The creation of the internet transformed how goods and services are bought and sold, creating an ‘online-first’ culture in many countries around the world.
Technology has had a massive impact on many aspects of society during the 21st century, and that is certainly the case where online business is concerned.
However, it has also presented unique challenges for some nations, particularly with regards to the legislation governing online business transactions.
Concerns over payment fraud and personal data privacy have also proved to be major stumbling blocks to the success of online businesses in some countries.
Thankfully, e-Commerce is on the rise globally, with many companies firmly establishing themselves as global behemoths.
Read on as we take a closer look at some of the issues that Nigeria has had to contend with as it strives to embrace the modern way of doing business.
Navigating the regulatory minefield
While countries such as the United States and United Kingdom have strong regulatory systems in place for online business, Nigeria has lagged behind a little.
For instance, anyone planning to launch an online casino in United States knows that there are stringent laws in place governing this type of business.
However, the landscape is less clear in Nigeria, with the country’s National Lottery Regulatory Commission’s guidelines making no mention of online gambling activities.
Anyone in Nigeria who wants to play popular online casino games such as blackjack and roulette can do so via offshore operators such as 888 who accept players located there.
The companies must follow the same regulations laid out for the land-based casinos, but the online space is not specifically referenced in the rules.
This ambiguity has not stopped the online casino industry growing rapidly in Nigeria, with people across the country playing the games regularly.
The online payment conundrum
Experts have predicted that Nigeria will have one of the largest economies in the world by 2030, highlighting how far the country has progressed in business terms.
Despite this, it is fair to say that Nigeria has had to overcome some difficult hurdles, with online payments undoubtedly one of the most significant.
The country has historically had problems with cyber fraud, an issue that led to PayPal to refuse registration of any new account that was traced to a Nigerian IP address in 2005. Online payments growing in popularity in Nigeria after widespread fraud concerns (Pexels)
The decision was eventually revoked a decade later, opening the door for businesses to incorporate PayPal into their online payment offering.
The marketplace is now awash with alternative services such as CashEnvoy, 2Checkout, Amplify and many more, bringing Nigeria into line with other major countries.
However, while this has driven growth in online business transactions, this has not happened as quickly as elsewhere in the world.
Raising consumer awareness of online benefits
One of the major obstacles facing online businesses in Nigeria is the number of people who remain under the poverty line there.
The government has sought to address this by investing heavily into Information and Communications Technology (ICT), but this has not fully resolved the issue.
Many educational establishments still don’t include ICT as part of their syllabus, while the cost of obtaining such technologies is often beyond the means of many households.
Although the infrastructure is in place for online transactions to be made, many Nigerians still prefer to use cash to pay for their goods or services.
Studies have shown that more than half the people who have used online banking do not become regular users, with concerns over privacy still extremely prevalent.
Analysts have predicted that this will change over the coming years as consumers become more aware of the stability of the services on offer.
e-Commerce retailer leading the way
The success of e-Commerce websites such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and others has demonstrated how consumers have embraced the shift towards online businesses.
Nigeria has produced its own internet sensation, with Jumia pioneering e-Commerce in the country and inspiring many other companies to follow suit.
The award-winning firm now operates across several African countries, specialising in the sale of electronics, fashion, travel, food delivery and more.
Jumia currently employs more than 5,000 people and is in the top 15 most visited websites in Nigeria – an impressive achievement when considering the amount of competition.
The company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2019, and has since fended off allegations of fraudulent operations to cement its status as an e-Commerce giant, definitively a interesting stock.
Jumia is now viewed as a shining example of what can be achieved by an online business, providing inspiration for other budding entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
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