Mrs. Alero Imo is the Managing Director of iCyrus Online Merchants Limited. She is also the Managing Director of Cyrus Kingdom Development Company (‘Cyrus’ for short, a furniture and joinery company).
She is an architect by profession, and worked briefly at the elite architectural practice of JamesCubitt (Architects) before taking up the role of MD at Cyrus, a role she has held on to for over 20 years.
She is a regular speaker at programmes geared towards youth empowerment and mentors an average of 15/20 young boys and girls on a yearly basis. She spoke to peter oluka on the launch of iCyrus.com.ng
The Concept: iCyrus.com.ng
iCyrus is an online store, especially for ‘Do It Yourself’ (DIY) enthusiasts, project managers, contractors and supplied/produced materials for other businesses.
We are a rapidly growing business with the primary aim of supplying our customers with products and services for home improvement. We are committed to Creating a platform for DIY supplies where everything you need to improve your home or complete your building project will be found.
We stock an extensive variety of products which include tools and safety equipment, furniture and joinery products, bathroom and laundry, adhesives and sealants as well as other affiliated products servicing the construction industry in Nigeria.
With our increasing range, you’ll find anything you need to complete your home or building project at a competitive price!
Online Market Mission
Our mission in the online market space is simply to be the foremost home improvement supply store in Nigeria; selling tools and safety equipment, furniture and joinery products, bathroom and laundry, adhesives and sealants as well as other affiliated products servicing the construction industry in Nigeria whilst providing our clients with the best quality at a fair price. This is summed up in our slogan: ‘One Stop Shop for Home Improvement’.
What Informed iCyrus Online Market Presence
We have been in the manufacturing sector producing furniture and joinery products. But, I have always wanted to have vendor platform which is not going to be our products alone, rather any company/body in the distribution chain. iCyrus is that platform.
iCyrus to business model entails that you do have to be a ‘great’ contractor to come and put your goods on iCyrus.
We serve small manufacturing, but you must get the procedure right such as having NAFDAC, SONCAP or SON registration.
Then, leave the product to us to vendor for you. There are a lot of suppliers that do not have the capacity to enlarge their business because they can’t go online and capture the wider market. iCyrus to customer model also depicts you need not send somebody to, probably, Mushin, whereas you reside in Surulere, to get such material.
Overseas, they have stores for DIY products. It is a luxury to pay somebody to change your electric bulb; you should be able to do that! You should be able to screw something that has gone off; assemble your table. You can decide to do your kitchen yourself; all you need is to go on iCyrus.com.ng and buy a completely knocked down material with the manual, you can do it. Everybody can have beautiful home. It is not just when you travel abroad that you seem ‘wowed’ by the furniture or joinery. You do not even need to spend so much on it.
Eventually, as we expand, we are looking at a fully automated platform which will incorporate franchises like warehousing in different States.
That is one good thing about online; you know exactly where the market is coming and create warehouses in different States to serve that niche for easier accessibility by the mass market.
Assessment Nigeria’s e-Commerce Space
I don’t think we have enough. They are not like physical stores; though it is still a new area at its rudimental stage. However, we need more because that is the place to be in the nearest future. As people are returning from work, tired, the next and closest place for them to shop is online.
As a country we need to catch on to the internet community and position ourselves as part of the growth.
iCyrus Launched in Period of Economic Recession:
There are two business models to iCyrus: Business to Business (B2B) and the Business to Customers (B2C). The B2B of iCyrus is going to create jobs for suppliers/manufacturers because what happens is that most of people do not have platforms to sell their goods.
Therefore, iCyrus is an open store to anybody/company who can manufacture quality products and less expensive, thereby, reaching the mass market.
For instance, there is a manufacturer in Surulere who is producing paint; a quality one for that matter, but this manufacturer is limited in sells.
The company would search for buyers, but online you have a catchment area of minimum of 93 million (according to Nigeria Communications Commission statistics). All you need to occupy yourself with is manufacturing and allow iCyrus to do the sales for you.
We have been in furniture and joinery business for about two decades. We manufacture and have access to the market, knowing the paths to quality products and raw materials areas.
Sometimes, we have to import the material; we know where they are, different producers. So, we hope that will help us as benchmark to good quality control.
We have people on ground in our team who are able to verify. As members of associations such as MANCAP, we can also check the quality of products before they are listed on the site.
How Furniture & Joinery Market Will Benefit
iCyrus is such a market place for the Furniture & Joinery market in Nigeria and beyond. Like I said earlier, whatever you bring to sell, we will charge only 10 per cent of the sales. The charge is just for administration and to enable site be up and running.
Plans for Delivery & Timing
It depends on the purchases. iCyrus has things like doors; you can order. But there are doors that are custom-made for you. In other words, it cannot be immediate.
We have a minimum of 14 days for certain products be produced; because it is being done to your taste. For others that are readily available, immediately the payment is made we inform you about the delivery plans.
To become a merchant, we have a form you have to fill; though not an online, but we can mail it to you.
The form serves as a contract agreement which we issue to vendors, because we have to be sure you have certain amount of raw material or you can be able to execute a job/an order.
There is no point listing that you have 10 units of a certain door and when about 100 people place orders you fail to deliver.
Meanwhile, on our part, we are checking the specifications for standards. The specifications are not our thinking, but as specified by Nigeria. If SONCAP decides this is how something should be, we are going to follow that format to the last.