Happy New Year! The sound of this on the 1st of January 2021 seemed to be a statement of hope rather than a new year wish. Such was the disappointment of many SMEs in 2020 when the world was hit by the covid-19 pandemic that we all hoped 2021 came very fast.
Almost everything was on standstill for a long time and just when everyone thought it was almost over because of the vaccine, a second wave of the pandemic seems to have sprung up. In a new year with very new and vibrant opportunities, how can SMEs and individuals take advantage of e-Commerce to stay in business and maximize profit? Africa’s leading e-commerce platform, JUMIA takes a look into this.
1. Expansive Worldwide Reach
With mandatory lockdowns and social distancing enforced, consumers are finding it extremely difficult to get access to essential items, food and other very important things they need for day to day life. E-commerce helps to expand SME networks across geographical borders to reach a greater number of people. Online shopping serves as a useful tool to stay safe and to transact business.
E-commerce creates a platform for SMEs to list all their different items, showcase price cuts and discounts as well as get customers comparing prices. The real opportunity lies in the ability of small business owners to tweak prices at any time in order to satisfy the market needs and ensure continuous engagement with their consumers.
2. Minimal Trade Barriers
Day in day out, there arises the need for individuals especially unemployed youth to be innovative and entrepreneurial. Starting small businesses, selling products and offering services have become a norm in Ghana. This helps as either a main source of income or an extra supporting source. E-commerce has helped to break down barriers by providing a way for developing countries, young entrepreneurs, rural workers and women to participate in international trade. With the advancement in internet technologies, an online presence can be set up at far less the cost of opening a physical store. This allows start-ups and SMEs to set up online with a minimal investment in E-commerce solutions.
With e-commerce, there is little or no need for a large staff base since many of the business processes are completely automated or may require just a few hands. Aspects of the business such as purchasing, check-outs, invoicing, payment processing, and even sometimes delivery processes are all mostly automated or require a few people to execute. There are also a lot of softwares and apps that help manage inventory, run promos , manage social media pages etc. This helps SMEs save cost and time. There is also the issue of customer engagements. E-commerce offers a great opportunity for SMEs to engage well with existing customers and promote their business to many more potential new customers. This helps to save big on traditional advertising and marketing activities.
Revenue and profit is every business person's goal. It’s what every good business person works so hard for. Making as many administrative activities automated helps to reduce costs and effectively manage revenue. Because your online business doesn’t sleep, customers can shop from anywhere at any time, at their own convenience. Offering delivery services at a fee can also increase revenue. Money that may previously have been invested in a physical store can now be also used in other areas of the business.
5. Easy Access to vital information
In order to measure the success of marketing campaigns and other customer engagement initiatives, SMEs need information generated through online sales. This provides an easy way to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign's run, mistakes that need to be corrected, and strategies that need to be improved.
Analysis of data helps SMEs understand the spending patterns of customers to better meet customer needs and offer them suitable products every time they visit the online store. Likewise, detailed information is at the fingertips of existing and potential customers. You can provide easy access to in-depth information about every product you sell in your online store, which can be a great tool to help attract and retain customers.