Internet availability in Africa has changed the landscape of buying and selling. Ten years ago you had only three methods of payment for most services, cash, cheque, or credit cards. But for most people there was only one, cash! But now people are able to carry out online transaction using cash, credit or debit cards, payment platforms like Paypal and mobile cash payments.
The advantages of buying and selling online include convenience, lower prices and more choices. Mobile cash payments have done a lot to make it easy for e-commerce to flourish. It is now easy to pay bills without having to go to a physical shop or the landlord. It is now possible also to transfer money from your bank account to your phone. This has made it easier to be able to shop without leaving in your house.
With social media platforms like Facebook giving people a chance to buy and sell goods people have become more comfortable with buying things online. OLX has also done a great job in encouraging people to think about turning their junk into gold. Think about all the things you have in your house that you don’t use and you could get some money for it. Why not try it?
You can set up a website or even sell directly from platforms like Facebook. For example, if you are selling paintings you can showcase them online and then ask for payment via mobile payment like M-Pesa or other such platforms.
You can also be able to sell your products, ideas, or services through internationally known companies like OLX. You can post free ads here.
It saves you time. You are able to buy things from the comfort of your home or office then pay for them when they are delivered. No queuing or wasting time in traffic jams just to get to the products only to find sometimes the shops have closed or they are out of stock.
Buying online can save you money. To do business you do not have to have a physical office. You can have a virtual office. You can showcase what you want to sell online. Then you don’t have to have so many operating costs that are unnecessary especially if you have a small business that doesn’t require staff or office space.
Selling online also opens up a whole new customer base for you. If you are selling products, services, content etc through only cash payments you are limited by geographical area or other factors like bank accounts in the type of customer you would have. If you are selling online you can sell your products anywhere in the world. You may just be a local company and maybe you do not export your products for example but you may have a somebody in US who wants to buy for his mother or girlfriend a present for their birthday and they can pay you through credit card or a mobile money transfer system.
There are other benefits that I haven’t listed. Of course e-commerce has its risks. Security and credit card fraud are the biggest issue in terms of payment systems. Make sure that you only pay for goods after they have been delivered. Meet in a public place to exchange your money for goods or vis versa. Perceptions about e-commerce are changing and hopefully in the future we will have more people doing business online.
These are a few reasons why you should be buying and selling online!