bidorbuy and uAfrica amalgamate to form “everything ecommerce” firm Bob Group

South Africa’s pioneering online auction and marketplace brand bidorbuy has joined forces with logistics powerhouse uAfrica to revolutionise the country’s ecommerce space.

Now known as Bob Group, the amalgamated company offers everything ecommerce to all South African consumers and companies operating online, whether they are looking to sell, buy – or  both.

Building on bidorbuy’s success as a household-name online shopping and auction marketplace, the merger means that merchants will now be offered a complete set of ecommerce services, including payments, logistics and marketplace.

Where others in South Africa’s ecommerce environment have embraced a centralised logistics model, Bob Group stands out for its decentralised approach, allowing it to price services much more competitively.  uAfrica co-founder Andy Higgins is no stranger to bidorbuy, having launched the company in 1999.

Through the development and growth of uAfrica, a logistics ecommerce tool that removes the messiness from running a profitable online store by streamlining order fulfillment and shipping processes – from getting quotes from courier companies to automated shipping labels and tracking notifications for customers – he has been able to see first-hand how online businesses, especially SMEs, can thrive.

“Our vision at Bob Group is to connect, empower and support people as they transform their lives through ecommerce,” Higgins explains.

“We are more seller-friendly than our competitors, while at the same time we aren’t compromising on the excellent service buyers have come to expect from bidorbuy.

“Sellers can expect a more cost-effective offering based on intuitive, easy-to-use selling and fulfillment tools. Where previously we’ve focused exclusively on the marketplace, this amalgamation will allow us to provide merchant-empowering tools across all the sales channels they are active on, including their own websites and third-party channels.”

A number of exciting services will be available under the Bob Group offering. These include:

  • A tool that allows merchants to sync products from their online store to bidorbuy easily, and a real-time solution for updates to products and inventory;
  • Shipping and tracking solutions;
  • A payment facilitator that provides merchants with the opportunity to have buyers pay with their preferred payment option; and
  • A software-as-a-service solution providing technology for courier companies to run their entire business. It includes a driver app, customer and administration portals as well as all billing solutions.

Furthermore, by offering standardised payment and shipping options for all transactions, Bob Group can provide buyers with a far more consistent experience. It also continues bidorbuy’s ethos of being a facilitator, not a seller.

The cloud-based services technology, enabled by AWS, is state-of-the-art and ensures reliable, scalable and secure ecommerce services, and by geocoding addresses, Bob Group is facilitating more accurate and streamlined shipping.

For bidorbuy CEO Craig Lubbe, the merger between the two companies means that immensely powerful ecommerce tools and services can now be offered to South African businesses of any size.

“For merchants, this will mean spending less time on pulling together all the strands of an online business, and more time focused on offering exceptional customer service.  This will also mean better shopping experiences for buyers at every stage of the process, from search to payment to delivery,” Lubbe says.

Bob Group is particularly excited about what it can do for SMEs, as the tools it offers allows them to trade online on their own terms.

“We believe that SMEs drive the economy and ecommerce in South Africa represents a significant growth opportunity, as evidenced by the current amount of investment activity locally and from abroad. As such, we are committed to empowering businesses to unlock new revenue opportunities by offering more efficient services and tools,” Lubbe says.

uAfrica co-founder Andy Higgins is no stranger to bidorbuy, having launched the company in 1999.

bidorbuy CEO Craig Lubbe