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Examining Nigeria’s Fastest Growing Mode Of Shopping

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For 28-year-old Lucy
Okon, a cashier in one of the first generation banks, life is now getting better with the new shopping mechanism in town: electronic commerce (e-commerce).
Considering the time she puts in at work on a daily basis and the fact that her weekends are fully booked with other social activities, Okon can now buy assorted wares with ease with the introduction of the e-commerce.
All she has to do is to log onto any of the online retail stores, make her purchase, pay online or upon delivery and the process instantaneously solves the problem.
Okon insists that online shopping is the best thing that can even happen to anyone who loves shopping but is constrained from doing so because of certain factors.
Observers note online shopping has become the norm in many countries of the world, although the trend recently hit the Nigerian cyberspace.
They observe that e-commerce is fast becoming an acceptable custom among Nigerian shoppers, as it saves time while it is even more convenient.
From all indications, e-commerce has revolutionised the Nigerian market, making it possible for shoppers to buy virtually anything they want.
Leading players in the Nigerian e-commerce business include stores like Jumia, Konga.com, DealDey, Taafoo, while Amazon.com, e-Bay, Woolworths, dhgate.com, aliexpress, overstock, buy.com, among others, lead the international market.
These online retailers sell goods ranging from kitchen appliances to books, clothes, cooked soups, local delicacies, technological appliances and other hardware.
Not only do people make purchases online, airline tickets are also booked and paid for online, while many other non-retail businesses make use of the Internet to make transactions between customers and service providers easier.
Besides, hotel accommodation can be booked and paid for online, while items like phone recharge cards can also be bought online using the Quickteller platform.
Although the e-commerce is gradually gaining wider acceptance among Nigerians, analysts note that the initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on cashless policy greatly influenced the growth of online shopping.
E-commerce is booming in Nigeria, Africa’s largest Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) market, because of cheaper Internet access, they add.
Dr Eugene Juwah, the Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that over 75 per cent of Nigeria’s population had been covered by telecommunications services, adding that telecommunications services had permeated the country and improved national access.
He said that the affordability of different types of telecom services had also improved significantly, as the price of services had been forced down via competition facilitated by regulation.
The Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), apart from facilitating bank withdrawals, has also created online cash transfer platforms for people to make purchases without physically handling cash.
The MasterCard Worldwide Online Shopping Survey on Nigeria in 2012  revealed a strong, positive inclination towards online shopping in Nigeria.
The report said that 92 percent of Nigerians who had shopped online expressed their satisfaction with their shopping experience.
Also, 57 percent of those who had shopped three months before the survey maintained that they would continually shop online over the next six months.
Moreover, the survey ascertained that 87 percent of the ATM card holders did not belong to the internet community, while 57 percent of the group expressed concern about the security and safety of using ATM cards.
The study was found that 59 percent of the ATM card holders had reservations about the safety of online transactions.
Forty-three percent of the respondents expressed concern about the quality of the products procured via online channels and preferred patronising stores where they could physically inspect products.
Mr Akintunde Anjorin, an ardent online shopper, said that he once felt disappointed about the blazers he ordered for came and it was too small.
“When I saw it on the internet I was very happy because it was a designer wear and it was the only one with that particular design.
“I didn’t expect it to be too small, considering the fact that the size written on it was within my size range.
“I had to return it but if it was a regular shop, I would have tested it to know if it was actually my size,’’ he said.
Another shopper, Miss Hadiza Abdullahi, said that she stopped paying for goods online because she was once debited thrice for one transaction.
“I bought a kitchen appliance in one of the stores and I was debited three times for the same transaction; when I complained, they told me it was my bank’s fault and it took me close to one month to rectify it.
“I then decided to only pay on delivery to avoid such problems again. That notwithstanding, shopping is the way to go and I won’t stop it because it is quite convenient for me,’’ she said.
Miss Nike Ajagbe, the owner of paigeclothing.com, an online clothing store that started operation in Abuja in 2012 and now has clientele even in Ghana, said that online shopping was the store of the future, although it had its challenges.
“People don’t trust online stores and most of the times, they don’t make online payments before hand; they prefer payments after delivery.
“Also, people only trust the big brands like Jumia and Konga; so, we, the small online stores, have to cultivate the people’s trust gradually.
“Moreover, many people don’t know how to shop online. It is only computer literate people who can hop online and so, it’s difficult to reach those who are not computer literate,’’ she said.
Ajagbe, however, said that newer online stores should not be deterred by the challenges, adding that they must be consistent and resolute in their efforts to have a breakthrough.
To build Nigerians trust in e-commerce, Mr Peter Elofusim, the Chief Executive Officer of AwoofDey Marketing, urged the Federal Government to set up a regulatory body for e-commerce.
He said that the establishment of the regulatory body would aid efforts to boost the development of the industry and build the citizens’ confidence in online business.
Elofusim said that the apathy of most Nigerians to e-commerce was due to the lack of trust, as most people were afraid of exposing their bank details online.
“E-commerce is still growing in Nigeria but nobody is regulating it. I believe when government comes in and regulates e-commerce; the sky will be our starting point.
“If the government sets up a body to regulate the processes of the e-commerce business, if you feel ripped off, you know where to go and lodge a report.
“The way things are going, I believe that very soon, a lot of shops and plazas are going to close down and give way to e-commerce outlets,” he said.
Elofusim urged the Federal Government to provide an enabling environment and necessary infrastructure, such as internet facilities and special funds for the promotion of the e-commerce business in the country.
However, Mrs Olamide Fashola, the General Manager of Basic Information and Communication System Limited (BICS), advised Nigerians to exercise extra caution while transacting business online.
She, however, noted that most Nigerians were indifferent to the terms and conditions attached to goods or services in the e-commerce before keying into transactions.
“Most of the e-commerce sites for shopping basically have a return policy; if what was delivered to you is not what you ordered, you can return it within a specified period.
“It’s always clearly stated; so you call them immediately and you can also apply for refunds.
“I will advise Nigerians to be more patient; they should read between the lines. We buy things that come with manuals which we don’t even read; these manuals contain certain terms and conditions.
“This arrangement always applies to everything — whether e-commerce or physical commerce,’’ he said.
Fashola said that whenever transactions were carried out online and customers failed to get what they requested, they should forward a mail to the customer relations officer of the online store so as to start the process of refund.
All the same, observers believe that with time, internet shopping will become more popular and regulated in Nigeria, while customers will become more contented with the security and on-time delivery of their purchases.
Folarin writes for the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

 
Folasade Folarin

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11m Benefitted From $415m World Bank Supported CSDP  – FG

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The Federal Government has disclosed that 11 million Nigerians benefited from $415 million World Bank-supported Community and Social Development Project (CSDP) programme.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Umar Farouq, disclosed this in an opening address during the close out ceremony of the CSDP programme.
According to Farouq, 11 million direct beneficiaries with an estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries across 29 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were reached between 2009 and 2021 when the CSDP programme was being implemented.
She also described the project as highly successful and highlighted sectors the project focused on including health, education, transportation, electrification, community housing, and others.
She said: “The Project became effective in 2009, has had two additional financing, all totaling USD415 million. In its over 11 years of existence, the CSDP has evolved into one of the strong pillars for the implementation of the Social Protection Programmes of the Federal Government under the supervision of my Ministry through the National Social Safety Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO).
“The CSDP operates with the core principle of Community Driven Development (CDD) Approach.  This is a development paradigm that focuses on the needs of the poor and vulnerable and empowering them with development resources to address their peculiar needs.
“Using this unique approach, the CSDP has implemented micro projects in poor communities across the 543 Local Government Areas of 29 States and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This represents about 70 per cent of the total number of Local Governments in Nigeria.  The poor communities are identified specifically through the use of Poverty Maps agreed to by each participating State and FCT.
“The Project has made substantial impact on improving access of the poor and vulnerable to social and natural resources infrastructure across the benefiting communities.  The total number of beneficiaries of CSDP stands at 11 million direct beneficiaries across the 29 states, with estimated 25 million indirect beneficiaries.
“Specifically, the CSDP has achieved the following: Successful completion of 16,166 micro-projects in 5,664 communities and 934 vulnerable groups.  These micro-projects cut across eight sectors of intervention namely education, health, water, transportation, electrification, socio-economic, environment and community housing; 5,764 classrooms, 1,323 health centres and 4,442 water micro projects were constructed and or rehabilitated.

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Cooking Gas Use Campaign Begins In 12 States

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The Federal Government in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme has kicked off the national sensitisation and awareness campaign for the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas in Nigeria beginning with 12 pilot states.
The states include Sokoto, Katsina, Bauchi, Gombe, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Ogun, Niger and the Federal Capital Territory.
The government said the campaign to ensure increased usage of LPG, popularly called cooking gas, was in line with its ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative, adding that its socioeconomic and health benefits far outweighed the use of kerosene and firewood.
Speaking at the inaugural campaign in Abuja, Tuesday the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said there was no excuse for Nigeria not to be able to develop its gas sector considering the huge gas reserves in-country.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Programme Manager, National LPG Expansion Plan, Office of the Vice President, Dayo Adeshina, said the use of LPG would help in cutting down gas flaring in Nigeria.
He said the government was working to ensure that Nigeria achieved the five million metric tons LPG consumption target, adding that efforts were being made to ensure the provision of cylinders at affordable rates to Nigerians.
“Our gas reserves in this country are enormous and we have every reason to develop the gas sector and ensure that our citizens use LPG,” the Vice President said.
He added, “The use of LPG is good for our health and has better socioeconomic benefits and this is in line with the ‘Decade of Gas’ initiative of government.”
Recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said over 120 million Nigerians were experiencing energy poverty despite the huge natural gas resources across the country.
Participants at the awareness campaign also called for adequate penetration of LPG usage in Nigeria, as they pledged to support the government in achieving this target.

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Rail Transport Suffers 38% Decline In Q1 2021 – NBS

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Rail transportation suffered a 38 per cent, year-on-year average decline in passenger and cargo travel in the first quarter of the year 2021 (Q1’21).
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this yesterday in its Rail Transport Data for Q1’21, which  showed that passenger travel fell by 34.4 per cent, year-on-year, to 424,460 passengers   in Q1’21 from 647,055 passengers recorded in Q1’2020.
Similarly, cargo travel fell by 43.13 per cent, year-on-year, to 10,511 tons in Q1’21 from 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020.
The NBS stated: The rail transportation data for Q1 2021 reflected that a total of 424,460 passengers travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 647,055 passenger recorded in Q1 2020 and 134,817 in Q4 2020 representing -34.40 per cent decline year-on-year and +214.84 per cent growth QoQ respectively.
“Similarly, a total of 10,511 tons of volume of goods/cargo travelled via the rail system in Q1 2021 as against 18,484 recorded in Q1 2020 and 35,736 in Q4 2020 representing -43.13 per cent decline year-on-year and -70.59 per cent decline QoQ respectively.
Revenue generated from passengers in Q1 2021 was put at N892,467,526 as against N398,999,290 in Q4 2020. 
Similarly,revenue generated from goods/cargo in Q1 2021 was put at N26.19 million as against N82.57 million in Q4 2020.

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