eCommerce taking off in Mauritius

eCommerce in Mauritius - eShopping, internet banking Mauritius, online buying in Mauritius

In Mauritius cyber – island, we are offered the facilty of internet and mobile banking by our local banks (Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) and State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) for instance)

However, no promising signs of eCommerce in Mauritius are yet seen i.e Purchasing of goods online at a local shop and the product being delivered at your door. In an island as small as Mauritius, with careful logistics planning we could expect delivery within 48 business hours. And online payment being made available through the secured gateways by MasterCard or Visa could be implemented as both are accepted by MCB/SBM.

3 years ago, in 2007, the eCommerce landscape in Mauritius was characterized by a lack of e-shopping culture and therefore no prominent eCommerce service by any Mauritian Incorporated company. Until one fine day, TADA!!!!!
The Wine Store (www.thewinestore.mu) sees the day.

The Wine Store - online shopping in Mauritius

As published on its website, the first eCommerce Shop offers:

    • Choice: a selection of more than 200 wines and 100 spirits from 15 countries
    • Price: very competitive prices plus regular Promotions
    • Expert advice: food pairing, our sommelier’s ratings, pre-mixed cases, discover our new products
    • Delivery: choose to collect your bottles at our nearest pick-up point or opt for a door- to-door delivery
    • Rewards: each purchase allows you to earn points to access various levels of our Rewards Program with exciting gifts for you to look forward to or special invitations to exclusive events

The initiator of the website is Scott Consumer Goods Ltd which is the importer of commercial consumer goods. Thewinestore.mu has the mechanism of online purchase of wine and spirits from an online catalog of wines and spirits imported from abroad. The payment mechanism is provided by an agreement signed between Scott and MCB. Home delivery upon purchase is available within a delay of 2-3 weekdays. Delivery is charged according to the rates of delivery company TnT (Rs. 125). As for Free delivery, there are pick-up points locations as described on the website’s customer service section: http://www.thewinestore.mu/customer_service.php

The eCommerce platform is powered by Open Source technology: Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP.  The website layout is unfortunately table-based and apparently there is no Google Analytics tracking.  There is an interesting “Making of the thewinestore.mu” on Scott Website. However, for me, it’s more of the Photoshop process of deriving a logo for the website. IMHO a better logo could had been chosen incorporating a Wine design. Most importantly (or dangerously I should say), there is no SSL Certificate on the website, apart from the fact that there is no Privacy Policy.

On the Marketing aspect of the Website, no social media (facebook community, twitter.com, blog etc) adoption effort has been taken, Yet. However online banners on the Special Launch offer seems to be present in local websites:

Another campaign for promoting online purchase is: obtaining points by buying bottles on the eStore (for eg. buy 6 bottles to win 200 points).

To conclude, I would rather hesitate to purchase from such a website. However, Already, I am happy from the possibility of buying a product online in Mauritius and the product being delivered by a service. (yesterday I was surfing and comparing the possibility of a local supermarkets, why not offering online commerce eg. http://courses.monoprix.fr/magasin-en-ligne/courses-en-ligne.html )!

I suggest that thewinestore.mu, from a developer’s and internet marketer there are tons of improvements that can or should be done ! the site has taken birth in the Web 2.0 period which is fastly embracing the look of a semantic web platform (see HTML 5/CSS3). Fortunately, the infrastructure like payment and delivery seems to well set up. This is a good milestone achieved. The another milestone is the correct maintenance of the website and order processing.

Congratulations to the first eStore WebTeam/ Marketing Team and Best of Luck!

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28 thoughts on “eCommerce taking off in Mauritius

  1. 3 years later… We don’t really have that take off i wished, but nevertheless, more Mauritians are now buying on the web and getting their item shipped to Mauritius at a more affordable price.

    This clearly shows that these Mauritians are now aware and conscious that internet banking and online credit card payment is secure on the most of the sites on the web (trusted ones). Yet, this is only the beginning and I have noticed that many Mauritians are ebaying and amazoning (if I can use those words) mainly because of the price (said before) and large availability of products.

    And yes, we need more Mauritians e-commerce web sites ;)
    Giving away discounts for online purchases is indeed a good idea!

    • Yeah since z big super stores like eBay and amazons offer lots of products at very good price and delivery option, mtians are used to purchase online from these sites.

      However these sites are very professionally designed and maintained- as i remember have eva seen amazon down or bugged despite this amount of traffic/ order processing.

      We need more ‘professional’ eCommerce websites in Mauritius which wld set the trend of new business models, that of pure-play companies , for eg eBay, a click and mortar company needed to physical showroom for its products, lower cost and hence cheaper price.

  2. The webdesign is very poor and online purchase is not in the Mauritian culture: most of afraid of e-fraud, and rightly so since many still use Internet ExploDer and do not know what a firewall is. Laudable attempt at e-commerce though (since it’s an attempt at last).

    • nobody would buy from a website which not visually appealing and which has a privacy policy at least. such a policy would define what personal info are being stored on the cookies of the website as well as during the account creation process. But above all, not all Mauritians have a credit card and fear of online fraud scam or what if the correct product is not delivered compared to the one ordered?!?

  3. Nice overview Ashesh. I think that a lot has been said in the post as well as the comments. This is a first step but stays quite small in terms of good creation. The incentive is laudable though. I don’t really see how they’ll be tracking performance and improving on that as well as on conversion rates… think that they’ll need to find that out by themselves or pay a marketing agency to work on this.

    In terms of HTML, I would not have advised them to go towards HTML5/CSS3, they are still in draft versions and browsers like IE are not yet ready to understand these. It would be better for them (in terms of quality of service as well as peace of mind) to go by the current standards of HTML4 (strict or not) and CSS2.1.

    • Hi sachin!
      Welcome on my blog :)

      The marketing campaign of the eStore is in the form of billboard banners and in the shelf decoration in the hypermarket where the spirits and wine are displayed.

      i think the web team need to rethink on the design concept of the site. It is so ‘HSC’ level of graphic designing and implementation

      I think the store concept will work and optimist about more stores to come. Am currently working for a famous indianwear online store and optimistic abt z possibility of online reservation or any facility like that revolving around the business model…

      Keep connected

    • As peter crouch commented on the blog post via Facebook’s comment:
      “or if u want to buy electronic products its through http://www.themultishop.com/, eCommerce is slow but its progressing”

      Yes, indeed eCommerce is Progressing, hope fully with the legal infrastructure set up: http://asheshr.com/2009/05/29/the-mauritian-pki-model/

      themultishop.com seems to be a nice online store set up on Joomla, powered by VirtueMart extension. Apparently Kurt Avish is powering it, but don’t know. The possibility of Paypal payment is cool, but I wonder how the company retrieves the money since paypal Mauritius does not allow this, YET.

      The page special Mauritius: http://www.themultishop.com/browse-the-shop/special-mauritius seems to be interesting.
      However I haven’t yet about the delivery facility yet…

      Again, best of luck for themultishop.com

  4. Hi Ashesh…

    Nice article by the way…

    I’m one of the founder of TheMultiShop.com. Just replying to answer a couple of your questions above…

    Paypal – TheMultiShop.com LLC is a registered offshore company in the United States but owned by Mauritians. Thus benefiting from US Paypal service. Mauritians can now verify their account in order to make payments through Paypal… So no worries here…

    Delivery – Most of the products are hand delivered by the staffs and 99% of the products are sourced from the US or UK. 1% from Hong Kong for items such as Faucets etc… For the moment delivery are within 15 days and international shipments are done through specific express courier such as DHL, Fedex or UPS and of course fully insured.

    Thanks for the good luck… Have a nice one!

    Cheers
    Kamal

    • Hello Kamal!

      Nice to hear from the founder of TheMultiShop.com and the clarifications on the new online shop…

      As for the company webDHL is concerned, it is interesting to read on it from http://www.webdhl.com/main/. I would be glad if any business opportunity could take place between us in the field of Web 2.0.

      If the product is good and marketable, I think the appropriate Buzz should be made to inform Mauritian about the possibility of visiting an online catalog and why not buying online….

      Again, the culture of eShopping in Mauritius, is still in infancy stage….

  5. Hi Ashesh…

    Cheers for the reply…

    You are right… Online shopping is at a very early stage in Mauritius… I think it will take a couple of years until many people will be at ease to shop online etc… But quite a few people do shop on sites like Amazon, Ebay etc but are unaware of the extra fees or hidden charges such as Duties, VAT, clearance fees, insurance etc… So just a quick advice for those planning to buy online, be careful of hidden charges.

    I think to promote such facilities, financial institutions should make an effort to provide a proper banking platform to start with. I tried the SBM gateway, but… lol…

    @Wakakaka: For the paypal thingy, you are right, noobs don’t know how to do it :)

    Cheers
    Kamal

  6. Hello Ashesh,

    Winestore’s website is very secure. The payment page where you enter all your card details is hosted from a secure server by Mastercard. In addition, if you are a MCB cardholder, you will be prompted to enter your SecureCode / VbV password.

    I can tell you that there are more and more companies going online and the e-commerce platform is in great demand. Another one which just went online is
    http://www.legourmetcoffeebar.mu. You can order your food online and get it delivered within Ebene.

    I must admit that we are still lagging behind because now we need to talk about mobile commerce and the various marketing tools that a smart phone can provide. An example is the check in app which works with your facebook profile..anyway it is a culture and we should not count solely on banks or big companies but we need to have some creative minds with some guts who can dare to do things….

    Nice blog..

    Cheers
    J

    • hello jaysen!

      welcome to my blog and thanks for this very insighful comment in eCommerce in Mauritius.

      i think you are from MCB. it wld be nice to know that creative minds obtain support from banks to setup the payment infrastructure as i dnt thnk majority of mauritians have a credit card.

    • Hi Jaysen,
      Thanks for mentioning us, I think after 6 months after having introduced our website in the Ebene area, we are quite pleased from the response we have received from our site and how our clients have been using it
      We are now looking at extending our delivery service to the Rose Hill, Beau Bassin area as well as the Phoenix area very soon.

  7. hi guys,
    well i think there’s a lil bit of a misunderstanding here and that’s why i suppose e-commerce aren’t working well in our island as people think that they have to have a credit card to shop online. Basically not everyone has a credit card and if people don’t get the message right it is going to be a flop. To shop online customers can check out with either a DEBIT CARD or a credit card which means 95% of the the population holds a debit card ALREADY. Bare in mind that 75% of the population are well educated and internet aware.
    So my suggestion here would be if anyone can pass this message across newspapers ad magazines it would be a big hit.
    THANKS EVERYONE
    u doin a fantastic job!

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  10. Hi, we are about to launch a mauritian online shopping mall, with the possibility to buy online and have delivered at home.
    The site will be released by end of July. We are still under development, doing marketing to attract mechants to sell online.
    We are also offering back end tools to manage a business + a cool online web designer where it is possible to visually create a complete full fledge website without programming knowledge.
    Just preview what we are offering on our website.

  11. Hi,

    Our company, Fody Technologies has been offering customers to pay for our services since 3 years now using their credit cards securely via our website. While we still receive payments by cheque/cash and via internet banking, we do see an increase in credit card online transactions.

    The only problem I see, is with some banks which still do not authorize internet transactions via Debit Cards and instead force their customers to obtain a Credit Card. Unfortunately this penalize a lot of people and discourage e-commerce.

    Benoit

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  13. Hi..
    Nice blog and very interesting topic…
    The topic above is all about B2C (business to Customer) e-commerce in mauritius..how about B2B (business to business) E-commerce? for example e-auction for procurement process

  14. Hi everyone,

    After one year, it seems that things are going a little better now for e-commerce in Mauritius. We run a web agency and have been working with quite a few customers on the integration of MasterCard gateway by MCB (MIGS) for them to take payment online through their websites.

    Unfortunately, as Benoit mentioned it, an effort should be made by local banks to accept online payment with debit cards (Maestro) as a considerable number of Mauritius still don’t own a credit card.

    Regards,
    Val

    • Hello Val,
      Welcome to my blog!

      I think if epayment solutions are the barrier to eCommerce popularising in Mauritius, then maybe authorities could think about alternative payment methods..Mauritians are fond of ‘Scratching’ cards to win Loto or Millionaire, whateva. What if they could buy credit coupons at shops and then enter the code on the merchant’s site.

      Slowly the culture of Mauritians is gradually adopting technology, for eg. I read ‘Etoile cards'(www.etoile.mu) to pay bus fare on Rose Hill Transport…

      I believe that if there is a demand for such tech facilities, surely local banks (at least the most innovative ones) will seriously consider ePayment via debit/credit cards or any new ‘internet card’ fuelling eCommerce in Mauritius.

      Ciao

  15. when we talk about e-commerce, we need to talk from both technology as well as business perspective. Many companies in USA was fail in doing e-commerce when the first time e-commerce was introduced in that country cos they forgot to think about the business perspective. So, those companies, they built an attractive website, go online then after 2-3 years they shut down their website..no one wants to buy their products online either their products too expensive or the problem in shipping and delivery..so if your company want to go online think carefully from both side, economy or business side as well as technology…people will not buy your products and services online if they can cheaper and faster from traditional market…

    • Hello Jaana,

      You are right..people buy online because of:
      Convenience (their own free time to do the purchase)

      Price (the ability for them to consider a cheaper price – the shop has no costs like warehouse rent, showroom etc.)

      Delivery – if they are assured to receive the product within a required timeframe + also what will be the shipping costs.

      2012 is ending and I wonder that even at Government Level, there is no big push towards moving to an eCommerce era in Mauritius. Maybe the Ministry of ICT is focused on improving the infrastructure (High-Speed Internet Connection, FIbre Optics, Cyber laws, PKI, ICT Literacy – computer clubs etc.)

  16. Hi, we are on the way to launch the first online commercial store website for restaurants, supermarkets and suppliers around Mauritius, including possibilities to purchase products directly from supermarkets and suppliers, online restaurant table bookings and menu order etc. additionally, full integration to social media and our own social networking system. However, we are having a last small issue, all system used through our website are directly connected to Paypal, we need to find a way to connect Paypal to a local merchant account provider or credit card, if someone can provide us any technical hints of how to do this, that would be great and solve all our issues.

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