throughout Africa now stands at about $18 billion and could rise to $300 billion by 2025. consumers and retailers while attending college. "I was born and raised in Nigeria and was going back and forth regularly," he says. "People were asking me to bring items with me. Every time I went back excess luggage continued to increase and it reached a point when the airline said I was maxed out. And U.S. stores simply wouldn't ship directly to Nigeria." Internet access in Nigeria has been reported at nearly 40 percent, but retailers couldn't see the potential in emerging economies. "It was nearly impossible to purchase items online from Western retailers for shipment to Nigeria," he says. "There were a lot of concerns about shipping, duties, fees, currency conversion and, most pressingly, fraud." MallforAfrica's success is contingent NRF.COM/STORES http://www.NRF.COM/STORES

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - April 2015

A Most Complex Game
It's All Connected
Retail People
Selling Satisfaction
Editor's Page
President's Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
Business Operations
Online Fraud

STORES Magazine - April 2015