By Kelly-Vera Molo
Gone are the days when business people traveled from other regions of Cameroon to buy commodities from the economic capital, Douala and or other neighboring countries like Nigeria. The traffic and commotion usually caused have pulled persons to adopt other ways of buying goods without necessarily travelling: a practice that is advantageous in the wake of COVID-19 as it limits movement thus preventing the virus from spreading. A plus for the government as it complies with one of thirteen measures put in place to help contain the virus.
The infiltration of technological advancement into the business sector has changed the narrative. Business persons and individuals can order goods and services from anywhere with just a click and their ordered goods will be delivered to them at their respective destinations.
There is the fast-growing trend of digital marketing which has been embraced by many as well as an influx of business owners on social media platforms who have monetized it in order to create awareness of their digital presence. Stemming from hair extensions, men, women and children’s wears, to services like consultancy, any business without an online presence now seems to be left out.
Distance is no longer a barrier as many are diving into exports from China in terms of cloths, foot wears, handbags, household equipment, technological gadgets and more, all without a need to travel to China or other destinations. They rather need to follow an already designed process via the internet to ship in their goods to their destinations.
To achieve this, many have made business connections in and out of the country without necessarily meeting face-to-face. All they use are online platforms to get transactions, improve on their sales, get latest and trendy products, make financial transactions and payments and also establish more businesses.
E-shopping and deliveries have been simplified. The presence of e-shops, online food deliveries and online pay portals have upgraded the business sector. One can order a plate of food at the comfort of their home just by using their phones and it well be delivered.
At local markets in Cameroon, more persons are making use of the Mobile Money services and credit cards to buy and sell their goods. A practice which is trending and limits the circulation of cash and coins. What the parties involved need is for each person to have a Mobile Money Account.
This trend has been appreciated by many especially as the cases of Corona Virus in the country keep increasing daily. Money has been declared by WHO as one of the fastest medium that the virus spreads due to the fact that a contaminated money keeps moving from one user to another. It is for this reason that most business men and women in Bamenda, North West region accept this medium of payments from their clients.
“…at first I refused people to pay for my goods through Momo. This is because there are usually complications at the level of paying the charges. Most people would want to send the exact amount the goods were charged for forgetting that to withdraw, I will need to loss some coins. So, we usually agree on the client paying the charges. I have embraced this medium more since the outbreak of the Corona virus…”
a businessman in Bamenda stated. However, the advent of technology in a setting like Cameroon is a breeding ground for cone men and scammers to benefit from it loopholes. There are many fake websites, links and goods that are posted in an attempt to swindle money from victims. After payment is done, such persons disappear into thin air. Also, many have fallen prey to the selling of low-quality goods or getting the wrong goods delivered. Many advice that, persons should carry out every financial transaction with caution and to always double check payments before approval.