Taking Advantage of the $1B E-commerce Sector

Retail Shopping in Nigeria in recent years has evolved into a more rewarding sector in the form of E-commerce. The Power of shopping has never been made this easy with customers having the power to purchase anything without going out of their comfort zones. As technology and digital platforms improve, Internet users in Nigeria have increased in the last few years.

Users are beginning to look for a better and more seamless customer experience. The E-commerce sector has become a major force in providing this customer experience. several retail businesses are beginning to realize that shopping behaviour is changing and it will be wise to pay attention to the billion-dollar Nigerian e-commerce market.

The Nigerian E-commerce industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the Nigerian Economy. In 2012,  the sector recorded 1,000 orders per day, with market size standing at $35m. These figures have increased by over 1000% in just two years to 15000 orders per day with a market size valued at $550m!. The sector is projected to be worth over $1bn in the next two years. This fast growth can be attributed to the activities of online retailing platforms like Jumia, Konga, deal dey, shoppi, wakanow, checki among other fast-rising niche markets. Africa and the Middle East alone have over $51.4B B2C e-commerce sales out of a $1.5 trillion market worldwide!

Several challenges come with managing an e-commerce site, especially for a site without a physical store. Logistics, warehousing, delivery system, customer care, and marketing. So before you proceed with that e-commerce venture in your mind, It’s imperative you understand the e-commerce sector and have a sound strategy to break through the highly competitive sector

It’s obvious that the e-commerce market is set to boom in Nigeria in the next few years, but that’s for those who get it right.

Several advantages are involved with starting an online shop

  • Access to a huge customer base with access to a growing population of 170m Nigerians with over 48m Internet Users
  • Seamless Transactions. The freedom to shop anywhere and anytime
  • Impact growth on the Nation’s Economy. Nigeria attracted over N205.4B worth of fresh investments in her retail sector in the last two years. The retail sector is a major driver of economic growth, employment opportunities, and wealth generation in Nigeria
  • An opportunity to go global.Impact sales and Marketing efforts immediately. Open an e-commerce store in Lagos and suddenly a local Apple store is exposed to an international market!
  • The leveled playing field for small shops. A small online retailer can compete with the largest retail brick-and-mortar store as long as they are able to deliver a quality customer experience and give an attractive and functional service.

Now don’t get too excited yet. Starting an e-commerce venture is not a piece of the pie. Especially in a country like Nigeria which lacks the necessary internet infrastructure. There are also other challenges such as logistics, cost of operation, warehousing, delivery system, payment integration and methods, etc

If you’re thinking of starting or already owning an e-commerce store, it is important you GET IT RIGHT. The following are vital to the survival of your online retail store

“Regardless of how pretty your online store is, you need a good delivery service – It is part of the Purchase.” – Benjamin Gundgaard, Founder of Customer Sense

  • Running a store is majorly about good customer experiences, which includes allowing customers to shop in the store whenever and from wherever they want
  • Understand the Path to Purchase and what it means for your store.
  • Optimize the site to be responsive for multi-screens. 69% of internet hits in Nigeria come from Mobile and tablet devices. 75% of Online users complete activities across Multi-screens.
  • The e-commerce competition is massive! Visibility is becoming more of a function of how resourceful you are. It’s important to make sure the customer experience is above par.
  • Consider the channels integral to your business and leverage them. Connect with online users on these platforms
  • Take advantage of Digital Platforms such as Search Engine Optimization, Display networks, Mobile apps, and Social media platforms. These are customer touch points. It’s vital you engage with them on these platforms

In summary, for any e-commerce site to break through the competition and ensure sustainable growth in the competitive sector the following practices must be adhered to ensure a good customer experience.

  • Make it easy to buy online
  • Ensure you have sufficient resources to develop the online store
  • Aim for the customer to become your ambassador.
  • Emphasise and personalise the buying experience making it relevant to the customer
  • Test and measure the impact of changes through A/B testing and UX testing; utilize the data acquired from the testing to make key business decisions
  • Make your online store work on mobile phones and tablets
  • Offer customers multiple payment and delivery options
  • Inform customers of exchange, return, and delivery options early on in the purchasing process
  • Keep the customer informed during the buying and delivery process, and don’t forget them after the purchase is made
  • Create advantages that enable your online store to deal with increased international competition.

As infrastructure gets better and the Nigerian population becomes savvier, e-commerce is going to play a huge role in growing the economy and giving the average customer more access to a better shopping experience, through the use of technology tools.

If your business is poised to take advantage of the rapidly increasing online shopping market then an e-commerce website will put you on the frontline, increasing your market exposure, efficiency of warehousing, and sales systems

Source – Bring, Mckinsey, Internet world stats, Nigeria ICT Report

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