The Online shopping habit in Nigeria is gradually gaining momentum. According to a report by Euromonitor International, a global market research organisation, Nigerians spent N62.4 billion shopping online in 2011, up from N49.9 billion in 2010. This represents a 25% growth rate in one year.
The growing rate of online shopping is being attributed to a radical shift in the lifestyle of Nigerians and an increasing adoption of the online medium by both merchants and individuals. It is also being influenced largely by rapid growth in technology infrastructure, as more and more Nigerians are now online, fuelled by proliferation of smartphones and increased internet connections.
Between the years 2000 and 2010, the number of Nigerian internet users reportedly grew from 200,000 to more than 40 million. With this development, market watchers are estimating that the value of online shopping may go as high as N150 billion by 2014.
The argument is that there is virtually nothing that cannot be purchased online in this internet-driven world, from textiles, electronics, cars, and books to household items. This situation is seeing traditional forms of marketing give way to the trendy online shops driven by the Internet and furthered by social networking websites.
This development has opened the nation’s market to home-grown online retail marketers who are making a meal of the situation. The last one year alone has seen a growing
list of online shopping sites exploiting the rising Internet awareness among millions of Nigerians to woo them to virtual shopping.
e number is increasing everyday, which is fuelling potentials of the growing e-commerce platforms. Shoppers looking for good deals online nd e-shopping appealing due to their discount offerings and wide range of products.
e items purchased from these sites range from top-end phones (especially smartphones), electronics and computers, home appliances, cosmetics, fashion items, groceries, movies and books, with the incentive of free delivery to customers in certain locations.
e online shops employ growing e-payment platforms which are still largely underutilised by Nigerians because of their many drawbacks such as unreliability and insecurity, caused by widespread Internet scams.
Nigeria has Online shopping platforms such as konga.com and jumia.com.ng, egoleshopping.com, buyright.com, nigeriagalleria.com and circuitatlantic.com, nairaland.com, the popular interactive forum, which doubles as an online shopping and auction platform for second-hand cars, electronics and other home appliances, which are also making modest strides.
Another site, ngpricehunter.com – a price comparison website, allows shoppers to nd prices from many shops in one place and compare them and get the best deals on desired items. ere is also yesidefashionstore.com, which stocks mainly clothes, shoes and fashion accessories; and www.mallforafrica.com, a US-based online store that serves Nigerian shoppers.
Of the lot, Konga and Jumia, which seem to have superior nancial chests, are registering the most impressive presence in the minds of online shoppers, constantly run promo ads on many websites and commercials on television and radio.
While the social networks-Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Wikis, Podcast, YouTube, among others, seem crucial to the trend, a lot of business owners are opening websites where buyers can freely look up their products and also purchase, using the online payment and delivery options.
Yinka Bolarinwa says it has been a good experience shopping online. He has bought a pair of shoes for his son on Buynownow, for which he paid N5, 000 with an additional cost of N500 for delivery. He also purchased a rechargeable fan from Dealdey.
“It was a good experience. I have no regrets at all, as the products were in good order. The shoes I bought for my son were delivered the day after I ordered.”
ese websites have become instantaneous marketing tools used by ambitious marketers to create awareness for their products and build a strong online presence and community.
Chineye Ozor, a fashion designer says her contact with Facebook changed her business. It was not until she started showcasing her designs on Facebook that her business expanded from one small shop in Gbagada Lagos to a big online business.
“I now have a website, yet more deals come from the social networks. What I enjoy most is the interactivity and freshness of Facebook. You can seal a deal while chatting with a prospective online buyer, while delivery follows shortly.
“Online shoppers tend to price things better than when they buy from the physical shop. I sold one embroidered gown thrice the price, and used a little of the profit to deliver it. It seems a status thing to buy online and people don’t mind the price”, she explains.
She however notes that payment has not always been easy, as most online buyers in Nigeria are still scared of using and exposing their ATM card pins online. “A young woman reserved some designs for herself while we were chatting, but came the following day to my physical oce to pay. When I asked, she said I don’t trust the online payment thing. Yahoo boys are waiting to steal passwords”, she said.
As much as payment is a challenge, Oke Mmadu, owner of Goshen House, says online buyers have a bad attitude of returning some products, especially shoes and wears after delivery on the excuse that the colour, the tting, the edge or the material is not as strong or genuine as they thought.
“You have to part with some money after failure to convince them to pick another product in lieu of the unfavoured one”.
Despite the initial challenges, Mmadu observes that business is fast moving away from the traditional shop locations and giving business owners many reasons to redirect their customers online.
“Your online shop will allow you do lots of things more quickly, more eectively and with a lot less effort, from selling to restocking your shop from wholesalers all by the click of the mouse. Besides, you don’t pay tax to any local or state government official who will pocket the money for personal use” he conditions