E-commerce authentication solution reduces volume of cash, ensures security

Wole Faroun

Speaker: Wole Faroun

Designation: MD/CEO NetPlusDotCom


The increasing growth of e-commerce cannot be overemphasized, it has been predicted that the African e-Commerce market will reach $ 75bn per annum by 2025. The Nigeria e-Commerce market which was recently valued at $1.3bn due to 25% growth, is also expected reach a valuation of $10bn in the years ahead with some 300,000 online orders expected each day. The reason for this growth have been attributed to increasing internet usage, put at 32.88% and mobile phone penetration reaching over 87 million subscribers.

While this seems very rosy for the market watchers and investors in Nigeria and the larger African continent, there are challenges plaguing the industry. Chief amongst these challenges is the issue of cash.

Put plainly, a customer places and order for an item and choses the option to pay on delivery. The item is freighted and delivered, only for the customer to laugh and say it was only a prank.  The item is sent back, the retailer has not made any sale and might have possibly missed other opportunities of selling the item, the logistics company has lost the logistics cost.

On the flip side, another customer places an order for an item, effects payment, the item is delivered and it is not as it appeared online. Item is returned and it takes the customer almost forever to get a refund and sometimes the refund is not full.

So this challenge gradually throws up a trust issue. This form of trust is peculiar. It is not the lack of trust that stops a customer from placing an online order, rather it is the presence of distrust stemming from a customer’s anticipation that the items ordered online will not turn out same when delivered and the retailers fears that the order might not be real.

As a company conversant with the challenges of its market and the e-Commerce space, NetPlusDotCom has partnered with Mastercard to develop an e-Commerce solution that seeks to address the root cause of this challenge- Cash. With this solution, cash and its resultant issues will be made a thing of the past, for e-retailers and consumers alike.

In this interview the MD/CEO of NetPlusDotCom, Wole Faroun, discusses his participation at the Mastercard StartPath initiative and the possibilities the opportunities have opened up for them as a business:

Why NetPlusDotCom participated in the Mastercard Start Path initiative

In September 2016, in the normal course of business, we came across an application call for the Mastercard Global StartPath program, and we concluded that the program presented a great opportunity for us as an organization. We were excited about the possibility of collaborating with a leading global payment company, exposure to best-in-class technologies and mentorship by top professionals in our verticals.

What to achieve from this initiative

Right now, we are realizing the benefit of the Mastercard StartPath program. We recently concluded the co-development of a payment solution set to launch in Nigeria. Although we have a global expansion plan, the solution is more specific for developing market. This has changed our short-term outlook and projections positively, as we plan to take our solution outside our core market. This may be the first time an African company is exporting a technology solution to other parts of the world and we are super excited about the opportunity.

Emergence as one of the successful start-ups chosen to participate in the Mastercard Start Path

Luck! No, but seriously I think the StartPath team looks for startups that have demonstrated that they are solving a unique problem in their market, validated by early investors and with clear vision about growth. I think NetPlus was able to demonstrate all these very clearly throughout the process. I also believe our story was quite unique and that always helps.

Impact undergoing mentorship process of the StartPath has on Mastercard

Exposure. The Mastercard organization is huge and StartPath has exposed us to several subject matter experts, who have reviewed what we are trying to do and have had very impactful feedback on our strategies and plan. We are working on solutions that are not only relevant but in other markets, and we are thinking about an expansion plan that goes beyond Nigeria or Africa. This would have difficult to conceive without the help of our friends at Mastercard and we are very excited about the opportunity

About  NetPlusDotCom

We want to be a dominant player in merchant services and digital payment services in Nigeria and other markets. NetPlusDotCom is a diversified e-business and financial technology company with a varied and dedicated team whose mission is to provide value-added solutions to the emerging e-business market in Nigeria. Our experienced management team has combined experience of over 50 years in business development, technology, marketing and sales. We focus solely on value creation for our customers, business partners, investors and employees. Our Product portfolio cuts across e-commerce and e-payment segments of the market, containing leading solutions that have significant adoption in the marketplace. WebMall serves over 5,000 Merchants, making it easy for them to go beyond boundaries and reach customers in all corners of the country. We collaborate with major banks in Nigeria to help with the development of payment systems that are secure and gives peace of mind to customers doing web and mobile point-of-sales.

E-commerce authentication solution and what differentiates it from existing solutions in the market

The solution reduces is an attempt to reduce the volume of cash transaction in eCommerce. With cash, comes several problems including security, cancellation and reconciliation amongst other. With this solution, we ensure that even though the customer uses their ATM/Debit cards for an eCommerce transactions, the actual Debit only happens after the customer has received the goods and then trigger a release through the courier app. The online purchasing process to a few simple steps:

Step 1:   The buyer (consumer) completes an online purchase and pre-authorisation is placed on the funds until the goods or service is delivered. The money is not taken out of their bank account, but is simply held until delivery is made.

Step 2:    The seller (e-retailer) will dispatch the goods with help of a delivery service, the delivery service will have access to the Mastercard e-commerce app on either their mobile or tablet. This allows them to complete the transaction on behalf of the e-retailer once the delivery has been completed. This ensures the funds flow directly to the e-retailer and that the delivery service does not handle cash unnecessarily.

Step 3:    On delivery the consumer is able to inspect their goods and confirm if they are satisfied. The transaction is then verified on the app by the delivery service representative, and as an extra security measure the consumer will enter the last four digits of their bank card to complete the transaction. If the consumer is not happy with their package, because they received the wrong size for example, the transaction is immediately voided on the app and the money immediately reflects back in their bank account.

What to expect from NetPlusDotCom in the next year

Innovative products and solutions that help merchants to conduct electronic transactions hassle free. We expect to have launched a few of our products in other markets that will include other countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Eastern Europe. We anticipate a very busy couple of years creating value for our customers, shareholders and employees.

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