With a population of over 170 million people, Nigeria is capable of creating a vast consumer base for numerous markets. Several aggressive businesses have found intuitive ways of tapping into these markets.
State of e-Commerce in Nigeria
The recent wave of e-commerce enterprises in the country has significantly changed the Nigerian economic landscape especially in cities across the nation. All indications, however, points to the fact that Nigeria still has room for more e-Commerce businesses across the cities and towns.
Supermart.ng’s Raphael Afeador says, “one player cant’ do it all.” Though there are several big online shops that offer a wide variety of merchandise, there are still countless other services and products not on offer. This indeed is what inspired the creation Supermart.ng. It is an online shop that offers groceries to online consumers. The founders realized that not a single e-Commerce site offered groceries in a market filled with numerous high-end clients willing to skip the exasperating trips to the market.
Unexplored e-Commerce businesses
Raphael says there are unexplored niches such as online furniture purchases and delivery etc., where new entrants can key into. As the economy and technology in Nigeria grows, more and more e-Commerce sites will keep springing up. Besides physical products, provision for other services and transfer services is an excellent field that e-Commerce startups could consider venturing into.
Sound strategy needed for profitability
Raphael, however, warns that e-Commerce sites will not continue to increase exponentially. The competition will weed out the weak businesses and make the good ones prosper. “Strategy and execution will be important,” he says. The strategy adopted by an e-Commerce provider will impact on the profitability and lifespan of the business. This will, thus, call for smart strategies and execution protocols that are on-point in putting the business ahead of competition.
Job displacement fears allayed
There has been growing concern among workers in conventional brick-and-mortar stores that e-Commerce will put most of them out of work. Raphael says that this assertion is not true; e-Commerce stores, he maintains, will rather create more employment opportunities for suppliers, middlemen, delivery people and many other individuals involved in the maintenance and running of an online shop.
Raphael Afeador is the Co-founder and CEO Supermart.ng. He has an MBA from Harvard and has worked as the Managing Director of Jumia, which he helped to co-found. His insightful interview with CFA is available here.