Notes from BDC's E-Commerce Seminar

Notes from the Business Development Company seminar on e-commerce, 13-01-11

Mr. Bernard Campbell, Managing Director-Intelligent Business Advantage.
Business people will have to choose among different options for accepting payments, online banking, wire transfers, real world check and bank payments as well as card not present payments
There’s a big difference in establishing these systems when businesses have prior experience with each other and have already established a level of mutual trust.

“The Stone Age didn't end because they ran out of stones, the bronze age didn't end because they ran out of bronze. Technology made the older systems obsolete.”
There’s a real need to participate in social media, particularly with a focus on Facebook. “You need to monitor your presence on Facebook and respond to comments.”

Kama Maharaj, founder of Sacha Cosmetics.
On commonsense business practices online.
“Don't ask for anything from the customer that you don't need. Don't ask for a surname if you only need the first name.”
“Build credibility, trust and deliver customer service. It’s better to sell a few things to many people than to sell many things to a few people online.”

Kevin Khelawan, Teleios
Mobile Commerce covers any transaction of value conducted on a mobile phone.
Transaction models: Operator centric, bank centric, collaboration model (via trusted third party, using banks - most likely to dominate), peer to peer
Examples: Amazon's TextPayMe, PayPal via mobile, Obopay, Zong (gaming)

M-PESA, Kenya evolved from a micropayments system to a branchless banking service, now has more than 13 million users and transfers US$1.5 million per day, used for school fees, bars and pubs, bus and taxi transportation - high mobile penetration rate and low banking penetration rate with high demand for financial services.

Sharlene Maharaj, discussing the Caribbean Airlines/BWIA experience.
The company had some issues that were in common with Sacha, because we started early in the game. Caribbean Airlines entered the space because their competition was there.

E-Commerce cuts out the middle man and makes it self-service, moving the transaction directly to the customer. E-commerce makes the process low cost but creates a market driven by cost-sensitive customers.

Credit card sales represent less than 10 percent of total sales in the Caribbean. There’s a need for alternative form of payment, perhaps a promotion of debit cards to online sales capabilities.
Credit card fraud is real. CA built a percentage of bad debt into the business plan.

There’s an infrastructural need for structured street addresses to verify that they exist, equivalent to zip codes.
Websites available in multiple languages must be supported when end users engage the business, via e-mail and phone calls, in that language.
Need for clarity and clear lines of accountability in contracts and service level agreements with vendors and suppliers.

McNally talk posted

The final posting of notes from PhotoPlus Expo 2008, notes on talks given by Joe McNally is posted here...