The era of having to make payments with cash in Nigeria is rapidly depleting and gradually becoming old-fashioned. As the need for cashless system and methods get even more pronounced among business men and women in the West African country as the day goes by.
Nevertheless, there are still hurdles, hiccups or doubts surrounding the success of this multi-billion naira sector for now. Even when this sector has the blessings of the government, prospects still find it difficult making transactions online freely without fear of the unkwown.
For a better discussion and understanding, these challenges shall be grouped into two: The ones faced by “yet to be convinced” Nigerians and those experienced by the online retailers, vendors and websites.
1. Challenges faced by suspicious Nigerians
It is no news that the high rate of internet scams and fraudulent pursuit for money online end up making most citizen have trust issues when it comes to online shopping. A good number of willing buyers think their products may not reach them when ordered and payed for or that the ordered goods may vary from the ones ordered for when finally delivered to their doorsteps.
Strong Internet Connections
Another noteworthy challenge is internet connectivity. Some locations indiscriminately receive weak internet signals which goes to a larger extent to account for the rate and number of online shopping activities needing high internet connectivity. This shortcoming in combination with high rate of data costs discourages many from fully embracing the emerging technologies.
Lack of sensitization and Technical Know-how
The truth is that more people would have bought from Jumia shop or even patronized vendors at JiJi or Olist after checking out the prices of their goods and services online. The problem they have most times is that they think online payments are not as secure as they were meant to believe. This accounts to why a higher percentage resort to paying only when goods have been successfully delivered.
According to a revealing experience by an emerging e-commerce website in Nigeria Buy Sales Price which shared on its social profile that 25% of the visitors who land on their website righly know how to signup and confirm their email addresses successfully, while others who could not, get frustrated and leave even when they wish to transact. This accounts for low level of internet usage abilities – a big challenge to e-commerce in Nigeria
Going forward, it says “some of our prospects still think it is insecure to put in their credit cards even when we have a working secure sockets layer installed”. This last testimony explains why more efforts need to be put in place to give people the right information when it comes to online dealings.
2. Challenges experienced by E-commerce retailers and websites
The Nigerian Logistics
The discouraging state of most Nigerian federal and state roads has a lot to contribute to the drawbacks experienced by these online enterprises. These drawbacks range from late delivery due to bad roads or “endless” traffic queue up to uncertain state of transportation & poorly described road networks.
Enhanced location addresses
Locating buyers especially in rural areas or unpopular cities in Nigeria has not been an easy one. In what could be referred to as the inability to employ the services of urban and regional planners, it is always challenging to find some streets in a given state, and when they’re finally found, sometimes houses are not numbered to make for easy delivery.
Conclusion: way forward
Having discussed these challenges, let us summarily talk about a way forward for online shopping in Nigeria.
The use of drones or motorcycles can be employed to overcome delays caused by logistics issues.
More sensitization programs should be launched to inform buyers better while these online store gear up to sound and feel more credible in order to gain trust from Nigerians.
The use of Google maps and postal codes can come in handy when searching for ones address.
Government on the other hand should encourage service providers to provide their customers the best internet signals as at when due or better still, provide free WiFi for all as it is done in developed nations around the globe. They should work with financial institutions to reduce or completely do away with fraudulent transaction online. They should also make sure Nigerian roads are not in deplorable states at any point. The same government should equally enhance power supply to increase the number of online engagements which will in turn increase the number of sales online.
Okara Benedict is a creative copy writer, entrepreneur and music lover. You can always connect with me on Facebook via Benedict. I remain your best plug when it comes to sales funnels.