27 April 2017

East Africa: OLX Championing Cyber Trust Through Launch of New E-Commerce Service

OLX has unveiled a new service that will allow car buyers and sellers to transact safely by being able to pay directly through escrow. The service dubbed "Sell It For Me" will also handle the entire process for people who want to sell their vehicles.

The service launches at a time when there's ever more evidence of a need for developments that boost confidence among internet-based transactions.

A recently conducted global survey revealed that Internet users are increasingly concerned about their online privacy; it found that 49 percent of users polled said lack of trust is their main reason for not shopping online.

What the survey says

The survey of 24,225 Internet users was conducted by global research company Ipsos, on behalf of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) between December 2016, and March 2017. The survey was conducted in 24 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, India, Japan, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia and the United States.

The research shows that among those worried about their privacy, top sources of concern were cybercriminals (82 percent), Internet companies (74 percent) and governments (65 percent).

"The lifeblood of the Internet is trust and when that is damaged, the consequences for the digital economy are nearly irreparable," Director of CIGI's Global Security & Politics program Fen Osler Hampson said in a press statement. "The results of this global survey offer a glimpse into why policymakers should be concerned, and why there is a strong link between user trust and the health of e-commerce,"

Lack of trust is most likely to keep people off e-commerce platforms in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, suggesting that the potential gains of e-commerce are not spread evenly around the globe.

"Nearly 50 percent of Internet users surveyed do not trust the Internet and this lack of trust is affecting the way they use it. The findings of this year's CIGI-Ipsos survey underscore the importance of taking action now to build stronger online trust by addressing users' concerns and using technologies such as encryption to secure communications," said Sally Wentworth, Vice President of Global Policy for the Internet Society, in a press release.

How OLX seeks to gain the internet's trust

Speaking at the launch, held at the Intercontinental hotel, Kenya, OLX, Country Manager, Peter Ndiang'ui said that the service will make it safer and more convenient for car traders on OLX and involvement in the payment process will increase buyers' trust when making a car purchase.

"Direct payments to OLX champs to handle selling transactions are a definite value addition to our users who are always seeking safety and convenience when trading online. It is also important to note that those wishing to continue with hands-off buying and selling on our platform are still free to do so." Added Ndiang'ui.

Per Ndiang'ui, the service, which has been rolled out in Nairobi, has currently hired 20 verified and vetted OLX Champs, who have access to data analytics which increase the chance of selling the cars of faster. OLX is also seeking to partner with financiers, insurers and auto garages to help ease the process of selling cars online.

The service starts when an OLX Champ is linked up with the seller to agree on the selling price from which the champ will get his commission. The Champ handles the entire selling process. Money is then sent directly to OLX and once the buyer confirms receipt of the vehicle, OLX releases the money to the seller. The escrow services allow direct deposit to OLX, which guarantees safety for the buyer.

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