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To buy online in Malawi is quiet easy if you know what you need . E-commerce in Malawi is still new technology which the majority of Malawians buyers are yet to adopt . And no wonder the number of online stores in Malawi is relatively small. In fact few people in Malawi have bought things in Malawi. As such the idea of buying online or online stores in Malawi remains a mystery to many.
E-commerce in Malawi, the Challenges
Low Internet Penetration
E-commerce in Malawi is very uncommon. You rarely hear of people discussing online transactions on the streets or in minibuses. When it comes to buying and selling goods the traditional flea market dominate the talks, unless the talk is on importation of cars from Japan. There are many possible explanations for the low e-commerce usage in Malawi. One possible cause is the low internet penetration rate in the country. Malawi is among countries with the lowest internet penetration in Africa with only about 1.8 million users as of 31 December 2017 representing 9.5% penetration of the population (Internet World Stats)
However, positive trends show that the number of internet users is increasing annually. The current internet growth rate is 12%. With the increase usage of mobile internet more people have the opportunity to join the internet world. Hence, this is the dawn of embracing online business in Malawi. This is the right time to start investing in eCommerce in Malawi.
Lack of Proper Payment Gateways
The other possible reasons buying online in Malawi is not popular is due to challenges in payment gateways. In countries, where e-commerce is vibrant, there are more secured payment gateways that webmasters easily integrate on their online stores.
However, it is hard to integrate payment gateways like PayPal on online stores in Malawi. But the good thing is that it is now easy to create a PayPal account in Malawi than it was in the past.
The best news is that Ecobank Malawi has launched a payment gateway which Malawians can integrate on their online stores.
On a similar note in previous years it was hard to have visa debit cards that allow people to buy online in Malawi. Having a bank card issued in Malawi that allows Malawians to buy online was then a privilege for a few people.
Things are better now with the newly introduced Chip embedded Visa Debit Cards in most Malawi banks. Malawians can now buy online using Visa branded ATM cards.
Few Online Stores in Malawi
Apart from challenges mentioned above it has to be mentioned that there are few online stores in Malawi. This by itself is enough reason to make buying online in Malawi unpopular..
As a result many people, who want to buy online, buy things from international e-commerce stores like American Amazon, eBay and Chinese e-commerce sites like Alibaba and Aliexpress. Buying online in Malawi from international companies is still the most viable alternative for online buyers in the country.
Does Amazon deliver to Malawi?
People who buy online in Malawi from international online stores, however, face one big challenge. The challenge is shipping. Shipping to Malawi from US or shipping to Malawi from China is not as easy as it sounds.
High shipping cost is one thing, while the other problem related to shipping is that some vendors on these popular sites do not directly ship to Malawi. For example Amazon does deliver to Malawi, but other vendors from the same site do not deliver. This is a huge setback and a disadvantage for Malawians.
How to Buy Online in Malawi Using Visa Cards
The most important thing to have to buy online is to have a visa debit card that allows you to make online payments or you can buy using PayPal account. As described above, it is now easy to own a visa ATM card that allows online payments. If you don’t have one, the first thing is to go to your bank to get the card.
The Visa Debit cards (ATM) issued by Malawi banks allows you to shop at any online store that accepts Visa branded cards. Once you have the card deposit some cash enough for you to make a particular purchase. While the prices on most sites may be in currencies non Malawian currencies there is no need to convert your currency. The convention is automatically done by the banks.
When you have the funds into your account visit the site where to buy goods for example Amazon. Add selected items to cart. Then proceed to make payment. Select using cards as preferred payment option. Once you click the confirm button to buy the funds will be instantly be deducted from your bank account. You will then receive a receipt showing transaction details. For digital products it means they will be emailed immediately but for physical products they will have to be shipped to Malawi.
Online Stores in Malawi
There are few online stores in Malawi where people can buy online. But they are not as popular. Below is a list of some online stores in Malawi that you would like to know. And see if they have in stock items which you want to buy. In this list I have included online marketplace where different people place ads for the goods they are selling.
This is a music store where people can buy music from Malawi. Locally people can buy music from this site using TNM airtime. On the other hand people using Airtel internet download music from the site for free. People can also buy using credit cards as well as PayPal.
Lililyalfonso is an online store in Malawi which sells designer clothes. It is one of the reputable online stores in Malawi which sells globally.
Nyika online shopping is another store in Malawi. There are many categories listed on this site including electronics, fashion, and groceries.
Bizmalawi.com and easybuymalawi.com
BizMalawionline and easybuyMalawi are online classified websites in Malawi. Venders upload their merchandise on the sites for free. The site allows venders to interact with buyers directly. In this case trading is done offline. Where the buyer has to physically see and confirm the product before making payments.
If you thinking of buying a car locally then caryanga is your alternative market to find cars for sell. This is another classified website in Malawi that specializes in selling of second and brand new cars in Malawi. On the site you will find the images of the cars on sell, their prices and contact details of the seller among other details.
This is a site which sells and delivers grocery items. In case you do not have time to go shop for groceries pay the site a visit to see if it would your interest.
This real estate classified website in Malawi.
Nyumba24 is an online property listing website. It specializes in listing of houses and land for sale or rent.
Propertyeden like nyumba 24 they also specializes in real estate. The site list houses and land for sale or lent in Malawi.
Dealmalawi is another online market place in Malawi where people post free ads.
As the name suggest malawionline is also a Malawian online market place.