‘E-Commerce Boom Can’t Phase Out Traditional Stores’

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An innovator, Mr Dayo Ayeni, yesterday said that traditional stores would remain relevant in spite of growth of e-commerce industry.
Ayeni, Chief Innovation Officer, BusinessPlus, said in Lagos that although e-commerce had made it easier for people to buy items from the comfort of their homes and offices, physical stores could not be phased out.
The chief innovation officer who spoke with newsmen, said that BusinessPlus is a digital business services agency.
Ayeni said that physical stores had the advantage of enabling buyers to feel items they would want to purchase.
“Even with the emergence of the e-commerce industry, thousands of consumers in Lagos, for example, still go to traditional stores at Isale-Eko, Computer Village and Balogun Market on a daily basis to purchase groceries, electronics and clothes, despite the stress involved.
“The fact remains that traditional stores allow consumers to interact with a range of products to make informed choices, aside from the advantage of being able to touch and see what they are buying.
“Online shopping is convenient in many ways, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its disadvantages.
“For instance, delivery charges and time spent waiting for the product to arrive are not pleasant to many consumers,’’ he said.
Ayeni said that online shoppers were mostly corporate workers, who hardly had the time to go to physical stores to shop.
According to him, many consumers usually complain that items they ordered for online looked different when delivered.
He said that since all citizens were not educated and had access to the internet, the society would always need traditional stores.
“Shopping online requires the use of internet, and not all Nigerians have access to it, hence, the need for physical stores which accommodate both the literate and the illiterate.
“I am not to trying to rule out the fact that the e- commerce industry is making it big globally, but the truth is even most of the online stores now have physical stores as a front to sell their markets.
“The reality is that physical stores can never go into extinction, there will always be the need for them,’’ he said.
Reports say that according to the Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018 brick-and-mortar (physical) stores’ weekly shoppers grew by four per cent from 2016 to 2018, an indication that e-commerce cannot phase out physical stores.
The survey also found out that shopping is not just about convenience but also about experience, which, at the moment, only a physical store can offer.
Niesel Global Survey also shows that one of the biggest barriers to online shopping in Nigeria is inability of customers to inspect goods.
The survey says 78 per cent of Nigerian respondents believe the factor is a deterrent.
The Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) says trust remains a major issue in online transactions as many Nigerians are in constant fear of online fraud and will do anything to avoid using their debit cards to process payments electronically.
According to data from NIBSS, year 2014 recorded 1,461 reported cases of electronic fraud, with actual losses grossing N6.216 billion.
In 2015, about 946 attempted e-fraud cases were also recorded by banks, other financial institutions and mobile payment operators, resulting in estimated N5 billion loss.