Some years ago it was almost impossible to purchase an item online. You either had to walk physically into the store or travel abroad to get your choice of item. It was extremely hectic trying to buy items especially from Nigeria, with a high surcharge on foreign wire transfers which was impossible without a domiciliary account, as well as the huge shipping costs. This deterred lots of Nigerians from doing business online.
However, presently the situation has changed and improved tremendously with an increase in online retail shops to meet the needs of average Nigerians who do not have the time to go out shopping and now have access to all they need at affordable prices, therefore boosting e-commerce.
With the increase in convenience, even small business owners who can afford a website are engaging in online retail and enjoying massive patronage from customers all over Nigeria.
The beauty is, you don’t have to be in a physical location or have a payment enabled website; most of them also offer cash on delivery services. This has led to a decrease in sales for foreign online stores. Most of the stores in the UK now advertise low cost shipping and debit card payments in Naira.
Why is the online retail market booming? Convenience. Customers have internet enabled devices, products are reasonably priced, and there is delivery. With a click of a button all transactions can be made swiftly.
The business boom has also attracted scammers. Consumers are advised to be cautious while shopping online. It is advisable not to input credit/debit card details on sites you are unsure of. Opt for cash on delivery instead.
Jumia and Konga are the leaders presently. Jostling for superiority, both online vendors are reported to have over 100,000 unique daily visitors helping to grow Nigeria’s online shopping value by 25 per cent; from N49.9 billion in 2010 to N62.4 billion in 2011.
There has been dominance of some online stores in the retail ecosystem but below is a description of the predominant ones presently.
Jumia Nigeria is located in Lekki in Lagos. The word Jumia comes from the Swahili language and means community or friendship. The site has a vigorous ad campaign, offers free registration, has the option of a newsletter, allows COD and sometimes offers free delivery depending on the amount of the purchase. Jumia has an array of products such as, books, clothes, and computers among other items. They also deliver across Nigeria.
Konga is one of the top brands on Facebook with a website located at Konga.com and no office address listed. They have 3 pick-up addresses available in Surulere, Ikeja and Victoria Island. Konga is a general shopping website that lists items relating to computers, electronics, clothing, home accessories, books, movies, mobile recharge, food and drinks.
Kaymu Nigeria is located at kaymu.com.ng with a physical location in Lekki, Lagos Nigeria. Kaymu sells general items such as mobile phones, computers, home accessories, electronics, jewellery, and health and beauty products.
Taafoo is located in Oregun Lagos and has a website at Taafoo.com. Taafoo is into sales of fashion related items, and gadgets.
DealDey offers one of the best deals in town when it comes to pricing for various items and services regularly needed. Whether clothes, shoes or home accessories, this website offers you the ability to tap into the power of bulk buying and save on your shopping costs. They have offices in Surulere and Abuja and a radio show announcing deals of the day.
Will the entry of PayPal see the decline of local online retailing in Nigeria? Only time will tell?