…A Strategy to Drive Growth among indigenous E-commerce companies
In every business, the human resource is the main driver of the company. For indigenous or local e-commerce companies to efficiently and effectively deliver on their promises, they would need a capable and reliable human resource team to work with. The nature of their job and the high expectation of customers make it essential to have a team that understands the urgency attached to the work. They must be people who keep in mind the need to make sure delivery time is achieved and products are packaged well and sent to the right destination.
Since obtaining the right human resource needed in each season becomes a challenge, models that create efficiency and effectiveness must be adopted to facilitate the working of indigenous e-commerce companies. There are high seasons and low seasons in the business, and this should be considered when developing a model for one’s business. Indigenous e-commerce companies should be careful not to employ people who will be redundant after the high season is over.
Most indigenous companies can rely on high school and university students to reduce the cost they have to incur in the management and distribution of goods to customers. They could also engage graduates who do not have jobs on an hourly or a daily basis. An example of innovative and cost-saving approach is for the companies to develop a database of students and graduates willing to be engaged on a need to do basis and inform them when their services will be needed. Students can handle the lower level skilled work at very low cost to these companies. By so doing, these students get to acquire hands-on experience, which they need for their future endeavours. Students have the opportunity to learn a lot in the e-commerce business; product marketing, supply chain, customer acquisition, customer service and many more.
The companies could also partner high schools and some university departments so as to introduce interested students who would like to work with them during their holidays.
The students can also do their compulsory internships during the long vacation at these workplaces. Such collaboration will make it easier for universities to supervise their students during the internship periods if that is a requirement.
Businesses in Ghana sometimes complain that students are not properly prepared for the job market to their satisfaction and this could be a way of solving this challenge in the e-commerce sector. Since these students will have become familiar with the workings of indigenous e-commerce companies, they will be good candidates for permanent jobs when a position opens up – as there will be no need to invest resources in training them for the job.
The engagement of students and graduates by these companies will contribute to job creation. As an incentive, the government could give these companies some tax rebate depending on the number of students and graduates they engage in a year.
Local taxi drivers and motorcycle riders could be engaged in the transportation of goods during the peak season. Some formalization of the engaged parties e.g. giving them labelled T-shirts and identification tags would also enhance their work. These drivers and riders would take up delivery orders to fill up the time they do not have passengers. The nature of their jobs mean that these drivers and riders are well versed with the neighborhoods and best routes, and would consequently require a shorter time to make their deliveries.
In order to increase subscription, people could be engaged to promote e-commerce companies online for a fee. The subscriptions leading to onward product purchase would earn these individuals undertaking the promotion a percentage of the cost of goods sold. A system to track daily subscription would have to be put in place to crosscheck. This means companies will have remote people promoting their e-commerce businesses for them without incurring the costs of employing them.
Since indigenous e-commerce companies are looking to fulfill their mandate at sustainable costs, they should adopt innovative models that make use of the available human resource, such as those mentioned above. When these models are adopted, companies will improve their delivery times, and this will increase customer confidence and trust. Customers will have no need of spending hours buying goods from the city if they can count on a timely delivery. Leveraging both permanent and temporary human resources available in the country will improve the activities of indigenous e-commerce companies and make them more competitive.
Author: Kwabena Obiri Yeboah – (Member: Institute of ICT Professionals, Ghana)