Local E-commerce Platform to Go Global

By Kaleab Girma, Addisinsight.net, August 18, 2020

HellOOmarket, a local online shopping platform established by Belcash Technology Solutions Plc and Amasis plc, is going global, allowing Small and medium-sized enterprises in Ethiopia to sell their products worldwide.

Through the website, HellOOmarket buyers worldwide will soon be able to order Ethiopian made items, make payments through international payment gateways (Visa, MasterCard, Union Pay, Paypal ) and receive their shipments via DHL.

HellOOmarket, which was launched in January 2020, expanded its operation operations globally through different partnerships, including Bank of Abyssinia (access to International Credit Cards via VISA) as well as DHL, a global logistics company. 

Abyssinia became the First Bank in Ethiopia to implement a digital payment gateway that allowed businesses in Ethiopia to accept online payments using global credit cards. 

The Bank partnered with Visa, a US-based financial company two weeks ago, opening doors for Ethiopian businesses to take their products to the world stage.

Small and medium enterprises to sell their products through HellOOmarket will first enter into an agreement with the company and take introductory training on the platform and get ongoing assistance in marketing, customer retention, quality control, and logistic integration.

The enterprises will then place their products in a warehouse, owned by Belcash, where the quality and quantity of the products are checked before making it available on the platform.

“The manufacturers themselves will set the price for the products, and we only add shipment cost and our margins,” said Mahdi Abdelnur, HellOOMarket director

When orders and payments are placed on the HellOOmarket, the company will receive the money from Abyssinia Bank, ship the items to the buyers via DHL and transfer the cash to the enterprises.

HellOOMarket that sells a selection of leather products, traditional clothing, souvenirs coffee, shoes, jewelry, and other items made by Small and medium-sized enterprises was launched a year ago with an estimated investment of one million dollars.

The platform was first designed for the local market with the primary aim of allowing local suppliers and manufacturers to promote and sell their products here in Ethiopia.

In the begging HellOOmarket operated in Addis Ababa and expanded its operations to Ethiopia in April 2020 with the support of Ethiopian Postal Office (EMS) and the help of the Livelihood Improvement for Women & Youth (LI-WAY) program, a multimillion-dollar five-year program, that aims to improve sustainable poverty reduction and social stability in Addis Ababa.

The e-commerce platform, integrated with electronic payments systems, has a delivery system in place through HelloCash agents, the Ethiopian post around the country.

The local payments are conducted via mobile money through HelloCash, and additional payment methods are gradually being added to the platform.

The expansion of HellOOmarket is not limited to selling products made in Addis Ababa to the Global Market said Vince Mountaga DIOP, CEO of BelCash

“HellOOmarket is currently building a network of regional warehouses nationwide, the network is equipped with all the digital facilities to accommodate orders, payments, microloans, and logistic” added Vince

 “We want to unlock Ethiopian small and medium enterprises nationwide and provide the African continent with a unique eCommerce model,” Vince told Addis Insight. 

The e-commerce sector had lagged in Ethiopia despite huge potential. However, recent developments in the legislation of e-commerce law and other conducive conditions implemented to allow digital payments further reinforce this sector’s potential.

The now internationally recognized Footwear Company Solerebels was able to reach such global dominance operating from Ethiopia.

Bethlehem Tilahun, the founder of SoleRebels, sold her items online through Amazon and shipped the products from Ethiopia.

However, such operations require access to a Visa card, which many Ethiopians don’t have. But now local producers who don’t have such access can sell their items through HellOOmarket, without having visa cards, their own online selling platforms, or distribution channels.  

“The next Alibaba will be African; Its value will not be recognized by the number of zeros on the stock exchange but by the number of jobs created and its immediate Global social impact, HellOOmarket is and will remain at the head of the race.” Said Vince. 

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