By Ayomide Oriade
COVID-19 pandemic has left the world in dire straits by causing a recession from which global economies will have to wait till 2022 for recovery. The World Bank 2020 Global Economic Prospect, June 2020, forecast that the pandemic will plunge all countries into the worst recession in history. The United States’ economy slipped into recession due to the coronavirus crisis. Canada, Germany, France and Japan have all been dealt with strong economic blows. Bringing it home, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed recently said Nigeria is heading towards recession unless the country achieves a very strong Q3 economic performance.
The implication is that business leaders have to navigate shattered expectations and continued uncertainties. For the government, big spending is required to stimulate the economy, but while at it, shrewdness should be the keyword. Funding gaps must be identified to prevent all sort of wastage.
This model applies to consumers as well. The downside, however, is that many unemployed Nigerians, who have lost their livelihood during the crisis are broke, don’t have enough money, and spend the little they have on the basic essentials. The lucky ones who still have a job tend to take cost-cutting measures by reducing expenses and unnecessary spending.
Therefore, Nigerians today look for the best bargain on every naira and kobo spent and this is where cost-effectiveness of online marketplace can be of help. Though many still have their reservations about online shopping, it is fair to say that e-Commerce is gaining more patronage by the day in Nigeria. Platforms such as Jumia, Konga, Jiji, showcase a variety of products from their stocks and various stores. Customers have thus availed the opportunity of browsing to select products according to choice and latest trend.
Online marketplace not only provides an unlimited array of products, but they also offer lower prices. There are several options available to compare prices from different stores and manufacturers. E-retailers also offer discounts on different products. Going for online shopping can be a cost-saving move at this time. Mind you, lower price on eCommerce platforms doesn’t translate to lesser quality. It is part of eCommerce strategies for competition. For instance, Jumia often informs sellers on their platforms on the need for competitive pricing. “We are always informing our sellers on why they need to provide value to customers with competitive pricing. What customers want especially at this period is best deals at affordable prices. They will go for products that help them save more, and one of the advantages of online stores like Jumia is to provide a wide range of assortments to customers at the best market prices possible,” said Operating Officer, Jumia Nigeria, Omolola Oladunjoye.
Those who bank on public transportation for their daily work and business routine would agree that the fares have increased on virtually every route, especially in commercial hubs like Lagos. This is largely due to the limited number of passengers a bus or and tricycle can carry per trip. Hence, the convenience of eCommerce can help save the cost of transportation and associated traffic stress. Online shopping provides you services from the comfort of wherever you are with mobile internet without the worry of working hours. eCommerce platforms run their logistics networks that cover transportation and delivery of your products even at a lesser cost when compared to present-day public transportation fares.
What you want to avoid like a plague, for now, is compulsive shopping. While physical stores have assistants that can lure you into buying what you don’t need or want to buy, such distractions or pressure are not present at online stores. You shop at your pace and don’t need to think twice before logging out if you can’t find what you need. Added to this is the discrete shopping experience. Online shopping provides you with the privacy that protects your choice from the public, especially on sensitive products. Product packaging is done in a way that even the delivery agent can’t identify what’s in the package.
As we all embrace the new normal and its biting economic realities, native knowledge requires frugal spending. A leeway out for businesses and customers alike especially will be to leverage the digital offerings such as eCommerce.