FirstBank SMEConnect has been the cornerstone in exposing SMEs to dynamic and flexible ways to strengthen their businesses
By Eugene Onyeji
The emergence of e-commerce, e-business, and e-all things has almost put an end to the mundane business operations that were the order of the day.
Around the world, the advent and reinvention of technological practices have given rise to many opportunities that have spurred the continued growth of the business environment.
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Among the areas impacted by technology are payment methods and systems which have evolved relentlessly as businesses have been exposed to simple, transparent and fast ways to facilitate their business transactions with customers and other stakeholders.
Overall, there are no less than 20 alternative payment platforms that explore and exploit the payment revolution to change modes. Some of the notable ones include Paypal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Wechatpay and many more, all of which have their fair market share.
Everywhere and in every way, alternative payment methods are being used to change and transform the payment landscape in the 21st century. More often than not, the speed of these transactions is simply amazing; efficiency and effectiveness are always ensured.
In pursuit of its role in promoting the sustainability and viability of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion service provider, FirstBank, on Thursday, March 24, 2022, hosted a webinar SMEConnect to equip SMBs on how their business can leverage various payment channels to enter new markets, increase sales and create a better customer experience.
The Zoom meeting on “Leveraging Alternative Payment Methods (APM) to Generate Revenue for Your Business” exposed SMBs to current technologies as it relates to payments and demonstrated how adopting alternative payment methods can play a role. a vital role in revenue growth.
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For many years, the FirstBank SMEConnect webinar series has been the cornerstone of exposing SMEs to dynamic and flexible ways to strengthen their businesses through exposure to new opportunities critical to sustaining and expanding their businesses. The webinar was one of the Bank’s gateways to providing the capacity building pillar of its value propositions to SMEs, which has enabled many companies to reinvent themselves with the relevant competitive advantage.
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The event was moderated by Akanimoh Ojo, Head of First Bank’s MSME Client Value Proposition Team.
Speakers included Jeffrey Williams–Edem, Group Business Leader, Merchant Acquiring, Interswitch Group and Kolawole Ogunmekan, Head, Digital Innovation Lab, FirstBank Ecommerce and Retail Products.
Jeffrey Williams-Edem, in his presentation, walking the audience through the buyer’s journey, said buyers don’t wake up and decide to buy on a whim. They go through a process of becoming aware, considering and evaluating, and deciding to purchase a new product or service. He then listed alternative payments, how to activate them, and how it contributes to revenue growth.
He stated the following as benefits of using alternative payment methods:
1. With alternative payment options, you increase your customer’s average basket size.
2. You reduce churn and dropouts, which impacted your revenue.
3. You improve your service delivery; happy customers mean repeat business.
4. You make your businesses competitive and people can name you as an option all the time.
5. Finally, you can digitize your transactions, giving you access to financial services and better reports that enable faster and more informed trading decisions.
The second speaker, Kolawole Ogunmekan, highlighted the factors to consider when choosing an APM as a business. They understand;
1. Customer Preference – Invest in a solution that fits your customer’s lifestyle.
2. Flexibility – Focus on convenient, frictionless payment methods.
3. Security – Choose APMs that offer security features such as fraud protection.
4. Pricing – Choose APMs with transparent pricing.
Ogunmekan went further by listing the different FirstBank alternative payment methods that their customers can leverage in their businesses to increase their revenue.
The webinar ended with a Q&A session.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is West Africa’s premier bank and Nigeria’s leading provider of financial inclusion services for 128 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 160,000 banking agents spread across 99% of the 774 local government areas in Nigeria, FirstBank offers a full range of personal and corporate financial services to serve its more than 36 million customers. The Bank has an international presence through its subsidiaries, FBNBank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Senegal, as well as an office of representation in Beijing.
The Bank has been helpful in promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 11 million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transactions campaign reaches more than 10 million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally recognized bank code *894# and more than 5 million people on the FirstMobile platform.
Since its inception in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with its clients by focusing on the fundamental principles of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimized risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development of the Nigerian economy by playing a key role in the Federal Government’s privatization and commercialization programs. With its global reach, FirstBank offers potential investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named ‘Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria’ six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the Financial Times Group’s renowned ‘The Banker Magazine’; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand goal is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardize customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in accordance with our brand vision “To be the first choice partner to build your future”. Our brand promise is always to provide the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position you first in all respects.