If you’ve heard someone talk about buying or selling items over the internet, then you have heard about e-commerce.
A couple of years ago, especially in Africa, there was no way you could stay at home and complete a purchase or sale unless of course, you use your home as a marketplace. However, technological innovations have since turned things around and right now loads of profits are made by salesmen without coming into a direct contact with the retailer or final consumer.
Anything ranging from groceries, office equipment, health products, electronics, e-books, online courses can be sold and bought over the internet.
Now, that is what e-commerce basically means even though a lot more is involved.
Here’s a simpler definition of e-commerce
(Electronic Commerce) E-commerce is a term used to refer to the sum of tools and processes that makes buying and selling of goods and services over electronic means possible.
In even simpler words, e-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services over electronic systems such as the internet or other computer networks.
In modern times, e-commerce is also known as I-commerce owing to its heavy reliance on the internet. Statistically, 80% of e-commerce transactions in Africa are carried out on internet-connected mobile devices.
The Scope of E-commerce in Africa
This simply refers to a modern banking method that allows the conduction of transactions over the internet. While there have been several cases of security concerns raised with this banking system, it is gradually coming to mainstream because of the flexibility and convenience it offers a user.
With online banking, transactions such as funds transfer, online purchase, and printing of bank statements can be completed without visiting a banking hall.
A mobile app or website managed by most commercial banks allows an online banking service usually tied to a debit card.
This refers to real-time sales transaction that takes place on the internet.
The seller, in this case, provides an online platform (usually a website) where buyers can browse through an inventory of goods and services that are on-sale. A price tag for the items is displayed with a virtual cart provided to allow shoppers easily calculate the total prices for selected items.
A checkout system is the final shopping process and involves the payment for selected goods using a credit card and a shipping address for physical products. Following the placement of an order, the seller ensures the goods or service is promptly delivered.
Popular online shopping websites in Africa
Jumia, Takealot ,Konga.com,Kilimall and Mart Ng (Grocery shopping based in Abuja, Nigeria)
In the same manner that advertising is a basic concept in the traditional commerce, a large budget is set aside by businesses in the online space to get their message across to potential clients on the internet.
Popular online advertising channels include Google Advertising, Facebook Advertising, Email Advertising, and Guest Posting on popular websites.
4.Electronic Data Interchange
This simply the sharing of data involved in buying and selling through an electronic means. It reduces the work involved when businesses have to manually generate documents such as invoice, shipping order, receipts.
When a person shops online, they get an invoice for their order once it is placed and can also generate tracking documents. This process is automated at the point of sales, meaning that the seller does not have to border about creating individual documents for each transaction.
5.Digital Asset Trading
The birth of blockchain technology in 2009 and subsequently cryptocurrencies in the same year introduced the world to this branch of e-commerce. The goal was to facilitate the quick and direct transfer of money between two entities without involving a third party such as banks and insurance companies.
However, the volatile nature of the proposed means of exchange (digital tokens such as Bitcoin), means that an individual could buy these tokens for cash and resell at a higher value when market price rises.
Online platforms called cryptocurrency exchanges allow people to buy and sell digital tokens in the form of e-commerce.
Even though the use of cryptocurrencies has not come to mainstream in Africa, a number of exchanges exist in the region – PayPlux (Ghana), Remitano(Seychelles), NairaEx (Nigeria).
E-commerce Tools In Modern Time
- Mobile applications
- Digital wallets (virtual wallet for storing crypto tokens)
- Payment solutions (PayStack, Paypal, Visa)
- Online shopping websites
- Database management tools
- Cybersecurity applications
Exciting tech career opportunities exist for young Africans under the umbrella of E-commerce in Africa.
Web and mobile developers, cybersecurity operatives, database managers and blockchain developers will be needed to pilot an industry expected to be valued at $75 billion dollars in 2025.
Could you consider a career in e-commerce?