Emerging e-Commerce Market in Nigeria

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Muhammadu Buhari

Raheem Akingbolu takes a look at the growth and challenges facing both operators and consumers in the e-Commerce market as another brand enters the market

Among other opportunities, the birth of online shopping that came with the internet boom has redefined Nigerian purchasing patterns over the years.
Of course, it has also continued to deepen operations in the financial sector as the banking public and consumers of insurance products now do more online than physical appearance in the banking hall.

Like in every new thing, embracing e-Commerce as alternative shopping experience was, at the beginning, tough for Nigerians.

In the last few years, both the operators and consumers have recorded both their good and low moments. While it has eased the mode of transaction, there have also been stories of scammers and attacks on delivery agents.
But today, despite the hitches, it is obvious that consumers who buy into the system are growing in folds every day.
Trust has not only been built, but many Nigerians have also seen it as the easiest way to shop.
The recent upturn in e-commerce enterprises across Africa is believed to be revolutionising not just the retail market but also business in general. The growth potential of this niche, as demonstrated by several e-commerce firms showcases the enormous opportunity under tapped.
As one of the continent’s leading IT markets, Nigeria has seen a rapid surge in the development of ecommerce businesses.

New market entrant
Early in the week, another brand –Wepay, from the stable of BODC Trading and Investment Company Limited, birthed in the market with the promise to surmount the challenges being faced by consumers in the area of security and goods collection.
At the unveiling of the brand in Lagos, its promoters promised to offer great customer services to Nigeria’s online shoppers on its platform.

Stylishly, the company took a swipe at the joke that e-commerce operators promise lions but deliver cats.
Perhaps that became necessary because of the disparity between what some online companies have on their sites and what they deliver after payment.

The company’s Managing Consultant, Akin Kehinde, in his welcome remarks, stated that the focus of the company was to empower digitalisation in Nigeria with special focus on financial inclusion through flexible payment solutions.
He stated that ‘Wepay’ as a platform would offer a wide range of products including the latest of the mobile devices available at cash or credit term payment option driven by a robust credit check technology.

While pointing out that the brand was focused on driving the best customer experience leveraging after sales and support as their expertise in the industry, the consultant pointed out that the platform was poised at offering unmatchable sales deals and amazing after-sales services to customers to ensure that they have the best customer experience.
He said: “We pride ourselves as a platform that offers a wide range of products including the latest of the mobile devices available at cash or credit term payment option driven by a robust credit check technology.

“It is our focus on driving the best customer experience leveraging our strengths in the after sales and support in the industry.
“As a matter of fact, the purchase of a mobile device from our platform marks the beginning of a rewarding journey with us.”
Kehinde, listed some of the various extended warranties and after care services that come with the WePay e- commerce platform to include repairs and maintenance of customers’ devices, free accessories like battery chargers, Bluetooth earpieces, hands-free cords, beautiful device casings, external speakers, pouches, table holders etc.

“Our platform will offer the customers extended warranties of three to six months beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, screen protection insurance, opportunities for device upgrade as well as trade-in programs,” he added.
He stated that the Wepay e-Commerce platform was created to deliver to Nigerians the same world-class services their counterparts in the developed countries of the world enjoy in the area of online shopping. “We are bringing to Nigeria and Nigerians the same quality services that their contemporaries in most developed countries of the world have been enjoying for years,” the managing consultant stated.

He said the company relies on the combination of its cutting-edge technology deployment and knowledge of the Nigerian market to deliver to the consumers the flexibility that allows them live their full potentials.

Surmounting the challenges

Speaking on possible challenges that could come with logistics, the company’s Chief Client Services, Martina Medac, disclosed that the platform offers for various pick-up locations or the option to and have these devices delivered to them at their various locations nationwide within the shortest time possible. According to her, this is necessary to address some of the frustration expressed by shoppers of e-Commerce in the area of logistics where it takes forever for customers to receive the products they ordered and paid for.

She also touched on the complaint by Nigerians in the area of the difficulty in getting their complaints resolved in online transactions as the service providers’ phone lines are always engaged and they are held for too long before customer care personnel even get to hear their complaints.

To solve this, she pointed out that ‘Wepay’ has a robust customer care system driven majorly by the best technology, ensuring timely resolutions and effective tracking of results and customer feedback.

On cybercrime and security, the General Manager, Technical, Ravi Narain, said Wepay operates international standards that would ensure several measures towards security & cybercrime issues. Apart from multilevel authentication, he also revealed that its system will keep data encrypted, secure and safe.

Reviewing the growth in the Nigerian market, he appreciated the fact that Nigeria still has a good internet penetration of more than 70 per cent.

He, however noted that wepay has ensured to overcome such hitches by offering services both via Web & USSD.
“Customer can now shop on wepay via USSD at his/her own ease without any internet required, that’s why we called Wepay as “smarter way to shop” he said.

Speaking on the new thing the company was bringing into the table, its General Manager, Operations, Abayomi Fashe, said the brand’s USP is driven by its slogan “Smarter way to Shop”.