Mind Your Own eBusiness

| 21/09/2014

The new line of the 21st century now is “there’s no business, like eBusiness” – or at least I like to think so. But, unfortunately the Cayman Islands are still having some difficulty catching up with this global trend and there is certainly not enough opportunities in place locally to educate people on the benefits of starting or expanding a business online.

Sure, having a nice website is one thing, but I am not talking about a website, I am talking about a BUSINESS. There is a huge difference.

With the unemployment rate in the Cayman Islands ever growing, many individuals are now exploring self-employment opportunities for the security of not being fired or laid off, and many are overlooking the amazing advantages of eBusiness.

It doesn’t take a lot of brainwork to see why so many business owners choose or seek the opportunity to operate wholly or partially online, but for anyone questioning such a decision, here are some clear factors:

  • Cost-savings – operating a business or retail outlet online can save many thousands of dollars by way of not requiring rent, utilities, employees, equipment, property maintenance and insurance, janitorial services and so forth
  • Improved client service through greater flexibility – owners of online businesses have a lot more flexibility with time and where they operate for all the obvious reasons
  • Global reach – the internet is everywhere, and depending on the business model, a business can reach international customers instantaneously
  • Work from home – this is one of the big reasons individuals choose online business, it allows more time for self and family
  • Increased Productivity – by spending less time and money on running business you will be able to invest more on growing your business and efficiently run and manage your projects.

These are just 5 of the top reasons entrepreneurs are lured in the eCommerce direction, so why is Cayman taking so long to step up to the innovative plate of eCommerce? Is it lack of public education? Definitely not, the local consumers and customers are very familiar with the convenience of businesses who maintain a strong online presence, in fact those are the businesses we remember most; but for some reason many local businesses are still operating the “old-fashioned” way and are expecting to reach “new-fashioned” customers.

Customers and potential customers these days are accustomed to having everything within reach of the internet, love information, love comparing products and services, and tend to navigate towards the businesses that provide the convenience of quickly answering all their potential questions from easy to explore websites versus having to call or stop to find an email address and send the email (after having to draft one of course). 

We cannot blame the businesses for this of course (at least most of the time), because simply put – the opportunities for expanding to eCommerce in Cayman have been vastly limited by lack of proper resources.

For example, the process for obtaining payments online has been barred by the high cost of third party overseas payment processors or tedious bank processes for getting local processing, many business owners have been disappointed by the difficulties of developing and maintaining an ecommerce website, and hiring a web development team to keep any online inventory up-to-date outweighed the benefits for many of Cayman’s local retailers who would love to give their customers the ability to access their stores 24/7 via internet, and let’s not even start one the cost of running the delivery or hiring a courier to deliver any potential orders.

But, with the whole world now recognizing the importance and significance of expanding businesses and services online to the demanding, tech-saavy customers waiting patiently for them to catch up with the time, I would suggest that our islands and their business owners begin exploring, demanding and taking advantage of the eCommerce market arena sooner than later.  

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Comments (17)

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  1. p says:

    I have done a goodly amount of ebusiness via ebAY paypal. Step 1- Open US bank account on trip to Miami Step 2 link account not hard. Step 3 get debit card and spend locally forget wire fees etc.  Now US Bank account has a fee of like $12 per month.

    My problem is the CI Post System -Most of my clients based in US & Canada and 2 weeks to wait for a package might as well be a lifetime

    My 2nd problem was the cost of shipping.  If I was not collecting the items for free and selling them for US $35-40 a pop after bank fee, ebay fees and most significantly the CI$18 dollar CI post fee leaves me with like $4 or $5 a transaction hardly worth it having to spend about 2 hours per item. Basically, I am working to support the system of the CIG and the many persons rightly or wrongfully on the dole my shout out to the legal aid office and the "abused spouses" out there we all so abused we got to abuse the system. Seems like a motto

    This is vs the US or Canada where the post man comes to your house, office and place of business and for about $7-$10 flat rate ships your thing in like 2 days and your clients are happy and you got some $$ in your wallet.

    It real hard in the battlefield of business  and I am the last one to hate on the system but I find better ways to make my money these days.  Internet business too hard but I stack a bunch of things for when I plan to leave the island I will sell them.  This lack of internet business also has an upside people just leaving valuables all over the place. For example,  Find a license plate on the ground and bam another $40 or go diving and find a strange thing on the bottom like a belt buckle and bam another $40 strange artifact.  It like cha got to make that internet money homie and you got some brand new slippers nail to a tree "you don't know the struggle nailing perfectly good shoes to a tree while I am try to pay for a divorce-get out here these divorce lawyers charging hella guap_ #I need this"

    So if your wondering what happen to my slippers ( I Nailed to a tree 'go figure you nailed it to a tree that just stupid" or why is the bottom of the ocean looking so devoid of artifacts and the valuable metals (like hundreds of pounds of aluminum and copper) that I find it just internet business excluding metals which are sold locally. just me keeping the place clean and making money off this trash,,

  2. Anonymous says:

    Don't fool yourselves.

     

    An eBusiness is a lot of hard work; just like any other small business.

    • MEM says:

      I don't think anyone is trying to say ebusiness is easy, any businessis hard, in fact anything to do with making money is always hard. What is being said is that it is a more cost-effective way to start a new business and it has its perks as well…

  3. Whodatis says:

    Good post.

    I agree that more local businesses should be doing more to utilize the advantages that the internet provides. However, as you eluded to, a major hurdle to doing so is the (wilful?) lack of technological infrastructure within the jurisdiction.

    For example, if a business wishes to offer goods online, the process to handle payments almost always has to be via an international bank account. The last time I checked the Cayman Islands was not included in the list of countries where bank accounts could be linked to a Paypal account and many other similar service providers. (Paypal is the premier online money payment handler – for those that may be unaware.)

    I have actually enquired into this issue and was informed by Paypal that it is up to the banking sector on island to make the provisions to enable the process. Never mind that Jamaica, Nigeria, the USA and the UK are all on the list.

    However, when one brings the issue back to Cayman, we encounter more resistance based on the position of local banks wanting to hold on to every red cent of every transaction possible. Add to that the woeful state of online inter-bank transactions (cartel?) and the situation only looks worse. Therfore, it appears as if we will be stuck in this no man's land for quite some time

    For a jurisdiction that is allegedly in the top 5 of banking in the world, the situation is truly unfortunate.

    I know of a business model that was attempted on-island but for the reasons you outlined, as well as those above, the owner was forced to take it elsewhere. This was particularly disappointing as it was an innovative concept that would have required the skills possessed by many young and unemployed Caymanians.

    I only hope the situation will be addressed soon and we see some changes going forward.

    • MEM says:

      The advantages are definitely more than apparent when it comes to eRetailing, especially in Cayman! I can't imagine how much money a store-owner loses when their shop is closed on Sundays! Online stores easily break that restriction for storeowners.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:34.I doubt that local store owners are losing a lot of money due to Sunday closing.Afterall most folks know that a business will be cl;osed on Sunday and do their shopping on one of the other six days. (Kinda neat ,the way you slipped in that plug for Sunday trading though).

        • MEM says:

          Well I'd shop on Sunday if I could just because everyone else would be shopping on the other six days…

    • Ed says:

      "However, as you eluded to,….."

      I suspect you meant “alluded”.

      “Elude” means 'to avoid' or 'to escape'.

  4. Anonymous says:

    And you can set one up and run it with servers and bank accounts outside Cayman and avoid having to deal with any red tape or immigration hassle.

    • Anonymous says:

      …you still need a Trade & Business License, and if you are not Caymanian, a work permit.

      • Anonymous says:

        Not really. 

      • Anonymous says:

        The company can be based completely 'offshore' out of cayman and ship to cayman. That requires nothing according to cayman law. Otherwise all those companies that ship to cayman would need a trade and business lic. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    One of the big problems for an on line e-retailer is getting paid.

    Setting up with a local bank is possible but costs some 60 CI per month in fees.

    An alternative used in other countries is PayPal. However, while a Cayman Islands resident can create an account with PayPal to PAY OUT money, they CANNOT RECEIVE money to a local bank. In USD or KYD.

    Youare forced to connect the account to a USA bank. Which means opening a USA bank account in USD. And then paying to wire the money to the Cayman Islands.

    I know this because I have tried to createa local account with PayPal.

    You CAN have a PayPal account using local banks in many other countries, including the UK, France, Germany and I'm sure many others.

    But it appears they have a block on using Cayman Islands banks.

    A matter for the CIG to take up with them.

     

     

     

    • MEM says:

      Actually, it's like CI$200 per month on average for the bank fees on a online merchant account from the local banks… this does not include card-processing transaction fees or other bank fees for the account…

      Personally, I rarely have enough time to sleep, I use the internet for everything that I can in order to save time; if I could shop locally online, then I'd actually shop locally!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Because of the religious conservatives that control this island, we are 80 years behind the rest of the world.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      You would have to post such a silly comment on an otherwise intellegent viewpoint.

      • Anonymous says:

        To most intelligent persons who can see the big picture it is a statment based on facts.  Your comment is based on your opinion.