Startups seem to be the new ‘’ish’’ in Ghana. These days, nearly 5 startups are launched every day and this is both encouraging and alarming at the same time. Being that negative energy helps no one, let’s dwell on the positive side of it. The effects of numerous start-ups emerging is that gradually we will find hands on solutions to all problems in our everyday lives. For the record, almost 85% of startups in Ghana are tech-based and this means e-commerce comes to play. On the backdrop of all these developments is the fact that e-commerce seems to be the driving factor for the establishment of all these new business enterprizes. Jumia Travel, an online travel website looks at some of the reasons why this trend is gradually developing and it’s impacts on national development.
First of all, let’s look at the foundations of all these start-ups and why most of them are motivated by e-commerce. Major firms such as Amazon and Ebay have succeeded primarily because of a well built structure and a strong affinity with the fundamentals of their businesses. Ecommerce has been their guiding spirit since inception and they have never departed from it.
Fortunately for Ghanaian startups, there is a solid blueprint to follow in order to succeed. Let’s quickly remind ourselves what ecommerce is in the first place. We can commonly refer to E-Commerce as the buying and selling of products or services over the internet or other electronic media. With that said, what can’t be bought or sold via the internet these days? From small things such as watches and phones to cars and houses, everything is now available online. Not too long ago, local items such as Kente cloths,beads,paintings, ceramics and sculptures were only sold on on the streets or at arts centres. The importance of these items to foreign travelers as well as the financial benefits to craftsmen cannot be over emphasized. It is heartbreaking to sometimes see amazing artworks and crafts sit down in shops and go waste while there are millions of ready buyers online with good money to spend on craft and talent. Ecommerce has made it possible for Ghanaian start-ups to delve into this area and the future only looks bright. Now, because of ecommerce, with a single click of a mouse or a few taps of a keyboard or even a phone screen, people can access craft shops and buy items online. Many artistic startups have now sprung up and this only helps to boost our economy and rid our streets off unemployed youth.
Domestically, startups can also benefit from the local market with easy access to producers, retailers and customers as well. The internet makes it possible to expand your horizons and attain new improved ideas. Due to the fact that startups are sure of where to get supply and who to sell to, young people are now very confident in establishing companies with an online presence. So after looking at some positives, let us look at a few reasons why ecommerce development is still slow in Ghana. Firstly, the level of trust in online payments and transactions is low with a somewhat negative perception about fraud and failed orders. Another major issue has to do with infrastructure and logistics to effectively manage the orders that come in for successful deliveries. These issues may hamper a start-ups operations or even discourage them from venturing into the business in the first place.
When all is said and done, the benefits of ecommerce to startups in Ghana are many but it will take a continuous effort by all parties involved to ensure a fertile ground for it’s success. The more start-ups we get into motion, the better it is for our employment rate, our economic growth and social development. Ghana will become better with more focus on ecommerce. Let’s go online!
By Bennet Otoo, JumiaTravel