Western Union has unveiled a new payment option that allows Amazon customers in Kenya to pay in local currency for their Amazon purchases.
The company in cross-border, cross-currency money movement is offering the service in 10 countries initially. These include Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand.
This service is being offered to enable customers who prefer to pay in cash to shop conveniently at Amazon.
Amazon PayCode new cross-border payment option
Western Union’s platform is powering Amazon’s new cross-border payment option, called Amazon PayCode, by processing the complex foreign exchange, settlement and money movement requirements for international e-commerce transactions.
After selecting PayCode on the Amazon checkout page, customers will be sent a code, along with instructions on how to pay in person at a participating Western Union® agent location.
The move by Western Union and Amazon will provide greater access to online goods for customers who have largely been excluded from e-commerce shopping due to lack of accepted payment methods.
Expanding customer access and closing the payments gap
Forrester Research estimates that cross-border shopping will represent 20 per cent of e-commerce by 2022, with sales reaching USD 630 billion.
Choice, quality and cost are the main motivations for customers to shop online from overseas. But, there are challenges and concerns about the lack of payment options for those who prefer to pay in person or those who do not have access to international credit cards or debit cards.
“We’re helping to unlock access to Amazon.com for customers who need and want items that can only be found online in many parts of the world,” said Khalid Fellahi, SVP and General Manager of Western Union Digital.
Convenience choice for cross-border buyers and sellers
He added, “This is a great example of two global brands innovating and collaborating to bring customers more convenience and choice. In a world where cross-border buyers and sellers are often located on different continents and in completely different financial ecosystems, our platform is ideally suited to solving the complexity of collecting local currency and converting it into whatever currency merchants need on the other end.”
Amazon General Manager for Emerging Payments, Mani Sundaram, said, “Amazon is committed to enabling customers anywhere in the world to shop on Amazon. A big part of that is to allow customers to pay for their cross-border online purchases in a way that is most convenient for them.”
Sundaram added that the Amazon PayCode leverages the reach of Western Union to make cross-border online shopping a reliable and convenient experience for customers who do not have access to international credit cards, or prefer to pay in cash.
E-commerce in Africa creating new opportunities
E-commerce is growing quickly in Africa creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to expand their market access and join value chains.
Already, Tuskys Supermarkets has launched a dedicated online store powered by the Amazon Online retail engine.
The platform is hosted by the Amazon Web Services (AWS). It has a total of 11 easy to navigate departments ranging from furniture, electronics, crockery, Mavazi, Mobile Accessories and home appliances among others.
As part of its business development plans, Tuskys also operates the Mavazi Lifestyle clothing stores in Kenya and Uganda.
Tuskys CEO Dan Githua said the new online store was developed at a cost of more than Kshs30 million.
E-commerce opportunities in Uganda, Zambia
In a report titled Uganda Rapid eTrade Readiness Assessment, the government has invested significant resources in implementing ICT infrastructure throughout the country.
UNCTAD adds that there are several e-commerce investment opportunities in mobile-only Zambia where some 1.4 million Zambian adults representing 17 per cent of the adult population derive their main source of income from owning and running their own business.