• Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Jumia, Konga, Adibba, OLX ride on social media for growth

Retail businesses in Nigeria are riding on the back of the expanding social media platform to make inroads into the economy, with the value estimated to reach $3.3 billion in the next two years, BusinessDay investigations show.

Industry watchers say the innovative application of social media platforms, notably Facebook and Twitter, by online retailers in Nigeria including Konga, Jumia, Adibba, OLX, Gloo and Gidimall to drive customer awareness, interaction and marketing campaigns is a fundamental factor responsible for their massive success.

According to a recent survey, the local online shopping sector grew from N49.9 to N62.4 billion between 2010 and 2011,and from N62.4 to N78 billion between 2011and 2012 representing a 25 percent increase in each period, says Phillips Consulting.

Tomiwa Oladele, public relations manager, Kaymu.com, a retail outlet, said social media influences and inspires purchases.

“Many online shoppers are active users of social media and their purchases are influenced by social media trends, adverts and engagements,” Oladele said.

He adds that shoppers embrace online shopping for reasons ranging from convenience to options, price and competitiveness. To this end, brands are constantly using social media to capture and retain attention as well as influence sales.

Consequently, given the accompanying convenience and wider reach that the social media offer and the wider acceptability by buyers, retail business in the country will more than double in their value in the next two years.

Nigeria is ranked tops in terms of social media usage with over 11 million users. A new report by Portland Communications, a Kenya-based public relations agency, says Nigerians are the third most-active Twitter users on the continent.

Besides, other retail outlets such as Addide, Spar and Shoprite are currently availing themselves of the opportunity by making their products known on social media windows.

Prior to the advent of social media, retail sales deployed the traditional form of marketing by word of mouth, and sales were often communal. This trend has changed drastically over the last few years since the advent of social media, giving way to electronic advertising. Currently, banks, retail chains and others have taken their business online and a lot of their promotions are advertised on social media platforms.

Eki Toju, head of marketing, Gidimall, said the company found it less intrusive to the customers who come to social media platforms to relax.

Only recently, Gidimall launched one of the first Facebook stores in Nigeria, where customers can buy off Facebook.

A lot of individuals now sell all kinds of wares on Facebook, Instagram, etc, and Toju noted that this had dramatically changed the amount they require in starting a business as most of them run these businesses from their homes.

“The viral nature of social media makes it possible for them to serve anyone and anywhere. Other companies like banks now serve a number of their retail clients off social media with the introduction of social banking. All these changes in the way in which sellers have approached the web have largely been driven by a need for convenience,” Toju said, adding, “In creating convenience, technology companies like Gidimall are transforming the way sellers and consumers experience the web, and by extension changing lives.”

These developments have led to an increase in e-commerce companies because consumers are beginning to look for shopping channels to shop for daily consumables.

“We strongly believe that coming into this market will improve the quality of life of most working professionals who can buy from us anywhere at any time. We believe that our launch will radically change the way consumers experience their online shops. Parents no longer have to bother about how they will fulfil their family needs because they can conveniently do it at any time there by spending less time on commute and more time with their loved ones,” Toju said.

According to fourth quarter (Q4) 2013 Social Media Intelligence Report, which analysed paid, earned and owned social media trends, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr drove an unprecedented amount of qualified traffic to retail websites in Q4, with Revenue Per View (RPV) increasing across social channels.

The analysis is based on aggregated and anonymous data from retail, media, entertainment and travel sites between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013, including 240 billion Facebook ad impressions, more than 1.5 billion Facebook posts, 500 million unique visitors to social networking sites, and 6.3 billion social engagements on Facebook, including comments, shares and also likes.

According to Adobe, social media continues to shape the digital marketplace with how brands can engage consumers. Whether it is through a sponsored link on Twitter, an online ad with Facebook, or retail placement on Pinterest, an understanding of the current trends will go a long way to producing a successful social media marketing campaign, it added.

Anne Agbaje