Onan C. Bridgewater
Psychology of Bahamian E-Commerce
With the rise of various freight forwarding companies in the Bahamas and the ‘boom’ of online shopping in the last 5 years – one would think that many local businesses with online stores have also prospered in the wake of this industry surge. However, this unfortunately is not the case.
Many Bahamian companies have spent time and money, crafting stunning online storefronts – only to find the ‘halls’ vacant and deserted.
So, we ask ourselves a simple question – “If Bahamians are shopping online, then why is it not converting locally?”
The answer is simple and we’ve decided to write this short thought starter, to dissect it in detail.
Firstly, let’s have a look at ‘Value Proposition’
Having a web storefront is only the first step in generating revenues from online sales. What will attract local shoppers to buy from you online? The very second you open your online store to the public, your competitors emerge as international giants like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.
This David and Goliath scenario may seem a bit overbearing – however, you do have ‘home court’ advantages. You can’t compete in cost across the board. But you can establish a ‘loss-leader’ to drive that much needed online traffic and ‘up-sell’ with various other products or services that accents the incentive.
This proven formula has been used mostly in traditional retail and fast food promotions. For example: the McDonald's franchise doesn’t really ‘rake in the bacon’ from just selling burgers. An affordable burger is the ‘loss-leader’ and the real money is generated from the ‘up-sell’ of fries and a drink.
Moving on – the second point is ‘Trust’
Needless to say, as Bahamians, we have a had time trusting each other. Would you use your credit card on a site you didn’t trust? Brand and Inbound Marketing are key components of ‘trust building’ in the digital space. It's very important to interact with your potential customers online as well as reply swiftly and accurately to any queries they may present. It’s also necessary to properly secure your online storefront, to prevent loss of credibility and keep your customers protected. Many local businesses have failed to properly secure their online storefronts (including a local bank) and at first glance, even a novice hacker would be grinning ‘ear to ear’.
Lastly, we inspect – ‘Learning Curve’
A few years ago we launched an ‘affiliate marketing’ project called ‘Coupon Hustle’ – wherein we signed with 30 plus international retailers (Amazon, eBay, and Walmart included) to provide online deals and savings to the local market. The ‘modus operandi’ (method of operating) was plain and simple. We used social media marketing to drive online traffic to the listings and from there, users simply clicked on the image/link of the desired item and was redirected to the retailer's page for purchase. We soon found ourselves bombarded with requests to ‘bring in the items’ – as most of our potential customers had no knowledge of online shopping. At first, we were perplexed by this but soon found resolve after encountering a government official who didn’t know the difference between an email address and a website.
The clear fact is - many Bahamians are not computer and internet savvy. Only a fraction of the market is ‘qualified’ online shopping customers.
If you you’d like to see higher revenues generated from your online spaces and social media pages, schedule a call with us. Let us help you grow your business from the digital end.