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Lifestyle

The African Version of Amazon Will Emerge From Nigeria

w575.jpg When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the company’s plans for 30-minute delivery drones with Amazon Prime Air in December, it became clear that ecommerce has exciting days ahead.

But Amazon isn’t the only company ramping up digital business, nor is the U.S. the only region in the game. In fact, Africa may have already stolen a march on personal delivery from the air, and Nigeria — specifically the rapidly growing city of Lagos — may produce the next great ecommerce company.

See also: 20 Important African Startups to Watch

Africa’s tech space, which has been defined and accelerated by the mobile phone, is undoubtedly growing as investors scramble toward the continent. Various African countries have leapfrogged fixed-line Internet because of the ubiquity of cellphones and their networks, and entrepreneurs will likely tackle transportation in a similar way. Why build roads to inaccessible places when the air is a better and increasingly cheaper option?

A current initiative that addresses African drone delivery is the Flying Donkey Challenge, a 24-hour race around Mount Kenya where African companies have to deliver and collect 20-kilo payloads as they go. The winner receives a prize of more than $1 million.

But while these companies face huge challenges in circumnavigating Mount Kenya in East Africa, it’s actually in Nigeria, West Africa, where today’s challenges are almost unfathomable in scope — and, yet, also where future “African Amazons” are likely to emerge.

Lagos isn’t Nigeria’s capital city, but it is by far the biggest in the country. Depending on which statistics you believe, the city’s population is between 17 and 21 million, with 30,000 people arriving every week from across Africa.

Delivery in Lagos is utter chaos. There isn’t a viable postal service in the city — or the country, for that matter — and by all standards the city just shouldn’t work. But it does, and ecommerce companies are proliferating. Some even guarantee delivery of products across the city within 24 hours.

“By 2030, one in every six Africans will be Nigerians, and its economy will have the largest GDP on the continent,” says Betty Enyonam Kumahor, managing director of Africa for global IT consulting firm ThoughtWorks. “But understanding how to launch an ecommerce business in Nigeria requires an understanding of the ecosystem and country, and other aspects such as the cost of generators and the relative dearth of the talent pool.”
But ecommerce startups in Lagos, such as online grocery business Gloo.ng, are facing logistic problems beyond buying generators. There’s also the problems of trying to get through Lagos’ terrible traffic and finding addresses that often cannot be found on a map, for example.

Gloo.ng’s founder, Dr. Olumide Olusanya, is positioning the company as Nigeria’s equivalent of Ocado, the very successful UK delivery arm of Waitrose supermarket. Olusanya gave up practicing medicine to become an entrepreneur, and Gloo.ng has expanded rapidly in its short history. It has quadrupled in size in the past year, and in January moved to a 20,000 square feet fulfillment center in the city.

“We believe the timing of starting our company has been God-sent,” he says. “Brick-and-mortar supermarket shopping, which is exceedingly painful on this side of the world, is not yet culturally ingrained, and we will leapfrog the curve of building supermarket brick-and-mortar, as you have in the developed climes where this is an embedded culture.”

According to Olusanya, the two biggest brick-and-mortar players have a combined market share of 0.9%, with fewer than 13 outlets in a nation of 170 million people — a significant portion of whom are migrating to the middle class.

“The fact that 65% of first-time users become repeat shoppers with us is proof that we are on to something huge,” Olusanya says.

Ecommerce innovation isn’t limited to Nigeria, but entrepreneurs around the world are closely watching what is happening there. One such UK entrepreneur is Ivan Mazour, CEO of Ometria, a software company providing an ecommerce intelligence platform to retailers.

“Ecommerce is the next frontier for emerging markets — an unstoppable wave in the evolution of retail,” he says. “The MINT countries [Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey] are the future, and Nigeria is the most interesting of this new group. As an economy, it’s projected to go from the 39th largest GDP to 13th in the next two decades.”

More importantly, Mazour adds, Nigeria is already home to many successful ecommerce giants, including Konga and Jumia, two Nigerian ecommerce companies that have raised $63.5 million and $61 million respectively from global investors. These two companies provide the inspiration for African entrepreneurs, such as Gloo.ng’s Olusanya, as well as other more niche ecommerce companies to create Africa’s first retail hub or cluster in Lagos.

“[Ometria was] founded with a focus on bridging the gap between the knowledge that exists in developed markets. As we continue to expand globally, we are looking to Nigeria as a future ecommerce leader in the EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] region,” Mazour says.

There’s also a wealth of exciting startups such as QSR Consult, a company that is developing three new “quick service” restaurants Grubs, Spice Bowl and Kobis in Nigeria. Tunde Ogunrinde, the company’s CEO, spent 17 years at Burger King UK and returned to Nigeria in 2009.

“There is a greater comfort with shopping online with many Nigerians nowadays due to pricing and non-payment until goods are delivered at the door of client,” Ogunrinde says. “It seems that Jumia [and] Konga are leading the market in terms of brand awareness and potential volumes. As confidence grows, this form of buying and selling will increase, but for many of these ecommerce companies, the biggest challenge is logistics and getting products to clients on time.”

So, while Bezos dreams of drones and talks hot air, and while some African companies clamber to join the race to Mount Kenya for the Flying Donkey Challenge, it’s Nigerian ecommerce startups that are doing it right now.

Moreover, they are finding quick success in one of the most competitive cities in the world. We’ll see drones over Lagos sooner than we think, and probably a lot sooner than the cities in the West.

 

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Uncategorized

A Case Study of e-Commerce In Nigeria: Why It Pays To Own A Shop Online!

I have previously written about the rise of e-Commerce in Nigeria and how you can profitably take part, so in case you missed out, you can read it here.

Consider this a follow-up article as I will be sharing with you first hand my own experience of how I made close to a million naira within 3 months of owning a shop online!

How It All Began…

My first experience with e-Commerce was selling my business consulting and internet marketing services through my blog naijapreneur.com

Then in January 2013, I came across Kaymu while it was still in its early stages trying to break her way into the Nigerian eCommerce terrain. It didn’t take me long to see the market potentials of such a platform where sellers can be connected to over 60 million Nigerians online. I instantly became a kaymu evangelist. This is partly due to my passion for entrepreneurship development in Nigeria and my successful experience with e-Marketing.

My 1st Month Selling Online

I own a boutique business where I sell both male and female clothing and shoes. So I decided to create my own shop online to test run kaymu and listed the shoes on the platform, this was in February. Oh and if you are wondering why I listed only shoes and left out the clothes? Well, shoes are far easier to snap than clothes. Before the month ended, I was able to sell one shoe despite 5 orders, only one buyer followed through to pickup and paid cash –N3000. This wasn’t so bad since Kaymu opened to the public in February.

 My 2nd Month Selling Online

Towards the end of February, I decided to expand my shop on kaymu to sell in another promising category other than fashion –phones and tablets. Since I didn’t sell phones and tablets, this was made possible by one of my e-Marketing clients who proposed a partnership. I help sell their phones and tablets online through kaymu and earn commissions on every sale.

So because of this collaboration, in March I sold one Blackberry Z10, an iPad4 and a Tommy Hilfiger shoe for a total of N223,000. Not bad huh?

My 3rd Month Selling Online

April was the best month ever, all of the marketing initiatives where falling into place and people were becoming more confident in the brand due to the number of successful deliveries and safe transactions recorded. So in April, I sold 7 Smart phones and 5 male shoes for a total of N613,547!

The total?

February – N3000

March – N223,000

April – N613,547

Total = N839,547

 

Why It Pays To Sell Online

  • ecommerceBesides the number one obvious fact that you get to reach a whole lot more people through an online shop, the most significant reason for me is the 24hrs 7days a week operational nature of an online shop. There’s practically no closing time online, you can be making sales while you sleep!
  • Reducing overhead costs is one other reason why selling online is so super smart. You don’t have to bother about shop space, on the internet there’s unlimited shelf space. The amount of items you can sell is unlimited. As you just saw me explain, I expanded from just selling male shoes to selling smart phones and tablets and it didn’t cost me additional rent!
  • And my personal favorite, growing your brand has never been easier. Online you connect with millions of people you would never have been able to sell to offline. And the bonus part, they become your customers as well not just kaymu’s customers because they buy from you directly not from kaymu.
  •  Safe transactions is another advantage you get by selling on kaymu. Unlike other free classified sites, kaymu is much more than a free classified site. It is an actual e-Shopping mall where you can buy from so many trusted retailers who have physical shops offline. On Kaymu, you are buying from real businesses not just some random individual who has something to dispose.

Over to you

You’ve read my story and as many naijapreneurs have come to know me for, I hardly share what I haven’t personally applied. My own approach to marketing is simple; “don’t tell people what you will do, show them what you’ve done. Why? Because results sell faster than words!”

If this isn’t sufficient proof that Nigeria is in the early days of a heavy e-Commerce boom, then you can choose to ignore this article. But if you are among the few wise ones, you will get in now while many are still contemplating and begin to reap the rewards of selling online. Here’s an invitation, click here to start!

Categories
Hack

Read This : Protect Yourself against Online Extortion

Imagine investing heavily in the creation of an online business. You’ve paid web designers, SEO service providers and content writers. You’ve set up a secure payment system and cultivated a loyal group of followers. Your profits are tied, quite obviously, to your website. If the site goes down for even a few hours, you lose money.

Now imagine opening an email to discover a nasty surprise: hackers are threatening to launch a Denial of Service attack on your website. Pay them $15,000 and they’ll leave you alone. You ignore the email, believing it to be spam, and a week later your website does indeed go dark. You lose a week’s profits.

Then you get a second email: “pay us $30,000, or we’ll attack again.” What do you do? The crooks have proven they can do the damage they claim. They may be a world away, in a country where they feel safe from your own country’s law enforcement.

Do you contact the police? Pay off the extortionists? Or watch as your business crumbles under multiple DoS attacks?

In a theoretical discussion, these questions are easy enough to answer. You’ve done nothing wrong, so you go to the police. In reality, when a business stands to lose thousands of dollars a day in revenue, $30,000 may not seem that high a price to pay.

Online extortion is increasingly common, although no one knows exactly how widespread the problem is. After all, one of the results of a successful extortion scheme is the victim doesn’t dare go to the police. And it’s not just big business that’s getting hit by virtual protection rackets. Crooks are also leaning on individuals.

Here’s a more personal scenario. You receive an email from someone claiming to have control of your home or work computer. They threaten to erase your hard drive, or, more disturbingly, flood your computer with child pornography and then alert the police. A small fee of $25 will prevent all this from happening.

A vaguer, perversely inspired email simply claims the sender knows about your secret, correctly assuming that a certain number of people who receive the email will, indeed, have guilty secrets.

Such emails are more likely to be mass-email scams than serious attacks, but when it comes to extortion, the threat doesn’t have to be effective — the victim just has to think it is. And like any Prohibition-era protection racket, if you pay once, the blackmailer continues to lean on you as often as possible.

So how do you respond? Do you risk your personal reputation and business by defying that blackmailer? Or do you pay, assuming that the payment isn’t worth the cost of retaliation?

Online businesses are especially vulnerable — a DoS attack can cripple a website for weeks, wasting the investment the business has made in the website and SEO for ecommerce. Individuals are safer. If the threat is vague, it’s likely the extortion email is a scam. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual or business to decide to ignore, fight or give in to blackmail demands. And none of those decisions offer easy solutions.

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Categories
Gadgets Linux Mobile

The iPad Supremacy

The Apple iPad is the ultimate tablet in the market using the measuring indices that matter most, and this has been the case since the device was introduced. However, there still exist some staunch iPad haters out there who are still in denial of this fact and i find this very unfortunate. What more do they need to let this fact sink in? The HP Touchpad’s unexpected and very surprising flop in the face of iPad’s opposition is still causing quite a ripple. Also, the manufacturers of the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, hoping to ride on the success of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, are having a reality check. One of the problems that HP and other tablet rivals have is that they think its enough to beat the iPad on paper with hardware specs, then match Apple’s pricing, but the reality is that the iPad is a much better experience with a second-to-none marketing strategy.

The HP Touchpad is indeed a very sad case, at least, to the promoters of the device. But for a lot of people,especially in Nigeria, this is probably our only chance of owning a tablet from a reputable manufacturer and at a cheap price. Already, ecommerce sites like hayzees are preparing to flood the Nigerian Market with this device and are already accepting orders.

In death, the HP Touchpad has experienced a tremendous surge in demands, thanks to the cheap pricing. And with the possibility of installing Ubuntu Linux or Android on this device, it is a very good buy for even existing iPad owners.