Editor's Note: This is an open letter to the new CEO of Konga, Mr. Shola Adekoya as originally published on SpokenTwice. Remember, we published the announcement of Sim Shagaya's stepping down for an interim who was later announced as the substantive CEO of the company
Since the days of Sim Shagaya, Konga has been known as a leading online shopping portal in Nigeria. It’s been a keenly contested battle between Konga and Jumia until Yudala, PayPorte and others showed up. Even now I know there is space for more, meaning that someone may eat a piece of your pie if they launched, like Mara (so I hear because they raised $100m just for that).
However, there are things that make you guys “cooler” than the rest, arguably.
For example, I have seen your beautiful office space, liked the free logistic app you released for SMEs and got behind the scene of some of your technology stack as documented by Celestine. In 2015, the introduction of KongaPay and your record ₦1 billion order day capped it all.
@shopkonga can now announce its first billion naira yakata event 😉
— Sim Shagaya (@SimShagaya) November 27, 2015
I am proud of Konga.
As the new CEO, I want to congratulate you for your announcement of the same day delivery. As you announced, your startup is the first to make this happen, even though it is only in select places in Lagos. This move instantly reminded me of GLO’s per second billing that disrupted the telecommunication industry in 2003.
As a customer centric company, we plan to expand this Same Day Delivery to other locations within the coming months. - Shola Adekoya
— Konga Nigeria (@ShopKonga) March 22, 2016
All the same, I believe that there is some work cut out for you as ecommerce is one of the next frontiers of growth in Nigeria (statistics puts eCommerce value to $10billion).
Your success is not just about Konga increasing its market share, it is more about my dear country and its citizens. I am sure you know about the #BuyNaijaToGrowTheNaira hashtag craze? Any Swiss or Saffers in the house can join the party too. (read: Investors – Kinnevik and Naspers)
Open Up Konga API
I am sure you know about the Amazon Seller Central business model as your sellerHQ program is actually modeled after it. Hopefully, your sellerHQ program is responsible for a good percentage of your sales already; unfortunately Amazon does not breakdown its sales numbers too.
What is obviously lacking on your part is that you need to open up your APIs to allow developer tap into your data. The other day, someone was asking to know which product sells better on Konga or Jumia. Opening up your API will answer a question like that.
Take for example on Click Bank, which is a marketplace for selling digital products, there are third-party sites like CBEngine , CBGraph and CB-Analytics to help users access data from ClickBank which are helpful for affiliates.
What marketers really want to know, as with Amazon or Click Bank is what category of product sells, your real time inventory, product reviews etc. You don’t need to develop all this technology in-house if you can open up your API with access for developers to build upon.
There are so many awesome developers in Nigeria still. You know?
For example, I know of two independent teams who have coded plugins that can extract product information from Konga and Jumia for affiliate marketers. One is AffiliateMonkey and the other AffiliateShop. One of them, Affiliate Monkey was demo-ed in this post and it looked nice for content publishers that want to make money for recommending great stuffs that you sell.
Commit Resources to Affiliate Education.
I am glad you have an affiliate program and have even produced your first affiliate millionaire as far back as 2014. But these might be the exemption to the rule because they have built their platforms already. Let’s do the math; if today, a site of the magnitude of LindaIkeji becomes a Konga affiliate, how many additional sales will you end up making per month. Now let’s scale that by 10X.
A major step to this is kind of result is education. That is where information marketing comes in.
If I may advise, what if you invest massively in affiliate training by creating Konga University? You don’t need to start from scratch as you can take a page from ClickBank University.
Secondly, you can also leverage the massive ecosystem of internet marketing and direct response gurus. The truth is that there is a complete ecosystem of underground internet/information marketing gurus – not the usual flamboyant twitter PR guys – who are making a killing with information marketing in Nigeria.
Their Grand-daddy is Dr. Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase of Success Attitude Development Center and publisher of CompleteSports. Other notable names include Akin Alabi (of NairaBet), Toyin Omotosho and Ronald Nzimora (who is the king of direct response copywriting in Nigeria). You will be smart to become a platform they can create a lucrative information business empire they can feed on. Today, the internet is full of amazing information products promoting the AmazonFBA programe; one of them is offered by Amazing.com.
While you are at that, you can also “adopt” some niche blogs that have vibrant community of users. This way, you will move from being dependent on paid advertising to developing a content marketing strategy that drives traffic to your website constantly. I know you have your own blog which is not as good as Jumia’s Style blog, yet. However, the independent editorial voice and recommendation of sponsored blogs will carry more weight for you.
For example, a side project I am considering is running a fashion styled blog that recommends styles on Konga or Jumia. But this is not only me, there are literally thousands of fashion v-loggers on YouTube that want to create amazing content that you can partner with.
As I end this letter…
I know there are a lot of smart guys on the Konga team that can make this happen and I can only wish you success in “[Y]our overarching business goal to be the engine of trade and commerce in Africa”
And if there are other things that I skipped from bringing to your urgent attention, don’t hesitate to check the comments to see what others have to say.