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Conquering barriers to e-commerce in Africa's e-tail business : a case of Spree.

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In Africa, organisations that want to increase their involvement in the multilateral trading system need to overcome the e-commerce barriers in the continent. Many have failed due to their deficiency on contextual African business acumen and comprehensive adaptability. They have come short on many instances to understand the full advantages and opportunities offered by e-commerce adoption in Africa as opposed to global strategies. This study analyses a South African case-related e-commerce business model to investigate the barriers to successful venturing into African market through electronic commerce. These constraints and barriers range from technological, socio-economic and cultural issues including governmental and cognitive barriers. Using a qualitative research methodology with a sample size of 12 sample subjects, the study finds among other findings that the most pertinent issues to the adoption of e-commerce are infrastructural, socio-economic and cognitive conditions. The availability of Internet infrastructure, an efficient logistics system, the ability to offer customers various methods of online payments, the choice of language as well as management’s understanding of the core business, are found as the most important factors for the successful adoption of e-commerce. Findings of the study also indicate that developing mobile applications which can counterbalance limited Internet accessibility, is important for supporting the growth of e-commerce activities. Lastly, the study reveals factors which support the success, growth and sustainability of e-commerce adoption. Although it is beneficial for online companies to offer a personalised experience and consider cultural differences, a brand’s identity as well as an understanding of customer demographics, take on a more important role in driving e-commerce sustainability and success.


Master of Commerce in Management Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.


Electronic commerce., Internet Marketing., E-tailing., E-commerce., Spree., Theses - Management Studies.