The electronic commerce industry will benefit from the national identity numbers when fully developed, according to Lola Masha, country manager of OLX Nigeria.
Masha made the remark at the recent fifth anniversary of the leading classified ads sire in Nigeria, adding that trust has remained the major setback for e-commerce space in Nigeria and can be tacked with proper identity management database.
She added that competition has helped the market to innovate, however, new investors must be weary of 'copy and paste' ideas, to avoid the early exit from the market.
Masha said, "When we look at the landscape or business model of classified ads, it relies on trust. You are selling goods to a 'stranger'. People tend to ask questions as: can I trust the seller? Can I trust the item, especially when it is a secondhand? While the seller is asking where and how do I meet the buyer so as to be protected?
"If you look at where classified ads industry has worked, it is usually in developed market. Unfortunately, trust issue is problematic in the emerging markets, especially in Nigeria".
The OLX Boss said that to tackle the challenge proper identity management system must be harnessed, country-wide. "We believe things like national identity number will help to address some of the identity and address related challenges.
On the other hand, people tend to ask themselves, can we go to the police when issues come up? How will the issue be treated.
Nodding in agreement, Patricia Duru, user operations manager at OLX Nigeria, noted that proper identity management will lift the user's trust level in the market, "because every individual will be identifiable through a united database.
"There are reports around: if things go wrong, will the police help me? We have go ahead to partner with the law enforcement agencies. That gives the buyer/seller confidence that we are here to protect them likewise the brand".
However, Masha opined that competition is another avenue to boost innovation in the market. According to her, "Competition forces everybody to raise their standards. It is not pleasurable to see competitors that don't survive. There are challenges the industry is facing that have made brands come and go. But, we are grateful to the users and our partners for remaining with us these five years".
According to statistics released by OLX, the value of the unused or secondhand items posted on the site was N12.1 trillion last year. The report also showcases the power of the secondhand market offering in Nigeria, by revealing that over one million items were posted for sale last year, which equates to one item being up for grabs every 30 seconds on OLX.