Even though E-commerce is booming in Europe, Asia and America with many successful online stores like alibaba.com, amazon.com, ebay.com, clickbank.com and others, making billions of dollars per year from product sales on line, the ecommerce business is still yet to be successful in Africa.
Big online stores targetting e-customers in Africa like Jumia.com, konga.com, payporte.com and others, don,t even make 1 quarter of the profit made by an individual running an amazon.com affiliate store.
Many research findings has shown that only 15% of the people in Africa have ever bought a product or paid for a service online.
As many years pass by, the e-business men in Africa are hoping the situation will change (more africans will start shopping online) but we are in the 21st century and nothing has changed.
What is the cause of this E-commercephobia in Africa? is the $64000 question that the e-business men and women in Africa are desperately looking for answers everyday.
In this article, am going to provide some of the reasons that may possibly be the cause of the E-commercephobia in Africa so that the e-business men and women in Africa can sought out solutions and pave the way for E-commerce success in Africa. Ok let,s get down to business.
Lack of internet access.
Many regions of the African countries lack access to the internet and the internet is the gate of the E-market.
2. Unaffordability of the internet service.
Many people living in the few regions of the countries in Africa that have access to the internet, still can,t access it due to the fact that the internet service is very very expensive. I,m speaking using the voice of the common man. More than 30% of the Cameroon population lives at less than $1.25 per day. If an idividual can,t afford 3 square meals per day, how can he/she afford internet bills?.
3. The popular myth “credit card is for the rich“.
Majority of the Africans don,t shop online because they don,t have a credit card and credit card payment is the most popular method of payment online.
Many Africans don,t have a credit card because they feel that a credit card is an ostentatious asset (that only the rich can acquire). They feel that a credit card is a product that is issued only by the top banks and to those people who have lots of money in their bank account.
I have a credit card (the UBA Africard) that i spent just 10,000frs to acquire but when my friends see me with the credit card, they often make statements like “oh boy you must be a rich guy” is this really your credit card or that of your father?. Because i don,t want to create a false impression about myself (that i,m rich), i often transfer the prestige to my dad by telling them that my dad is the owner. The above school of thought is the primary cause of the E-commercephobia syndrome in Africa.
I want to make it very clear that credit cards have become very affordable to acquire. Many banks now offer various types of credit cards to suit people of different income level (budget).
So no matter your budget, there,s a card that will suit that budget.
Listen!!! if you have 10,000frs in your pocket or purse right now and you are willirng to get a credit card TODAY, you can get it.
The United bank for Africa (UBA) offers a very affordable (cheap) type of credit card called UBA Africard. The picture below shows you how the UBA Africard looks like.
I,m very sure you must have seen the credit card before. Its the most common type of credit card in Cameroon. I have seen it with many secondary and university students in Cameroon and thats the reason that motivated me to make inquiries about the card and also apply for it. I said to myself if these students can become credit card holders then i can also acquire a credit card and i,m very happy i did and it cost me just 10,000frs
The UBA Africard is very affordable (easy to obtain) because applicants of the UBA Africard don,t need to open a bank account with the UBA bank in order to be issued the UBA Africard credit card.
The UBA Africard is an empty prepaid visa card that anybody can buy from the UBA bank with just 10,000frs to store cash (without opening an account with the UBA bank). The cash deposited in your UBA Africard, can be used to shop online.
For example if you wish to buy a 25000frs Android smartphone from the Jumia Cameroon online store today, you just need to go to your nearest UBA Branch with the 10,000frs application fee and apply for the UBA Africard card and you will be issued an empty UBA Africard credit card. After obtaining the card, you just need to deposit 25,000frs in to your card and then use the funds in your credit card to buy the 25,ooofrs smartphone from Jumia Cameroon online store or any online store. As easy as ABC.
Your UBA Africard credit card will become your online shopping wallet (your e-wallet). Whenever you want to buy any product or pay for any service online, you just need to deposit an amount in to your card which is equivalent to the price/fee of the product or service you wish to pay for and then use your UBA Africard visa credit card to pay for the product or service.
If you wish to get the UBA Afrcard and start shopping online today, read my article about how to obtain a UBA Africard from the UBA bank.
4. The ignorance about how E-commerce works.
Many Africans are not involve in E-commerce because they don,t know how e-commerce works. Some are totally ignorant of the existence of E-commerce talkless of getting involve. So there,s a need for a mass sensitization before the E-commerce bizness can be fruitful in Africa.
5. Fear of Scamming (lack of trust for the E-commerce websites).
The virtual world (internet) is now full of unscrupulous people than before. The Africans are very aware of the aforementioned fact. There have been many news about many people (especially the white) who have lose very large sums of cash to the scammers. This has created a very false impression about ecommerce to the Africans.
The economic situation of Africa has made the Africans very cautious about how they spend their money. Its not easy to work for $1 in Cameroon and so those who are priviledge to have money in their pocket are very cautious about how they spend it.
Many research findings have shown that many people often abandon an online transaction at the payment phase i.e. after rapidly following all the payment procedures in an online store, they spend more than 30 minutes contemplating about whether to click the buy now button or not. Ask me why? because of fear of scamming (lack of trust).
6. Lack of a convenient Payment solution.
Like i earlier mentioned, many Africans don,t shop online because they don,t have a credit card. So there,s a need for a payment solution that will suit the needs of the Africans. The credit card payment suits the needs of Asians, Europeans and Americans because credit cards is very accessible overthere. But thats not the case in Africa due to the “credit card is for the rich” syndrome.
In order for the e-business men in Africa to pave the way for ecommerce success in Africa, they must offer a payment solution that suits the need to the Africans.
Some African based online stores like jumia.cm has started accepting payment through MTN money money which is a very nice idea. More than 50% of the total population of Cameroon now has an MTN mobile money account. So they can convenient pay for products online. Instead of the e-business men or online store owners to wait for the society