By John Silas
Hicolumn, Nigeria’s biggest cutting-edge e-commerce Tech that connects consumers to their choice stores close to their neighbourhood has been launched in Lagos.
The unveiling of the ground-breaking e-commerce Tech was held in grand style with a drone delivering the Hicolumn package to top-notch Nollywood celebrity, Tayo Sobola, popularly called Sotayo Gaga, indicating the swiftness and innovation behind the cutting-edge marketplace.
Highlights of the event includes free shopping vouchers to fans of the celebrity and the online shopping she made, which was delivered swiftly before 20 minutes, an attestation of Hicolumn’s prompt delivery service.
The high-flying launch took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, at Ikeja GRA, on Thursday, November 26, 2020, in Lagos – the Centre of Excellence.
The e-commerce Tech which is a mobile app is designed to give visibility to neighbourhood stores and connect them directly to customers anywhere, anytime. It comprises of the Hicolumn Customer, Merchant and Delivery Apps respectively which are connected together and work as one Enterprise Resources Programme.
It ensures customers’ usual places of shopping are made available for them to choose or change current location from where orders are made, for real comfort and convenience.
Speaking at the launch, the Chairman of Hicolumn, Benjamin Madu, said the e-commerce Tech is designed to revolutionize the online market in Africa, and offers stores, merchants, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with existing and verifiable businesses, the chance of participating on the platform by downloading the app within 30 minutes, and absolutely free of any registration charges.
It also gives them the opportunity of leveraging the internet to serve or sell to their existing and prospective customers without the customers physically visiting the shops.
“Merchants can register and setup their stores for free without difficulties and start getting orders from consumers. They don’t need any delivery facility, but they need to have goods available in stock for packaging after receiving payment from consumers,” Madu explained.
He said Hicolumn enables merchants to have online presence without having a website or delivery facility, as consumers who have made purchase on the platform would have prompt delivery of goods within 20 minutes, with same quality, same price and faster than physically being at the stores.
This first of its kind e-store is designed to make a difference in the e-commerce sector. Also, over 100,000 jobs are expected to be created before the end of 2021 and will bring about large-scale youth empowerment and increase in the patronage of locally made goods.
In his remark, Hicolumn’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Uche Elekwachi, said the platform will transform the online market in Nigeria and Africa with its innovative mobile app that will give merchants the ability to sell their goods to widely dispersed customers.
He said the e-commerce Tech has come to the rescue of merchants and store owners, to become super strong, active online and not to lose their business focus to foreign competitors currently entering their domain, especially in this period of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when shopping is mostly done online.
According to Elekwachi, majority of the e-commerce apps in the country do not adopt traditional open market methods of e-commerce that enable buyers choose from a variety of physically available merchants, thereby coercing them to trade with only selected sellers.
He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) prediction that over 60 percent of SMEs will not be able to reopen after the pandemic, because the current e-commerce structure will put them out of business, is a strong factor for them to have online presence, taking advantage of the Hicolumn platform.
Highlighted benefits that accrue to merchants and stores partnering with Hicolumn are increased profitable sales; reduced cost of operation with less than five employees; proper inventory management; and elimination of threat posed by the current e-commerce system.
Others include empowering merchants with the same capacity of an e-commerce global giant; customers’ retention on full scale; reduction of operational cost; business enhancement through effective online promotion; increased merchants’ focus on core operations; and opportunity for massive promotion and customer acceptability.