Challenges of Online Shopping in Developing Countries

 

For people who live in the developed countries of Europe and North America, shopping online is the way to go. It is convenient, it is fast and it is cheap in most cases. All you need to shop online are a fast internet connection and a computer. Unfortunately, online shopping is not available to everybody on planet earth. For people in developing countries, shopping online can be a huge challenge. There are many reasons for this situation and these include geographical factors and inadequate infrastructure. Below are some of the challenges of online shopping in developing countries.

No internet facility
This may sound incredible to people in the developed economies of Europe and North America but the truth is that internet service is hard to come by in many parts of Africa. Now, if you do not have internet access, how on earth will you shop online? This is the sad reality in some African countries. There are many places in Africa where internet service simply does not exist.

Poor internet service
This is another reason many people in developing countries cannot shop online. In some parts of Asia, Latin America and Africa, internet access does exist but it is slow and unreliable. This makes shopping online a nightmare because you need a fast and reliable internet connection to shop online.

Unreliable power supply
Many developing countries do not have reliable power supply. Now, you need electricity to power your computer. In cases where power companies or government agencies cannot provide electricity, the only option is to use diesel or petrol power generators. This is very expensive option and it increases the cost of doing business substantially. This means that internet service providers and cyber cafes will charge more money for the service they offer. Nigeria is a very good example of a developing country where the cost of power generation leads to a corresponding increase in the price of internet service.

Poor Online reputation
Some countries in Africa and Asia have a terrible online reputation. For this reason, these countries are blacklisted by some reputable shopping sites and online payment sites. For instance, PayPal does not operate in Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon. Skrill (a popular online payment site) does not accept customers from Afghanistan, Sudan and Nigeria. Alibaba.com is closed to shoppers in some African and Asian countries. Ebay also has restrictions on shoppers from some developing countries. These are some of the challenges of online shopping for people in some developing countries.

Attempts to solve the problem
As stated already, online shopping in some developing countries is a huge challenge. Some smart people in these countries try to solve the problem in a number of ingenious but ultimately ineffective ways. For instance, some people attempt to join the shopping sites that do not accept members from their countries by using proxies and "hide my IP address" websites. Eventually, the shopping sites find out and these would-be shoppers lose their accounts. In other cases, some people sign up for PayPal but run into a hitch because they cannot authenticate their accounts.

The perfect solution
The best way to solve the problem faced by online shoppers in some developing countries is to change the blanket ban on these countries by shopping sites and credit card companies. Banning a country from say, amazon.com, ebay.com or paypal.com is unjust in the sense that it deprives some reputable people and corporate organizations of a vital service. Online shopping sites should find a way to deal with fraud and hacking by people in blacklisted countries on a case-by-case basis. This is one way to ensure that honest people in the affected countries are not punished for the activities of dishonest people in their country.

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