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Darijan Boskovic

Africa holds opportunities for digital natives, but the continent must prioritise digitally-enabled socioeconomic growth

By Darijan Boskovic, Sales Director at Infobip Africa

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Africa holds huge economic potential – in almost every area – and the continent’s youthful population structure represents tremendous opportunity within the modern digital era. But this calls for the continent to prioritise digitally enabled socioeconomic growth.

There are plenty of opportunities for digital-native brands in Africa, which by their nature, are positioned to sidestep many of the continent’s historical challenges, including infrastructure deficit, low levels of financial inclusion and a lack of access to information.

Digital natives are typically more cost-efficient. They have agility and flexibility, require minimal infrastructure, can be borderless and operate free of time zones. Simply put, a digitally native business is one that was born online and controls its entire Customer Experience (CX) – from factory to consumer – digitally.

Reduces reliance on physical infrastructure

Digital native companies, built through the flexibility and innovation of the cloud, don’t need to rely on physical infrastructures and have more technological tools at their disposal to enable seamless collaboration.

This is a huge advantage, particularly across Africa where traditional businesses are hamstrung by physical, legacy infrastructure and the difficulties presented by tax, legal and other regulatory barriers.

For the customer, digital native enterprises offer just as many benefits, including faster service driven by automation, greater product innovation, increased transparency and access to support, as well as information whenever and wherever they want. At the same time, customers benefit from having their transactions executed in real-time, giving rise to an improved CX.

For digital native organisations to manage the entire customer journey effectively, customer communication must be done via a single platform, which can offer several capabilities. These include quicker deployment of solutions through a plug and play system, with minimal technical integration and out of the box solutions.

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A customer engagement platform must also be able to deliver higher levels of personalisation by integrating customer data for more tailored campaigns, and better reporting through a 360-degree view of the customer, with accurate data that can be tracked by any channel. For example, a tailored and personalised campaign would dynamically show content, product recommendations and specific offers based on previous customer actions, browsing behaviour, buying history, demographics and other personal information. Such campaigns can be leveraged to not only engage customers, but also to increase repeat purchases, drive sales and increase conversion.

What the future holds

By 2030, it is expected that digital-native brands will offer rapid, low-cost development, borderless reach and endless possibilities for collaboration. The market and customer demands are expected to change in tandem.

According to Allianz, millennials – most of whom are digital natives – will make up 75% of the global labour force by 2025. Companies that don’t follow the digital path will slowly start to lag behind, putting digital native brands in an even stronger position.

A primary enabler for digital-native brands is the availability of seed funding, venture capital funding or direct investment (foreign or local) for growth and expansion purposes. Other enablers are favourable laws and regulations that effectively create a level playing field and lower barriers to entry into the brand’s industry vertical of choice.

As with everything in today’s world, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution – especially in Africa. However, constant innovation and disruption to the market remain key. Even digital natives cannot afford to lag behind. They must be aware of any changes in the market and focus on their core business while partnering with other companies that can help drive additional value.

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Any business of any size or origin can take advantage of the challenges across the African continent. It all comes down to providing a strong, efficient and financially beneficial experience that will improve the day-to-day lives of consumers.

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