• Thursday, April 25, 2024
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We develop digital channels for SMEs in Nigeria to give them visibility – Delgado

We develop digital channels for SMEs in Nigeria to give them visibility – Delgado

Glovo is a tech company and the fastest-growing multi-category player in Europe, Asia and Africa. The company, which has been operating in sub-Saharan Africa for more than five years now, launched its operations in Nigeria in 2021. Diego Nouet Delgado, managing director of Glovo Africa recently spoke on the company’s plans for the Nigerian market. He also talked about how the company’s investments in technology would help boost SME capacity in Nigeria. AMAKA ANAGOR-EWUZIE brings the excerpts:

Glovo launched in Nigeria in 2021, what informed your decision to provide services to the Nigerian market?

We have been operating in sub-Saharan Africa for more than five years now. The first market we launched was Kenya. We took all of the learnings we got in East Africa. We are aware that there are big opportunities in other parts of Africa. Nigeria in particular was a very interesting market because of its size. This is a massive market that is expected to keep growing. Again, Nigeria is a very technologically savvy market. Nigerians like technology and are willing to test new things. Another factor that helped Glovo settle for the Nigeria market is that it is a strategic market overall in Africa. As you may be aware, Nigeria is going to be the largest economy in the next 30 to 40 years in the region.

So far, our experience in Nigeria has been great. We’ve been learning a lot, I think we need to be humble about any new market we enter in particular in Nigeria, any market has its own specificities. But I think Nigeria overall is different because of its size and its dynamics from other markets. So far, very exciting opportunity, growing at triple-digit year on year, and then looking forward to the future.

What is your assessment of the quick commerce industry in Nigeria?

Quick commerce is another tremendous opportunity in the region. Currently, the experience of purchasing groceries as a customer can still become much more efficient.

Glovo is trying to improve the experience of customers and somehow address this opportunity by serving customers right and the whole idea to achieve that is through quick commerce. We are sure that when technology is put into all these interactions and exchanges that currently occur in an informal way, it can make the lives of partners, SMEs and customers better.

So, by improving the experience and serving better, the needs of partners, sellers, and customers are met. We believe that the opportunity is absolutely massive.

At the moment, we are in discussions with ShopRite, Spar and other players to start offering their products through our platform. We also operate through Micro Fulfilment Centres (MFCs) where we serve customers directly ourselves in a very fast way and we are targeting to do our deliveries within 15 minutes.

What have been your greatest challenges doing quick commerce business in Africa and how could they be mitigated?

In Nigeria, we have experienced three main challenges, but I like to see them as opportunities. The first one is operations. There is a challenge with infrastructure combined with traffic. This makes it very hard to deliver and to operate. However, by putting technology and our team’s brains into the noticed problem, we are able to identify the many opportunities which have helped us improve massively the customer experience that we provide.

Another challenge noticed is penetration in the market. Nigeria is a very big market. Our experience in Nigeria was quite different from other markets where we had operated. We have had to adapt many things. For example, the way we communicate with customers, interact with couriers and partner with restaurants.

To penetrate the market and interact with people, we have had to adapt, we have been learning a lot and we are still learning. This is going to be a process and we are just getting started.

The third challenge is trying to make Nigeria relevant within our organisation. We have been operating now for seven years globally. We operate in 27 markets and any new market that we operate in takes a bit of time to gain relevance.

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What is the unique selling point that makes you stay above the competition?

The customer experience is our mantra. Delivering well to our customers is definitely the number one comparative advantage. At the same time, we are a multi-category platform. We not only deliver food but also deliver quick commerce and retail. The advantage of being a multi-category platform is also there. We are the best company in terms of delivering a good customer experience in Nigeria.

What plans are being put in place to create more opportunities for SMEs in Nigeria and West Africa?

Currently, we have above 1,000 partners that are connected to our platform every single day and delivering orders. Out of those, more than 1,000 partners, 95 percent of them are SMEs which is absolutely exciting. The fact that Glovo is contributing to the sophistication of the development of digitisation of these SMEs is absolutely great.

We have several initiatives such as providing training to these SMEs on how to manage their businesses. We also provide training on how they can better operate on our platform. We have also engaged in several initiatives where we give more visibility to these SMEs and also give them an opportunity to succeed and develop their digital channel.

What should people expect from Glovo this coming year?

Nigeria is meant to be the number one market in the African region. For the short term, partners, couriers and customers should expect that Glovo will keep focusing on improving its operations and making sure it keeps delivering the best customer experience possible. While doing this, we will also keep increasing our offerings in terms of content, adding new restaurants and new stores.

When we achieve that, there is going to be no reason why customers are not going to order more from us, and we are going to keep acquiring customers.

In the medium to long term, there is a big opportunity of expanding into other states across the country and making our services available to more people in these other states.

By achieving that combined with the development of the country in terms of infrastructure, and the development of a middle class, we should be able to make Nigeria the number one country in Africa and potentially globally in our Glovo universe.

Human capital is very important for any business and Glovo is not an exception. What are some of the strategies the company is putting in place to ensure that you address the issue of human capacity in your operations?
Glovo as a brand has a massive commitment towards Africa. We now operate in seven markets including the Nigeria ecosystem where we are contributing to careers, customers and partners.

At the moment, there are around 1,000 couriers operating right now in Abuja, Ibadan and Lagos. We have a team of close to 40 people of which 95 percent are indigenous which is very exciting.

We understand the role human capital plays in the life of any business. So, as a technological company, human capacity development is at the centre of everything we do.

What was your impression of the Nigerian market before your first visit?

I would say I have been lucky enough to have previously visited other sub-Saharan African countries like Kenya and Ivory Coast before I came to Nigeria. My initial thought was that the experience would be similar to these two other countries.

However, my visit to Nigeria was really different. I noticed that, unlike the two other countries, everything in Nigeria is vibrant, growing and exciting. There is so much energy. Nigerians are very energetic and I love it.

For someone that is from Spain, my Nigeria experience has just been massive. It is very humbling to really get to know better the dynamics of the market and understand the people; being forced to adapt and learn is a very new experience and I love it.

Where do you see your operations in Nigeria in the next 5 years?
In the next five years, I see Glovo as a company in Nigeria with a very strong commitment to the country in everything we do. So, we need to be aware of the fact that when you become big, you start having responsibilities and social responsibilities towards couriers, partners and society.

We expect to have a very big business here. Which will translate to more employment, more investment and eventually a bigger presence in Nigeria and her people.