BY RICHARD MUPONDE
A ZIMBABWE national living in the United Kingdom has launched an online shopping mall to improve trade in and delivery of products across Africa.
Michael Thindwa, the founder and CEO of AmStrat e-Mall, told Standardbusiness that in establishing the digital shopping mall across Africa, he had been motivated by the need to address bottlenecks exposed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic forced global economies to shut down, with very little movement of people, cargo and parcels across the world as airlines stopped flights.
AmStrat e-Mall allows businesses across Africa to set up online stores on the platform where they can sell their products and services remotely to clients across the world.
“AmStrat e-Mall aims to improve the delivery of services and products across the African continent.
“We launched it specifically in response to what we experienced this year when the pandemic shut down the world.
“This is the acceleration of digitisation and automation,” Thindwa said.
“Covid-19 has adversely impacted the free movement of people globally, hence the need for products and services to be delivered remotely online.”
He said online shopping platforms were bridging a gap that had always been there in the market.
“Our platform affords businesses across the continent the opportunity to set up their free branded online stores and upload their inventory free of charge,” Thindwa said.
“For the Zimbabwean market, prices are quoted in United States dollars.
“A wide range of businesses can set up shop from grocery shops to hardware stores, restaurants, health and beauty shops, technology, fashion and many more businesses.
“This is an opportunity for merchants and sellers to reduce costs of operation associated with traditional brick and mortar models of operation and to maximise their sales by selling to a global community based in the diaspora.
“According to research, businesses that do not innovate and adopt automated methods of delivery quickly become irrelevant by incurring high overheads, as retail space is expensive.
“Their products and services become expensive.”
Thindwa said AmStrat e-Mall gives business and their clients the convenience to do transactions from their homes, an aspect that is in line with the new normal, where human contact has been restricted to limit the spread of the pandemic.
He said customer support for the mall was available in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
The start-up has created employment for 20 people.
Thindwa said the platform, which is not limited to Zimbabweans, is set to inspire Africans on the need to start businesses.
This is expected to help grow African economies.