Ecommerce News

‘Everything ecommerce’ company excited about what it can do for SMEs


The Bob Group, an ecommerce company formed by the amalgamation of Bidorbuy and uAfrica, says it intends to drive the growth of small businesses by making online shopping more accessible on both sides of the coin and further decentralising logistics-related issues.

Andy Higgins, founder and managing director of uAfrica, tells Moneyweb the new firm is focused on prioritising merchants’ experiences without compromising on services offered to customers.

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“We have found that the Amazon model focuses a little too much on the consumer,” says Higgins.

“We saw the opportunity to bring everything together; the marketplace, online payments and more to give the seller a holistic experience.”

The company, which launched on Wednesday, says that unlike its competitors, including leading ecommerce giant Takealot, it uses a decentralised approach that allows for competitively priced services.

Tools and services

These include:

  • A tool that allows merchants to sync products from their own online stores to Bidorbuy easily, with a real-time solution for updates on products and inventory;
  • Shipping and tracking solutions;
  • A payment facilitator that gives merchants the opportunity to invite consumers to pay via their preferred payment method; and
  • A software-as-a-service solution providing technology for courier companies to run their entire business – including a driver app, customer and administration portals, and billing solutions.

“Sellers can expect a more cost-effective offering based on intuitive, easy-to-use selling and fulfilment tools,” says Higgins.

“Where previously we’ve focused exclusively on the marketplace, this amalgamation will allow us to provide merchant-empowering tools across all the sales channels they are active on, including their own websites and third-party channels.”

Higgins says merchants will be able to ship products from their own stores and locations as opposed to sending them to a distribution centre first.

Another way in which the new company will enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to thrive, he says, is by allowing them to choose the best courier option quickly – with Bob Group collecting quotes from various delivery companies on their behalf.

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Merchants will also be offered automated shipping labels, with tracking notifications offered to customers.

An option for enterprises of every size

Bidorbuy CEO Craig Lubbe says the merger means immensely powerful ecommerce tools and services can now be offered to South African businesses of all sizes.

“For merchants, this will mean spending less time on pulling together all the strands of an online business, and more time focused on offering exceptional customer service,” says Lubbe.

“This will also mean better shopping experiences for buyers at every stage of the process, from search to payment to delivery.”

Bob Group says it is particularly excited about what it can do for SMEs, as the tools it offers allows businesses to trade on their own terms.

Higgins, who also founded Bidorbuy in 1999 when he was 23 years old, says the bigger picture is to make ecommerce ubiquitous across South Africa.

“There is no reason why the shipping costs in and around Soweto are significantly higher than in Sandton. For me, the primary thing is to ensure there [are] effective logistics solutions across the board in the country.”

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Nondumiso Lehutso is a Moneyweb intern.



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