E-commerce is sometimes referred to as e-business and can be defined as the selling and buying of goods and services through the internet enabled platforms.
This can be by business to business or business to consumer and much more.
It’s conducted through a number of applications, for example, File Transfer Protocol, online catalogs, email, EDI, web services, and shopping carts.
As some people use the internet for fun, others use it to make business in form of e commerce, this has made business transactions easier, fast and cheap as business people can purchase goods from the comfort of their homes and have them delivered.
According to oberlo blog, worldwide e-commerce sales are expected to grow to $4 trillion by 2020. Since most people are busy and sometimes find it hard to purchase goods from markets, e-commerce has been a great savior.
How Uganda is adopting to e-commerce
According to Joseph Waswa, an IT expert, today Uganda has been ranked the 15th among the top Internet using countries.
With over 31.1% of people using internet daily mostly on the smartphone that have been evolving with generation from 2G and now the latest with MTN trying to test 5G on the continent.
Over 13 million people with the internet compared to 41 million plus of the population.
A report given by the Africa Internet Statistics shows that by 31st, March 2017, there were 13 million Facebook users in Uganda, which is 31.3 per cent penetration of the total population.
The statistics show a growth from the 2.2 million users recorded in 2016.
The overall number of internet users in the country has also largely grown. According to the Uganda Communications Commission, there are more than 15 million active internet users in the country.
All this indicates that Ugandans have greatly embraced the internet.
Following a survey conducted by NSSF Uganda last year, 67% of the people contacted mentioned Mobile Money as a preferred and easiest option when remitting their Social Security Contributions.
Mobile Money is a method that e commerce uses for monetary transactions in Uganda.
Robert Mugabe, a director at e home, an online shop that has been around for three years notes that Ugandans have greatly embraced online shopping.
It reduces the stress of buying and carrying goods and some of these sellers provide an option of delivering the goods.
“On the side of the seller, it reduces the expenses of rent, employees and other expenditures.
E homes has no specific location but we are able to reach over 40,000 people for a budget of 30$ and around 5,000 people for 10$ people from as far as Yumbe, Packwack, Mbarara among others,” he adds.
Advantages of e-commerce
Mugabe notes that E-commerce allows a customer to get a wide availability of goods and services and in the fastest time possible.
“On part of the seller, it gives me more reach to the customers as they aren’t limited by transport or distance.
It’s a matter of loading data and reaching out to different sellers. It also gives a buyer ability to choose between qualities of different products hence buying the most valuable,” he notes.
Isaac Bahati, a trader, says e-commerce has no limited time, customers can access and purchase goods and services anytime without closure.
“The online market business continues to grow as more people opt for quick and cheap services hence making more money by the sellers as their business can be accessed worldwide,” he adds.
It’s easy to target buyers as you showcase directly to potential customers. And for the buyers, it’s easy to purchase a large number of commodities and from a variety of sellers.
Mugabe notes that there is less expenditure on the side of sellers as they don’t have to employ many people since most of the work is conducted on the internet and one person or two can handle the work.
How to avoid buying substandard products
Mugabe notes that today, it’s all about trust since most people pay using mobile money and the goods are delivered by bus or courier services.
However, he advises that customers should stick to paying on delivery after checking the make, warranty, and quality of the product.
“We are most affected by poor reading skills where someone can ask you for the price yet it’s indicated on the commodity online.
So many people will buy a sqony thinking it’s a Sony just because they don’t give reading a priority. To avoid substandard products one should pay attention to the goods they are buying,” he adds.