The lack of e-commerce is one of the problems facing Africa’s largest retail chain in Nigeria. Shoprite, having made the shopping experience fun for individuals and families, as it provided a pleasing environment for individuals to shop with loved ones since 2002, failed to tap into the growing e-commerce section of trading with fellow local competitors like Spar and Ebeanco, who carves out space for themselves by offering online shopping experiences and door step delivery of goods to customers.
The restrictions on gatherings due to the outbreak of the Novel Corona virus showed that these organisations operating in the e-commerce market have moved in the right direction as they could easily go about their businesses during the pandemic.
E-commerce is one of the biggest things in Nigeria at the moment with Jumia, one of the biggest e-commerce websites, noting that “we are seeing an unprecedented demand to join the Jumia platform, especially for named brands.”
Nigeria with a population of over 180 million individuals has an online presence of over 99 million, as the average Nigerian’s access to internet becomes cheaper by the day and the ever growing need for carrying out transactions with ease from the comfort of homes, even after the pandemic, e-commerce will be the way to go for all businesses.
Physical stores restrict trade to particular places and working hours which makes transactions cumbersome to a large extent . On the other hand, in e-commerce, the buying and selling of goods occurs at anytime.
Merits of e-commerce include low cost, flexibility and speed, it’s cheaper to set up an online presence compared to paying rent, furnishing a space, getting equipment and hiring workers. There is also flexibility and speed, as adjustments can be made from time to time to the online store. E-commerce isn’t perfect with its major drawback being the lack of physical contact and inability of customers to feel or try on products before buying. E-commerce goes beyond just setting up a website and getting traffic. To start an e-commerce business, there is a need to be registered with the Cooperate Affairs Commission (C.A.C), a website with payment capabilities integrated is a must, good content creation as first impressions count, set up of means of delivery, placing of adverts, products must be readily available and an effective system for data management.
Various types of e-commerce exist with the most popular one in this part of the world being business to consumers (B2C), which involves the selling of products or services to end users directly. We also have business to business (B2B), which deals with transactions between two businesses. The top e-commerce websites in Nigeria are Jumia, Konga, Kara.com.ng, OLX, Dealday and Wakanow.