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CHRISTIAN ENTREPRENEUR

Common B2B E-Commerce Challenges

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Common B2B E-Commerce Challenges

The e-commerce industry in Nigeria is quickly transforming and expanding across different sectors. Advancing technology is swiftly banning memories where e-commerce is restricted to only B2C. Today, e-commerce in Nigeria also covers transactions between business to business. The changes in the e-commerce industry in Nigeria is leading platforms to adapt operations to allow B2B transactions. Despite still being in its development stages, it is likely to keep improving in the coming years. Benefits which B2B E-Commerce offers entrepreneurs and business owners means investing in this area will definitely provide your business with an edge over competitors operating within the same market.

The scale of transactions executed by B2B customers is a step higher when compared to transactions in the B2C categories. Where B2B customers place huge, bulky orders at a time, it is not the case in B2C. As a result, entrepreneurs can easily record massive sales and productivity in B2B, quickly improving the cash flow of the business. Additionally, costs incurred in B2C where products are acquired in bit parts are eliminated through B2B.

Despite the numerous benefits and advantages enjoyed through B2B E-Commerce, it is important to consider that it has it comes with its own set of challenges. Most of these challenges are due to the fact that different customers have a wide range of needs. It is important for entrepreneurs and business owners to consider these challenges in their daily operation of a B2B E-Commerce. This way, they can be better equipped to handle these challenges when they spring up.

This article will enlighten you on the different challenges experienced in B2B E-Commerce and how you can avoid or deal with each one. We will also elaborate on the different ways in which Kusnap helps in managing the different challenges associated with B2B E-Commerce in Nigeria.

Customer relationships

As opposed to the experience in B2C (Business-to-customer), where relationship is strictly restricted to business, customer relationships in B2B E-Commerce requires a more personalized approach. Different customers are treated differently, depending on previous experience with such customer, their needs, what they offer, and so on. This is why most times, the pricing for respective customers might vary, considering the initial terms of agreement. It is also possible to have a few customers who have little to no interest in some of the products you offer, depending on the type of service your customers run.

The main challenge here is the fact that each of your customers expect catalogs, product selection, and pricing to be in tandem with their respective requirements when they click on your e-commerce portfolio. This challenge can easily be overcome by utilizing the customer segmentation option on Kusnap. This way, you can easily group each of your customers according to the respective needs of their business. This provides each customer with a personalized relationship with your business, basing transactions on the terms which you both agreed on.

 Complex buying cycle

B2B customers are  also business setups. This usually means that a transaction with your business might need the authorization of other individuals with respective roles within the organization of the client. Take for example, an inventory manager of a company might initiate a business transaction with your B2B E-Commerce, but needs the approval of the finance manager and other individuals to allow the transaction go through. This might lead to a drawn out buying process and complex buying cycle.

Each required individual with the authority to approve the transactions needs to be presented with necessary information for each of them to properly execute their job within the organization. To efficiently solve this issue as a B2B E-Commerce, entrepreneurs are required to at least use a trusted customer relationship management software offered by Kusnap, which help integrate self service options with necessary information. This helps your B2B customers find the required information without hassles.

Email marketing

As stated initially, B2B E-Commerce might involve the approval of different individuals within the client’s organization before such transaction can be executed successfully. Sending emails of information on different products you offer might be the best strategy to help your clients know more about what you offer. Before sending emails, it is important to keep in mind that your mails will get to the table of multiple individuals who play a role in the buying decision of the organization. You may need to create multiple emails for a longer time targeted at multiple individuals to allow your email marketing efforts succeed.

In this case, you need a powerful marketing strategy in place. You will also need to collect additional data points so that you are specific in the people you are targeting. Automation will also come in handy here, so you will need an email service that can offer this. Kusnap is a great selection of providers for your email communication needs that you can choose from. Kusnap uses multiple, effective email marketing strategies to help convert your B2B clients.

Shipping

One of the biggest requirements for clients who run B2B E-Commerce transactions is comfort and time. That being said, shipping in B2B E-Commerce can be very complex due to the scale of products usually involved. Though there are cases where clients require shipping experience similar to the one in B2C, some others will have to make shipping arrangements to specifically match their needs.

In a B2B setup, it is good to have multiple shipping options that customers can choose from. You can also choose to tailor-make shipping options depending on products, size of an order, or customer-specific needs. Integrate your shipping management software into the platform to ensure transparency in pricing and timely delivery of shipment status messages to customers.

Payment methods

IT is important for B2B E-Commerce to integrate multiple payment methods on their platform. This will help accommodate the different needs of respective clients who you do business with. Considering the huge scale of products and funds  involved in B2B transactions, it is only important to have a payment method which clients feel comfortable with.

Even as you give them different ways to pay, it is important to offer them more flexible payment terms. This can enable them to make bigger orders and anticipate paying at a later date. Consequently, you will earn customer loyalty and competitive advantage.

 

 

Conclusion

There is a clear difference between selling products to a direct consumer to selling to another business. The complexity of the buying process is what usually stands out between both types of e-commerce business. However, B2B Ecommerce can do more for their clients by considering their different demands, this helping businesses meet clients at a middle ground comfortable for both parties.

Kusnap is integrated with different features that makes life easier for both B2B/B2C and their respective clients. The platform provides solutions that helps solve each of these challenges affecting B2B E-Commerce.

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CHRISTIAN ENTREPRENEUR

What’s the Best Ecommerce Platform For Your Business? Here’s How To Evaluate Your Options

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What’s the Best Ecommerce Platform For Your Business? Here’s How To Evaluate Your Options

Launching an e-commerce business in Nigeria is an exciting venture for most entrepreneurs. This is due to the established fact that businesses which go digital have a better chance of succeeding and growing exponentially, as it employs tools provided by digital technology to amplify all aspects of business activities.

By establishing an e-commerce business, entrepreneurs can determine almost anything about the business, ranging from business name, logo, branding, to business set up. Though it feels like an early stage where entrepreneurs only consider current business needs, determining the direction which the business should go and tools needed are important.

In our technological world today, choosing a top online store is not the only factor that guarantees success for entrepreneurs. Business owners choose the top ecommerce platform which possess all necessary tools to facilitate easy integration. As a result, they have absolute control over every detail of the business, as well scaling ability to achieve growth.

Through this piece, we will have a look at the best ecommerce platform for your business, and how you can do a thorough evaluation of the platform that best support your business needs.

What are E-Commerce Platforms?

E-Commerce platform is a means through which entrepreneurs create a digital presence for their business. Through these platforms, companies can make sales and fulfill orders from wherever their customers are located. The range which an e-commerce platform operates depend on the target market of businesses located on the platform. It could be international, continental, national, or domestic level.

Although we have entrepreneurs who feel e-commerce platforms is merely a tool that allow them take orders and accept payments online, the scope of e-commerce has expanded to be more than that. E-commerce platforms today comes with all features to help it function as a command center where total control of the business from the inventory to making sales.

Good e-commerce platforms should help your business process payments in a secure manner, while also allowing you easy access to all the tools required to help you sell through your store.

What types of ecommerce platforms are there?

There are different types of e-commerce platforms in present day. These platforms offer different services and features that make them unique. To make your digital store available for access to the public, especially your target market, a hosting solution is required. Through hosting, data and information about your store are stored on a secure server. The server allows users (buyers) visit your store, view your products and services, and eventually make purchase.

Some e-commerce platforms have in-built hosting, while others use  open source hosting.

  • Hosted E-Commerce Platform

There are e-commerce websites which offer a hosted platform. In this type, entrepreneurs do not have to deal with the self or third party hosting which usually attracts a charge. A prime example of this kind of store is Kusnap, which offer website hosting in every plan. Updates on Kusnap are automatic and seamless to help your site keep up with changes. Having a store on a hosted ecommerce platform provides entrepreneurs with greater liberty to concentrate on the business aspects of your store rather than spending precious time on fixing bugs and issues related to downtime.

  • Self-hosted

As opposed to hosted e-commerce platforms, Self-hosted platforms require entrepreneurs to engage in the technical aspects of website building. This includes coding, fixing bugs, downtime and other technical aspects of digital platforms. In these types of platforms, running website management is pretty intertwined and convoluted. Entrepreneurs will have to personally maintain, update, and diagnose the website within intervals.

These types of platforms are usually open source, since third parties help host the data of your platform. Fees are charged for these services, and it usually interrupt merchant’s focus on the business aspect of their store.

Types of ecommerce

There are four types of ecommerce: B2C (business-to-consumer), B2B (business-to-business), C2B (consumer-to-business), and C2C (consumer-to-consumer).

  • B2C – This involves selling products from a business to an individual consumer. It is also popularly referred to as DTC, or direct-to-consumer.
  • B2B – Here, transactions are executed from business to business. It involve wholesale purchase, when the purchasing business intends to resell at a profit, as well as for business use— as in products such as office supplies and equipment.
  • C2B – Roles are reversed in this type of business. Consumers also have selling power, in cases where they sell to businesses. Typically, these transactions are less traditional. A consumer might sell their influence in the form of a featured social post, or they might offer a five-star review in exchange for money.
  • C2C – Consumers can also sell to one another, a trend that has emerged with the popularity of the sharing economy. Platforms like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay offer a place to facilitate C2C ecommerce.

All things being equal, the type of ecommerce business entrepreneurs intend to start determines the ideal ecommerce platform that best suit your business needs.

What does a great ecommerce experience mean to you?

In cases where entrepreneurs have complete focus on checking the ideal e-commerce platform, it is easy to get lost. Reasons why you are looking for the best platform for your business can easily be forgotten over time. One simple truth which most entrepreneurs would not like to hear is that there is nothing like the best ecommerce platform.

You can only get the right platform for your business. This kind of platform allow you offer your services to customers in the best possible way. We all want an awesome shopping experience. Your e-commerce platform should offer that to customers.

Today, the most effective e-commerce platform should offer an easily integrated ecosystem which have tools such as a store, payment processor, POS, and so on. Kusnap as an example, comes with series of tools that help entrepreneurs manage business efficiently. Kusnap also features an app with tools to help merchants customize shopping experience for their customers.

The best ecommerce platforms for 2021

As expressed earlier, your business model and projections determines the ideal e-commerce solution for your business.  There is a wide variety of e-commerce platforms which entrepreneurs could use in Nigeria. In recent times, the platform which has displayed efficiency in operations, ease of use, and facilitates business growth is Kusnap.

Features:

Price: Available on Request

Free trial length: 14 days

Customer support options: callback phone support; email support; support provided in major languages in Nigeria; community forum; support content.

Integrated sales channels: Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter.

Mobile app features: suite of mobile tools to fully manage your online business

POS: Yes

Payment processor: Yes

Kusnap is easily the most efficient platform to set up e-commerce. Our robust platform features numerous tools that facilitate multi-channel transactions. This way, merchants can sell products through their website, physical stores, social media, and so on.

Additionally, Kusnap help take care of different aspects of your business. Designated payment methods process payments, Kusnap logistics ensure customers receive purchased products, and so on. The numerous tools on offer by Kusnap work towards a common goal as part of an ecosystem.

Through all State-of-the-art features of Kusnap, entrepreneurs can create their business digitally with minimal technical experience and budget. This helps merchants grow their online brand without any need to switch platforms along the way.

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CHRISTIAN ENTREPRENEUR

How Can We Help Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 crisis

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How Can We Help Businesses Affected by the COVID-19 crisis

The occurrence of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected so much. From being a health crisis to an economic one, it is definitely one hard challenge for companies and entrepreneurs to scale through. Having identified the huge role and importance which MSMEs play in the growth and development of the Nigerian economy, it is imperative that these kinds of businesses are offered help and bailouts in different ways.

In the commercial industry today, most  companies are still struggling to shake off the negative effects of the lockdown. As the lockdown was lifted, most businesses had no idea of the scale of damage which it had done to their business. Post-lockdown, Business owners are finally getting a full grasp of the scale of damage that has been done. After identifying numerous problems, lots of entrepreneurs have no real idea of how to recover from the terrible effects on their business, most especially on MSMEs.

Through this piece, we will have a bold look at how MSMEs can get help in recovering from the hellish business conditions created by the pandemic. Also, we will see how business can integrate strategies that will help them recover quicker than anticipated.

Adapting technical assistance to meet the challenge

With the way the pandemic slowly transformed from a health crisis to an economic one, no one could have imagined the extent of damage the pandemic will have over businesses. More importantly, how businesses stay above water to weather the storm and recover is where all efforts and strategies need to focus on.

The government in the past has worked with MSMEs in various industries across the Nigerian economy with the aim of monitoring the condition of business and how well most are performing. It is easy to recognize that other than being a driver for the Nigerian economy, MSMEs are also the biggest employer of LABOR. Atypical MSME in Nigeria operates optimally with employees ranging from 10-20. Statistically, it means MSMEs provides up to 65% of jobs which is a big deal for a developing cou try like Nigeria. Additionally, MSMEs attracts the younger population, as well as women.

Till date, a lot of businesses still find it difficult to identify the full effects which the pandemic has wrought of them. Most enterprise are already in the middle of turmoil in terms of liquidity which could potentially clear out a whole segment of the economy. Today, they all face challenges which vary in impact rates. The degree of challenges businesses face will then determine how policy makers respond.

Challenges facing MSMEs

Businesses have seen it all, the full wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy of all countries around the world nearly entered into a recession if we are to go by the data presented by the International Monetary Funds (IMF).

Through the data produced, we can clearly identify how some sectors were paralyzed more than others. Sectors of the industry such as Food, Travels, accommodation, tourism have bore the full brunt of the heat of Covid-19. In a bid to revive the business to its former glory, businesses have to go through four phases; from Lockdown, supply chain disruption, demand depression to recovery. The degree of issues which businesses run into during these phases had a lot to do with government policies

As they transition form lockdown to recovery, MSMEs encounter a series of threats to their survival:

  • Collapsing demand and access to liquidity – Demand has plunged for the businesses and entrepreneurs we support – even in commodity sectors – and some buyers are slowing payments for orders already received. MSMEs have small cash reserves, and therefore go out of business first in a liquidity shock. Businesses who trade internationally are especially vulnerable, as they depend on access to increasingly depreciating Naira to fund a variety of their costs.
  • Accessing inputs and managing inventory – MSMEs frequently source inputs from abroad, increasingly so as supply chains have become longer and more complex.
  • Managing the work environment – For manufacturing MSMEs in severe situations, remaining open is challenging as factory floors are not designed for social distancing. Massive outmigration from cities has meant workers have disappeared and they may be difficult to remobilize. Many countries have suspended support to farmers even as the agricultural calendar continues.
  • Policy uncertainty and disrupted supply chains – Policies are evolving fast. MSME managers often work alone and cannot create crisis teams to track changes. Supply chain disruptions such as restricted movements create huge liabilities.
  • Accessing emergency support: Many of the small businesses that need support are on the edge of the formal economy or trade informally. They rarely draw on government support and relatively few participate in networks of government support institutions. As governments put together emergency support, reaching these companies and finding ways to help may be difficult.

Reactivating business linkages

As already established, the Nigerian government are the most capable players that can help businesses survive the negative effects of something as huge as a pandemic. As the crisis is steadily regressing, beneficiaries of government funding are to be ready to reconnect with buyers, re-hire staff and re-launch production. It is too early to draw lessons but these are our suggestions, based on early advice from the field:

  • Transform the playbook (and listen) – Like other technical assistance providers, many of the Federal government projects helping MSMEs have rigid targets and work plans that did not anticipate something of this scale. Businesses should modify their plans, listen closely to MSME managers and governments on what they need – and find ways to get it done. For instance, the government is already working with numerous industries in Nigeria to develop a recovery plan, with the active support of the funder.
  • Be ready with data – International value chains account for a huge proportion of trade and connect to millions of MSMEs. The Nigerian Government is using networks within these chains to measure the impacts of the crisis and is making the analysis available to decision makers and companies. The key is to time surveys so they do not disrupt partners while they address immediate issues.
  • Build (re-build) the ecosystem – MSMEs need business support organizations now more than ever. Governments also need an ecosystem that can deliver much needed aid to their MSMEs.
  • Think value chains and alliances – Actors across entire value chains have to work together to restore trade. Entrepreneurs can start by working to maintain the dialogue between buyers and suppliers.
  • Focus on finance – Because few of private beneficiary companies receive formal financing, they may be left out when governments and public lenders offer emergency liquidity. The Government is working with trade finance providers, regulators, guarantors, buyers, and suppliers to integrate MSMEs into affordable financing networks.

Summary

Considering the really terrible condition which the pandemic has left the Nigerian economy, especially in the MSME sector, a lot of businesses are struggling to keep up. The most effective and credible opportunity and bailout which MSMEs can use is Government intervention. Having recognized the importance of MSMEs to the growth of Nigerian economy, it is expected that the Government rise to the occasion to help businesses thrive through funding and loans.

Fortunately, there are numerous government programs that are already established to help businesses scale through the economic effects of coronavirus pandemic. MSMEs can easily use the opportunity to seek bailout funds to help improve their business, until the market recover fully.

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CHRISTIAN ENTREPRENEUR

How Businesses Can Scale the Imapct of COVID-19

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How Businesses Can Scale the Imapct of COVID-19

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by the lockdown, many businesses across the country endured one of the worst periods. Regardless of how a business is set up, many today need to review their operations and reevaluate how the business operates.

As things are slowly returning to normal most businesses have been unable to keep up with the new business market they find themselves. This is mostly due to inability of entrepreneurs to keep the financial wheels of their business turning during and after the lockdown.

The effects of the pandemic is much more devastating on startups and MSMEs mostly due to the fact that the financial reserve of such businesses are so small. As a result, they are unable to manage the fallout of this scale. The ripple effect of this shutdown has had a key impact on Nigeria’s economy, as all business sectors get affected resulting in low revenue generation due to an eventual halt/slump on the sale of products and/or services.

So, during such testing times, startup entrepreneurs will have to adapt to a new set of rules and be mindful of the following aspects to alleviate risks and to survive the slowdown caused by the impact of COVID19.

Tracking expenses against the revenue status

In this Post-Covid-19 period, one of the most important things to consider in business today is to carry out a thorough assessment of all forms of expenses, and also the total income generated. Doing this will provide a good estimate of the position of the company on a financial level. Knowing the financial position of the company, entrepreneurs can make proper plans until when everything is normalized.

Reviewing the feasibility of Existing business model

Since the occurrence of the pandemic, there has been a constant change in the market. And we all know it is not for good. As a result, we can all agree that it is time to review existing business model in terms of projections concerning revenue and expenses. Tracking financial metrics and cash flow cannot be lagging in this period considering how unpredictable the market has become. As such, entrepreneurs should review how much of an impact the pandemic has had on new sales, collections, debts, and so on.

Plan policies for Future

Provided it is still quite unclear how long it is going to take for the market and business industry to recover, entrepreneurs should make plans for all possible scenarios and outcomes. If we consider it as a 3-month problem, an instant halt on variable expenditures like hiring, marketing, travel, etc. can help. However, if the crisis continues for 9 months to a year, entrepreneurs will have to reconfigure their business strategy to reduce the variable expenses, renegotiate fixed expenses (rent, salaries, equipment lease payments, etc.), and focus only on the crucial essentials for survival.

Patience in securing investments

There is no business that does not require capital in one form or another to run it. One constant question which most entrepreneurs ponder on is usually where to secure enough capital to keep business afloat in these difficult times. Despite the presence of many avenues for entrepreneurs to secure funding for business, caution is taken in every step of the way.

It is important to not that investors have also been affected directly by the pandemic, and as a result, they take more caution by taking longer time to make funding decisions. One positive thing to always fall back to is the fact that in past economic meltdown, the market eventually bounce back over time. To buy enough time to keep your head over water, entrepreneurs can approach investors for more funding with a convincing plan and proof of use. Most investors would most likely take the chance since they are already within the game.

Other tips to stay connected and afloat post-lockdown includes:

Combining speed and stability

In terms of business, agility is a characteristic to be able to rapidly adapt or modify itself in a terrible business condition or market. This adaptation buy the business enough time to pass through the difficult situation with minimal damages to the company. This adaptation here focuses on both the speed and stability. Speaking of speed, it is the ability of a business to keep up with the different changes hitting the market where it operates. Entrepreneurs need to be creative and dynamic enough in creating and implementing policies that fit with the changing market.

However, for entrepreneurs to guarantee sustainable success and ability to boost operations, a set of core elements have to be considered. Thus, the latter component of stability or the solid backbone becomes crucial.

Turn digitization into an advantage

During the pandemic and as we are gradually coming out of it, most of the top officials of companies identified the need to transform their business digitally. While most of them saw the need to move business to the digital space, only a few implemented it. This led a lot of startup companies to run into issues which could have easily been avoided. Digital adoption is now and should be the new normal due to the many issues which it helps businesses avoid.

For example, during the pandemic, only businesses which have a digital presence were the only ones able to operate. Since it does not require the physical presence of people, it proved to be a great way for businesses to connect, make transactions, as well as execute them with a minimal physical effort or presence required. Kusnap is one such ecommerce platform which entrepreneurs a great deal to keep business in operation where many were locked.

Additionally, more businesses are finally recognizing the importance and benefits of digitalization. Ability to operate in physically restricted conditions, wider exposure of business to target market, better customer engagement, and so on; have made the digital space ideal for entrepreneurs.

The challenge of the pandemic for businesses has not only been to sustain productivity through digitized operations, but to refocus on new opportunities created by digitalization for their work and workforce. It is in part a cultural shift, where digitalization is seen less as an acceptable solution to a problem, and more as a catalyst to change the business model creatively for the better.

In terms of digitalization, Kusnap has been at the forefront in helping many physical businesses move to the digital space. It is a new age e-commerce platform focused on getting as much business to the online space, so they can enjoy boundless benefits which the digital space offers. While more businesses and entrepreneurs are still getting to know about Kusnap, it is important to understand  how effective it has been in helping digitize businesses across Nigeria.

Drive systemic change through cooperation

During the coronavirus pandemic, one lesson we learned was that our societies are intertwined more than we can imagine. Regardless of the issues, the lockdown exposed the significance of collaboration between stakeholders within a business environment. For this to happen, there has to be a foundation based on trust between all individuals involved. Many businesses are quickly understanding the concept of trust in every unit in the supply chain, as well as employees. Cooperation is vital in helping businesses regain their capacity to operate.

Summary

The Nigerian economy is still in a terrible place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Though most businesses have reopened for operations, many have been laid bare and forced to go into liquidation  due to inefficiencies.

Though it is not really clear what the future holds, entrepreneurs need to learn vital lessons on the series of events in the past year and use them to improve in their business. It is important that business responds to changing market trends, as well as focus on how to thrive through agility, digitization and collaboration. All the ways discussed in this article ensure success in their own way.

As part of the ways which businesses in Nigeria can survive the fallout from Covid-19, Kusnap as an e-commerce platform has is providing digital solutions to help businesses thrive and grow in their market, regardless of the impacts of COVID-19. As entrepreneurs, make it a must to join Kusnap and digitize your business today.

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