The coronavirus pandemic has altered the way a lot of businesses operate.
Some organizations have had to turn to online and virtual platforms in order to stay afloat, while many people are also resorting to e-commerce to limit human contact.
Senam Blessman-Alornyeku for instance is a mother; and an entrepreneur; but she doesn’t have a physical shop where she works from.
Even though cost is the major reason why she works from home; she believes operating with her current arrangement comes with some advantages.
She said “Working from home allows me attend to my customers at anytime while being able to cater for my baby”.
The online business seems to be the current trend in reaching out to potential clients. Some people have hence integrated it into their everyday operation.
One example is Tonyi Senaya, a local shoe manufacturer who has his shop at Kokomlemle in Accra. He makes a significant chunk of his sales online.
He indicated that, ” Since COVID-19 occured, we make 60 percent of our sales online, while 40 percent is from walk-ins to our shop”.
But what really does selling online entail is a question on a lot of minds, especially when potential customers can be located in any part of the country.
Basically, all one requires is access to internet, in some cases an e-payment option and a delivery system. Some deliver in person, via a courier service or by public transport especially for clients who are in other regions.
Challenges with buying online
Buying items online has its own benefits, and one major one is being able to buy things you need from the comfort of your home. Nonetheless, it also comes with its challenges.
Munira Karim, is a mother and a public servant. Her regular job wouldn’t allow her go to the market as often as she would want, so she decided to try out an online store; and her experience wasn’t pleasant.
She paid for some baby accessory costing about GHS600, but they were never delivered, and she has thus decided never to purchase anythin online anymore.
Experiences like this are a major draw back for entrepreneurs who are into e-commerce as it gives the business a bad reputation.
But Senam Blessman-Alornyeku said although such experiences are unfortunate, not everyone is out there with dubious intentions .
“There are some bad nuts in there, but there equally are genuine persons like myself too”.
But is there really a way around this dilemma?
Tonyi Senaya of Horseman Shoes says he at the moment doesn’t have much of a challenge with customer trust with his online sales.
According to him, “starting of with in-person sales helps gain the confidenceoof your clients and their testimonies is what gets you the required traction.”
He explained that,” its not something you can do overnight, it comes with long years and a lot of hard work. So for starters, it has to be in-person. Even at this level, we still do in-person sales. People will call you just because they know you personally beyond the fact that you have a good product. Yes, you have your social media platforms, you have your website, but let people know the person behind the brand” he added.