- Electronic payment has repositioned so many businesses in Nigeria since inception.
- Many companies in Nigeria are rapidly changing their business models to be centred around e-payment.
- Nigeria has nearly 100% telephone density today. This is a huge opportunity for e-payment.
Electronic payment has rapidly changed the business scene in Nigeria. These days, it is possible to go into a shop and buy a couple of items, paying without cash. Consumers consciously and subconsciously no longer take cash along with them, because of the the assurance that there will be an electronic means or two, with which payment for services and goods would be made. Fortunately, even the sellers have begun to understand this trend, that they even get registered with various channels of payment collections. From the observation of the writer, most SMEs either tell you to transfer money, or simply do a POS swipe for bulky payments instead of having to hold money at their shops or offices. When you pay through an e-means, the payment platform does the banking (reconciliation) for you.
Here in Nigeria, there are four businesses which have been totally reshaped by electronic payment –
- Retail Outlets – if you are conversant with retail outlets (for example – supermarkets, departmental stores, superstores etc), you would notice that the consumers who patronise them want to be checked out quicker than ever. Most people no longer want to spend so much time waiting to be attended at the point of sales. On the other hand, retail managers want to reduce waiting time and maintain shorter queues over time. Market researchers globally agree that there is a strong correlation between prolonged waiting time/queueing and future customer footprint (footprint is another name for customer traffic). Customers are likely to lose interest and go to other outlets where there is no prolonged waiting at the point of sales – mainly due to the availability of alternative means of payment. It is because of the ease of collections, that many retail businesses have begun to embrace PoS devices and mobile money transfers.
- Restaurants and Bars – also known as eateries in Nigerian parlance, advanced means of payment have become a fad in these places. At times, customers may overestimate their orders relative to present cash at hand. What else is there to save you the stress or spare you the blushes, if not any of the e-payment options availed to you? For the restauranteurs, electronic money collection helps them to itemize their sales, so as to electronically track sales performance and thus, monitor the overall contribution of each area of the business to total revenue. Why is this important? Doing paper work, in the name of registering sales or tracking performance is obsolete, and can be done through electronic records, either by reviewing your end-of-day (EOD) report or linking the itemized sales from a PoS terminal to an electronic cash register.
- Filling stations – can you remember a few years ago, when filling stations were perceived to handle so much cash, because of the bulky nature of their business? Since adopting the financial convenience of e-payment, the level at which cash is held has gone down considerably. The adoption of e-payment is an “insurance policy” that all filling stations need to have. It mitigates the losses that may arise due to armed robbery, misappropriation and pilferage of funds. Also like retail outlets, it minimizes the waiting time, and customers who know that there are alternatives, would repeat patronage at a sustained frequency. These days, there are fuel pumps which accept cards and e-vouchers/coupons – it is an indication that we are gradually tilting away from the “old school” way of buying petroleum products.
- Airlines – recently, the Federal Government has convinced the airports and airlines to fully leverage on the technological merits of e-payment. Today you can book and pay for a ticket in advance. There are several web platforms where you can buy tickets and even book for accommodation at your destination. This is not only peculiar to famous international carriers, but the local airlines as well. On the part of the passengers, it saves time, so that they can do their boarding formalities without ending up missing their flights. Due to hefty prices of aeroplane tickets, e-payment systems save time for the airline salespeople – as less cash will be handled, and the time spent in counting cash would be channelled towards attending to other customers. On the airline’s side, this depopulates the desk more quickly. Moreover these days, you do not even need to get a physical boarding pass, thanks to scannable barcode-enabled boarding passes which are generated when you pay online.