At a time when the economic realities are forcing companies in Africa to fold up because of increasing overhead operational cost, Nigerian retail business owners are finding new ways to reduce the cost of running a business. One of such ways is taking the business online by subscribing to online market hubs and e commerce websites.
Internet penetration, increase in mobile phone usage, ability to source for items online, store to door delivery and online marketing platforms are some of the methods used to keep most Nigerian retail businesses afloat.
A research by WesternMall, Nigerias number one auction platform in the first quarter of 2016 showed that more people listed products for sale on the WesternMall website as compared to the last quarter in 2015. Dealers in electronics, phones, computers, home appliances and fashion listings on the website also increased by 35% in the first quarter of 2016.
According to the research, a look at your typical offline market or store revealed that more shop owners now use free marketing channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Nairaland, Pinterets etc to showcase and market their goods and services as against seeking shops highly populated areas.
On a broader scope marketing activities on online market hubs and forums in Nigeria showed a 22% increase in the first quarter of 2016 and at least 36% of online shoppers completed a purchase transaction in the first quarter of 2016 attesting to the fact that the online market place is gaining more recognition.
Dealers in items source from other countries have also started the trend of ordering goods from abroad online and selling to the clients cutting off the need for them to travel aboard to get the items and also the space where the item would have been stored.
One of the dealers on the WesternMall website said he has been getting more inquires and making more sales since subscribing to the online platform. He also said that his overhead is now lower since he works from his home and does not need to rent a shop or a warehouse.
More businesses could benefit from adopting the online market trend in Nigeria at this present moment. Not only will it ensure that cost of operation stay down, it will also make commercial real estate more affordable as the need to rent shops will ultimately reduce.