EMBRACING E-COMMERCE IN ZAMBIA
Electronic Commerce (E-commerce) in simple terms is online trading. E-commerce which is very convienient is something that most Zambians are yet to embrace.
We are living in the digital era and as much as it has its disadvantages, it also has a lot of advantages. I know that some Zambians are skeptical and others are just ignorant when it comes to doing anything online (online registration, online shopping etc.). Truth is technology shall keep advancing and we need to embrace it.
Technology has brought convenience. People can easily operate businesses online. You don’t have to go to the bank to check your bank balance.
You can easily send money from one account to another and pay your bills from your phone. So, why are very few Zambians considering e-commerce? Is it lack of information? And why are some who are well informed still skeptical?
Doing business online in Zambia is not easy especially if you haven’t put in the time as a business owner to build your brand. There is a serious lack of trust by consumers. Consumers would rather receive the product before sending money or meet you in person.
You can’t blame them. I took time to look at a number of businesses operating online and the reviews on most Facebook pages were negative. Most people complained about late deliveries (even up to 6 months) or the product not being delivered at all.
You don't have to know how to code to create a website.There are so many website and online store builders out there. Some of these are Wordpress, Shopify, Wix, and Weebly just to mention a few. All you need is to sign up for some platforms almost like you do for social media platforms.
We need to embrace the digital era and use it to our advantage. With an online business comes freedom. It is independent of location and depending on what you are offering your customers can be located anywhere in the world.
We are a people with so many skills that someone out there might be looking for. We can create our own online marketplaces. I have seen a Zambian version of Freelancer coming up – Zedlance and an e-commerce platform Dotcom Zambia. There are a few online stores coming up which is a good sign. It is cheaper to start an online business as compared to brick and mortar.
I would like to hear your views. Feel free to comment.