Despite the rapid growth of e-commerce in Ghana by both consumers and businesses, not all e-commerce developments have been successful. These days, the most effective and sure ways businesses grow in Ghana is by using the internet. Sometimes for marketing and sometimes for actual business activities. Ordering or booking online is convenient and affordable. It gives us options and alternatives while helping us choose the best prices. We get discounts as well. For both the consumer and business, e-commerce is super important. As with everything in life, there are advantages and then there are disadvantages. You decide for yourself if your vision and plans can outweigh the disadvantages. E-commerce also has it’s pitfalls. The things that can hamper this game changer. Jumia , Ghana’s leading ecommerce website takes a critical look at e-commerce pitfalls and possible ways to bypass them.

Lack of Reviews by Customers

It has become quite a necessity for customers to endorse service providers on their platforms. Reviews from customers are said to be a major boost to businesses in this digital age. Customers visiting such platforms for the first time have a lot of expectations . It’s like venturing into the unknown. To fully trust the system, you may sometimes rely on other customers who have experienced the product or service in the past. The lack of adequate reviews makes it difficult for new customers to choose from the wide range of options usually available online. Also since e-commerce mostly deals with virtual activities, customers need extra assurance about product and services. What the seller puts there is usually not enough because businesses may say just anything in order to market their products or services. Having the real experiences of fellow customers is just what is needed by these first time customers. All this is good news until it is not done. Lack of reviews by customers means that uncertainty will always creep into the minds of new customers when buying a product. They are unsure about quality and if the systems are genuine. When it comes to payments, this is where there is a great challenge. Parting away with money isn’t always easy so just imagine having to pay money to a system that you haven’t used before. After using a service for a while, you should leave a review there. Whether good or bad, it serves as a guide for the next user.

Lack of adequate product/service details for customers

Another great pitfall of ecommerce in Ghana is the lack of adequate product/service details for customers. Often when customers go to offline markets, the vendors educate them about the products available. The details often get them either interested in the product or otherwise. For example, on a local vegetable market, even the most colourful tomatoes are described by the sellers with certain funny and attractive words. These often end up convincing customers to buy. For e-commerce, products and services need to be vividly described on the website in order to get the customer interested. For mobile phones,apart from the pictures being showcased, there has to be adequate information about the battery capacity, the picture quality, the storage size and many other specifications. This helps customers to compare and contrast before they make a choice. The absence of adequate information leaves the customer handicapped which eventually deters him/her from making an order. People do not like to buy what they don’t know and ecommerce sometimes has the pitfall of not having all the details needed by the customer.

Complex order/booking processes

You walk into a shop, you go through what they have, you choose one, you pay for it and then you leave. Simple as it may sound, the process isn’t often as smooth. The argument has always been that ecommerce offers a better alternative to the stress of physically going to the market or shop. But just to be objective, ecommerce doesn’t always offer that simplicity especially when customers are not tech savvy. Online marketplaces are often complex and booking processes don’t come that easy. From one step to the other, anyone who is not comfortable with online processes may find it too stressful and may end up quitting before the order is done. It is however necessary that ecommerce platforms simplify their order or booking processes so that customers can easily go through without stress. A few clicks should do the trick.

Aesthetically unappealing Content

When we walk into a shop, we are often caught by the beauty of the items in the shop. The colour, beauty and style are often what makes us want to buy the items no matter what. Similarly when people go online, they have to see attractive items. Whether these are clothes, mobile phones, hotels, food or large electronics, they should have a reason to buy. If the items are appealing enough, it is easy to get them sold. Ecommerce sometimes has a pitfall of not displaying items as they are. This can work in two ways. First of all, if the pictures on the website don’t look very good, customers won’t be attracted to it. On the other hand, if the pictures look too good to be true, then customers begin to shy away from them because it becomes difficult to believe that they are available. Pictures and videos about products and services should reflect exactly what is being sold. The customer should receive exactly what they see and order for.

Product/Service delivery

We can choose to call this the ‘’profit’’ of ecommerce to customers. To order an item and get it delivered to you in the comfort of your home or office wasn’t something very popular in the past. These days, that seems to be the order of the day. In our modern era when time is of the essence, ecommerce has made it easy for you to sit in your home or office and place an order. You receive it quickly without having to move an inch. Great, isn’t it? However, this becomes a pitfall when customers get their orders delayed beyond the turnaround times. Also when they don’t receive exactly what they ordered for because the item was damaged in transit. Occasionally some criminals get involved and cause harm to customers. This happens because ecommerce is virtual and until you are ready to receive your items, you may not have an idea who is delivering them. Dangerous as it may sound, it has over the years proved beneficial. Why stop now when we can find ways to make it safer. It works! Let’s just make it better.

Credit : Jumia Ghana

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