Home » Industry » Ecocash Launches Eco-Shopper

ECONET Wireless’ EcoCash on Tuesday launched EcoShopper, a service that will allow users to buy groceries directly from their EcoCash wallet, in a development that is Zimbabwe’s first real drive towards m-Commerce.

EcoShopper is a step beyond the traditional merchant payments already offered by the company’s mobile money operator. The service will enable over four million EcoCash subscribers to choose from a wide selection of grocery hampers from the EcoCash menu to be sent directly to the recipient, just as one would do when sending money.

In addition, customers can enjoy a smart shopping experience by purchasing from the EcoShopper website by browsing from their mobile phones, PCs, tablets or by the EcoShopper Android application. The service is available via the EcoCash USSD menu, a mobile website and a free Android application.

“Once a customer sends groceries from their phone, the grocery hampers can be collected at any of the over 40 National Foods depots,” explained Natalie Jabangwe-Morris, Head of Business for EcoCash. “Synonymous with global M-commerce and distribution trends, EcoCash has introduced a new wave of innovation to retailing that will benefit both manufacturers and retailers who wish to utilize the EcoShopper platform.”

Antony McKinnon, Marketing Director at NatFoods, said the service was a massive boost for customers and retailers alike. “It brings a whole new world of convenience to our customers. With EcoShopper, access to products is much easier.”

Customers have the option of choosing “baskets” of basic groceries, whose worth ranges from US$20 to US$60.

In a move that takes innovation a notch beyond the send money service, EcoShopper illustrates the true meaning of an all inclusive and interoperable value chain that gives consumers choice and convenience. With this offering, consumers will have the freedom of a payments system that services beyond electronic cash transfers.

While sending money, processing bill payments, savings and airtime purchases still remain pivotal uses of mobile payments, the day to day transactions of buying groceries, wares and merchandising of different products and services still account for the bulk of transactions in our everyday society. Typically, when one sends cash to a beneficiary, the money sent encompasses many other specific uses. The convenience of mobile money should shift towards providing ubiquitous options from the wallet, where consumers have many options to utilize their money from within the wallet ecosystem.

“If a customer wants to send money for groceries or for paying bills or for anything else, we must enable the consumer to do that by providing a multi-purpose wallet. EcoCash is driving towards a holistic approach to integrate mobile money more deeply into everyday life,” Said Jabangwe-Morris.

It is estimated that m-Commerce value will reach US$85 billion in Africa by next year. Innovation led firms are tapping into day-to-day transactions. An example of this is Starbucks collaboration with Twitter, launching the ‘Tweet a coffee’ service. Far ahead of the innovation curve in Africa, EcoCash is the first to provide an in-wallet grocery service complemented by a mobile web and Android application centric platform.

Source : Financial Gazette