Prince Nnamdi Ekeh, founder and vice president, Yudala, Nigeria’s first composite retail chain, has guaranteed the platform’s readiness to delivery items to customers within 24hours of placing order.
With this in mind, Ekeh, an e-commerce enthusiast, said Yudala tends to climb to the number one spot on e-commerce sector in the country before the end of 2016.
He made the remarks during a chat with newsmen in Lagos, adding that Yudala’s long term plan includes opening offline shops in each of the 774 local government areas in the country for closer ties with the customers.
He however, identified poor electricity power supply, low internet penetration and lack of skilled personnel as part of challenges facing the sector in Nigeria.
According to the Yudala Founder, “This starts this year. We are spending a lot of money on getting vans and trucks to move our goods. The same-day delivery plan is for nationwide. In fact, wherever we have outlets, customers should expect same-day delivery any time from now.
To Top E-commerce Table In Nigeria
“I can’t really fix a date or time for it to happen. However, Yudala expects it can become the number one in the country by the end of this year.
Courier As Key To E-Commerce
He said, “E-commerce is trending globally and logistics/courier sector will benefit from it. But, right now there the country has not enough courier companies to deliver for the online. That is the power of the e-commerce”.
“Currently, we have an internal logistics arrangement and some external logistics companies we work with. Since we have both online and offline outlets, our long time plan is to have a robust internal logistics operations. If we are going to achieve our targets for same day delivery, we cannot rely on (external) logistics/courier companies, because at the end of the day they will require bulk items before delivering”.
Competing With the Likes Of Jumia, Konga, Etc.,
Ekeh said, “A lot of people compare us with the likes of Jumia, Konga, but we are very different. We have offline stores. Today, we the shop in Port Harcourt, we can give the customer better services. It will take others four to seven days to deliver to a customer in Port Harcourt, because they are not physically present there, but we have our shops and items located there. Remember, customer satisfaction is key to driving e-commerce growth. We are ahead of them in that aspect. Even if they build regional warehouses, the reach of our stores, which are closer to the people, guarantees better service. Our plan is to have a store in every local government in Nigeria.
He said that the campaign was very successful as that was the first time they introduced different categories, aside smartphones and mobile devices. “We brought in rice, wine; in fact, we surpassed our expectations. We got trucks of wine and within the first two weeks they were sold out sold out”.
“This year we have a number of campaigns to run. In few weeks to come we shall be unveiling these campaigns; all geared towards giving Nigerians a better e-commerce experience”.
Delivery by Drones, And Challenges
Speaking on the possibility of using drones to deliver purchased items across Nigeria, he said, “The idea of using drones for delivery on the black Friday in 2015 was to test the technology. A time will come when that aspect of e-commerce delivery will boom. Talking about crime minded individuals hijacking the process, it boils down to government regulations. It high time the government sat down and deliberate on how these technologies are harnessed for national/economic growth.
“If Nigeria can leverage the advantage of drones for e-commerce delivery before it spreads in the United States, it is even better for the economy. Although, not everybody can afford it, because it will incur between five to ten percent increase on the item purchased, but the technology is definitely for the future”.
Prospects of E-commerce In Nigeria
“I think the growth of e-ecommerce in Nigeria is going to be ‘crazy’ because looking at projections, e-commerce in the Middle-East and Africa tend to grow by 20% in 2016. That is the highest expected growth in the world. If you look at the likes of China, India and Asia, they have seen their growths in E-commerce. The US have seen their growth in the e-commerce. This is the time for Africa and Nigeria in particular. Very soon even the government will start paying attention to e-commerce, because the industry is getting to a point government cannot avoid its place in the economy.
Expected $32billion Annual Turnover
“I agree with the projection that e-commerce sector can make about $32b because the Internet of Things (IoTs) will help drive e-commerce growth”.
What To Expect From Yudala In 2016
“Customers should expect 24hours delivery. At the moment, others are guaranteeing four to seven-day delivery and they can cancel the delivery on the seventh day. Secondly, we source items sold on both our online and offline platforms directly from the companies, customers can be assured of best prices. And after sales services are important to us. Customer care is one aspect most businesses are defaulting. We are guaranteeing a paradigm shift on that. In Yudala, we offer the normal warranty that comes with the product and additional (in-house) warrantee like damaged screen, we replace it. It is all risk covered.
“We are consistently entering into partnership that will guarantee the customers the best shopping experience and create job opportunities for Nigerians. We have 400 workers since we started of whom 300 are graduates.
Challenges of E-Commerce Business
“The ultimate challenge before e-commerce in the country is the human resource. What is happening now is that we have to train the ones recruited and that costs a lot of resources. So, if they in already trained, it brings speed to the process. So, there is need to have e-commerce training facilities in the country. Secondly, the issue of logistics comes to mind. Moving goods around Nigeria is not very easy.
“If government can find a way to make this easier, it will boost the sector too. Thirdly, infrastructural deficit is affecting the business in terms of power, internet penetration. Online business is real-time. If there is point of downtime, the business will go down. If Yudala goes down for an hour, whatever order we are receiving, we can’t treat it”.