Electronic commerce or e-commerce is simply the activity of buying or selling of goods and services across the internet. It covers different types of businesses which include consumer based retail sites, auction or music sites, business exchanges of goods and services between corporations. It is currently one of the most important aspects of the Internet to emerge.
Examples of some e-commerce platforms include Konga, Payporte, Jumia, Dealdey, Ogwugo .e.t.c.
I have discovered that there are so many challenges facing e-commerce in Nigeria amidst its benefits. The challenges are to mention but a few:
The question as to how believable or trustworthy the platform you are on is a very tough notch to crack, especially as there are so many online businesses and services on the internet these days which makes it hard to separate the genuine businesses from the fake. It is not about the function of money, because no matter the amount spent on billboards and advertisements customers who have doubts about your business won’t come. It is about the quality or do I say the right value.
Cybercrime, also a major problem affects the credibility of online business platforms. It’s existence in Nigeria is so much that some online sites fear to do business or do not even bother doing business at all with Nigeria as a country because of the high rate of fraudulent activities going on in the country. There has been so many cases of people hijacking phone numbers and offering illegal services through them. Even though some measures are being taken to curb these fraudulent acts, new ways are still being deviced on a regular basis on how to defraud people. Having a physical store alongside your online store can help ascertain the credibility of your business and reduce the rate of fraudulent activities that go on online.
Logistics in Nigeria used to stand for any problem you can imagine. When an owner of a platform talks about logistics, he is talking about the challenges involved, how difficult it is to get products from the sellers to the distributors, to the warehouse and down to the buyers efficiently. Lack of warehouse spaces or having an efficient warehouse management system makes it difficult to stock and deliver more items on time to buyers. Anything that gets in your way of achieving efficiency is a problem.
Another problem affecting the efficacy of logistics in Nigeria is the fact that some houses in Nigeria do not have addresses and are neither on the map unlike other western countries in the world where one can easily navigate. This makes it difficult to use the poster service in delivering goods. Some online services would have to device other means to deliver their goods and this can increase the price of the products.
This one dey cause wahala. The method of payment is also to be considered carefully especially as there have been complaints of so many customers ordering for something and paying online and on getting the package, it is totally different from what they ordered initially. That is why, in Nigeria, we prefer the pay on delivery method. E-commerce providers have to device a way to accommodate the pay on delivery in any form possible.
Most e-commerce providers are upcoming in the business (newcomers). To create awareness, you need to show off (market) your brand and what you have to offer to your consumers. In order to build an outstanding and reputable brand, you have to work hand in hand with a reputable brand and/or a reputable advertising agency. Not just online advertising is needed as it reaches only people who are online but using all commercial media available from radio to print to television and then online. By building your brand, you build your trust and level of communication and preposition with people.
There is a huge competition between online stores and local stores for the price of goods. In a situation where both stores have the same price tags on the same goods, there would be no need for one engaging in E-trade. Online stores have to offer their goods at cheaper rates in order for them to attract buyers.
How do so many e-commerce providers get their products? Is it straight from the manufacturers, or major distributors or do they just get it from a seller anywhere? Most e-commerce providers do not have a reliable source of getting the right products for the right value, at a good rate and on time. Now, even if they do, they still do not know what their customers need. For instance, a lady told me about how she had started a fashion house in Abuja. Although she had an online store, but the clothes she had for sale were “casual wears”. She skipped the fact that the people residing in Abuja are mostly Muslims and she did not make any provision on how to get their outfits available on her store. And before she knew it, her business folded. Therefore, knowing your business and the needs of the people patronizing your business is important.
Currently we have more internet users than buyers. How do we convert the internet users to buyers? We need to think of how to bring more people online to become buyers and how to make it easier for them for pay for whatever they want.
If these challenges can be worked on by various e-commerce players in Nigeria, I think the want and distribution rate from both the customers and the players will increase and it’s relevance too in Nigeria will be improved.
I am a dedicated, self-disciplined and an innovative writer.