Mobile phones are enabling African countries to leapfrog generations of communications technology as they spread rapidly. Usable with attribution and link to: FutureAtlas.com (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
They say we are a dotcom generation always on the lookout for a great deal and online are the greatest short cut to achieving this greed. However unlike your conventional online stores the ones in Uganda seem to be operating in a different world than the reality and are more like advertising shoot offs for the huge corporate companies like MTN, AIRTEL that have mobile payment solutions. There is no value for money in any of the products they post on their websites given the high prices that stand side-by-side with them which in comparison with physical stores I would rather do with getting knocked over by a boda man than clicking on the website to add them in my cart because i wont be saving any shilling shopping online.
If you browse through many of the products on the sleek designed sites they are not built to offer us good deals but more to remind us how poor we are not to afford them and how they are not for us. For example a canon 60d 18-135mm lens black costs 3,392,000 Uganda shillings on Jumia but the same lens costs a paltry 537,000 Uganda shillings at a physical store like game stores in Lugoggo in Uganda and the same lens costs 600 dollars on amazon and eBay. Could this be down to the fact in Uganda processes have not been scaled up for us to shop in search places by the average man given many sites use credit cards while Ugandans are being hoodwinked by bankers handing them visa debit cards in the name of enabling them to shop on like where they see the blue and white visa sign. Even then most local sites have enabled mobile money payments however in the process have doubled the prices in the process t-shirts cost 20,000-65,000 while in a physical store it’s 15,000 for the low end shopper.
One wonders are those with access to online out there to fleece the new users of such tools online that enable us to shop online under the pretext of delivering the items to our doors, paying for them using our cellphones. Street vendors the closest one comes to an online selling site given they operate under the same context getting goods out of the major stores into the face of the client had cheap goods and the excuse was that they were not paying fixed costs like rent that accumulates to millions in Kampala for good spots, then there is the KCCA license fees and of let we have the URA fees that are being introduced to the business world of late thus the low prices they would take for their goods yet these sites have simply increased prices and this doesn’t even cover delivery costs. The websites were built as a form of rebellion against the mega stores of the time that were pricey to save the least however those popping up in Uganda are sticking out their bucks to milk us of any shillings we have no wonder non of the mega store is in a rash to cut their pricing nor set up rival sites to counter these mushroom-ing with all sorts of products up for sale.
So question is why are these online shopping centers still very expensive given they don’t have these fixed costs except probably where the goods are held before dispatch, the advertising costs but even then that does not warrant them having high prices levied for their goods or is online shopping still a sport for the very rich with 21” sized smart phones and unlimited zeros on their mobile money accounts owned and run by their cronies to keep the rest of us out . So the low end shopper who doesn’t have your own addresses except the landlords mango tree that holds the boda boda stage online shopping is still in your future not the present.