The Nigerian e-commerce business landscape looks profitable at all times with the advent of new platforms, one of which is Ninbiz. The CEO of the e-commerce platform, Oboye Olutoni had a chat with select newsmen recently. Excerpts…
Can you tell us how you came up with the idea of Ninbiz, the unique selling points and the competitive edge?
The Ninbiz (Networking In Business) idea came about the need to create the ideal e-commerce environment that will actually make business grow, and not just help sell their products online alone. Ninbiz will redefine e-commerce in Nigeria, as it is a fusion of social networking and the traditional e-commerce, thereby creating the ideal online market where customers’ needs are met on every level. Based on its unique business model, Ninbiz boasts of a lot of unique selling points like:
Go beyond just buying products online, you can now actively interact with the owners of the products, negotiate, get personal discounts, better product delivered rate and can even have automatic notifications sent to you from stores you love and patronize when they have a new product.
Now when you shop, you know the stores that sell quality products, have better delivery time, and better after sales support, all of these because you can interact with fellow buyers on the site that have patronized these stores .
The benefits are numerous and mind blowing, in that you don’t have to be big to be seen, you would always come up on the top search results when customers around your store location search for products that you sell.
Also, In our bid to help you grow your business, registration is absolutely free, what this means is, you can create your store on the Ninbiz platform, sell, make profit and get your business to grow and get known without having to pay. We also, utilize several other aspects of networking to help promote your business, such as
Your store on Ninbiz is linked to your facebook page, so any updates you make in your Ninbiz store is automatically displayed on your facebook page for all your friends and followers to see.
You can add friends from your other social networking sites to come, like and follow your Ninbiz store. That means that they join your inner circle of customers, new products updates from your store are sent to them, whenever anyone of them purchases anything from your store, others are notified and encouraged to do same.
We direct people to your physical store from wherever they are.
We also provide professional logistic service companies to work with you and do not charge any commission on products sold on our site.
Does your Ninbiz store has enough tools to enable you do all that you can do in your physical store?
The best part is that we do not only help merchants who sell products alone, service providers are included as well, because on your Ninbiz business page, you can do almost anything you can do in a physical company.
A business on Ninbiz can create polls, send notification to customers, have a discussion forum to relate with customers, advertise events, send invites, and so much more. Also, your Ninbiz business page is seamlessly integrated with other social networking sites you are on. For instance A school owner on Ninbiz, can create questioners (polls) to view parents opinions on certain on goings concerning the school, send detailed notifications to parents, have meetings with parents on the site, notify them of certain school events and ceremonies and so on.
Of what value are e-commerce platforms to the Nigerian economy as well as to the individuals?
Although e-commerce being at the rudimentary stage in Nigeria, has had a very large impact on business transactions within the country. E-commerce contributes about 8.4% of Nigeria’s GDP and recorded a 16.4% growth in 2014, (Nigerian Bureau of Statistics). Currently, the industry boasts of about 300, 000 online orders daily.
This fast growing industry with an estimated 25% annual growth can support the growth of a non-oil economy adding to the diversification plan of the federal government. This will come to play because Small and Medium scale businesses are using this ICT driven industry to promote “made in Nigeria” products and marketable ideas.
So the effect of e-commerce in Nigeria is Simply a boost in productivity for each individual and by extension a boost in the Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
There are some other good and well patronised e-commerce platforms such as konga,jumia, yudala among others, what strategies do you think should be deployed to enhance mutually beneficial economies between the producers and the consumer or customers?
I feel the cost of registering your ecommerce store on some of these platforms is too high, also the high commission charged per sale of products leads to increased price of these products, because the seller wants to make profit irrespective.
The structure of most e-commerce platforms do not really support sellers building a customer base on the platform, this definitely does not encourage their business growth and sustainability.
How can the government come in to ensure legitimacy and transparency in the e-commerce industry?
NITDA (National Information Technology Development Agency) has, since its creation in 2007, issued a number of guidelines for the purpose of regulating the e-commerce industry, an example of such are the Guidelines on Data Protection (September 2013) which, if implemented successfully, will go a long way towards ensuring legitimacy and transparency in the e-commerce industry.
What are the major challenges in the e-commerce business?
Well the e-commerce business in Nigeria just like any other business has its own challenges ; those who find a way around these are the ones that have the larger chunk of the market (as with other sectors). The most common challenges faced by e-commerce business in Nigeria include.
Logistics and shipment
Logistics and supply chains still remain a tough challenge for e-commerce websites. Due to poor road networks , traffic congestion and some funny customers, who will make orders with no intention of buying the goods.
The exponential growth rate of e-commerce companies in Nigeria obviously chokes the e-commerce industry as a result, competition gets stiffer by the day, thereby increasing the number of startups that eventually die out.
due to the level of corruption and internet frauds in Nigeria, individuals are distrustful about making online payments and listing their private information online. This lack of trust of Nigerian consumers is a huge hindrance for e-commerce business in Nigeria.
Tell us your career and professional background
I studied botany at the federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (Funaab), after which I delved into the world of information technology (IT). I did a couple of web design and development courses, worked for a while in an I.T company (Tell angels Nigeria) where I got further developed in web design, development and programming. On starting Ninbiz I had to work with a couple of local and foreign based web developers mostly from india and the united states, This further exposed me to numerous possibilities in the creation of an e-commerce platform, all of which I made sure where included in the sites functions. I’m currently the CEO of Ninbiz of which I can clearly state, is a company that is going to revolutionize the way e-commerce is done in Nigeria.