In August 2013 the Managing Director of DHL Express South Africa, Hennie Heymans, said that with the implementation of Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan (which will reportedly result in an 80% increase in broadband internet penetration by the end of 2018), the country is expected to surpass South Africa’s e-commerce market.
Those operating within this high-growth market speak of increased volumes of orders and the number of citizens going online.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2012, the percentage of individuals using the Internet in Nigeria stood at 32.88%.
ITNewsAfrica spoke with Alex Kamara, COO of Konga.com about the scope of ecommerce in Nigeria, Konga.com’s progress and what lies ahead. The Company delivered its first order in July 2012 and has an established catalog of over 200,000 products. CEO Sim Shagaya leads a 400-strong team and recently won the Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 Award at the CNBC/ All Africa Business Leaders Award in West Africa,
* How big is the ecommerce market in Nigeria?
The growth of ecommerce in Nigeria has certainly been a beautiful experience to watch unfold. Online retail in Nigeria has grown by over 200% in terms of orders. The number of Nigerians online also continues to grow.
* How do you differentiate yourself in such a competitive environment?
Konga is a company that is founded by Nigerians committed to solving the problems of retail, logistics and technology in Nigeria. We have several initiatives like the “Konga Price Match Guarantee” which ensures that in addition to fast delivery, pay on delivery, best quality of goods and other benefits of shopping on Konga.com, customers will always get the lowest prices for electronics anywhere online in Nigeria. If a customer buys a qualifying item on our site and finds an identical item on another retailer’s website for a lower price within 48 hours, we will match that price and refund the customer the difference. So we strive to always ensure the best price and quality of goods which customers may not always be guaranteed offline.
* What is the demographic of the average user of the site?
Mainly young to middle-aged, working class females. However, we have a full spectrum of customers.
* What are your biggest sellers?
Fashion is a popular category as well as mobile phones, computers and electronics. However, it is pretty varied the items/ categories that sell very well, from baby products to Home and kitchenware and so forth.
* What is driving the Konga.com business?
Nigerians have been on the search for a great shopping experience, which they weren’t used to with traditional brick-and-mortar stores found in majority of cities in Nigeria. Konga basically empowers Nigerians by giving them access to a great selection of goods and great prices on the go, much different from what is found in their locality. This, we believe, has been the major growth driver for online trade in Nigeria, excellent word-of-mouth advertising from existing users has continued to bring other users online to try out the platform.
* With so many offerings available, including Jumia, Kaymu and others, is there a risk that the online commerce market could become saturated?
Not at all. The market is huge; there are 160m Nigerians and if we can manage to convince even 1% of that market to adopt the benefits of ecommerce, we would be very happy.
* Where are the goods for sale sourced from?
We source the goods from local and international suppliers. Currently, we have begun encouraging Nigerian businesses to bring their goods to sell, on their terms, on our website. This model supports the local businesses and opens them up to a wider market that they will not have been able to reach on their own. The recruitment has been very encouraging.
* Is security an issue with consumers?
We view this with the utmost importance. We invest heavily in payment security procedures and partner with payment systems providers to make sure that the consumer is secure in every transaction made on our platform.
* With mobile being so prevalent in the country, do most customers/ visitors to the site access it via mobile platforms or from other means?
To be honest, it is a mix of all platforms. It usually depends on periods of the day. During work hours, we see more desktop traffic and after work hours or weekends, more mobile/ tablet traffic.
Chris Tredger – Online Editor