- May 19, 2020
- Posted by: Business Process
- Category: E-Commerce, Websites
A COVID-19 inside story from Nextel Systems Ltd
In the months of April & May 2020, the most selling item from Nextel Systems Ltd www.nextelsystems.com has been this tiny, little & obscure pierce of software we wrote back in 2017, for internal use to accept Mobile Money payment on our website, and as an add-on feature to our E-Commerce website package to clients. It is a Mobile Money payments plugin – a piece of software with functions that extend WordPress and WooCommerce functionality by adding a Mobile Money payment option, that can be installed in any WordPress-powered ecommerce website. It is very simple and specific in terms of its purpose and operational environment. Written in PHP, we have a solution for Mobile Money payment options, seamlessly integrating within your E-Commerce website
Up until this time, we were using it on our own website (www.nextelsystems.com) to accept mobile money payments from local customers, for domain name purchases on the website. It worked seamlessly.
But since COVID-19 started, we began to see (from our website Google Analytics reports) huge traffic to the website page on which we had described the plugin. I guess Google finally figured out what’s going on and is now serving it to people searching about accepting or integrating mobile money payment option on their websites.
The spike in traffic has resulted in many business owners and web developer reaching out to us, and requesting for plugin. We have so far installed and configured it on five independently developed websites – websites not developed or maintained by Nextel Systems, in the space of one month
The reason we developed this plugin to begin with, was that we were seeing first had how badly local business wanted to sell online, and how frustrating implementing credit card payments was for local businesses on their websites – including us. We figured – why not focus on selling locally? Because the whole attraction with credit cards is that you can sell internationally – which is a much regulated market space
The challenge of a Ugandan online buyer and a Ugandan business owner, is that they can’t transact together online with automated payment. That’s why e-commerce portals like Jumia offer Pay on Delivery which is not efficient for a true E-Commerce experience. You can’t buy an item on amazon.com and “pay on delivery”
So we had to fully automate the payment with a local solution, and give an alternative to businesses which still fall short of being credit card merchants.
So it became very clear that we needed to bring Mobile Money in the web ecommerce environment. It’s clear we were the first to implement it more efficiently, because with previous solutions & integrators you still have to press codes on the phone, several steps in, to pay a seller – too many steps and room for human error. But here, the buyer shops on a website as usual, on checkout page, you select Mobile Money, in-put the mobile money number just like you input credit card number, and you only go to the phone to answer a prompt from the seller’s website, to insert your mobile money pin & authorize the payment. That’s it – straightforward and direct
So our early considerations for alternative local payments online have finally paid off, and the tiny obscure plugin is now in high demand. We’ve put it back on our product development fast-track, to produce version 2.0 which will try to extend support to MTN & Airtel in all their markets – meaning support Mobile Money payments in all the markets MTN & Airtel are in around the African continent.