Newsletter 2021/02

  1. What3words for a delivery

Delivery companies know well the challenges with inconsistent and poor addresses in emerging markets. Addresses are often ambiguous or in many cases even non-existent. Poorly planned cities with sprawling street alleys often have never been assigned a proper system of street addresses. This makes it difficult for delivery drivers to find customers, and it often forces drivers to call customers for directions.

Three words: What3words is making a difference and taking the hassle out of street addresses. The company’s proprietary geocode system is designed to identify any location within a resolution of about 3 metres, and it has divided the world into 57 trillion 3m x 3m squares, and given each one a unique 3 word address. By providing customers with a three word address, delivery drivers can easily pinpoint a delivery location anywhere in the world, allowing them to deliver products on time and reducing the frustration of late deliveries.

Brazil: In Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro with close to 200,000 residents, a local co-operative, Carteiro Amigo (friendly postman), is using What3words’ app to offer 3 word addresses to favela residents. Rocinha is built on a steep hillside overlooking Rio de Janeiro and is a maze of thousands of tiny roads and alleys, making it very difficult to assign a street address system.

Expanding reach: A range of companies and organisations are using What3words’ technology around the globe. Mongol Post, Mongolia’s national postal delivery service, has adopted the what3words platform as its national addressing system. Mongolia covers an area nearly the size of the European Union, and with a large semi-nomadic population of 3 million people scattered across the country, citizens have to collect mail and packages from post office boxes often kilometres away. 

2. Traditional retail still dominates the African continent

Modern retail (PDF) is on the increase in sub-Saharan Africa, but traditional trade still dominates, contributing more than 90% of sales in most African markets, according to the Standard Bank Consumer Insights Report 2020. 

South Africa modern retail: South Africa is by far the most mature retail market and developed the biggest modern retail footprint in sub-Saharan Africa. The country’s shopping malls cover over 25 million m² of gross leasable area (GLA) in the country, compared to only about five million m² in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa. Outside of South Africa, according to Knight Frank, a retail consultancy, the Kenyan capital Nairobi has the greatest volume of modern retail floor space in sub-Saharan Africa and continues to develop as a hotspot.

Nigeria retail: In Nigeria, more than 95% of all retail transactions occur in traditional markets, but modern shopping centres are beginning to gain traction in the country. Nigeria’s first international-standard mall, The Palms Shopping Mall, opened its doors in Lagos in 2005.

Ethiopia retail: Government regulation in the country is hampering foreign investment in the retail sector and modern retail in Addis Ababa is still in the very early stages of development, compared to Kenya, its East African neighbour.

Pipeline: A large number of retail development projects are in the pipeline in sub-Saharan Africa, with most of the region’s major cities now having at least one modern retail mall. Retail developers are increasingly targeting secondary cities, and most developers are also concentrating their developments on well-located small-and medium-sized convenience shopping centres instead of the regional mega-malls.

4. Other news

Morocco B2B: Chari.ma is planning an international expansion after strong growth in Casablanca. The Moroccan B2B ecommerce app services traditional store owners in Morocco and also provides deliveries. The startup is planning an expansion into other countries French-speaking African countries such as Algeria, Tunisia, Ivory Coast and Senegal, and have raised a pre-seed funding round from HnS Invest Holding in 2019.

Kirana stores’ digital transformation: The digital transformation of just 10% of the 13 million kirana stores or traditional grocery retailers in India, could boost retail consumption by more than 5% and generate approximately 3.2 million new jobs, according to a new report from Accenture and Trust For Retailers and Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN).

Flipkart India: Flipkart Wholesale, a B2B marketplace of Flipkart, has started selling directly to kiranas or small retailers on its app. The Indian tech giant is looking to grow its market share in an increasingly competitive Indian retail sector. In 2018, U.S.-based retail giant, Walmart acquired an 81% controlling stake in Flipkart for US$16 billion.

Reliance & WhatsApp: Reliance plans to embed its ecommerce app JioMart into WhatsApp within the next six months, allowing 400 million users  to order products without having to leave the app.

Bukalapak Indonesia: CNBC reports how 3 friends created a multibillion-dollar business servicing Indonesia’s street stalls. 

Nigeria TradeDepot: CEO of TradeDepot Onyekachi Izukanne chats with Nairametrics about servicing the 1.5 million informal retailers in the country. 

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