The State of Ecommerce in Nigeria

Electronic commerce is gradually gaining momentum in Nigeria. More and more people are buying and selling online. The growth of internet infrastructure and the advances in Internet and communication technologies is making the adoption of electronic commerce popular.

According to Wikipedia, “Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or ecommerce, is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerceelectronic funds transfersupply chain managementInternet marketingonline transaction processingelectronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at one point in the transaction’s life-cycle, although it may encompass a wider range of technologies such as e-mail, mobile devices, social media, and telephones as well”

In Nigeria, some of the infrastructures needed to enable Ecommerce are still lacking hence the slow adoption of Ecommerce. Nigeria has made lots of progress in the area of electronic fund transfer with the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria. In addition, some Telco’s and Banks have improved their infrastructure to make online transaction and internet banking a lot easier. Nigeria can now boast of a couple of electronic data interchange (EDI) system in operation in Nigeria.

In the area of Internet Marketing, Nigeria and Nigerians are making great strides. Social Media marketing is gaining grounds fast and the number of Nigerians on Face book, Twitter and Google are increasing fast.

All these are good for the growth of Ecommerce from both users and providers. However, amidst this growth, there are still some fundamental problems and most importantly, lack of trust, cybercrime, internet frauds and perceived lack of security with online payment still hamper the growth of Ecommerce in Nigeria.

As at today, some of the popular Ecommerce sites are using foreign domain names instead of the dotNG domain name managed by NIRA-Nigeria Internet Registration Association. Ecommerce start with a domain name. A Domain name is a unique identifier on the internet and it is important to use a unique domain name like Jumia, Kaymu, etc, one way to promote trust in the evolving Nigeria Ecommerce industry is to promote the use of dotNG domain names for Nigeria Ecommerce space.

The establishment of a local Ecommerce trust company which can work with NIRA will go a long way to provide much needed frame work to improve the quality of service and trust. Also, the proposed Nigeria Cybercrime Bill currently in draft, when passed into law, will hopefully help increase the trust in doing business online.

For Ecommerce to expand in Nigeria, the trust factor must be improved in addition to the deployment of a stable Internet ecosystem which includes Infrastructure, Law and Policy development that ensure a level playing field for both buyers and sellers on the Internet.

Next, i will write about how to get started in Electronic Commerce.

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