By Emmanuel Nwachukwu
Many will agree that the stock of digital businesses have risen tremendously in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic. The crucial role played by technology and ecommerce during the lockdown has further opened up the space for more possibilities.
For many small and medium scale businesses that managed to survive economic hiccups in the heat of the pandemic, digital presence and relevance is prescribed as one of the ways for sustainability in the emerging new normal. For customers alike, many of whom have been affected by job losses and reduced income, cost effectiveness is key on every expense.
Ecommerce is a bundle of effectiveness, convenience, reach and safety which is crucial in this time of belt tightening and economic uncertainty. With online marketplace, shopping is made easier. Customers can purchase items from the comfort of their own homes or workplace. Online shopping saves time and customers do not need to stand long queues especially in this time of covid and distancing guidelines. Also, no time barrier as the online store is open 24/7.
While convenience appears to be the most talked about features of online shopping, there are several other benefits consumers can leverage at this time. Shopping online opens customers to a wide display of products. You can find almost any brand even as far as international brands. The platforms allow you to shop from retailers in several states. Platforms such as Jumia, Konga, Jiji, showcase a variety of products from their stock and various stores. In some cases, customers are allowed to even make orders for out of stock items and are shipped to them when they are available.
Furthermore, online shopping saves money. Cheap deals and better prices are available on ecommerce platforms as products are put on sale directly from the manufacturers or sellers without the middlemen. Added to this, online shopping saves you the pressure from sales representatives at brick and mortar stores.
Another huge benefit of online shopping that is not mostly talked about is the opportunity to compare prices and research products. For instance, for a customer aiming to buy home appliances or gadgets such as phones and laptops, customer reviews are available to provide firsthand experiences and ratings as a guide. Also, online platforms provide a range of product options that enable buyers to choose from a long list of products, compare features, as well as prices.
“We are always informing our sellers on why they need to provide value to customers with competitive pricing. What customers want especially at this period is the best deal at affordable prices. They will go for products that help them save more, and one of the advantages of online stores like Jumia is to provide a wide range of assortments to customers at the best market prices possible,” said Operating Officer, Jumia Nigeria, Omolola Oladunjoye.
And sending gifts is much easier with ecommerce with comfort and ease. It also helps sustain the element of surprise as well. The e-retailer does all the packaging and shipping. In some cases, some brands wrap your gifts to make them special before delivering to your loved ones.
With all the features of ecommerce, it appears online shopping is a smarter way to go around purchase activities at a time when every Nigerian wants the best deal on every naira and kobo spent.
Emmanuel Nwachukwu is a corporate communications and marketing consultant
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