Mr. Obinna Ekezie, Managing Director, Wakanow.com, has advised Nigerian online entrepreneurs to leverage the mobile platform, which he cites as “the future of e-commerce”, to scale their businesses.
The Wakanow MD told attendees at a technology event in Lagos that, “the future of e-commerce is on mobile. With mobile services, business can reach customers on the go. Like I always say, think mobile.”
Ekezie, who said this while in a presentation, “Capitalizing on the Digital Transformation and e-Commerce” at the CBN Cashless CardExpo Africa 2016 held in Lagos this week, believes that e-commerce businesses should include mobile platform to their other online payment platforms.
[quote font=”georgia” font_size=”22″ font_style=”italic” align=”left” arrow=”yes”]He notes that online travel industry remains a niche in Africa where there is less than 20% Internet penetration in most countries and online retailing still account for less than 5%. Because of this, he wants Nigerian business owners need to leverage technology to grow their businesses, because any business that is not being driven by technology will remain stagnant.[/quote]He notes that online travel industry remains a niche in Africa where there is less than 20% Internet penetration in most countries and online retailing still account for less than 5%. Because of this, he wants Nigerian business owners need to leverage technology to grow their businesses, because any business that is not being driven by technology will remain stagnant.
“Anybody doing business that is not using technology to drive and extend its services is not trying to grow. Technology is creating a lot of job opportunities for Nigerians. It is something we have to work on. It is a very critical sector that banks need to pay attention to”, the Wakanow MD said at the tech event.
He believes also that financial institutions have some roles to play to boost the local e-commerce space including facilitating third party payment such as Interswitch, e-Transact, among others. They also need to expand their investment banking potential to assist with structuring of the right debt and equity facilities for e-commerce companies based on cash flow and intangible assets where a great deal of disruptive SME values lie.
According to Ekezie, local financial Institutions should also support pan-African expansions with their existing African footprints while underscoring the need to facilitate trading between Nigerian e-commerce companies and foreign brands.
“Many Nigerians are still not comfortable with online booking for whatever reasons. With that we have to make adjustments by providing different payment options for different types of customers such as cards, online transfers and bank deposits”, he adds to drive home the need for diversification of payment options by e-commerce companies.
Wakanow is making new inroads into other sector as the company plans to integrate technology in the transport sector specifically the bus transport sector, according to the MD of the e-commerce company.
“We are developing technologies that will drive the bus space. Over 70 million Nigerians travel by bus, yet many of the bus transport services such as bus ticketing are done manually with no technology”, according to the MD of Wakanow.
Mr. Adetayo Adegbohungbe of the eBanking Group at Skye Bank Plc, also underscores the importance of mobile payment system saying that “we have seen a lot of transition from e-commerce to m-commerce and I believe there is still a lot of growth opportunities in the mobile space. As education grows and more people begin to understand how to use these platforms, especially the mobile, there will be lesser cash to transactions.”
According to the bank executive, “we can easily have payment modules of e-commerce platforms integrated in the mobile system of banks and that will enable wider coverage.”
For Mr. Emezino Afiegbe, Business Development Manager at Visa West Africa, who also spoke at the event, further expand the scope of the relevance of mobile system by noting that “people can either be physically or virtually in the same location. That is technology. If we don’t have technology or connect with our customers virtually, then, we are hindering our growth.”
According to the Visa exec, “the solution that speaks to customers has to be either smartphone-based or USSD-based. We need to leverage on mobile technologies. Many banks are investing on mobile payment. Success has to be technology-based and integration with local players.”
According to Afiegbe, “once upon a time, there was nothing called Bitcoin. Now there is Bitcoin. We don’t know what will come tomorrow. A key thing that anybody will be concerned with as these new payment systems are being advocated is security. Visa is trying to ensure that you are able to secure your transaction.”