• Sunday, June 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

‘Glovo’s services are geared towards Nigeria’s financial inclusion strategy’

Sacha Michaud

Co-founder, Glovo, Sacha Michaud, speaks about how the company is using technology to enhance customers’ experience across 25 countries, Nigeria inclusive, in the on-demand delivery sector. Dipo Oladehinde presents the excerpts:

How long has Glovo been operating in the on-demand delivery sector and how has the journey been so far?
We started the Glovo business about seven years ago in Barcelona, Spain, and from there we expanded it to Italy and other countries. Today we have launched in 25 countries, and Nigeria is one of our newest entrants. We launched in Nigeria in July last year. Among these 25 countries, we have a presence in over 1,500 cities worldwide and we are still growing. Our focus in the last two years has been to establish a presence in the African continent and we are currently in seven countries in Africa, including Nigeria. We are currently in Lagos in Nigeria and we plan to expand our business in Nigeria to seven cities before the end of the year.

Having focused on Africa in the last two years, what is the difference and similarities in customer demand in Europe and Africa?
We have different operations in different countries across Africa and the major difference between our operations in Europe and Africa, is lack of awareness of the kind of services we offer in Africa. Majority of consumers in Africa are not open to online shopping, unlike what we experience in Europe where the majority of customers do their shopping online. It’s a habit that the African consumers have developed over the years and they need a more consumer education to have interest in online shopping delivery. However, we are beginning to see online shopping awareness in African cities.

As a marketing, technology and logistics Services Company, how is Glovo leveraging technology to serve its customers better?
Technology solutions are key in driving the kind of services we offer and we have continued to leverage technology to enhance our customers’ experience. For instance, we have developed an app for the convenience of our customers. We have optimised the algorithms of the app to make it work better for customers. With the app, customers can have access to a variety of our service offerings and the app helps to reduce the delivery time for customers. So we built customers’ needs around the app, which makes it easier for customers to use the app and make orders from the comfort of their offices and homes.

How flexible is your app in terms of customer user experience?
We are very focused and keen about the user experience of the app. We had the customer on our mind when developing the app and the app is user friendly and comes with a lot of ease of navigating when customers are searching for their favourites online, while using the app. So I can say the app is very good because it has a lot of visuals that keep the customers busy and focussed when using the app. The app has different features that are engaging to the customers and it comes with visuals and it is simple to navigate.

Having established your presence in Lagos, what are your expansion plans to other cities in Nigeria?
Our focus is to cover as many cities as possible in Nigeria. Glovo is committing so much money, time and resources for growth and expansion. By the end of the year, we plan to launch in seven cities across Nigeria. We are looking at expanding to Abuja, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Enugu, and Owerri. Once we establish a presence in any country, we set up local partners in that country to drive local content. In all our local offices, we have local employees from that region. As we expand, we also invest.

How will you describe the Nigerian market in terms of readiness for an all technology driven on-demand delivery service?
The Nigerian market is a developing market for the kind of services we offer, and there is massive opportunity for growth and expansion, more so that we offer disruptive services that are unique and interesting to consumers. The kind of services offered are connected services that make use of the internet and the internet users in Nigeria are growing tremendously, which is a good sign of readiness from the Nigerian people to embrace the kind of services we offer.

Read also: Facts behind financial inclusion figures: Nigeria’s 2021 indices

What is the relationship between Glovo and government regulators in Nigeria?
We have a very cordial relationship with the Nigerian regulators. We have had several meetings with them and the outcome of the meetings have been very good. We have had meetings with government officials from the Ministry of Trade and Investment. We are in talks with various governments where we operate on how to digitise Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) because they are the engine room of growth of any nation.

Aside from the desire to grow and digitise SMEs, the federal government of Nigeria is also keen at local content development. How will Glovo’s investments in Nigeria impact on local content development?
We are keen at developing local content in Nigeria, through our service offerings and this can be seen from the varieties of food menu we offer to Nigerians, including other offerings. In order to boost local content in Nigeria, we allow our partners to have their own stores on our platform, from where they showcase and sell products that are local to Nigerians, and we help them to do the logistics in terms of delivery. So Glovo is an enabler of local content.

In terms of convenience in payments, how is Glovo ensuring that its deliveries enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria?
Today, Glovo offers a cash payment system, and payment is done on delivery. We also handle payments for the stores. We are working towards other forms of local payment methods, which will allow payment through debit and credit cards or electronic cash transfers and in the next three to six months’ time, our customers will begin to experience these forms of payments, which are geared towards the financial inclusion strategy of the Nigerian government.

How do you monitor your delivery channels to ensure that deliveries are done in the right way, and on time?
We have put special mechanisms in place to monitor delivery and ensure an effective delivery system for our customers. Once a customer makes orders online, it is our duty to find out the preparation time, and we also find out the nearest courier operator on our system that is closest to the delivery location. So once the items are picked up for delivery, we monitor them until delivery is completed.

How do you train your delivery agents that interface with your customers and how do you manage efficiency in delivery, given the traffic congestion in Lagos?
Training is key and we carry out on-boarding training for all our delivery staff. We carry out relationship training, operational training as well as safety training. For efficiency in delivery, given the traffic congestion in Lagos, we use cars, motorcycles and bicycles for faster and efficient delivery.

You are in a market where competition is high. What is the unique selling point of Glovo that will enable it compete favourably in the Nigerian market?
We are aware of market competition and we welcome competition, because it will bring about innovation that will help us serve our customers better. Our unique selling point is built around our humility in serving our customers better. We focus on our service delivery and one of our unique selling points is that we operate multi-category service offerings, providing our customers with a variety of services that will interest them.

In terms of future outlook for Glovo, where do you see the brand in the foreseeable future in terms of expansion around business offerings?
Our vision is to become a global company that offers easy access to everybody in all cities, despite the complexities.