Global technological advancement has transformed numerous economic societies. Here in Africa, the impact of technology specifically the internet on our business economy is remarkable. Ghana is experiencing a gradual transformation in its economy as a result of the technological (internet) boost in business. It is simply clear that the use of internet in business transactions has allowed various entrepreneurs to build a positive marketable brand for their products and services. E-commerce markets are growing at a fast rate as well. Research shows that the online market is expected to grow by 56% between 2015 and 2020. Traditional markets are expected to grow by 2% within that same period. Graduate unemployment rates keep increasing by the years and one very alarming observation is the fact that the Ghanaian employment system cannot possibly accommodate everyone. WHere else do we turn? What else can we do? What other alternative is there to hunger, poverty and crime? The answer to these questions is one that is very common on every visionary’s lips ,Self- employment!!!.
However, self-employment doesn’t come on a silver platter. It takes hard work, perseverance and a lot more self discipline to start a business and make it survive. In the end, one popular word in young business circles today ‘’Start-up’’ emerges. There are many types of start-up business these days.These range from consulting, virtual services, product sales,manufacturing or freelance work. However, the more trusted, reliable and quick way of growing start-up businesses in Ghana seems to be through e-commerce. Jumia. Ghana’s largest online retail company looks at some advantages of e-commerce to young start-ups.
1. For a startup business to thrive, convenience is a key. Just imagine a business where the customers have to go through a lot of stress to get access to products and services. It is clear that there will be shortage in productivity and efficiency.The effects of this will be damaging to the business since customers will be less willing to use that particular brand especially if competitors are providing better. E- Commerce provides convenience for customers. It allows them to overcome geographical barriers and since it is not limited by time,customers can purchase products anytime and from anywhere. All it takes is a computer or smartphone, internet and you are there.
2. The issue of accessibility is equally crucial. If customers are able to identify products easily without having to go to the business location whenever they want to purchase products, they begin to feel comfortable. With this they don’t have to bare extra cost of transportation. Imagine that you need to buy a shirt for an event tonight but you cannot go to the mall or boutique, return home and get ready before time. What do you do? E-commerce helps you to pick up your phone or computer and from the comfort of your home place an order. In a few minutes, your order will be delivered at your doorstep. That is the power of e-commerce! If this isn’t a business you want to enter, what else?
3. With e-commerce, there is often no need for physical company set-ups or office spaces and lots of logistics. Most of the business transactions are carried out online and therefore for start-ups with limited funds, the business can be started from the comfort of your home. No overhead costs and limited labour required. Clients as well as business owners don’t necessarily have to meet at a location to perform transactions. All that is required from both parties is a secured internet connection and a reliable device. That way the company can address the needs of many busy clients in a short time.
4. Startup businesses cut down cost with e-commerce. Operational costs in business are reduced drastically. The automation of the process (E-Commerce) means billing, payments, inventory management and other operational processes lowers the number of employees required to run an e-commerce setup.
5. Customers are provided alternatives to choose from when shopping for products. E-commerce facilitates comparison shopping. There are several online services that allow customers to browse multiple e-commerce merchants and find the best prices. Being an e-commerce start-up means you are providing a solution to a long lasting problem. You are bound to be successful this way. Rather than browse through many shelves and departments in stores, customers will readily visit your online page or website to check best quality items and prices. At the right price, you are bound to sell more. You are in business!!!
6. E-commerce allows you to buy and sell 24/7. It makes it possible for online shops to remain active 24/7. E-commerce websites can run all the time. From the product owner’s point of view, this increases the number of orders they receive. From the customer’s point of view, an “always open” store is the cherry on top of the cake. For business owners, this gives flexibility. You can attend to other businesses or personal matters while still receiving orders and processing them. Click here, click there and then you are good to go.
With all these advantages that e-commerce brings and with the current surge of many e-commerce startups , it’s evident that there is great promise for the online industry and presents a long lasting solution to our unemployment problem as a country.