When e-commerce became a prominent feature in Nigeria, some self acclaimed pundits said e-commerce companies would proceed to lose so much money and then fizzle out. Their point,
more people are still okay with going to the stores offline to buy and that many do not trust online purchases.
However, the players have increased as more people develop trust in e-commerce stores (although some are still using pay on delivery option).
Most of the first timers in the e-commerce space in Nigeria decided to go with Pay On Delivery so as to assure the early adopters that they are not being 419-ed (scammed). The trust has grown now, amidst some of the challenges that e-commerce has experienced.
Some of the challenges include the inability to deliver items ordered online on time. When you work in this business environment, you have access to enough data that will help you to create an efficient system.
The players in the Nigerian e-commerce space are getting better. New companies have been formed since Jumia and Konga debuted.
The co-founders of Jumia Nigeria have both exited the company, but they have both started online e-commerce businesses. Their new business runs like a more efficient Jumia in terms of delivery time. The snags at Jumia are being improved upon. I have used both Supermatng and ACE services (both started my the co-MDs of Jumia Nigeria) and they delivered right on time.
At Jumia Nigeria, effective customer care and on time delivery was a challenge.
ACE Nigeria, founded by one of the duo that ran Jumia in the early days, has built a smart delivery service that helps businesses and people move items from point A to point B. Right now, ACE is helping businesses that are not vast with e-commerce, but have a strong offline business to come online and deliver their services to customers.
They are doing this with Chicken Republic, a fast food chain outlet in Nigeria, already. You can go online, place an order, have it confirmed and delivered to you in time. This is not just some lofty promise, they actually pull this off.
At the bottom of Chicken Republic Online page, you’ll see it clearly written that Delivery Powered by ACE.
There is also Printivo, an online printing company, that was started by a designer who has deep experience in printing. Oluwayomi and his co-founders decided to bring printing online. You can upload your design or select from one of the designs they have and have your printing work delivered to you (at home or in the office) on time. You could choose 24 hours delivery time frame that will cost you ₦500.
This is some kind of blue ocean market for Oluwayomi as most printing companies in Nigeria are offline.
At Social Media Week Lagos this month, I saw a large delivery of print made out to a speaker. The tiny brochure was shared to attendees of a session she was facilitating.
My business cards were ordered through them.
I did not have to go through any kind of design or idea generation with a printer because I had my design handy. I simply uploaded my design and the print was made out to me in two days. I ordered 5 days before the day I needed it.
I think Printivo are in for some good business.
Nigeria among top 7 e-commerce markets in Africa
Going by a report that was made available from McKinsey by African Internet Group (AIG), Nigeria is one of the top 7 countries in Africa that online e-commerce contributes to the GDP.
The report is guiding AIG in setting up companies in these countries. The countries in order of the iGDP percetage are; Senegal, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana.
With the amount of people who have become comfortable buying online and the different e-commerce sites setting up shop and delivery companies that are established to make delivery of goods bought online less painful, one can only keep expecting more growth.
A new crop of consumers that is equipped with smartphones will make online buying their default shopping style -especially in big cities like Lagos, where traffic congestion is part of daily life.
These new crop of consumers are equally equipped with an online payment card, and as trust grows they transition from Pay on Delivery to paying before the delivery is made to them.
When this trust really grows and Nigerians feel safe paying with their cards online, an enabling environment is created for growth of other businesses.
Growth creating an enabling environment for other businesses
As I wrote in a previous piece, companies like PayPal, and now Uber, are set to gain from these new crop of online consumers that have credit/debit cards that can be used for purchases online (or within an app).
You can sell anything online in Nigeria now. All you need to do is to first ensure than you brand is credible and trusted.
It is worthy to note that only an insignificant amount of people who do not have sufficient funds on their cards have tried to use an Uber in Lagos. Very insignificant. In Lagos Uber has experienced a very high number of successful payments from customers that have used their service.
What this proves is that, like every other country in the world, Nigerians are honest.
A cleaner recently returned ₦12 million she found at the airport.
Businesses who are thinking of setting up online business targetting Nigeria can be at ease. Fraud exists in all markets. But they can have a thriving online business in Nigeria.
If you are one of those people still shocked at the growth of e-commerce in Nigeria, the premise that I have built here should help.
The growth will keep happening, there’s no stopping it.
Cover Image Credit: Jollof Malt