Business on the go

Over the last few years we have seen tremendous improvements in the way people do business online in Nigeria, thanks to the main e-commerce giants — Konga and Jumia. They have made what used to look like a very impossible string to pull in Nigeria a reality today. As an off-shoot of this major breakthrough, we have witnessed several smaller e-commerce companies spring up and have become successful and profitable.

In my opinion, one of the reasons why these e-commerce platforms made huge success is that the opted for “Pay on Delivery”. I trust Nigerians, we are not easily swayed. People want to see what they are buying before they pay for it - which is why they go to the market to make their choice in the first place. What these e-commerce giants did was to bring the market to the people, more like “Here’s the market, make your choice and at your convenience” and of course you don’t pay until they deliver. I mean, this was a huge success because in less than a year they were already on the minds of millions of Nigerians and that was millions of Naira too.

Now that brings us to the payment processing side. Payment processors were few back then and trust me, Nigerians were not ready to make payment on any website that they were not sure of the security and ‘scam proof’, so they opted for prepaid. But as trust levels started mounting, a lot of Nigerians began making payments for products and services with their cards online especially for convenience. This has brought in a lot of new players in the payment processing market space.

In what seem to be a direct result of having a lot of payment options, the social media space has been opened up and used as a business platform or marketplace as opposed to the usual social hangouts. You can scarcely scroll your facebook page these days without a sales pitch from one or two people. The word for that today is called “Social Commerce”. The model is simple: Merchant post their products/items on their facebook wall, whatsapp, instagram, BBM, etc, you see something you like and call or chat with the merchant for a purchase.

In a very cool attempt to plug into that growing social commerce space, I found a very cool payment solution called “SimpleLink”. This solution was launched by SimplePay to help social media merchants to receive payments and ensure that the buyer also get what they have purchased. Simplelink is great because you need a website to use it. The social media can remain your marketplace and you can reach as many customers as you can imagine leveraging on their buyer protection and delivery system. I mean, it doesn’t get simpler and cheaper than that.

I bet with this many social media merchants will spring you in the next couple of months to reach out to a larger customer base. Doing business in Nigeria is really getting a lot easier than it used to be as several companies are taking the pain of opening the grounds to provide an easy platform for others. In the nearest future, it really will be “BUSINESS ON THE GO”.

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