• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

Pioneering market access for business performance, the Wema Bank’s approach

Oseni seeks bridging of MSMEs’ funding gap, managerial skills

A market, in economic terms, is a system or network that allows buyers and sellers to exchange goods, services, and information. It is a foundational concept for commerce and can range from physical locations where transactions are conducted, like a local farmers’ market or a shopping mall, to virtual spaces such as an online e-commerce platform. Essentially, a market is any arena where trading occurs, communication flows, and economic activities are facilitated.

Access to markets is crucial for businesses of all sizes because it determines their ability to sell products and services, reach customers, and expand their operations. The significance of market access can be dissected into several key benefits:

Revenue opportunities: Access to markets directly correlates with revenue opportunities. Businesses with broader market access can tap into diverse customer bases and maximise their sales potential.

Brand visibility and recognition: Being present in multiple markets helps businesses increase their brand visibility. The more markets a business can access, the more customers become aware of its brand, which can lead to increased loyalty and customer base growth.

Customer insights and feedback: Market access provides businesses with critical insights into customer preferences and behaviors. This information is vital for tailoring products and services to better meet customer needs and for innovating new solutions.

Competitive advantage: Businesses that can enter and compete in multiple markets often gain a competitive advantage. Access to varied markets allows businesses to diversify their risk and leverage different geographical strengths.

Economies of scale: Expanding market access can lead to economies of scale, reducing the per-unit cost of production as output expands. This can make a business more competitive and increase its profitability.

Networking and partnerships: Being active in various markets opens opportunities for strategic alliances and partnerships. These relationships can enhance business capabilities through shared resources, knowledge, and technology.

Access to market is not merely about having a place to sell goods or services; it’s about integrating into the economic fabric where demand meets supply. It involves strategic positioning, understanding market dynamics, and continuously adapting to meet the evolving needs of the marketplace. For businesses aiming for sustainability and growth, maximising market access is a critical strategy that goes beyond mere presence—it requires engagement, innovation, and responsiveness to the needs of the market.

With the growing importance of market access for businesses, Wema Bank’s efforts to leverage technology and digital platforms to enhance visibility and catalyse growth for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have been pivotal in Nigeria’s financial landscape, enabling businesses to seamlessly integrate into the economic fabric where demand meets supply.

As Wema Bank celebrates its 79th anniversary, alongside the 7th year of its digital arm, ALAT, this milestone underscores its transformative journey in Nigeria’s financial landscape. The bank has been instrumental in reshaping how businesses, particularly Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), access and operate in the market. By leveraging innovative technology and digital platforms, Wema Bank has catalysed growth and enhanced visibility for these businesses, ensuring they thrive in a competitive economy.

At the forefront of Wema Bank’s initiatives to create access to market for businesses is ALAT for Business: A Comprehensive Suite for Enterprises, ALAT for Business extends Wema Bank’s digital strategy into a tailored solution for businesses. This platform enhances operational efficiencies with tools for managing finances, payroll, and customer interactions in one integrated hub. It is designed to meet the unique needs of businesses, empowering them with technology to streamline their operations and scale effectively.

Another avenue where Wema Bank created access to market for businesses is ALAT; Nigeria’s first fully digital bank, providing businesses with a powerful tool to increase their visibility. The app features a comprehensive ecosystem called ALAT rewards, which showcases Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) such as health services, restaurants, spas, gyms, and more.

This strategic placement enables businesses to reach a wider market: ALAT app users, driving customer engagement and increasing sales opportunities. ALAT has transformed the way businesses interact with potential customers, granting them access to a vast customer base through this platform. This visibility is critical for businesses to expand their reach beyond traditional boundaries and access a large pool of potential customers.

Recognising the critical need for efficient transaction processing, Wema Bank introduced ALAT Pay, a robust platform designed to streamline the way businesses handle transactions. ALAT Pay facilitates seamless, secure, and efficient transaction experiences, offering a wide array of payment channels. Businesses benefit from competitive pricing, faster settlement times, and dedicated 24/7 support.

Moreover, ALAT Pay enables businesses to receive payments in multiple currencies and create personalized storefronts, which enhances their market presence and provides instant visibility of payments on the ALATPay dashboard.

To further aid businesses in managing high-volume transactions effectively, Wema Bank provides sophisticated Point of Sale (PoS) systems. These systems are crucial for businesses that engage in daily transactions and require reliable, secure, and quick processing capabilities. The PoS solutions offered by Wema Bank are tailored to meet the needs of modern businesses, ensuring they can serve their customers efficiently and effectively.

The Nigerian Quick Response (NQR) payment solution is another innovative tool championed by Wema Bank. NQR facilitates a quick and secure payment method by allowing customers to make payments simply by scanning a QR code. This technology significantly reduces transaction times and enhances the customer experience. For businesses, NQR means less physical cash handling and faster turnover, leading to improved operational efficiency.

The FGN ALAT Skillnovation programme, collaboration between Wema Bank and the Federal Government, is a testament to the bank’s commitment to empowering the youth and entrepreneurs. This initiative offers participants training in essential digital skills, access to finance, and market opportunities. By equipping them with the right tools and knowledge, Wema Bank ensures that these entrepreneurs are not only market-ready but also competitive on a global scale.

Wema Bank’s engagement in partnerships and community-centric events like the NBC trade fair exemplifies its approach to fostering business growth. These platforms provide small businesses with the invaluable opportunity to showcase their products to a broader audience, enhancing their market reach and customer base.

Wema Bank has become a leader in digital banking due to its pioneering spirit and commitment to excellence. Through dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction, the bank has set a high standard in the industry, championing the financial aspirations of individuals and businesses alike.

As it celebrates significant milestones and moves forward into the future, Wema Bank will undoubtedly continue to provide top-notch financial services and support, setting an example for other institutions to follow. Congratulations to Wema Bank on its incredible journey and continued success!

Oke, a financial analyst, writes from Ikeja, Lagos