Cato estimates local ecommerce potential at US$100m
Jomo Cato, the co-founder of Quikanou Global, which trades as Quickcanoe, says ecommerce activity in Jamaica could generate about US$100 million, even while noting that the majority of online retail sales flow to overseas giants like Amazon and Target.
Quickcanoe is a recent entrant to the Jamaican ecommerce market, but already counts among its achievements an arrangement with supermarket chain Hi-Lo Food Stores.
"It is a commercial arrangement. We have access to a wide range of goods from Hi-Lo. There is a discount that allows us to sell back to consumers," said Cato.
Developed markets earn between 10 to 15 per cent of the trade in online sales. So Quickcanoe argues the local market can potentially generate five per cent or US$100 million of a US$2 billion pie.
"We see US$100 million for Jamaica alone. And we see it as something that is going to develop and will develop very quickly. We see a deep market that will continue to grow as consumers demand more convenience," Cato said.
He added that there are roughly 35,000 ecommerce transactions monthly in the Caribbean, but mostly with foreign companies.
"So in some respect, the market is already here. And we are providing the technology that will allow consumers to take advantage of what's already there," he added, without divulging current sales or monthly orders from the new site.
Currently, most customers on Quickcanoe are locals but Cato expects that to change within two years.
"We anticipate 60 per cent of our shoppers will be outside the region and remainder Caribbean," he said, citing industry trends.