Bob Group Launches to Offer e-Commerce Marketplace to South Africans

Bob Group Launches to Offer e-Commerce Marketplace to South Africans

Bidorbuy and uAfrica have partnered to launch Bob Group, an all-in-one ecommerce platform in South Africa. In addition to a marketplace, inventory management, order fulfillment, online payments, and courier software-as-a-service, Bob Group provides businesses with a full range of ecommerce services.

Due to the new company’s decentralized logistics strategy, services can be offered at more affordable prices. Andy Higgins, a co-founder of Bidorbuy and uAfrica, will head up Bob Group. Without sacrificing service quality, Higgins claimed they are more seller-friendly than their rivals. He stated that sellers should expect a more cost-effective solution based on intuitive, simple-to-use selling and fulfilment capabilities.

“Sellers can expect a more cost-effective offering based on intuitive, easy-to-use selling and fulfilment tools,” he said.

“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 own websites and third-party channels.”

Higgins told MyBroadband that although the group will now comprise over 100 employees, they are returning to their startup roots.

“As such, we do not have C-suite level executives. I will be the group’s managing director, supported by an extremely competent management team,” he said.

With the likes of Makro, Takealot and incoming Amazon, Bob Group will be preparing to compete with global digital powerhouses. It begs the issue of why Higgins and his group believe they can take on these ecommerce giants. They contend that with less than 3% of retail in South Africa being done online, the country is still in the early stages of an ecommerce revolution.

While acknowledging that a strong logistical network is essential for success, Higgins stated that they would mostly compete against these multinational firms at the marketplace level.

“We see the increased attention on ecommerce as a positive for the industry, enabling South Africa to play catch up, benefiting all local ecommerce players.”

Higgins said they would predominantly compete against these global players at a marketplace level but acknowledges that a well-established logistics network is crucial for success.

“We will, therefore, be leveraging uAfrica’s logistics expertise and invest in improving our logistics capability — both for the marketplace and to empower our merchants,” he said.

Bob Group is a rival to Takealot, whose marketplace controls South Africa’s online retail business. The biggest distinction is that Takealot adopted a decentralized logistics strategy, whereas Bob Group adopted a centralized logistics strategy. Orders are shipped from a few sizable warehouses or distribution centers that Takealot manages. Orders placed on the marketplace operated by the Bob Group, in contrast, are delivered from the seller to the customer.

Bob Group will offer several services to sellers, including:

  • A tool for merchants to synchronise products between their online store and Bidorbuy easily, and real-time updates to products and inventory
  • Shipping and tracking system
  • A payment facilitator giving merchants the ability to let buyers pay with their preferred payment option
  • Software-as-a-service providing technology for courier companies to run their entire business, including a driver app, customer and administration portals, and billing