There is no doubt that the Ghanaian population is constantly searching for better ways of doing things. It is also essential to note that technology needed for our daily living and activities is no longer a conundrum. In our world today, there are several tools which can help every business grow – no matter where the business is located.
The idea of e-commerce, or for that matter having one’s business online, is not just a cliché which everyone necessarily has to adopt. Doing business online cannot be compared to having a simple online profile on, say, Facebook or Twitter. We can all testify to the fact that simply managing an online account such as LinkedIn or Facebook does not come easy for millions of us.
To have an online store or presence is certainly a great addition to your business channels, and when well-managed it has the potential for better ROI. There are serious considerations to examine when you decide to do e-commerce here in Ghana. A few years ago, our bane here in Ghana was access to the right technology to prepare the target-market to be ready for e-commerce: Internet access was not cheap and devices were so expensive to acquire.
You will agree with me that this has changed drastically over the years.
It is good to note that some of the hurdles we consider as hampering everyday living are the very drivers for e-commerce success here in Ghana. It all depends on how you see it. Let us delve a little more into them without being too technical.
Drivers for e-commerce here in Ghana
- Overwhelming Time Constraints
The typical Ghanaian is overwhelmed with more to do in a single day, but has a lot of time constraints in doing them all. He or she may have a lot to do at home and also keep up with the ever-growing corporate hustle.
For a target market characterised as this, a service that is well-situated to take the burden off shopping around for services and products is a great relief. A single trip today from the office to go shopping for the family at Makola or Kejetia can be hell. There is traffic in our cities as early as 6:00am on our roads. We are always in traffic to work and back. I see people leaving home as early as 5:30am with their wards as young as 6-years, just to avoid the huge traffic on our roads. Businesses are growingly, taking away our weekend breaks. We now work six days and have only one day for worship, rest, leisure and family time. This certainly is a big attraction for e-commerce growth here in Ghana.
- Growth of the Middle-class and its Unique Taste
In Ghana today, there is a growing middle-class who have grown a high taste for quality and classy services and goods. They no longer want to use the shea butters, but rather exotic skin-toning creams coming from the west. They see it as classy to have a bite of pizza every now and then. They also wish to know where to get what, just when they need it. This class of people has grown to appreciate real-time information for whatever service or product they want. Their taste for the best also leads them to an infinite variety of choices and recommendations.
Positioning a platform online to offer services or goods to make life easier for this growing middle-class in Ghana has a lot of potential for growth.
- Affordable Devices
I stand to be corrected, but the influx of ‘Chinese’ labelled phones has made it possible for all of us to have access to the device needed to be part of the new ecosystem of today’s business. The days when owning a mobile phone was the reserve of the rich is no more. Today, people use simple phones just as back-ups for their smartphones. It’s even commonplace to see most ladies having smartphones in both hands. One can easily own a laptop, tablets and a number of smartphones. It’s no more an issue affording a tech device to digitally engage.
If your business today is easily accessible because people can now afford tools to help do so, then what could be stopping you from launching your business online?
- Access to Internet
Just look around and see how many Internet Cafes still exist. In the late 90s, this was the hottest business around – when we all queued for our turns to simply check our emails. I don’t believe dongles (modems) are even doing well these days. The initial purchasing was not easy for all. People kept borrowing from others to be able to connect on their laptops. I don’t remember the last time I used my modem. With my phone’s hotspot capability, I can easily share its data with my laptop.
Competition is also pushing the buying price of data down, and packages from providers make it even more affordable. This enablement should no doubt spur the growth of e-commerce here in Ghana. Don’t forget that we are well-positioned with mobile broadband penetration in Africa. This is no mere cosmetic feat, and also a good indicator of e-commerce readiness.
- Social Community
The Ghanaian population, just like in other parts of the world, has every aspect of life today socialised. The rising trend of every business to socialise to remain relevant is a great potential for e-commerce growth. With the online environment enhancing our social nature by helping to easily connect with one another, word-of-mouth has become easy. It has become easier to get your products and service in front of many people within a short time. They in turn can easily share with their friends, followers or fans.
- Massive Access to Information
Our world today is inundated with lots of information on every single subject. The opportunity to give the best information about your product or service to your target market and make them buy lies best in online business.
The growing middle-class wants to be well-informed before making buying decisions. e-commerce offers every buyer today in Ghana an opportunity to better understand what they are buying or patronising. The Ghanaian today prefers a 4G LTE phone over 3G-enabled ones, because they are getting informed of the added advantage.
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