E-commerce is possibly the next trend for business in Papua New Guinea.
A decade ago, PNG’s first e-commerce website was launched, laying a foundation of doing businesses online. The first e-commerce website, www.esishop.com.pg allowed Papua New Guineans to shop online using the local currency (PGK).
- With most shops in the towns and cities in PNG ending their operations after 8 pm, Online shops can be still open for busines. Customers can be reached right there in their homes or rooms. With the ability to shop anytime is a big convenience for consumers.
- No need for a physical store; since there is no need for a physical store, e-commerce businesses save on one of the biggest cost overheads that retailers have to bear:display space.
- With stunning product pictures, people can effortlessly see all the products on their phone; or office computers without walking through different departments in the shops.
- Faster buying/selling procedures, as well as easy to find products.
- More reach to customers, there is no theoretical geographic limitations.
- Low operational costs and better quality of services.
- Easy to start and manage.
ICT Infrastructure and E-commerce
The ICT infrastructure in PNG that will greatly influence E-commerce include:
- Digital Satellite Television (Digital TV)
- The Internet (mobile broadband services)
- Websites and Social Media
- Mobile Telephony; short message service facilities,and multimedia equipment such as video, audio, projectors and podcast facilities.
According to ITU Road Map 2012 endorsed by the government of PNG, three (3) FTA (Free to Air) TV Operators in PNG to migrate to digital by the end of 2017.
As required, PNG’s telecommunication companies, Digicel and Telikom are already shifting to provide LTE services of which Telikom has already launched it’s 4G High-Speed Internet Services.
As these telecommunication companies are investing heavily on cell towers and mobile broadband services, internet availability,and affordability in PNG is encouraged.
Consequently, more people are able to use the internet using mobile handsets hence are able to trade online.
Also, Internet costs are bound to decrease as Telikom already announced its slashing of Internet rates early December last year.
Research done by EMTV Online found that there are existing websites in PNG that are using e-commerce technologies which use PG extension beginning January 2nd, 2017. Of the total number of websites;
- 44 % use WooCommerce
- 11% Weebly eCommerce
- 11% VirtueMart
- 11% Shopify Conversions
- 11% Shopify
- 11% Magento
It is also recorded that an increasing number of younger generation in PNG is embracing the digital age, and mobile phones, in particular, are becoming a more important source of social interaction.
The mobile phone is becoming a necessity to many Papua New Guineans and thus means e-commerce has a possibility to expand.
Meanwhile, mobile networks accessibility in PNG has been expanded from less than 3% population coverage in 2006 to over 80% by early 2016 which guarantee growth and expansion in e-commerce.