Mr Chidi Umeano, Head of Shared Services at Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has encouraged Nigerians to trust online payment platforms to boost e-commerce in the country.
The fear of electronic fraud, which gave rise to the Pay on Delivery (PoD) option to bridge the lack of confidence in the system, is seriously hindering the swift development of Nigeria’s e-commerce sector, the CBN top exec says.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]With over 93 million active Internet subscribers in Nigeria, he believes that the country has become an attractive hub for both local and foreign online businesses, which has contributed in making it Africa’s largest economy by GDP.[/quote]Umeano reckons that online shopping is gradually taking over the business of the day but is quick to note lack of trust in the system as major setback for the potentially multi-billion Naira sector.
The level of e-commerce transactions conducted in Nigeria in the past three years has increased exponentially, but there are still lots of room for improvement, he says.
“In other for e-commerce to grow in Nigeria, Customers must be able to trust the system” Umeano said passionately while delivering his keynote address at the CBN Cashless Card Expo 2016 held at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos.
According to him, e-commerce is all about a perfect interface between business management, strategy and technology with a view to serving the customers more satisfactorily.
While e-commerce platforms should not be for profit alone but customer satisfaction, Umeano told participants at the tech event that customers need to be assured that any order placed will be delivered.
“Gone are the days when orders placed are not delivered, leaving the customer helpless. We need to build an e-commerce domain with services that will depict efficiency and growth”, the CBN exec says.
With over 93 million active Internet subscribers in Nigeria, he believes that the country has become an attractive hub for both local and foreign online businesses, which has contributed in making it Africa’s largest economy by GDP.
“This expo is a good avenue to create this awareness. This is why the Central Bank sponsors this event annually”, he adds.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Chidinma Lawanson, MD/CEO,EFInA, emphasized on the customer service relationship of the e-commerce platforms.
According to Lawanson, based on the survey carried out by her company, 17 million adults have debit cards but only 6% of Nigeria’s population use them.
She said a whooping number of the debit card owners acknowledged that they find it easier using the cards but ”what discourages them is porous security measures and bad customer services.”
Another major setback identified by the EFInA boss is that the IT platforms are not robust enough and based on the company’s survey, ”most people say they will fully utilise mobile money options if they can understand the system. This means they need to be enlightened on how the system works.”
According to Lawanson, 83 million adults make payments using cash only and 51% of the people read English language comfortably. This means that the services should also be provided in other languages.
However, she encourages players in the e-commerce sector to come up with innovative approaches in the area of trust, usability, reliability and incentives as these are vital approaches to drive the growth of the system in Nigeria.
Mr Ade Ashaye, Managing Director, Visa West Africa in his submission noted that e-commerce is growing much more faster than physical transactions.
“e-Commerce transaction is growing two to three times faster than the physical transaction. We are seeing growth in domestic transactions locally. People are getting used to this idea of using the cards to make payment”, he said.
Speaking on how his Visa intends to help a critical mass of Nigerians to develop trust in e-commerce and embrace the system, Ashaye told the forum that “the first thing we need to do is to educate about security such as to keep your details secured. We also need to work with the banks to ensure that the customers understand what happens if something goes wrong, where they need to go and what they should expect, so the consumers are not scared.”
Citing a specific example whereby a transaction fails and the customer is not sure if there will be a refund of his/her money, the Visa exec says that “has more to do with the POS providers and working with the local players to reverse the transactions. We provide the infrastructure and the capabilities to do all these things properly.”
According to the Managing Director of Visa West Africa, “what we need now is everybody using the e-transaction system to make sure that they execute them on these capabilities. If your transactions doesn’t go through, it should be refunded immediately and we provide the capabilities and the system to do that. We just need to make sure that all their merchants, all their providers and their technology partners are doing so and once you believe that if anything goes wrong, you will know how to resolve it and when it is going to be resolved, then we will have trust in the system.”