Are Jamaican Businesses Taking Advantage of e-Commerce & Local US Debit Cards?
Jamaican businesses /retailers should now have no excuse now for not pushing and selling their services online. The once true statement that the average Jamaican does not have access to facilities for making online purchases is now invalid since CIBC First Caribbean International Bank and the Bank of Nova Scotia have both been offering US debit cards to their customers for about a year now. This means that the average account holder now has online buying power without the need to apply for credit cards and undergoing credit checks. Customers can use cash directly from their accounts to make purchases online.
What Does This Mean?
Jamaican retailers instantly have an additional revenue generation tool and doorway to get their products and services to customers. There are quite a few ideas companies could employ to attract prospects and customers to their online presences. For example, offer rewards programs for customers who shop from them online, begin offering delivery options, offer discounts for online purchases, etc.
The relationship between internet connectivity, access to web capable devices and increased revenue are hard to ignore. For example, in the US as at November 2011 , 38% of mobile users used their phone to make at least 1 online purchase. Think about Jamaica and the domination of the Backberry smartphone; if Blackberry smartphones, and every other smartphone for that matter, can access your website and an increasing number of Jamaicans are acquiring credit cards and US debit cards then why aren’t you exploiting the opportunity to push your products to them via mobile and regular websites? I’m sure you will agree that the average person seen with a smartphone locally spends, conservatively stated, 50% of their time reading messages and looking at pictures on their phone while on the go and on their desktops. Go where the eyes are, promote where the users’ attention is focused. Mobile commerce is just one type of online commerce. Mobile capable sites should have a desktop equivalent.
Facebook, where a majority of mobile users spend most of their time, now allows ads to be pushed via their mobile versions. This means that you can specifically target your ads where consumers’ eyes are guaranteed to be focused.
Sure the tech culture is taking some time to reach full adoption here, nevertheless be the steward of a culture change that will INEVITABLY take place. Be an early adopter. The early adopters will be the market leaders and top earners.
What is Required to Start Selling Online?
The great thing is that there is not a single “set in stone” method for selling online. For businesses that would like to setup their own e-commerce presence you will need a regular website, a bank account, a payment gateway and a proficient web developer to guide you along the way. There is a bit of a challenge with using payment gateways in Jamaica; the local banks’ facility rates and commissions in my opinion are exorbitant. The easiest international facility is via PayPal. PayPal is a payment processor that will accept payments on your behalf and remit them as US cheques or to bank accounts maintained in the United States. However, most of the technical aspects of setup can be handled by your developer.
The main idea here is that e-commerce is accessible for your business and it is a modest investment for a tool that will continuously generate revenue for you years to come.
Be An Early Adopter
What do you risk losing by selling your products online to the local market? Nothing, e-Commerce is here to stay. As internet connectivity becomes available to every household the only question you should be asking is, “how can I leverage the web to reach more consumers?” 10 years ago, you probably did not own a mobile phone and even if you did, it functioned strictly to the limits of making and receiving calls. Today you have a phone, laptop, tablet and maybe a desktop at home with combined computing power millions of times greater than the computer systems used to take mankind to the moon. What will happen in the next 5 years? What will smartphone usage be like? If smartphones are in such demand now, with more users downloading and even building apps, talking, interacting, searching, etc. their attention will shift also towards conveniently purchasing their hearts’ desires online too. Cater to that need.
Local consumers now have the spending power, tap into it, provide fresh solutions and diversify revenue streams for your business.
Do you have an e-commerce presence? What’s the response like locally and overseas? Where do you see e-commerce going globally? Let us know in the comments below.