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A Shopper’s Guide to Black Friday in Nigeria

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For many bargain-hungry shoppers, Black Friday is the period to look forward to. According to the Research and Development Unit of Yudala (www.yudala.com), Nigeria’s pioneer online and offline e-commerce outfit; Black Friday, traditionally the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States has grown into a worldwide shopping festival.

Here in Nigeria, the case is not different.

With the increasing popularity of commerce and proliferation of e-commerce sites all competing for the attention of price-sensitive shoppers, Black Friday has become unarguably the most anticipated sales activity in the country

Amid promises of huge discounts and massive deals falling on consumers, the anticipation among shoppers often reaches fever-pitch during this period as Black Friday is generally seen as the best time to shop. For the unsuspecting shopper, it is worth stating, nevertheless, that shopping during Black Friday comes with a certain level of caveat emptor –  loosely translated as the principle that the buyer alone is responsible for checking the quality and suitability of goods before a purchase is made.

Yudala shares useful tips to guide you through the Black Friday shopping fiesta.

Make a list

To get the best out of the mad rush that characterizes Black Friday in Nigeria, preparation is key. Creating a list of the items you need will not help you get a sense of what you want; it will also go a long way in ensuring you gather some critical intelligence on the items you want to purchase which will save you time in the long run. If a deep freezer or 54-inch TV, for instance, are among your most sought-after possessions, the act of including them in a list would naturally see you do some research among the major players to understand which models are in vogue, current prices for the specific choices you desire and the likely discounts or bundles that will come with Black Friday.

Draw up a budget

This may sound easy but a lot of shoppers often miss out on this simple rule. It is important to develop a budget to guide your Black Friday shopping. Working with a pre-determined list of items and budget will ensure you do not fall into the trap of impulse buying which may see you end up with items you do not necessarily need, while missing out on the essential ones you require. This is not to rule out the occasional sweet deal or an irresistible bundled offer you may go out of your way to grab. Having a budget, however, undoubtedly gives you a focus which helps you get the best out of Black Friday.

Sign up to the Platform

Preparation will help you get the early and best deals; which is why it is important to sign up to newsletters and social media platforms to stay in the loop and get the latest news on the special offers for Black Friday. With this, you will get regular updates on all the exciting deals on desired products in the lead up and during the campaign.

Quality matters

Black Friday is often a time for a massive push from various e-commerce platforms all seeking to get a slice of the shopping pie. A number of grey or sub-standard products also find their way into the mix, especially from e-commerce outfits without a clear products sourcing channel or those who work with an infinite number of middlemen. To ensure your fingers do not get burnt, it is best to stick to a platform that offers you guaranteed genuine products and that is willing to stake its reputation on that.

Seeing and touching works better than just seeing

To get the best out of Black Friday, it is very important to get a chance to see, touch and experience the product(s) you wish to buy before parting with your hard-earned money. You can check out the items online and then visit the offline store to see it physically before completing the purchase process. This works better than just relying on the online version which may not be the same thing you get when delivered. Often it is best to shop with an e-commerce platform that offers you a chance to see, touch, experience the product and get useful feedback from staff on after-sales support and other issues rather than an impersonal online-only platform.

Self-fulfil, if possible

For many, Black Friday comes with sad tales of long delays, unfulfilled deliveries and canceled orders. To avoid falling a victim, it is best to shop from an e-commerce platform with a physical offline store where you can self-fulfil or choose to personally pick up your item. While others are lamenting the items they failed to get, you will be one of the few savvy shoppers smiling and wishing that Black Friday never ends.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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E-Business

Eliminate Wasting Time and Act in Real Time

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Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited

A sudden technical problem in an organisation, especially during business hours, can cause havoc for an IT department as it is not usually prepared for it, nor does it immediately know what the exact cause of the disruption may be.

 

This is according to Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, an authorised distributor of NETSCOUT solutions throughout Africa.

 

Jacobsz said, “There is no value, in such a crisis, in having the IT department internally trying to apportion blame between the network engineer versus the network technician or service provider. Instead, the IT department should have a system in place that avoids such ‘finger pointing’ and enables seamless and continuous operation, as well as effective preparation in the case of a crisis.”

 

Visibility for network engineers

Jacobsz said that network engineers need to be aware of as many touch points to the data as possible, especially with applications that are hosted in the Cloud.

Data sources throughout the network need to be leveraged to provide an overall picture of how services and applications are performing. NetFlow, SNMP, stream to disk packet capture, automated data mining and application performance alerting need to be used system wide to stay on top of performance and security threats, while providing IT professionals with actionable data in the event of a problem.

There are simply too many changing technologies for the network engineer to keep up with at an expert level. In view of this, the network engineer needs to rely on automated analysis tools to provide direction on problem alerting, isolation, and root cause resolution.

 

In order to validate, troubleshoot, and restore these systems, network engineers require visibility to take the right action in the right place, which ultimately saves the company money and prevents downtime.

 

Monitoring and analysis by network operators/ technicians

Before a new system goes live, it should be monitored and analysed by network operators using management and monitoring systems and tools.

There are major benefits to implementing these management systems – first, technicians will be able to keep step with a highly dynamic network environment, which places greater demands on their role.

These demands include application problem resolution and analysis of network components, which cannot be accessed in the Cloud.

In today’s critical network environments, technicians cannot continue to lean on legacy systems that only display up/ down status and ping response times. This data cannot facilitate finding the root cause of slow application response and often does not allow the problem to be isolated and resolved.

 

Preparation by service providers

This is a key to success, in addition to constant skill updates and the ability to be flexible and adaptable. Service providers need to establish and execute on some critical best practices to keep ahead of the complexity and to provide the highest level of service and support to their clients.

Key areas to focus on for best practice execution include:

  • Pre-deployment assessment;
  • Installation and test; and
  • Documentation and reporting.

Service provider field teams can improve project scoping and estimates, reduce call-backs and issues, and ensure satisfaction that results in prompt payment, additional service opportunities and referral business, by focusing on these three areas.

 

“It is important that IT divisions within the region’s enterprises are as efficient as possible in order for them to not only compete on a global scale, but to also, ultimately, have a bigger impact on the local economy. We are proud to have this kind of real-time service assurance and cybersecurity solution available to the African market, “ concluded Jacobsz.

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NITDA Saves N3b For FG Through IT Clearance Process

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By peter oluka

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has boasted of saving, for the Federal Government, the sum of 3 Billion Naira on a single cleared IT Project of an Agency through its commitment as the government’s clearinghouse for all IT procurement and services in the public sector.

This, NITDA said, is value addition to FG’s fight against corruption; coming at the time of growing concerns about the mismanagement of huge investment of public funds on IT Projects in MDAs.

By this, NITDA has offered a glimmer of hope that the Federal Government shall be getting a handle on wasteful and duplicative IT procurement and services in MDAs.

According to a statement signed by Mrs. Hadiza Umar, head of corporate communications at NITDA, “As an unbiased watchdog of government, the Director General has ensured that there is transparency, accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in the process of obtaining clearance from NITDA targeted at extracting maximum value from MDAs’ investments on IT projects”.

“President Muhammadu Buhari, has called for strict compliance to the IT Project’s Clearance  directive by all government establishments to ensure that governments ICT procurements are transparent, align  with government’s IT  shared  vision and policy, save costs through promotion of shared services, avoid duplication, ensure interoperability of IT systems and improve efficiency across government, enforce the patronage of indigenous companies where capacity exist thus fostering digital economy through effective regulation and local content development as well as uphold the highest standards for service delivery”.

The President made this declaration at the recent e-Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition held from Tuesday 7th to Thursday 9th November, 2017.

He also used the event to commend the Agency’s efforts at enforcing Federal Government’s directive on ensuring that all ICT projects are cleared before they are implemented.

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is an Agency under the Federal Ministry of Communications.

The Agency was created in April 2001 to implement the Nigerian Information Technology Policy and coordinate general IT development and regulation in the country. Specifically, Section 6(a & c) of the Act mandates NITDA to create a framework for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of Information Technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria; and render advisory services in all information technology matters to the public and private sectors.

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Farmcrowdy Launches Mobile App for Agritech in Nigeria

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Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy

Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first and leading digital agriculture platform has introduced a new category of funding small scale farming in Africa by allowing Nigerians to venture and sponsor agriculture; and launched of its first app for Android, iOS and Windows mobile devices.

 

Techstars Atlanta alumnus, Farmcrowdy is reshaping the way in which people participate in farming and food production, through using their online platform to source funds from sponsors, whose money is used to secure land, plant crops and meet the funding needs of boosting food production with small scale farmers. Farm Sponsors can expect to see returns after harvest of 6-25% between a 3-9 month period, depending on what farm type they choose.

 

Since the launch of its website 12 months ago, Farmcrowdy has recorded close to 1,000 unique farm sponsors, aggregated a combined 4,000 acres of farmland in Nigeria for farming purpose and grown over 150,000 organic chickens to date.

 

Having worked with close to 2,000 small scale farmers in Nigeria already, the vast majority of Farmcrowdy sponsors are based in Nigeria, whilst 10% are located in the US and UK.

 

With another 6,000 Farm Followers visiting their website every week, the launch of the Farmcrowdy mobile app will provide a more accessible platform for agriculture enthusiasts to experience, learn and appreciate agriculture practice first-hand. Farmcrowdy currently provides regular updates, images and videos from the farmers as they work on the sponsored farms, providing an opportunity for their sponsors and farm followers to digitally track the journey of their sponsored farm through regular updates.

 

Onyeka Akumah, Co-Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy said “We have launched the Farmcrowdy app to provide an accessible, real-time platform for people on the go, who do not want to miss out on empowering their own communities. In the past month alone, we have witnessed over 500 farm units of poultry – 25,000 chicks – sell out in a few hours to engage farmers who would have found it difficult accessing loans in the banks; so it’s super fast-paced. People are equally excited about creating impact in the lives of our farmers while earning a decent return. Nigeria is a mobile-first society and we had feedback from our sponsors who said they wanted improved access to our farms. They spoke, we listened, and we have now built a platform that suits Nigerians’ preferred means of doing business. – a mobile app. We expect that with this move, we would continue to stay at forefront of innovation in Agritech across Nigeria and scale our activities into more states in Nigeria while attracting more farm followers and sponsors to engage our farmers”.

 

“By effectively placing farms in the pockets of Nigerians globally, we are collectively impacting national food production and food security. This is our way of creating impact and return model for everyone sponsoring small scale farmers with Farmcrowdy”.

 

Currently operating in eight states across Nigeria, farm sponsors can choose to sponsor a variety of farm types including cassava, maize, rice, soya beans and poultry (broiler chickens for meat); with cycles lasting between 3 to 9 months depending on the farm. Farm sponsorships start from N96,000 [$270], and Farmcrowdy coordinates pre-arranged buyers to sell the farm harvest when the cycle is complete. The farm profit from the harvest is then split between the sponsors who receive 40% of the harvest profits plus their original sponsorship, while the farmers receive returns of 40% and Farmcrowdy gains 20% of the profits.

 

More than 80% of farmers in Nigeria operate on a small-scale level and it is currently estimated that 38 million of them are unbankable. Farmcrowdy, through pairing farmers with sponsors to effectively manage the farming cycle with training in smart farming techniques, supply of equipment and technical support, has over the last 12 months, ushered close to 2,000 small scale farmers into the financial ecosystem, making them financially inclusive.

 

The app, which is now available for download in Google Playstore, with Apple and Microsoft following suit soon, will through an accessible information feed and push notifications, allow users to view available farms, follow existing farms, provide ease of communication with farm account officers and allow the facilitation of easy feedback and comments.

 

Onyeka Akumah added, “This app provides a safe and reliable platform for agriculture enthusiasts to participate in this growing sector from a knowledge stand-point to making informed decisions about exploring opportunities in farming. So, we are looking forward to partnering with more Nigerians locally and globally as we continue to work towards building this community model for Nigerians to empower Nigerian farmers, produce Nigerian food and boost food production in the region while impacting positively on farmers lives and families. This kind of community model will be scaled into other regions as keep learning and improving our processes with the application of technology”.

 

 

 

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