It is no longer news that Lagos, has, out of the blue become the destination for many startups, and until now, the number has only kept increasing
While the increasing number of startups has never been an issue, it is only unfortunate that many of this beginners company have to fight there way to the top in a way I’d tag “survival of the fittest”. Not just that they have to compete among themselves; these startups also have to invest so much in there struggle to penetrate into the rigid market.
For some startups, let’s say those that deals with consumable goods, for instance the likes of Jumia Food, 12 basket, Munch it, SamVita among others; it may be a different situation with them, however, when it comes to tech-enabled startups like the ride-hailing companies, Logistics, Fintechs among several others of there kinds. Usually it is a different ball game, as it requires a lot of awareness, marketing, and patronage to mention but a few.
Of course Nigerians are rigid-minded set of people, and there is no doubt that it takes more than advertisement to have them on board. This same reason is why GONA- a payment platform that is allowing cashless payments in public buses, is still yet to achieve so much since its arrival in Nigeria sometimes around last year. However, GONA hadn’t done a lot for advert so it is hard to tell if it would fail.
The payment platform is supposedly aimed to make transportation in public buses a lot more conducive, considering that people often have issues with making payments. Often times, bus conductors will ask commuters not to board their bus if they have higher denominations. In otherwise cases, commuters are asked to alight from the bus even without getting to their destination because of the same reason.
In the worst scenario, the conductor is been forced to give a ₦500 Note (take for instance) to two or more people to sort themselves out with lower denominations.
These problems is what GONA intends to fix with its payment platform, however, it has been a tough one trying to bring people on board.
Bringing People Onboard
Like I said earlier, Nigeria can be very stubborn when it comes to adoption of new products, especially the kind that will require them to spend money. As for GONA app, users are required to fund their respective wallets regardless of putting the app to use or not, and by that you can tell that only a few people, literates especially will understand how such technology works, a majority of others will be skeptical about the use, considering the many fraudulent activities happening on the internet lately.
To fix this, GONA has hired several marketers, otherwise known as ‘Agents’ to go about preaching the gospel of the app, however, this doesn’t seem like a easy job to carry out, as most of their patronizing ends up yielding little or zero result. Well probably if the little is consistent, then maybe someday they will get their desired result, but for now, the strategy doesn’t seem to be as effective as expected.
Today, while I was on my way to my workplace, I decided to take a public transport (bus). In the bus, I saw two ladies, supposedly GONA Agents, already seated and trying to engage commuters in a conversation. During their conversation, the two Agents were trying hard to patronize people to download the app, while assuring them of NGN300 discount on there first set of trips, however, why some people gave in to their patronage, others were resistant until I eventually alighted from the vehicle.
This event has only proven that the payment platform had decided to boycott some important aspects of PR, and have decided to relate with customers directly, however, while this is not totally a bad idea, it may take them almost the same time Israelites used in traveling through the desert, forty years instead of forty days(no pun intended).
Moving forward, GONA boss, Noah Gu, says the company is going to work with bus driver associations in the state towards establishing loading points for buses using Gona in bus parks across the city; maybe when this is in place, it will be easier to peach to interested customers.