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Virtual ‘Hawkers’ Will Soon Send Conventional Shop Owners Packing

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By Ugwoke Udoka

Stagnancy, well, describes the activities of some shop owners. Moving around in circles and not responsive to the advancement of technology and application of these reforms to their business activities would only mean doom. Hawkers, in this context, virtual are prone to limitless success.

Gone are the days when people scramble to site their shops in the best locations or save up a lot of cash to acquire capital to buy land space and erect structures or even pay a lot of rental fee for shops. People no longer want to go through the stress of paying transportation fares to visit shops, neither do they want to waste too much time walking from department to department in a mall, when a couple of clicks from the comfort of their homes could give them the same desired result and even more. Obviously, rising technology brings a rise in customer’s taste.

Apart from fierce competition coming from mall, honestly, statistics do not favour bricks and mortars shop owners.  A report by BigCommerce.com on ‘Customer location at time of purchase’, shows a quarter of online shoppers (25%) have made an online purchase from a brick-and-mortar store; 43% of online shoppers have made a purchase while in bed; Millennials and Gen Xers are nearly 3x as likely as Baby Boomers and Seniors to have made an online purchase from bed (59% v 21%); 23% of online shoppers have made an online purchase at the office and nearly 3 in 10 (29%) of Millennials and Gen Xers have made a purchase from the office.

The report continued: more than 15% of Baby Boomers and Seniors have made a purchase from the office; 20% of American online shoppers have purchased from the bathroom or while in the car (a +1 for mobile commerce); millennials and Gen Xers are 5x more likely to have made an online purchase from the bathroom (31% v. 6%) than Baby Boomers and Seniors; one in ten customers admitted to buying something online after drinking alcohol; men are more than twice as likely as women to have made a purchase after consuming alcohol (14% to 6%); younger generations are 5x more likely to drink and shop than their older counterparts (15% to 3%) and parents are twice as likely as non-parents to have made an online purchase after drinking (15% v 7%).

As e-commerce platforms in Nigeria move towards maturity, shop owners found in their numerous numbers in Onitsha Main Market, Anambra; Alaba International Market, Lagos state; Ogbette Main Market, Enugu State; Ariaria Market, Abia State; Kurmi Market, Kano State and so many others across Nigeria, should start rethinking.

These e-commerce platforms or the ‘virtual hawkers’ including Jumia, Konga, JiJi, Uber and every other who without shop spaces, uses the digital marketing techniques (technology) to capture the attention of their target audience and deliver quality products and services to them, will eventually send them (shop owners) parking.

Trust me, every business is out to make profit.  As an accountant, I know that profits are made when you reduce the cost of production or increase price. The latter is usually the better option as the former scares the customers to the ever wide-open hands of the competitors.

An article published on THISDAY Newspapers on the 28th August, 2017 by Eromosele Abiodun stated that Nigeria’s E-commerce Market Value would hit #15.5 trillion in ten years, though its current worth is #4.01 trillion. Apparently, the current worth of virtual hawking would triple in the next ten years. Tell me, where would all the shops get their own profit from? Where would all the wealth go?

Who would you think stands a better chance of amassing more customers? A shop owner who spends a lot on land space, electricity bills, adverts and other promotion strategies or a virtual hawker who almost incurs none of these costs? Have you wondered why a lot of shops and malls including Shoprite and SPAR are adopting the technology mode of attracting and retaining customers? They are beginning to take a cue from virtual hawkers and promoting programmes and packages that would not require their malls to be visited by the customer. Looking at the transportation industry, clients no longer have to wait at car parks to get to their destination.

With technology, they get the virtual hawker come pick them at wherever location and take them to their destination at almost the same or a lesser amount than the car owners parks. Transport companies like Peace Mass Transit and God is Good Motors have packages like the online booking system which allows travelers to peruse dates and book tickets with a  couple of clicks. Potentially, this will replace the conventional means of going to the counter to buy tickets and having to struggle with your luggage past the flood of travelers.

Shop owners will continually pay cut-throat taxes to government officials. This has a lot of negative effect on the profitability of the business. Whereas, virtual hawkers do not actually pay as much taxes! Instead they re-invest their profit devoid of tax and continue building their riches while shop owners are muddled up in their mediocrity. Tell me, which would you prefer?

Salvaging this ugly situation lies with the development of applications tailored towards assisting shop owners go online. ICT Editor, Peter Oluka, advises that banks and other financial institutions have key roles to play; especially to encourage more financial inclusion, because it will enhance trust. “If you trust to buy online, potentially you are an online merchant”, Peter adds.

Unfortunately, ignorance is the greatest problem of majority of these bricks and mortars shop owners, and of course it’s not an excuse. There is need for continuous education and sensitization.

In my previous article on ‘the need to ignite technology consciousness in women and girls in the South East’ , I pointed that many females in the stated region are ignorant and continuous education is key; likewise, many shop owners need digital literacy to embrace e-commerce.

 

Ugwoke Peace Udoka, ACA, MNIMN, BSc (Marketing) University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, 2016. She can be reached via: [email protected]


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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FG to Boost Artificial Intelligence

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Federal government on Tuesday announced that it has developed initiatives for the adoption of Artificial Intelligence technology in Nigeria.

FG to Boost Artificial Intelligence

 

The establishment of a Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nigeria (CFAIR) is also expected soon.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) said that AI applications enable innovative solutions, improve risk assessment, better planning, and faster knowledge-sharing.

Abdullahi Usman Gambo, director of IT Infrastructure Solution, NITDA, spoke at a workshop in commemoration of International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

He noted that AI would open up opportunities for access to information and also help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations (UN) in the 2030 Agenda.

Gambo said: “Artificial Intelligence is poised to revolutionize the way we go about our daily lives – from governance to business, legislation to medicine to defence, etc. We can all agree that AI is humanity’s new frontier.

“We have developed initiatives for adoption of emerging technologies such as AI, strengthen cybersecurity, digital skills for digitally excluded citizens while enhancing the regulatory and market environment to increase access to ICTs, and promote seamless access to information.

“We believe AI and associated emerging technologies will completely enhance the speed, efficiency and effectiveness of information gathering during the exchange of data or the ways of communication,” he said.

Delivering his paper, Yushau Shuaib, publisher of PRNigeria, described access to information as the right of the citizens to accurate, transparent, and timely facts and figures.

The former National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) spokesman stated that governments at all levels have obligations to communicate with people, while the public has the right to know and criticize authorities through constructive engagement.

The media executive, however, appealed to Nigerians not to use social media platforms for fake news dissemination.

“The merits of new media on affordability, accessibility and instant delivery are occasionally marred by the fact that social media is sometimes used to spread fake news”, he said.

Shuaib called for collaboration of stakeholders in ensuring appropriate legislation through public awareness campaigns in order to improve access to universal information.


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Samsung Unveils Technologically Advanced 2020 Consumer Products

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Samsung Electronics Nigeria has unveiled its 2020 consumer products range. The launch which held in Victoria Island, Lagos showcased the latest in its revolutionary and innovative QLED and Crystal UHD Television Series  along with Wind Free Air Conditioners, Side by Side Refrigerators and Drum Washing Machines.

Keeping with its resolve to utilize its transformative ideas and technologies to shape the future and inspire the whole world, Samsung has once again demonstrated its determination to continuously redefine the living space and entertainment of its customers.

According to Mr. Caden Chiyeon Yu, Managing Director, Samsung Electronics Nigeria, “QLED uses exceptional and revolutionary technology which offers an unparalleled visual and auditory adventure from the comfort of your living room. QLED series is available in 4K or 8K and from 58″ to 98”, and was designed with options to fit any space and budget”. For Crystal UHD Television, Mr. Yu said, with cutting-edge Crystal Display, the new Crystal UHD TV will bring high-resolution content to life in a whole new way, delivering a viewing experience like never before in a mainstream UHD TV.

Also showcased at the launch were the new Windfree Air Conditioner, Drum Washing Machines and Side by Side refrigerators. The Windfree Air Conditioner is designed specially with the latest technology to provide coolness in quick time while ensuring that users don’t experience any chills through out its use. It also has an in-built digital inverter which reduces energy consumption by 73 percent. .

The newly introduced drum washing machine of 2020 from Samsung is very efficient and is built with eco bubble technolgy which allows it to provide cleaning of very dirty garments or clothes without the use of water.  Futhermore, the new Side by Side Refrigetor was built with Spacemax technology which has enabled  Samsung to offer more spacious interior without increasing the external dimentions or compromising energy efficiency.

Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Oluwaremilekun Adesola-Ogunsan, Head, Consumer Electronics, Samsung Nigeria stated that “Samsung understands the economic diffulties currently being experienced in the country and has consistently produced pocket friendly premium consumer products. We are very consistent in our approach as we understand that our customers like the good things of life and we have provided that without compromising our standards”. “So I can say boldy that there is a Samsung for everybody regardless of your income stream” She added.

In 2019, the Samsung consumer range of products received universal praise for its innovative quality and design and numerous pioneering features. This year Samsung has added even more beneficial features which its customers will appreciate in great deal.

 


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CWG Plc Empowers Small Businesses in Nigeria with SME Solution

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Pan-African Information and Communications Technology Company, CWG Plc has said the essence of its Enterprise Resource Planning Solution (SMERP) that runs on the cloud is to empower small and medium enterprises in Nigeria and offer them the required tools to manage their entire business.

Mr. Dolapo Orogbemi, Product Manager for SMERP, who disclosed this recently to the media, noted that with SMEs contributing massively to Nigeria’s economy and creating both direct and indirect jobs, SMERP was designed intentionally to help SMEs thrive.

“Since inception, it has been the number one goal for us here at CWG because we have always identified the potential for SMEs once they are provided with the right support.

Thus, SMERP was designed to make available enabling tools for all SMEs across Africa at a relatively affordable price and to also make their business operations lean where they can save more resources to increase profitability,” he said.

Dolapo explained that in support of SMEs, SMERP has provided an effective ERP tailored to the SME market, providing services such as Inventory Management, E-commerce platform, Accounting, Point of Sale and Customer Relationship Management tool.

He argued that one of the major reasons SMEs don’t survive beyond the early stage of their business is due to inadequate funding to scale the business and this has become a default gap in the SME sector.

But with the CWG’s SMERP solution, SMEs can take proper records of their day-to-day business transactions to present to financial institutions as proof of profitability and project business growth for them.

According to him, SMERP’s competitive edge is based on value to the SMEs where they can have access to a complete ERP solution at an affordable price, stressing that the solution enables each SME with special requirements to execute their business needs.

For more information on SMERP kindly visit www.smerp.ng to start a 14-days free trial.


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