[CONTENTS] [News] 7 social media plays major role in 2012 fair play awards, could become a category soon The 2013 edition of the Jamaica Broilers Group Fair Play Awards might include a social media category.
scotiabank wins global finance award for online customer experience
Global Finance magazine has, for the fourth consecutive year, named Scotia as the Top Internet Bank in more than a dozen territories in the first round of the competition in Latin America.
[ c o v e r s t o ry ]
connecting jamaica for e-commerce success
Five years ago, Ingrid Riley, founder of technology startup ‘kickstarter’ ConnectiMass and cofounder of social media agency CONNECTiD, wrote a blog entitled ‘eCommerce and Jamaica – are we there yet?’ comparing Jamaica’s infrastructure to that of Bermuda, which enacted the Electronics Transactions Act in 1999 and boasts perhaps the Caribbean’s most connected and successful electronic business system.
jamaica tomorrow: the future of business is online
New technology has always had the power to effect great change in the way people think and behave.
xavier murphy’s jamaicans.com the little piece of jamaica online
August 16 was a very special day for Xavier Murphy as he was among the honorees recognised by the Jamaican Consul General for contributions made to Florida and the south United States during the official Jamaica 50 gala in Miami this year.
[editor’s note] e-Commerce and beyond
o far, the year 2012 has been quite a special one for Jamaica. Not only did the country mark its 50th anniversary of independence from Britain on August 6, but around the same time, our athletes conquered the track and the London Olympics, closing the event with a blistering new world record in the men’s 4x100m relay. Even as we celebrated how far we have come as a nation, we couldn’t help but think of how much we have not achieved, from steady economic growth to having effective social systems in place.
One such shortfall is in the e-commerce sector. For too many years, respective technology ministers have failed to implement policies that would have created a strong network for the local business community to benefit from. The eTransactions Act was passed in 2007, six years after it was first discussed. Now, five years later, there is relatively little sign of the Act’s effectiveness. This is a train we can’t afford to let pull out of the station while we hasten to the platform. In fact, we could even dare to say that we have been left behind as the new buzzword is mcommerce – mobile commerce, which allows vendors to accept payment using Apple and Android phones and tablets and a special app and attachment.
[ s ta r t u p s ]
harnessing the power of social media to market your product
In today’s hyper-competitive business climate, the battle for customer loyalty is often fought online – more specifically, on social media platforms
21 iriesocial championing local online shopping
As online shopping becomes more popular in Jamaica, one local company is poised to take full advantage of this trend. IrieSocial was launched in May by entrepreneur Garnet Rose, who envisioned an online platform where local producers and service providers could market their products to both local and overseas customers.
Companies like Square and PayPal have completely changed the payment game and as the world moves faster towards a cashless system and Jamaica needs to catch up. Quickly. State minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson, has been lobbying to get PayPal to connect with local banks and entreprenerus are hopeful that this relationship will be solidified sooner rather than later. But we would also urge the minister and his colleagues to think ahead and start laying the framework for m-commerce. Our small businesses are depending on these actions, as is our global competitiveness. For a little country with such a big international presence, we are not doing enough to ensure that we fully benefit from the power of being Jamaican.
media on a large screen throughout the ceremony. The questions had been posted on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook a week before the event. They also invited attendees to live tweet the event using the hashtag #FairPlaySM.
Social media plays major role in 2012 Fair Play Awards, could become a category soon The guest speaker was Jamaican-born programmer, Saadiq Rodgers-King, co-founder of a mobile social media application, Hot Potato (which was sold to Facebook for US$10 million in August 2010). He answered questions from broadcaster Dionne Jackson Miller, ranging from what journalists could to do to better reach their audiences to what traditional media can do to best compete with the speed of social media. Top:Television Jamaica’s Archibald Gordon, Kirk Wright and Ivan Shaw Bottom: Saadiq Rodgers-King, co-founder of social media app Hot Potato, being interviewed by journalist Dionne Jackson Miller
2013 edition of the Jamaica Broilers Group Fair Play Awards might include a social media category. Chief judge of the journalism awards and newly appointed head at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC), Professor Hopeton Dunn, highlighted the importance of the he
burgeoning medium and suggested a category for online entries be opened to stimulate competition.
year’s awards, held at the
Terra Nova All-Suite Ho-
tel on Tuesday, September
11, featured an emphasis on social media involvement and, for the first time, the separation of the electronic media category, giving television and radio individual lanes. Themed ‘Social Media: Redefining Journalism in the Digital Age’, the awards stuck true to its motif as organisers displayed responses to questions on the importance of social
Your Money eZine
Rodgers-King said he does not think traditional media is going away, but they must change their approach in order to remain relevant while retaining credibility. “To maintain contact with your audiences, you have to be where they are and be sincere. Provide enough so they’re interested in what you’re doing,” he said. Television Jamaica’s team of Kirk Wright, Ivan Shaw, Rodney Longmore, Tamika Carter and Robert Hylton walked away with first place in the television category for their piece ‘Working in danger? Asbestos alert’. Jamaica Observer’s HG Helps’ human interest piece ‘Death postponed’ won in the print category. Tyrone Reid from The Gleaner placed second overall with his story in the health category, ‘Unhealthy state of affairs’ while the TVJ team of Wright, Shaw, Longmore, Carter and Hylton also nabbed third place with ‘Illegal abortion drug – Cytotec’. Certificates of commendation were awarded to TVJ’s Earl Moxam, Glenford Campbell and Sean Irving for their human Interest story ‘In search of peace’ and The Gleaner’s Tyrone Reid for his story ‘This is madness: The Bellevue story’. There were no entries submitted in the radio category.
Scotiabank wins Global Finance award for online customer experience
Bruce Bowen, President & CEO of The Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica Ltd
lobal Finance magazine has, for the fourth consecutive year, named Scotia as the Top Internet Bank in more than a dozen territories in the first round of the competition in Latin America.
The bank was named best 2012 Corporate/Institutional Bank in 15 countries and best Consumer Internet Bank in 17 at the country level. Scotiabank began offering internet banking service locally in 2003, targeting its business clients, who use the online system for a variety of services: creating records for frequent payees, sending payroll to employees through direct deposit, paying local suppliers and vendors electronically, collecting recurring receivables such as bill payments and subscriptions, sending international wire payments, reconciling cheques and authorising salespeople and others to deposit to a business account.
money among Scotiabank accounts, searching transaction history, making Scotiabank credit card payments, paying bills, transferring funds between same currency or different currency accounts, setting up recurring and future dated transfers and bill payments and making deposits to specific Scotia Insurance products. Scotiabank has seen a 150 per cent growth in the number of registered users of its online banking services since 2009, which it attributes to customer engagement and the convenience and ease of use of its online and mobile banking systems. In judging these awards, Global Financeâ€™s criteria included: strength of strategy for attracting and servicing online customers, success in getting clients to use web offerings, growth of online customers, breadth of product offerings, evidence of tangible benefits gained from Internet initiatives, and web site design and functionality.
The most recent service being offered to business clients is an online foreign exchange feature that allows customers to buy and sell major currencies, (USD, CAD, GBP and EUR) at their convenience.
Scotiabank won Best Corporate/Institutional Internet Bank in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Turks and Caicos and the US Virgin Islands.
Although the initial focus was on business clients, Scotia has since expanded its services to include retail customers as well. They also have access to a range of online services such as transferring
The Bank also won Best Consumer Internet Bank in these countries, in addition to The Bahamas, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Your Money eZine
[business lounge] r e a l b u s i n e s s . r e a l ta l k
Connecting Jamaica for e-commerce success
ive years ago, Ingrid Riley, founder of technology startup ‘kickstarter’ ConnectiMass and co-founder of social media agency CONNECTiD, wrote a blog entitled ‘eCommerce and Jamaica – are we there yet?’ comparing Jamaica’s infrastructure to that of Bermuda, which enacted the Electronics Transactions Act in 1999 and boasts perhaps the Caribbean’s most connected and successful electronic business system.
Unfortunately, Jamaica fell short. Our government only produced an eTransactions Act in 2007, after making promises since 2001. If those promises had been kept at the time, Jamaica could have indeed become the regional e-commerce hub that then technology minister, Philip Paulwell, had envisioned. Instead, in 2012, it almost reads like déjà vu – Paulwell is back at the helm of the ministry, the Act is in place, promises are being made, but Jamaica still does not have a solid e-commerce infrastructure that can help drive online business development. There are notable differences, however. For one, there are significantly more technology-based businesses around today and these companies, most of them in the micro, small and mediumsized enterprises (MSME) sector, long for a strong e-commerce system that can help them take advantage of opportunities not only locally, but within the Caribbean and around the world as well. Opportunity knocks There are certainly increasing opportunities as, according to Riley, “for the credit card-holding Jamaicans, the culture of trust and buying things online has increased. [There is] more room for growth, but we’re on our way… Add to that, the new Visa debit cards unleashed on the market by FirstCaribbean Bank and Scotiabank gave over half a million additional people the ability to buy goods online, available in Jamaica or internationally, to be shipped to their doors,” she said. The problem, though, is that “we need the banks to make it easier for micro, small and medium-sized businesses to accept credit cards for payment online with reasonable setup and operational fees,” Riley said. Among the companies hoping for improvement in Jamaica’s e-commerce infrastructure is eMedia Interactive Limited, which will be launching a paid subscriber service for its online television network, iVu tv, in the near future. President and CEO Tyrone Wilson said companies like his will suffer if appropriate payment solutions are not developed soon. However, he too sees the Visa debit card as a step in the right direction. Gordon Swaby, founder and CEO of social learning site EduFocal, which accepts credit card payments through National Commercial Bank, also lamented the limitations of local e-commerce. “If you want to set up an e-commerce account in terms of accepting credit cards in Jamaica, you really only have two options – Scotiabank and NCB,” he said. “They charge you an annual fee, which is about US$400; they charge you a cost per transaction and they also charge you a gateway fee, which is also per transaction.” PayPal to the rescue? These costs are prohibitive to the majority of micro and small tech companies and they definitely put a damper on online shopping sites, which, while relying on large sales numbers, would end up paying out a significant amount of what they bring in. What, then is the solution? Wilson and Swaby both pointed to PayPal, a website that allows payments
Your Money eZine
11 US$327 BILLION
2012 US$202 billion
2011 Online shoppers in the United States will spend US$327 billion in 2016, up 45 per cent from US$226 billion this year and 62 per cent from US$202 billion in 2011 - Forrester Research Inc and money transfers to be made through the internet, as the way forward for Jamaica. There is only one catch – the site does not currently facilitate local banks. That makes it hard for any Jamaican company to benefit from using the service. The absence of PayPal or a more robust local e-commerce system is “causing a weakening of Jamaica’s e-commerce potential and we could possibly be losing out on millions of dollars daily from online transactions,” Wilson added. However, Julian Robinson, state minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, has been actively lobbying PayPal to allow Jamaican dollar denominated transactions. Speaking on the August 8 episode of All Angles, (which also featured Wilson and Swaby as panellists), Robinson said this move could lead to “an exponential growth in e-commerce in Jamaica, because many Jamaicans just don’t have access to a US bank account and as such, you have to either send a cheque, which will take 30-45 days to be cleared or the money is wired, which is expensive.” The next step Looking beyond e-commerce, there is mobile commerce, which is the next step in the transactional evolution as people increasingly use their smartphones and tablets to not only access the internet but do business. Applications and devices like Square and PayPal Here allow retailers as small as a single vendor at a farmer’s market to accept credit card payment using a small cube-like device plugged into their Apple or Android devices. Riley noted that local businesses and consumers may be ready for m-commerce, but the laws and financial sector are not there yet. It seems, in that response, that Riley has actually answered the question she posed in 2007. Five years might not seem like a long time, but in a field like technology where something is innovative today and obsolete tomorrow, Jamaica is far behind. Swaby, too, is also anticipating m-commerce, but for now, he would like to see more competition from local banks in the credit card arena, which would help to drive down costs and benefit a wider cross section of businesses.
Your Money eZine
The top 5 things bought online by Caribbean/Latin American residents are: • • • • •
Clothing/Accessories/Shoes Electronic equipment Music/DVDs/Videos Airline tickets Travel accommodations
- 2010 Neilsen Global Consumer Outlook
Your Money eZine
Jamaica tomorrow: The future of business is online is that the future of business is online, whether on the computer or, more increasingly, on mobile devices. Therefore, Jamaica must adapt quickly in order to be globally competitive. In fact, due to our small size and weak economic position, it will be detrimental for us not to do so. We spent August looking back at how far we’ve come over the past 50 years of independence, so let us now cast our minds to what Jamaica’s business environment could look like in the next five decades.
Mobile payment with Square
ew technology has always had the power to effect great change in the way people think and behave. In the past five years alone, we have seen some innovations that previously existed only in the rich imaginations of sci-fi show creators. For instance, who would have thought it possible that one could pay for a transaction using a small device attached to a smartphone? Well, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey did. And this device, Square, has changed the way millions of retailers in the United States are able to do business, processing some US$3 million in payments every day.
Square and other mobile commerce technologies are not yet available in Jamaica and many would argue that the current local e-commerce infrastructure leaves much to be desired, so we are not yet ready for m-commerce. However, if there is one thing we must have learned from observing technological trends – especially the last five years, is that the future of business is online, whether Your Money eZine
Banking goes cashless, e-commerce gets a boost Many of us already don’t have time to stand in line at an ATM, let alone wait inside a bank to see a teller. Soon, we won’t have to do either, as e-banking become more widely adapted. Companies already pay employees via direct deposit; we already pay bills online and several organisations, like the University of Technology, Jamaica, have adopted a cashless system, encouraging students to use prepaid cards to make transactions. Financial institutions will build out their online systems and form alliances with a wider network of local, regional and international retailers and e-commerce systems like PayPal. This will be especially beneficial for the growing online business community, many of which are currently affected by limitations in the current e-commerce infrastructure. M-commerce takes hold Dorsey was on to something with Square and now a slew of competitors have entered the market, including GoPago, Intuit GoPayment, Sail and LevelUp. These are currently only available in the US, but PayPal (which does not yet accept payments from Jamaica), launched its own plug-and-pay device, PayPal Here, in March. This is the world’s first global mobile payments solution and it is only a matter of time before it makes its way into Jamaican retailers’ hands. What do you think the future of business in Jamaica will look like? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment on Facebook or on Twitter or on Twitter @yourmoneyeZine using the hashtag #JAin50Years. www.ezinesreader.com
Xavier Murphy and his wife, Karen Lee-Murphy
Xavier Murphy’s Jamaicans.com The little piece of Jamaica online
ugust 16 was a very special day for Xavier Murphy as he was among the honorees recognised by the Jamaican Consul General for contributions made to Florida and the south United States during the official Jamaica 50 gala in Miami this year. Although he was proud to receive the award, Murphy was still a bit shocked that his name even came up. “I try to work outside of the limelight and was surprised. Imagine being recognised for doing something you love – serving Jamaica, Jamaicans and people who love Jamaica,” he said. Murphy, a Kingston native who grew up in Independence City, Portmore, is most widely known as the founder of Jamaicans. com, a popular website and online community for everything Jamaican – news, interviews, cultural and travel guides, recipes, a Patois dictionary and more. The website, which went live in 1995, evolved from a monthly magazine Murphy used to publish called Nuff Respect, that was distributed in the South Florida Caribbean community. “I remember searching online and there were only three Jamaican websites. None of them had any comprehensive information on Jamaica… I folded Nuff Respect and started the website using much of the content from the print publication,” explained Murphy. The site was originally called ‘De Website on Jamaica’, but was later changed to its current title. “We have over 10,000 pages of content and over 800,000 page views each month. The site has won quite a few awards; however, what we are most proud about
16 Your Money eZine
is the resource it has been to the community,” said Murphy. Prior to the social media boom of recent years, the website was one of the few places Jamaicans in the Diaspora could go for news and information from ‘back home’. Murphy’s entrepreneurial success is no surprise, as his father “always had a venture going” during his younger years and would often take his children to work with him. Murphy sharpened his own business skills at Jamaica College, where he sold his lunch and used comics to other students. While studying at the Miami Dade Community College, he learned about working with a partner, marketing and budgeting while running a custom painted t-shirt business with a friend who was an artist. Like his father, Murphy also has other ventures going, with his parent company Simbis Inc occasionally involved in social media, mobile app development, design, website development, marketing and project management engagements. However, the main focus is Jamaicans.com, which has apps on the BlackBerry, Android and iPhone/iPad platforms. The company is also incorporating more audio and video content into its output, which has opened up new partnership opportunities. Murphy also sees great possibilities for online business in Jamaica and encourages the idea of developing the country into a regional technology hub. “That would start with education, mentoring and events that feature the industry… If these efforts are supported and encouraged at all levels (business and government), Jamaica will be the leader in technology in the Caribbean,” he said.
[ s ta r t - u p s ] Your Money eZine
s u cwww.ezinesreader.com ceed
Harnessing the power of social media to market your product
by Andrew Walcott
n today’s hyper-competitive business climate, the battle for customer loyalty is often fought online – more specifically, on social media platforms. For example, with more than 800 million members worldwide and more than 655,000 in Jamaica, creating a Facebook page may be a good place to establish your company’s social media presence, but that’s just one step. Added to this are Twitter, Tumblr, foursquare, Instagram, LinkedIn and a plethora of other webbased platforms, with thousands more local and Diaspora-based users for your business to attract. In order to reach out to this vast potential customer base, you need to strategise and invest quality time into developing these services for your business to reap the benefits. Several studies have been done to determine exactly why people follow brands online. Not surprisingly, the main reason is to save money. People are always looking for deals, so if you want to build and sustain a fan base, your business should promote various offers and bargains, such giveaways, quizzes, short-term promotions and discount codes. Soon, you will find yourself with a captive audience always anticipating your moves. Companies like Digicel, LIME, Appleton and KFC have rallied huge amounts of followers this way. A Facebook fan page is a fantastic way to stage competitions, inform your fans of new deals and discounts and invite them to events you are having. You can offer these deals and invitations to your followers on Twitter as well, where people can retweet (share) with their own followers. Chilitos, a popular Kingston-
19 Your Money eZine
based restaurant, offers special discounts for patrons who check in on foursquare and moviegoers also have a chance to win free tickets by checking in at Palace Cineplex. Remember that social media is all about interaction. Do not be afraid to interact with customers and answer their questions in a timely manner. A quick and helpful response is often all it takes to turn an annoyed customer into a positive spokesperson for your brand. Since word of mouth is the most effective form of advertisement, developing a good relationship with the public can go a far way in building your image as a responsive and caring brand. This is aided by the use of casual language and a friendly attitude while consciously avoiding high-strung and obnoxious messages, no matter how witty they may seem. If you don’t already have one, developing a website is the next step. While this will cost money, it is worthwhile if done correctly. Ensure that your website is properly linked to all your social media accounts to drive traffic back to the site. This affects your results listing on search engines like Google, where the best place to be is on the first page. One of the most important things to remember is to be patient. Some accounts blow up almost immediately, but this is not the case for most businesses. It takes time and hard work and while the majority of these services offer free registration, spending some money on things like prizes and contests can boost your business profile online while adding to your bottom line in real time.
championing local online shopping
By Andrew Walcott
To date, IrieSocial has brokered arrangements with MegaMart, Bashco, several hotels and other retailers who have all agreed to the idea of providing additional incentives on the platform.“The main idea is that if you bring your product, we will find the customers,” said Rose. He also intends to develop the business so that discounts can be made on travel arrangements, accommodation and even on real estate transactions. The website is currently being reconstructed and will be relaunched in mid-September. However, with sprinter Asafa Powell as a co-founder and the face of the brand, IrieSocial has already attracted a lot of attention, primarily on its Facebook page. This marketing move combines star power with a cool and friendly persona. IrieSocial is part of Jamaica’s growing online business sector, but while encouraging the growth of online business in Jamaica, Rose acknowledges that online shopping is hindered by both the lack of public experience as well as the expensive nature of owning a credit card. He believes local financial institutions could make credit more accessible, but is not waiting on them to start the process.The company is looking to provide its own prepaid credit card for customers and Rose believes this holds amazing potential for Jamaican businesses. “Imagine if you as an employer of construction workers could pay them simply by topping up their cards,” he said, adding that IrieSocial will push the security of a credit card as a selling point as it seeks investors for developing its own prepaid card in the coming months. (L-R) IrieSocial co-founders Garnet Rose and Omar Casserly
s online shopping becomes more popular in Jamaica, one local company is poised to take full advantage of this trend. IrieSocial was launched in May by entrepreneur Garnet Rose, who envisioned an online platform where local producers and service providers could market their products to both local and overseas customers. The new company would also negotiate great deals for these products, thus passing on incredible savings to its customers. Operating like an ordinary shopping site, members can browse and purchase any of the discounted items on sale. They also access discounts at IrieSocial sponsored entertainment events. Membership is open to the general public for free.
Your Money eZine
Rose reiterated the benefits of shopping online, emphasising the convenience of not having to go on the road and also being able to purchase goods for persons in Jamaica from overseas. “You could see a shirt in Jamaica online that would be perfect for someone you know. Being abroad you could simply pay for the shirt online and then tell your friend to go and pick it up that same day,” he said. The team is banking on this appeal and Rose believes that there is potential for even greater spin-off businesses. In the next five years, Rose wants to have diversified operations under the IrieSocial brand and is also looking to go public. Rose, the CEO, served in Toronto as a police officer, but is also experienced in using social media to help find missing children, as well as managing Powell’s social media presence. The other members of the core team are Powell’s brother Nigel, Omar Casserly, Mary Lawrence and Dustin Leeland.