It’s been a couple of months now since Data Nets’ www.esishop.com.pg was launched and so it would be interesting to see how it has been going. Data Nets and Westpac PNG have also setup e-commerce for Air Nuigini so I’ve asked Glynn Low at Data Nets to do an interview with us about it and I’ll advise when that interview happens.
The major issue I raised in my last post, was that the majority of PNG’eans do not have credit cards to use on the net. There is also the issue of people getting into un-manageable debt by using credit cards.
In regards to the first issue, we suggested in another post of ours that pre-paid e-commerce could be a an avenue to look at and we illustrated this with the i-Tunes pre-paid card system which would be much like the current service for buying pre-paid credits for your mobile phone.
Besides a possible pre-paid purchasing, online vendors would also have to be credible and so it will be good for bigger well known PNG companies to take the lead in this to build market confidence. I believe that is the approach being taken by Data Nets. Imagine for example a future where a farmer in Wewak could buy a part for his tractor from Bishop Brothers in Port Moresby and do this over the internet because he wasn’t able to find what he was looking for in Wewak town and also because Bishop Bros. does not have a branch there.
Secondly and partly related to the first point is the good news however that Westpac already provides the Visa Debit Card product. So you can enjoy the ability of accessing your own funds in PNG from anywhere in the world. For online shopping this will be a great boost as you can use money that you have and not be tempted into getting into debt. I have also heard from BSP that their Visa Debit cards will be coming out closer to July this year.
So going back to my example of the Wewak farmer, a succesful transaction would probabaly look like this. The farmer pops into Post PNG and buys some e-commerce credits (because he does not yet have his Visa debit card), he then goes across to the internet cafe at More Stationary and then uses his credits to buy his tractor part. Bishop Brothers recieves the order and payment then they send up the part by DHL. Bishop Brothers could then notify the farmer by email, SMS and a phone call that the part is on it’s way and thanking him for doing business with them.
The banking environment is now enabled to run e-commerce in PNG, all we need now is for the big retailers to start looking in that direction in terms of developing their websites and internal manpower and systems to enable online sales. So entreprenuers and business managers out there…yupela yet nau?!