While Safaricom’s new ‘Lipa na Data’ feature offers an innovative alternative to traditional payment methods, there are several critical concerns from a business analysis perspective that may affect the validity and sustainability of the program:
- Value for Customers: The rate at which data is converted into monetary value seems unfavorable for the customer. In the example given, 7.7 GB is equivalent to Sh500. Given the cost of data, customers might not see sufficient value in this exchange rate, which could hinder the adoption of the service. If you’d spend Kes. 500/- to purchase data bundles via *544# Safaricom would give you 3.5GB Data bundle coupled with Whatsapp. So, what’s the rationale behind the Kes. 500/- for 7.7 GB??
- Confusion and Complexity: The program requires customers to understand and calculate the conversion rate between data and monetary value. This added layer of complexity may deter customers from using the service, particularly if they find it confusing or inconvenient.
- Limited User Base: The service is only accessible to customers with a data balance of 5GB and above. This restriction could significantly limit the user base, reducing potential revenue from the service. During these tough economic times, I remain skeptical about how many folks will qualify for the service.
- Impact on Data Usage: Customers might become hesitant to use their data for internet usage, as they might want to preserve it for potential financial transactions. This could inadvertently reduce revenue from data consumption.
- Effect on other Services: This new payment method may cannibalize the usage of other existing services such as M-Pesa e-wallet and ‘Lipa na Bonga’. Diversifying payment options might dilute the effectiveness and uptake of each service.
- Sustainability: Given the declining profit trends of Safaricom, it’s crucial to question the program’s sustainability, especially considering the costs of developing, marketing, and maintaining this new service.
While the initiative to innovate is commendable, Safaricom must address these potential issues to ensure the program’s long-term success.