SOUTH AFRICA – Online marketplace Bidorbuy has joined forces with e-logistics firm uAfrica to form Bob Group, a new e-commerce platform with a special focus on small businesses.
Bob Group, a new merchant- and consumer-focused company, will offer everything e-commerce to all local consumers and companies operating online, whether they are looking to sell, buy – or both.
Bidorbuy says that based on its success as an online shopping and auction marketplace, the merger means merchants will now get a one-stop platform offering a set of e-commerce services, including payments, logistics and marketplace.
The COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed e-commerce in SA, fuelling a dramatic increase in the number of local e-shoppers.
Bob Group now joins the ballooning e-commerce sector in SA, which has experienced a double-digit surge since 2020.
According to GeoPoll, this increase was primarily influenced by the restrictions placed on traditional retail stores that led to the reduction of in-store shopping, fuelling a boom in online shopping that led to the birth of new e-commerce players.
Bob Group sidestepped competition fears, saying where others in SA’s e-commerce environment have embraced a centralised logistics model, it stands out for its decentralised approach, allowing it to price services much more competitively.
Bidorbuy CEO Craig Lubbe says the merger means “immensely powerful e-commerce tools and services” can now be offered to South African businesses of any size.
Services offered by the Bob Group include a tool that allows merchants to sync products from their online store to Bidorbuy, and a real-time solution for updates to products, as well as inventory, shipping and tracking solutions.
The company says it also acts as “a payment facilitator that provides merchants with the opportunity to have buyers pay with their preferred payment option” and is also offering “a software-as-a-service solution providing technology for courier companies to run their entire business”.
This, Bob Group says, includes a driver app, customer and administration portals, as well as all billing solutions.
“We believe SMEs drive the economy, and e-commerce in SA represents a significant growth opportunity, as evidenced by the current amount of investment activity locally and from abroad,” said Lubbe.
“As such, we are committed to empowering businesses to unlock new revenue opportunities by offering more efficient services and tools.”
uAfrica co-founder Andy Higgins comments, “Our vision at Bob Group is to connect, empower and support people as they transform their lives through e-commerce.
“We are more seller-friendly than our competitors, while at the same time we aren’t compromising on the excellent service buyers have come to expect from Bidorbuy.
“Sellers can expect a more cost-effective offering based on intuitive, easy-to-use selling and fulfilment tools.
“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 websites and third-party channels.”
Higgins says through the development and growth of uAfrica, a logistics e-commerce tool that streamlines order fulfilment and shipping processes, he has been able to see first-hand how online businesses, especially SMEs, can thrive.