Black Friday; a catalyst for driving sustainable e-commerce in Africa

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“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping” – Bo Derek.

In the difficult times we find ourselves, many are looking for ways and places to shop for quality products or get the best services on a budget. This year more than ever, there has been great hype about online shopping and particularly #BlackFriday.

The continuous advertisements and ‘’noise making’’ from brands and e-commerce platforms has made this shopping festival very popular in Ghana over the years. Africa’s leading online shopping platform Jumia, is believed to have introduced Black Friday to Ghanaians about 7 years ago. Since then, many other platforms and brands have jumped on to this bandwagon because it provides support for consumers through deals and discounts while ensuring that many sellers reach millions of consumers online. In fact, it’s a win / win situation. However, aside the commercial benefits of black friday, there are other added benefits which are well connected to sustainability. Over the past few years, a facet of e-commerce has emerged known as ‘’sustainable e-commerce’’.

Sustainable eCommerce implies conducting online retail in a way that does not exhaust natural resources and aims to satisfy the demands of the current generation without compromising the future ones. Below, we look at Black Friday as a catalyst for driving sustainable e-commerce in Ghana and Africa.

Environmental Protection – Climate change, global warming, waste disposal, fast fashion, deforestation, water, and air pollution are some of the current environmental issues. Can eCommerce reduce its footprints on the environment and become more eco-friendly? Of course they can! By the use of electric or solar powered motorcycles for delivery of orders, e-commerce companies can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into our environment.

The complete removal or reduction of plastic packaging materials used to deliver these online orders are also key to reducing the carbon footprint. A combination of these sustainable practices during this Black Friday season will help drive sustainability. Online shopping company Jumia has already used both strategies since the end of last year and continue to find ways to innovate and further promote sustainability. #JumiaBlackFriday presents the perfect opportunity for this.

Job Creation – In today’s world, many companies are using extreme measures such as lay-offs and salary cuts to stay afloat. The global economic meltdown is affecting even the huge brands and companies.

However, one advantage that e-commerce has, as it did during the covid-19 pandemic is to thrive where all others fail. Ironically, as others are laying off, e-commerce keeps creating more avenues for employment. The opportunities are unending. From administrative, warehouse operations, customer service, marketing, logistics teams, finance teams, sales teams, delivery associates, pick up station managers among others, there are many jobs being created along the e-commerce value chain. The number of hands needed to successfully deliver from the warehouse to the consumer keeps increasing exponentially everyday especially during a major sales campaign such as #JumiaBlackfriday.

Women Empowerment – An integral part of sustainable development in e-commerce is about the growth and empowerment of people, particularly women. Today, we see a massive improvement in the number of women in e-commerce. Everywhere along the e-commerce value chain, we see women. Even in male dominated departments, we find a host of women excelling and making great impacts. The situation is more evident because we see an increase in women taking up leadership positions. For example, about 41% of the entire staff strength of e-commerce giant Jumia Ghana are women. Of these, about 48% of the management team including the CEO, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Operations Officer are all women. This is a step in the right direction as it empowers more women to work hard and take up leadership roles in the future.

Economic Growth – Every country’s development hinges mainly on economic growth. SME growth, profitability, inflation, foreign exchange are among the many levers responsible for such developments. However, when this is further narrowed down, it is visible that the ability of individuals and companies to maximize their sales and reach more consumers is so vital. Black Friday gives all sellers a unique opportunity to scale their businesses by reaching millions of online consumers and engaging with them. This helps to increase sales, tailor specific solutions to the needs of consumers and understand current trends as well as behavorial patterns. All the above enables sellers to make informed business decisions and grow.

The 3 broad pillars of sustainability are all pivotal in ecommerce and they form the base of many ecommerce practices. Profits, Planets and People are what we all live and work so hard for. It is expedient that in every aspect of human endeavor , particularly in ecommerce, businesses and individuals pay close attention to this. #JumiaBlackFriday is on from 4th – 27th November 2022 and offers a great opportunity for Ghanaians to shop online for quality products at affordable prices. With daily flash sales, Treasure Hunts, Games and many more, consumers will benefit from the biggest online sale of the year. While we seek to make the lives of Ghanaians easier and better through the internet with this, we also need to focus on sustainability in e-commerce.

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