E-commerce in Emerging Markets
E-commerce sales are increasing as a percentage of total sales, and becoming an important channel for retailers across the world, including emerging markets. With the rise in alternative purchasing channels, solution providers and transaction processors have developed integrated multichannel payment acquiring solutions which can handle POS, e-commerce, and mobile based transactions, and provide merchants with a seamless experience. However, in countries where most retail transactions are still cash-based, the experience is not so seamless.
In Asia and the Middle East, e-commerce is a reality when it comes to product offering, but not for online payments. Large independent merchant networks are very active in selling vouchers and prepaid cards that can be purchased in chain or “mom-and-pop” stores, and redeemed online. As the lines between the virtual and the physical world are blurring, the development of a seamless multi-levels model would be the first step in a broader transformation of the retail industry. With increased emphasis on mobile devices across the payments market, merchant service providers in these emerging markets have started to focus their resources on mobile solutions to manage large distribution networks.
The key is to develop an integrated solution that can take care of all independent merchant-salesman needs, from locating the store, through managing the digital inventory, and on to monitoring the merchant balance, which is often prepaid. By putting a range of essential functions in the user’s hand, a mobile app affords greater flexibility and convenience when managing accounts in the field. Ogloba’s M3C Android application has achieved this.
The M3C mobile applications make it possible to locate Merchants via Google Maps. This means they can be tracked in distribution markets where no exact address is available like for example, some regions in the Middle East or Asian, where Merchants may operate in extensively non-urbanised areas. A mobile merchant app facilitates all the actions necessary for conducting and managing day-to-day business, which includes the purchase of credits and products for re-sale, and the payment of invoices. It makes managing, declaring, making, processing, and logging deposit payments made up the sales chain straightforward, as well as allowing credit status, with regards to maximum credit limits, and the current credit and cash levels available, to be monitored easily. It also helps acquirers to track their assets i.e. payments terminals provided to the Merchants.
Technology has to adapt to local cultures and retail habits. In cash-based markets without fixed points of sale, this means providing flexible, convenient, mobile solutions that help Salesmen and Merchants work efficiently and securely wherever they are.
Advantages Beyond Mobility
The advantages of the M3C smartphone app however, go beyond just mobility and location-finding. The M3C app will empower the salesman with information, while allowing the company to manage its risk on the salesmen. The salesmen app allows for the following information:
- View Salesman situation: credit limit and balance
- View Merchant situation: credit limit, balance, pending, and address
- Place orders
- Collect payments
- Arrange deposit of collected payments cashier or ATM
- Register GPS location of merchant POS
- Route management: sort by merchant balance, stock, or distance
The M3C brings new flexibility and usability to the EVD solution. While it has the same basic functions as a fixed or portable POS, it is more user-friendly because of the smartphone’s full-colour, touchscreen. This allows better interaction than the keypad and menu of a POS. The App makes feature development easier and faster, and the results are significantly more user friendly than with POS. Smartphones enjoy better connectivity, faster data processing and the cost of a smartphone is also much less than a POS.