Expert Urges eCommerce For SMEs Growth At Ecobank Webinar

Chief Commercial Officer, Jumia Nigeria, Ijeoma Arum, wants operators of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country have been advised to leverage on eCommerce to boost sales and grow their business.

Speaking on Growing your business, presented at the maiden edition of Ecobank Nigeria’s MySME Growth Series, she observed that small and medium-sized businesses in Africa are faced with challenges, especially limited access to financing.

Others, according to her, include stiff competition from established brands and regulatory compliance, stressing the potential of technology in the transformation of the subsector.

According to her, eCommerce increases reach and awareness of products and services; allows businesses to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour, and can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns and personalized experiences.

For her also, eCommerce allows customers to shop at their convenience, day or night and small businesses can also streamline the sales process to reduce overhead and achieve greater profitability.

Ms Arum however noted that the eCommerce is faced with constant disruption with social media platforms and other sites competing for wallet share and purchase frequency, inconsistent stock supplies and lack of trust.

Overall, she stressed, “quality, price, delivery fee, and delivery waiting time are found to be some of the most important factors for consumers when choosing a shopping experience.”

Earlier, while welcoming participants to the webinar series, Head, SME & Partnerships, Ecobank Nigeria, Osahon Akpata, said it is line with the bank’s commitment to power the success of SMEs in different sectors of the economy.

Ecobank, he stressed, “aims to train one million SMEs in Nigeria to improve their capabilities and stimulate growth. We are launching the first phase of our training program – MySME Growth Series, a selection of virtual bootcamps led by facilitators who are experts in their fields. SMEs are the growth engine of Nigeria’s economy contributing almost 50% of GDP and 90% of jobs. As a bank that is growth focused, Ecobank is committed to the success of SMEs in different sectors of the economy.”

Further, he disclosed that with an overall theme of “Scaling up your SME in 2024”, the webinar will hold every other Thursday throughout the year, dwelling topics across key areas of concern for small businesses such as accounting, credit, sales & marketing, taxation and inventory management, adding that the bank is also planning to launch an SME Mentorship program to collaborate with successful entrepreneurs.

“We will also equip SMEs with tools to help their business such as budget templates, calculators for simulating scenarios and links to government forms. They will be trained on resources for starting a business including how to register, market opportunities and key points to consider when running a business. We will also provide articles on key topics including tips to increase sales, advertising ideas, business management practices, case studies and guides to leveraging technology, amongst others,” he enthused.

The MySME Growth Series, the bank said in a statement, is an innovative training program of Ecobank Nigeria targeted at empowering SME operators in the country.