“Amazon is a major player within the eCommerce industry and they will bring an added edge, however local players will still stand head and shoulders above them.” – Lanre Akinlagun, Drinks.ng Founder/CEO
Just in case you've been living under a rock, the giant name in the world of eCommerce in the globe, Amazon now ships to Nigeria and three other African nations. This development to some Nigerian shoppers is a plus for their shopping experience while to some of us, it’s a no biggy.
Quick questions - should those of us on the shoppers’ side even care? Should our homegrown eCommerce players bother either?
Africa, especially Nigeria, over the past half a decade has witnessed a growing rate in the number of online market place - from the big brands like Konga, Jumia and DealDey, to the recent entrants like Payporte, Traclist among others. Let's not be bothered by the fact that Amazon is a global brand, it’s coming when we already have alternatives from every possible angle – aside from the above mentioned online stores in Nigeria, there are also the likes of MallForAfrica and Shoptomydoor that allow shoppers buy from online international stores.
Should Nigerian eCommerce stores worry?
No doubt, Amazon is coming late to the African eCommerce party which the founder/CEO of Drinks.ng, Lanre Akinlagun sees as an avenue for Amazon’s first step at analysing the African market, however his belief is that the impact on local players would be minimal, attributable to the Naira-Dollar exchange rate and the sort of home-advantage for those in the market already.
“Local market expertise will always be the champion, I do believe Konga might be showing that, if anything it at least gives you an edge. Nigeria has its own challenges on its road to success and Amazon will have to come and test, challenge and then see what the results will be, human resources, logistics, partnerships and of COURSE PAYMENTS.”
The development, for Drinks.ng founder, will draw the needed attention as well as investments to the eCommerce space in Africa. “Maybe governments and wealthy individuals will now start to see the potential of the African consumer,” he said that the ecosystem already has a risk covers system in place.
In case you don’t know, Akinlagun is one of the players in the Nigerian eCommerce space that is not in support of Payment on Delivery and free delivery. Now that Amazon ships to Nigeria, this will test his revolve as well as strong feelings towards the PoD as well as free delivery.
Another player in the space, proxy shopping app, MallforAfrica see this as proof that its brand has done an incredible job of putting the country on the map for international merchants, thereby asserting that Nigeria is a viable market for retails brands to expand into.
“We see this development paving the way for increased partnerships between MallforAfrica and other global brands. We offer their business an asset-light entry into Nigeria.” – Adebowale Banjo, Business Development Manager, MallforAfrica
Aside the access to tens of online international stores, another comparative advantage for these brands is lower shipping rate as well as promos on shipping cost. Add to the fact that not every products on Amazon are eligible to be shipped to Nigeria, a notion you don’t have to worry about if you are using MallforAfrica or Shoptomydoor.
Adebowale Banjo is of the opinion that the increasing internet penetration coupled with the growing middle class across Africa will keep attracting global retails brands.
We might want to conclude that the brands that should be on the defensive include MallForAfrica, Shoptomydoor and the likes, but these guys already have strategic partnerships with an extensive network in place, which they would want to keep leveraging on for better service delivery.
Surely, this will translate to increase in traffic from Africa for Amazon but the shipping costs on checkout could also result in an increase in the rate at which shoppers will abandon their shopping carts.
To Amazon, I'd say – “We waited for too long, it's long overdue just like #TheList”. And on behalf of Nigerian shoppers that would always go for the Payment on Delivery option, "Hi Amazon, Payment on Delivery is not part of your checkout options."
As a shopper, what does this development mean to you?