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Ghana’s e-commerce industry looks poised for growth thanks to innovation and ingenuity that have been introduced in the operations of most e-commerce players in recent years. These innovations have come in many forms, with immeasurable impacts. Whilst some of these innovations have been inspired by modern technology, others have simply been old, traditional ways that have been refined and adopted. With these novelties, the e-commerce industry looks set to become the next frontier in trading in Ghana.
The advent of the mobile app has indeed contributed to the immense growth of e-commerce in Ghana. With the introduction of the app, one can easily make purchases on their preferred e-commerce platforms at the comfort of their homes with a few touches on their smartphones. This whole process can easily take a minute or two to do and it significantly cuts down on the time spent in opening a browser, assessing the website and making the purchase of your item. E-commerce leader, Jumia, has a very user-friendly app that, according to the online shopping giant, contributed to over 31 percent of all visits to its platform in 2018.
Available data shows that over 70 percent of Ghanaians remain outside the formal banking sector. Interestingly, that same share of the population prefer paying for items bought with cash. This means that a large chunk of the populace undertake their everyday transactions with cash as opposed to the cashless systems that are hugely utilized in other jurisdictions. For the concept of e-commerce to be embraced and accepted by a larger section of the population then, a way had to be found around payment systems – payment systems that could easily be accepted and make transactions easy. Cash-on-delivery, used by Jumia and other platforms, is one innovative mode of payment where customers make payment of purchased items upon delivery. This has boosted growth and patronage in the sector
The Pick-up Stations
This is a purely traditional tactic that has been adopted into e-commerce. The pick-up stations are specially-designated points where customers can pick up their purchased items at no fees. This innovation has been introduced by e-commerce giants, Jumia, to facilitate easy access for customers to their goods and to help reduce total costs on items. This means that when making purchases on the Jumia platform, customers in Accra can, for instance, opt to pick up their items at one of the following eight (8) pick-up points – Spintex, Roman Ridge, Makola, Tema, Ring Road, Legon, East Legon and the Labadi Pick-Up Stations.
Return and Refund Policy
E-commerce has its own limitations especially when one decides to make purchases on international platforms. One such limitations, is the inability to easily return and receive refunds on items purchased. But here too, Ghanaian e-commerce players have been innovative and proactive about it. Jumia for instance have a very friendly return and refund policy where certain items can be returned and customers’ money refunded if done within seven days after receiving the item. With this, patrons of e-commerce platforms can be assured of a stress-free refund of their monies anytime they decide to return purchased items.
The very concept of items delivery is innovative in the e-commerce industry in Ghana. Unlike the developed world where the addressing and postal systems really ‘work’, Africa and for that matter Ghana, do not have very robust and updated addressing systems. The only way out for e-commerce companies like Jumia, was to devise a way to employ the services of dispatch riders to deliver items to customers. This has really been a game-changer as this innovation has boosted growth in the sector and provided much-needed convenience for online shoppers.
With such innovations, e-commerce seems set to grow and contribute significantly to Ghana’s economy. Indeed, available data from the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) projects that Africa’s e-commerce market is projected to contributed between US$50 and US$75 billion, by the year 2025 and Ghana is surely poised to get its fair share of this growth.