Africa and ecommerce have become quite the BFFs over the last few years. Ecommerce plays are sprouting up everywhere and, on a continent where most transactions are cash only and the society is wary about online payments, it’s interesting to see the growth.
The reason? Innovative payment systems and 70% mobile penetration — everyone connects via their mobile in Africa. So it makes sense to meet the users there.
At the Jumia ecommerce conference in Lagos, the ecommerce player revealed that success in a country that is mostly unbanked is more about choosing to almost coax customers into accepting ecommerce. This seems to have been the key in Nigeria.
In a society that banking and electronic transfers is almost a novelty more creative ways of paying as to be explored such as Cash on Delivery.
“People still don’t really believe that if they buy something online that it will actually be delivered to them, so we decided to let them see and touch the goods before they pay. So we have POD (pay on delivery),” says Jumia co-founder Raphael Afaedoz.
Innovative technology and thinking is driving growth in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. In the last five years the country’s GDP has seen technology climb as a key contributor the country’s economy.
One of those innovative thinkers is Tayo Ovisu, founder of mobile payment system Pagatech. Oviosu told the audience that his company came into being because he wanted to find a way reduce the amount of cash he carried on him. This is a common problem in Nigeria, even the banked population still have to carry enormous amounts of cash because most retailers prefer to deal with cash.
“Paga has created a platform that allows merchants receive payment from consumers,” say Oviosu. He argues that by creating this payment system that is secure small to medium businesses can receive more payments and this will also encourage people to buy more online.
But the major problem most citizen worry about online payment. According to Rolayo Akhigbe Head of e-business, at FCMB banking group says its something the company is tackling.
She says that the company has created “contact centres in all languages available to respond to customer complaints regarding online payments.”
Jumia believes that helping its users combat their payment has helped grow customer trust.
“We introduced a sales force that walks around with tablets and shows people how easy it is to shop on Jumia and how easy the payment is as well. Once customers have been helped that they, feel more comfortable to do it themselves,” says co-founder, Tunde Kehinde.