Buying and selling of goods and services online is not a new form of business transaction; it has
existed for decades and evolved rapidly overtime. The development of Science and Technology,
smart phones, computers, including other electronic devices -has over the years made it a lot
easier to buy or sell products over the internet through digital stores. This briefly describes e-
commerce (electronic commerce). According to History of E-Commerce | George Washington
University (gwu.edu) the history of e-commerce traces back to the late 1960s, when two electrical
engineering students from Columbus, Ohio, launched CompuServe, which became the country’s
first ever commercial online service. Since then, it has come a long way to becoming what is
known today as e-commerce globally.
In Sierra Leone for instance, traditional business model or brick-and-mortar is the preferred form
of business transaction -but there has been a rapid change in the online retail industry especially
over the last decade. Consumers find it more convenient, faster and even more reliable to shop
online as opposed to face-to-face. Given that business owners always put primacy on meeting the
needs of their consumers, they are either converting from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce or
operating both simultaneously. This article aims at discussing e-commerce within the Sierra
Leonean context, bringing out its advantages and disadvantages in brief.
What does e-commerce mean?
E-commerce is notoriously ambiguous to define, however, according to
www.fingate.stanford.edu, the term “e-commerce” has been used to mean “the act of buying
and selling of goods and services, and accepting payment transactions electronically through the
internet -and forms of payment include, but not limited to, credit or debit card and electronic
check processing. Put simply, e-commerce brings to the fore the buying and selling of products
over the internet. This type of business model or online retail is basically done through digital
stores or websites such as Alibaba, Amazon, Ebay, etc. In Sierra Leone, such business
transaction is done via different digital tools including social media platforms such as Facebook,
Whatsapp, and it has been divided into the following six models:
Business-to Administration (B2A)
How can one sell or buy online from Sierra Leone?
Online retail in Sierra Leone is much easier today, as long as one has a smart phone, computer or
any electronic device and a reliable 24/7 internet data in order to browse the internet. Pretty
much, one can sell anything from Sierra Leone via www.247bigmarket.com, Sierra Leone’s #1
online marketplace, where buyers and sellers meet. It is an online platform and product of
BAAJA Technologies LLC, created for businesses within Sierra Leone to trade their products
with ease based on partnership with platform owners. Residents of Sierra Leone and even
beyond can make purchases for themselves to be delivered to proxies within Sierra Leone only.
Among many things, the platform provides a user-friendly and scam-free medium of transacting
directly with businesses as well as customers/consumers while keeping security and reliability at
the heart of its operations.
To become a vendor or to sell your products on 247bigmarket is as simple as drinking a cup of
water -and it is a process that comes with excellent service delivery. To start with, you must
show proof of being a registered business entity couple with an up-to-date tax record for a
minimum of one year. Once this is verified and the business is approved to operate, a dedicated
business website will be assigned for free. This will now enable Sierra Leoneans from home and
elsewhere, to place orders and those orders can be picked up based on established terms and
conditions of the vendor. On a more homely note, 247bigmarket.com is created with your family
in mind. Become a business partner today with Sierra Leone’s #1 online marketplace and grow
your business and clientele rapidly.
What are the advantages of e-commerce in Sierra Leone?
Using e-commerce comes with tremendous benefits for both sellers and consumers. These
benefits are seemingly endless and cannot be over emphasized. Therefore, the following
examples have been earmarked as some of the merits of e-commerce in Sierra Leone:
Cheap to operate
Constant availability: Unlike brick-and-mortar which operates on fixed hours and days, e-
commerce operates all round the clock (24/7) which makes it a lot easier to access goods and
services at any time from any part of Sierra Leone without breaking a sweat. This provides a
window of opportunity for business owners to meet the ever-growing needs of consumers.
Easy-to-reach: Aside from availability, e-commerce is faster and it gives convenience to
consumers. Sitting at the comfort of your couch and with just the click of a mouse, you can shop
anything and transact any amount with ease, devoid of long queues.
Cheap-to-operate: E-commerce comes with little or no overhead/running costs for online sellers
or business owners, especially those who primarily use Facebook and whatsapp. This simply means that running an online store, a business owner does not necessarily have to pay utility
bills, rent or even pay employees, exactly the direct opposite of what physical stores do. Such is
the case in Sierra Leone. This is even more cost effective because the only thing a seller or buyer
requires at the very least is a phone, mobile data and an account or page as the case may be.
What are some of the disadvantages of e-commerce in Sierra Leone?
Despite its huge benefits, there is no denying that e-commerce has a number of disadvantages,
which affect its chances of success in Sierra Leone. Some of these impediments have been
highlighted below in brief:
Poor connectivity issues
Internet accessibility: Internet accessibility, the take-off-board which allows consumers to surf
the web is very expensive and it is one of the main disadvantages that continues to impede e-
commerce in Sierra Leone -which is why 247bigmarket.com provides a reliable window for
Sierra Leoneans living abroad to help increase internet access by sending data and top- up to
their loved ones via 247topup.com.
Poor Connectivity issues: Aside from that, poor internet connectivity issues also impede the
viability of e-commerce in Sierra Leone. More often than not, internet buffering frustrates
consumers as well as retailers and therefore making it very difficult sometimes for e-commerce
to thrive smoothly.
Security Issues: Internet fraud is a constant unfortunate occurrence that hugely affects the
viability of e-commerce in Sierra Leone. From online stores which either do not exist in
actuality, to those which post up false specifications of products, a good number of consumers
who are not internet/tech savvy continue to be scammed by criminals daily. However, suffice it
to note here that e-commerce in Sierra Leone is even more convenient, secure, reliable and
fraud-free with 247bigmarket. Check out our customer reviews.