By Adedapo Adesanya
Leading digital payments service, Visa, has launched an initiative called Where You Shop Matters. This allows consumers to support small businesses in order to enable entrepreneurs during the prevalent coronavirus pandemic.
The initiative follows the recently published COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker by Visa, which highlights the recent effect the novel pandemic has had on commerce for consumers and small merchants in Nigeria.
The findings of the report highlight increased anxiety with consumers staying away from all but essential retail.
According to it, 68 percent of consumers polled reported going grocery shopping less often, while 67 percent reported taking public transportation less often.
The impact of the pandemic still hasn’t dampened the resolve of the Nigerian consumer as respondents believe that it will take about 6 months for the business environment to return to normalcy.
During the pandemic, many consumers in Nigeria have started shopping online for the first time for essentials.
About 71 percent of consumers surveyed say that COVID-19 has led to their first online grocery purchase, while 69 percent have made their first online purchase from pharmacies. Overall, the report points to a shift towards online commerce, with cash transactions being replaced by digital payments.
Commenting on the report’s findings Mrs Kemi Okusanya, Vice President, Visa West Africa said: “The pandemic is impacting business everywhere. The findings of the COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker suggest shoppers have changed how they shop and this is already having a major impact on how merchants do business.
“As consumers adapt to the current restrictions, many have changed how they shop and turned to online outlets for their shopping. These changes present challenges but also enormous opportunities for all merchants, including small businesses,” she said.
According to the report, 55 percent of consumers admit to now spending less while also highlighting a trend that suggests shoppers have transformed how they shop.
Asked about spending habits, consumers are increasingly optimizing their trips – 66 per cent buying in bulk, making lists to avoid impulsive purchases, and buying non-perishable items to ensure fewer trips.
”It is vital that merchants in Nigeria understand consumer behaviors and adapt accordingly – eCommerce and digital solutions will undoubtedly enable growth.
“At Visa, we are proud to support merchants and recognize that many small businesses have been most adversely affected by the pandemic. From eCommerce to security, our “Where You Shop Matters” initiative aims to help support them and champion the local small businesses that serve as the backbone of our communities,” Mrs Okusanya added.
Where You Shop Matters will help support small businesses through the Visa Small Business Hub, a merchant platform providing tools and information on how to start, run and grow small businesses.
The platform will also feature leading merchants who embody the passion and entrepreneurship of small businesses across Nigeria.
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