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Online shopping or home delivery services

The real question should be "is it profitable?" Yes Europeans and other expatriates will buy online sometimes, but is it profitable enough to keep such a store running for only (or mostly) expatriates, which will all due respect do not form the majority of the Mauritius population.

Hi there...thanks for replying.  That is an excellent point and no business minded person would set up a business if it wasn't. I obviously haven't done any research and was just posting ad lib but what I do know is that in Villas Valriche alone, the majority of owners of the Phase 1 villas (100 in total at the moment) are choosing to live in the villas not rent them out (for what lengths of time I do not know but some people are here for as much as six months of the year).  This may be true in many of the other developments too.  I realise this is a niche market but for very little investment this could be a great small business to begin with that would certainly be profitable.  I am convinced expats would be willing to pay a premium (but unwilling to pay the premiums currently demanded by the large hotel/villa operators) for this sort of service.

As Mauritians become more accustomed to using the Internet to purchase items and have them delivered home I am sure these type of services will become more common place.  Eventually the larger supermarkets will offer some sort of delivery service.  In the meantime, for a savvy Mauritian I think this is a very good opportunity to build a niche, manageable business with the need for little investment - it doesn't necessarily need to be high tech!

Hi LaRubiaa,

I've actually nearly finished building such a site.

DR

Sleeping Cookie :

The real question should be "is it profitable?" Yes Europeans and other expatriates will buy online sometimes, but is it profitable enough to keep such a store running for only (or mostly) expatriates, which will all due respect do not form the majority of the Mauritius population.

What an utter and absolutely ludicrous statement.!!  I strongly disagree that online purchases would be for a niche market and only for the rich 'Expats' or people of the higher society in Mauritius. Mauritians don't buy online simply because there ain't any good offerings out there. Even if you purchase from overseas e-commerce sites, 90% of them don';t deliver the items in Mauritius, or given the cost of delivery and excise taxes, it's not worth it.

You keep coming to the the credit card issue. If Mauritians are so afraid of paying by credit cards, well, pay-on-delivery is already available here. Pre-paid cards do exists, besides there are a number of payment solutions/methods out there. I do pay for my pizza when they deliver at home/office using my credit card on the cellular pos.

Most of my colleagues in my office here tells me, they'd rather avoid the chore of having to do the groceries and purchase on-line if it's available.

It's all a matter of market push and demand pull. If tomorrow a major distributor, like winners, decides to (not even sell) but provide pre-order service for 25 commonly used products, at a discounted price online with an in store drop-in service (not even home delivery), people would adopt it ;regardless of using credit cards online etc.. That's a Market push.  Drop-in services have been a huge success in many country for years. (Now don't come to me with ridiculous reasons like anyone could pre-order and not pick up their items etc..you can validate the order or Id of a person using an sms system on their cell, or numerous other methods

market pull : i'd rather do sports, spend more time with family and friends than spending 2-3 hours doing shopping for groceries etc at various stores, finding parking spaces, waiting in line .. etc...

By the way, the same applies when paying my bills, registering/applying for a services, waiting in line in banks, or cash registers, post office etc..

People, you are giving very insignificant reasons for why this situation is as such in Mauritius when it comes to internet services and online shopping. There's definitely a market and demand, there's the technology and capacity to put it in place ...

This gridlock is at a much higher level. I'm inviting those people in FMGC sector and the very few big conglomerates who controls the whole supply chain and distributions, like IBL, Innodis, and Food & Allied etc ..to give their point of view..

hi,
i would be great if someone hooks up the idea of building an online shopping mall for mauritius; i might b giving a hand in :)

all ears,
islander.

We are an online service provider in Mauritius. We make flower and sushi delivery services in Mauritius. Unfortunately we cant leave our details on this forum because restrictions from Expat.com.

We do agree on the points made by several participants of this forum but as an online service provider, you will be surprised of how many mauritians use their credit cards  for online transaction in Mauritius.

Sushis: In theory it is believed that sushi is not well quoted amongst the mauritians. We are very wrong! With the World wide web, Books (Even if reading is not very popular amongst Mauritians) Exposure through oadcast from private channels Mauritians are well informed and do even purchase sushis online to be delivered!!!!

Talking about the operations and whether it is profitable to run an online business in Mauritius. You will definitely need the products in Hans. We have our own products and We have  created means to develop a logistics that will adapt to operations in Mauritius and i can say it is working fine.

Only thing is that bank charges are very high on E commerce thus making it difficult for a business to grow.

These online services are the basic things nowadays. To my experience of being here for the past year, i think it will take 50 years or more for this country to be somewhere near to what Singapore / Hong Kong has. its just the truth. If people dont make a move, then how else will the so called country make progress.

FLowers in Mauritius, you may be interested to know that I have tried a number of times to find flower delivery in Mauritius with no luck and have had friends telling me the same thng.  If you Google, Flowers Mauritius Delivery, your website does not come up, only international flower deliveries to Mauritius - perhaps you need some website optimisation just having a website is not enough you have to be sure people can find you.  I have your address now from your earlier post begfore it was removed, but if you don't come up in a google search you are missing a lot of business.

I also googled Sushi Delivery Mauritius and you do not appear in the search.

indeed heyjude,
optimisation, is the necessary process in pushing up websites to the max opportunities, in lign, you have internet marketing strategies which makes it a plus:)

all the best people,
islander.

flowerinmauritius :

Only thing is that bank charges are very high on E commerce thus making it difficult for a business to grow.

If you're referring to using credit cards; indeed the banks here charge you both arms and both legs!

What you could do, just a suggestion, is to get the customer to pay on delivery. You have the wireless (if I may use the term) card machines(pizza hut uses those for home deliveries) or they pay cash, or a bank transfer (be sure to send a code for them to input so you know which client/transaction is being paid for).

Paypal would have been a better option; however,as you may be be aware that here we can only use paypal to buy stuff online;not receive payment or send money. Last I checked with paypal, they said it had to do with the laws of Mauritius and that the volume isn't enough to provide this service. Which is which, I wouldn't know. Might be a good idea to ask someone from the Bank Of Mauritius.

Maybe slightly off-topic, or maybe not. Anyway, I noticed in an earlier post that someone mentioned many companies dont deliver to Mauritius for online orders..  Is this quite a common thing?? I'me supposed to be moving back there next year so it would be handy to know before I get my mind set on ordering stuff..

Mauritius is setting foot in the " E Commerce  Universe". Ourselves we are an online service provider for flower delivery services and noticed that the trend is there and with the number of credit cards available and being acessible to wider range of customers... we believe that things are changing and notice it.

You guys must be nuts, making a sushi and flower online delivery business for a market like Mauritius.. !

Let alone, mauritius, I certainly won't eat any sushi or raw fish meat for that matter that has not been prepared in front of me by a chef I know has clean knives.

Dude who made your websites anyway, hope they didn't charge you a lot of money for that, (i dare not to say it) ..!

This gridlock is at a much higher level.

I would add to your list the BANKS.

One of the barriers with the local banks online credit card processing modules is that you have to get a certain amount of programming done on your own which implies the reading of a bunch of their huge PDF files. Bulky stuff. Not 1 or 2 but like 6-7... sums up to a 1000 pages (That will scare off a few...) :P
The banks can refer you to some local agencies or programmers who have programmed such modules for their clients which can speed this up a little. But they wont tell you that - if you don't ask.
It's with the attitude - do it all yourself and we will cash in later anyway.

Unfortunately the percentage of commission charged are the most expensive i have seen... in the world! Paypal most expensive fees are still cheaper... (even though it doesn't work here) :/ You need to invest on your own to get the online credit card processing working - once it works - connecting to the banks servers, they reap a nice harvest on your sales :) And even before you get the merchant account authorization - good luck with waiting, and constant contacting until you get a "yes" from their committee. It can take 6-12 months to be fully operational with the module programmed and working (including their YES). (Another few will give up here...) lol

BANKS LOVE MONEY POWER & revenge when you don't PAY :) once the local banks discover the huge harvest of commissions they could earn on all local transactions done online they "should" make the access and usage for online shops simpler. Banks rule the world, and they could incite the transition for online shopping to launch (i mean here).
Right now they are inciting people to use more credit cards. You get discounts when you pay with your credit card in many places. Maybe next they will incite you to shop online with your credit card so that they can cash in back those discounts on their juicy commissions :) A bank never gives something away for free.
...apart from sending out letters how to password protect your credit card with visa and master card secure. Next mass letters could be - how to shop online and spend more money :)

Take note that more than 60% of local families are already indebted and that with credit cards, its very easy to loose track of spendings especially for those that already have a debt problem. Banks love credit maybe with online shopping and credit cards increased consumption excitement it can reach 90%... now - wouldn't that be nice if we were all indebted towards the banks (banks make more money and on top know what we do with our little plastic cards) ?

We might need a few reactions to get started, something like local ebay where people save money and get tempted to shop a lot online to save money. Once they figured that out and how it works and find it FUN it will just keep on evolving. Like mobile phones.
Any hypes or websites we could list that have shaped the mauritian internet culture ? Dinausors were servihoo, mokamarade.com (pity that they didn't catch the train - they could have been our local facebook!) and today its Facebook - anything else ? (I'm speaking of the masses).
 
C u, Dietmar

You are Right Deitmar, banks in mauritius have take huge commissions charges and fees for any e-commerce activities.

To be fair with local banks though, if you hold a saving and current accounts here, bank charges and fees almost cost nothing.  I currently hold a bank account in australia, and i don't use it, but i have to pay $5 fee per month just to maintain the account, $2, everytime you use the atm and 50c at pos when you pay by card, that's in Australia.. Even when you go to the bank, you are sure to be charged for something when you use the teller or even make a deposit. The situation is worst in Europe, specially in France and UK.

In mauritius, you can use the atm as much as you want and most banking services here are free..at least with my bank.

I would not complain for banking fees as a client, but as a entrepreneur, sure it annoys me a lot to know that a country with such a developed offshore banking sector has one of the least developed eCommerce banking services available. If you want to have online operations, i would advise you to open your merchant account and have your business based overseas, preferably in a country with low taxes in Eastern Europe, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein or isles like Jersey.

I have a UK bank account - no charges for maintaing it, no charges at ATM and no charges for card transactions. I have a Mauritian account with a so-called credit card for which I have to pay an annual fee for the privilege, plus I have to keep a balance in the account equal to my credit limit - hence the 'so called'.

By the way, I increasingly do internet shopping to UK and USA. On average the end cost after shipping and possible double duties is around 50% of the price I would pay here, even if the goods were available. And while many of the US sites won't deliver they mostly do from Europe and some will not add VAT to non EU destinations.

Dude in regards to bank charges, i don;'t know about you, but recently i had to pay 20 pounds in fees just to get a UK bank to send a an official account statement for a missing direct debit.  I have the worst nightmares dealing with HS*C UK.. they absolutely charge for everything except perhaps for atms and keeping an account.

You are right in regards to the credit card situation in Mauritius is an absolute rip-off and disgrace..

My bank actually made me sign a hand-written note which i had to copy myself. I found that highly suspicious.  In regards to the balance you have to keep, 150% that of your credit limit, i understood that the banks reserves the right to use this amount whenever they feel like it.  They say it's a guarantee in case we default on the credit payment.. Bullcrap ! Why would you need 150% guarantee and why do you call this a credit card service then.. They use this money like a free deposit for which they charge you for. Isn't that illegal, i wonder.

Hi Nantube,

If you want to have online operations, i would advise you to open your merchant account and have your business based overseas, preferably in a country with low taxes in Eastern Europe, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein or isles like Jersey.

I've seen online some companies advertising lower credit card processing fees. They mention though that a merchant account is required. In other words, you get a merchant account here at the local bank - be it Mauritius, and then use some cerdit card processing services abroad - does that work ? Might not have gotten the facts right...

You are right in regards to the credit card situation in Mauritius is an absolute rip-off and disgrace..

My bank actually made me sign a hand-written note which i had to copy myself. I found that highly suspicious.  In regards to the balance you have to keep, 150% that of your credit limit, i understood that the banks reserves the right to use this amount whenever they feel like it.  They say it's a guarantee in case we default on the credit payment.. Bullcrap ! Why would you need 150% guarantee and why do you call this a credit card service then.. They use this money like a free deposit for which they charge you for. Isn't that illegal, i wonder.

Hmm - isn't it supposed to be like this?
1. A limit is set on the card.
2. You buy stuff.
3. At the end of the month the bank debits your current account and credits the credit card account.

If you need to put in funds first, credit card turns into a debit card... :/


Banks have the power - they do a lot of illegal stuff anyway :P

Dietmar

I don't know what you mean by this. A credit card means you can extend your purchases to the limit of your credit limit and pay this off at your leisure albeit constrained to a minimum amount per month and of course subject to the (exorbitant)interest charges applied. A debit card requires you to have the necessary funds at the time of purchase. But what MCB offer here is a credit card but with debit card rules applied.

Just to add, my UK banking won't allow me a credit card because of the high fraud risk living here. They do allow a debit card which is fine by me as I always pay off my balance at the end of the month.

jeremycl :

Dietmar

Just to add, my UK banking won't allow me a credit card because of the high fraud risk living here. They do allow a debit card which is fine by me as I always pay off my balance at the end of the month.

Never heard of Mauritius being a high fraud risk country :blink:

Money laundering maybe...It would've been better if we used internet banking for online payments because the bank will charge you both arms and legs is you use their credit facilities while running e-commerce here.

HSBC rips you off in terms of fees and charges as well in MRU. Anyone ever given a thought as to the real reason behind MCB decreasing your ATM withdrawal from Rs 20K to 10K (not the usual excuse about theft etc...)!;)

HeyJude :

FLowers in Mauritius, you may be interested to know that I have tried a number of times to find flower delivery in Mauritius with no luck and have had friends telling me the same thng.  If you Google, Flowers Mauritius Delivery, your website does not come up, only international flower deliveries to Mauritius - perhaps you need some website optimisation just having a website is not enough you have to be sure people can find you.  I have your address now from your earlier post begfore it was removed, but if you don't come up in a google search you are missing a lot of business.

I also googled Sushi Delivery Mauritius and you do not appear in the search.

HeyJude,

Normally it depends where you want to sell your flowers. Like in Grand Baie you have a shop, in port louis at the market you have fresh flowers shop. Please visit these 2 places, it has a very good market. You need to look for the place to find flowers.. Lol

Thx Kevin

Hello ! Just for info. the winners chain supermarkets have a new website.. winners.mu. unfortunately not the e-store yet ! :(
Happy New Year 2012 to you all !
Cheers

Hi all...

Just to clear some points...

There are two banks in Mauritius that propose Online payments for E-commerce websites... First of all their processing rates are really high. For a new E-commerce site to sign up for this service, it's really tough due to the requirements of the banks. The other options, to have an international card processing service but still, most of them do not support Mauritius.

Second issue in Mauritius is the shipping. Even express courier services like DHL, Fedex etc have trouble in doing prompt deliveries due to the strict Customs department.

Third, a kind of good news, depends on how you do your search on google, there are a couple of online shopping websites now available for Mauritius :)

Now you have also people from Mauritius buying from Ebay etc, but most of them are unaware of "extra" costs when the product reaches Mauritius such as VAT, Duties, Landing Fees, Customs Clearing Fees etc... Once they have gone through all these costs, they just assume that online shopping is not worth it.

Last, i work for one of the online shopping site in Mauritius (Can't post it here else it will be listed as advert) and i can definitely say that beside Expats, many Mauritians are buying online. So online shopping is starting to grow in Mauritius.

Cheers Kevin.

Waoh, so many posts for online grocery shopping and delivery. This concept is not yet implemented in local people. We just manage to spare some time going to supermarket for our weekly or monthly needs. It also allows us to have a better comparison on spot for the prices and quality. We, mauritian people, are very price conscious and will normally not pay more on a delivery services.
There is also the fact that our population is too small for an online service to be profitable. Anyway, they are supermarkets and shops at mostly every corners of the island, you just have to negotiate with the supermarkets or shops for a personalised services, which is really feasible.

Well, theses lines are my point of views, so that foreigners do not think that we are backwards from all these modern countries services available.

Personally, I wouldn't dream of buying groceries on-line here (and not just because my husband does the shopping!), but because of the state of the fruit and veg in most supermarkets - especially SuperU. Also I find checking the Use-by-Date is very important here. Pretty sure I'd end up throwing the bulk of it out.

Hi Everyone

I have been reading all your posts and I can tell you that being a Mauritian, I am ready to have my  own online grocery delivery business.  I have been customer oriented for the last 10 years and I can tell you that, even though it would take loads of risk but implementing an online grocery business in Mauritius will definitely work. Mauritius can be small but the demand is here.  Somehow, somewhere someone must have the guts to meet these demands and put this kind of service to the customers throughout the island.  Yes the whole island because Mauritius is small and delivery can be done in one day itself. I am a single mother and I work in the hospitality and many of you know how time consuming is this job.  So I don't really have time to go to supermarket s to buy my groceries and I often think ... " if only there was an online grocery delivery business, that would ease my life so much" and it is the case for many of us.  Delivery can be done at work place or home.  I am actually working on my business plan and I can tell you that I will make it happen.

Cheers

At least for tours and excursions there is a few possibilities to pay online: MAURITIUSATTRACTIONS.COM

[Moderated: No free ad on the forum pls]

Hi Islander- Did I get this right? You got fined by the customs for buying something from Malaysia? What reason did they give for imposing a fine?
Thanks for enlightening me :)

islander77 :

ok ,looks simple as per storm trooper! btw who's starting this business?

i may be a first client. i lastly bought a cooking pan(shefel) from malaysia, it was delivery fine at the customs; so inland's may be cheaper :)

cheers, islander

On the topic of buying online- I couldn't use my  SBM credit or debit card to buy an air ticket from MK a few years back. I called up the bank to ask why the transaction wasn't being approved and they informed me they didn't allow customers to buy online with their cards!:rolleyes: Hope that has changed now!

any online shopping for groceries in mu like in uk?

try priceguru.mu

it is easy to mauritian to obtain credit card from bank..
no big formalities needed

Moderated by kenjee last year
Reason : Free publicity on the forum not allowed. You may contact us for dedicated solutions for promotion of your services.

Hello,

Is 2015 now... any changes? Im looking for online shopping, too.

http://www.quartier-gourmet.com/shop/index.php/

priceguru.mu

Moderated by Bhavna 3 months ago
Reason : Advertising is not allowed on the forum.
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