TRINI TROLLEY: THE CARIBBEAN’S LARGEST ECOMMERCE BUSINESS

TRINI TROLLEY: THE CARIBBEAN’S LARGEST ECOMMERCE BUSINESS

COUNTRY:   Trinidad & Tobago

 

Trini Trolley was launched in 2009 to provide residents of Trinidad & Tobago with a wide range of products through a local online shopping website with a convenient 24 to 48 hour delivery. The company was motivated by the ecommerce challenges in the Caribbean – lack of online shopping facilities, unwillingness of some international retailers to ship low volume to the islands, high shipping costs and long delivery times, customers’ difficulties with returns and above all payment issues. In 2009, less than 20% of the Caribbean’s population had access to internationally enabled credit cards, Moreover, local consumers were concerned with online credit fraud. Trini Trolley established its ecommerce model by providing safe payment facilities like payment on delivery accepting cash and debit/credit payments via hand held card processing terminals, PayPal payments for its international customers, as well as faster and more affordable delivery service and return options. It also supported local entrepreneurs by allowing them to list their products for sale at no cost. By 2011, PayPal who only operated in Jamaica until then, took note and facilitated payments on Trini Trolley. The company expanded to include shipping to the rest of the Caribbean and the world and became the Caribbean’s largest ecommerce business offering 24/7 online store with over 12,000 products from international and local suppliers.

Some of the challenges and lessons learned from the Trini Trolley leadership include:

  • Educating the public – locally and regionally – about the benefits, ease and security of ecommerce;
  • High start-up and operational costs of inventory, marketing, logistics – warehousing, shipping, transportation and cyber security
  • Lack of venture capital from commercial lending facilities and investors, especially in developing nations where ecommerce industry is viewed with skepticism
  • Lack of ecommerce legislation, regulation or guidance for the industry and unclear consumer protection laws
  • Lack of IT expertise and access of the general population to the internet
  • Lack of e-payment systems
  • Future e-Commerce challenges

 

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