From the Michael Ejekam Blog: Succeeding in Nigerian Retail
Michael Ejekam has experience choosing the best retail ventures throughout Africa and America. His experiences have served him, the companies he has represented, and individual investors well. This has also helped Michael Ejekam become known as a thought leader in the Nigerian retail revolution, but some of the expertise comes from watching what’s happening in other parts of the world, and knowing which business strategies help businesses succeed in unique economic environments. The retail industry in Nigeria is still strong and a good opportunity for entrepreneurs, but it’s important to include the following three things into your business plan as you start your retail company.
1. Be Prepared to Stay
“Make very sure Africa is where you want to be,” advises Christo Wiese, Chairman of Shoprite Holdings. He’s South Africa’s richest man, and weathering the conditions is easier for him, but he makes a fine point. All too often, new businesses are not prepared to accept losses with their gains. There will be times when business is slow, and smart entrepreneurs allow for this in their long-term strategies. When they come unprepared to stay, they exit the market quickly.
2. Take Advantage of E-commerce Opportunities
The people of Nigeria love online shopping, more so than the people of other nations. Only 60% of Kenyans use the internet for shopping, and in South Africa, the number climbs to 70%, but here in Nigeria, a massive 90% of the population shops online. Throughout the world, we are seeing a unique mixture, where businesses are providing a seamless experience from online stores to their physical locations. Managing Director at Netplusdotcom, Wole Faroun, says that the key is in incorporating point of sales (POS) systems and using them. Consumers can take advantage of being things online, but they also use systems in places like the movies, when they make use of a kiosk to purchase tickets and avoid a line. There are also companies like Amazon, that operate primarily online but are branching out into small satellite stores, to generate more awareness for the brand and so people can experience the merchandise firsthand. “When you look at the point of sale holistically, and as an e-commerce player you begin to see opportunities where you were not playing before,” explains Farun, “and if you start playing in those areas, you’ll see that there’s a win.”
3. Use Locally-Sourced Goods
Forex shortages have affected retailers quite a bit, but they haven’t affected all Nigerian retailers “A lot of retailers have been able to adapt, and some that initially pulled out have come back into the market,” says Obinna Onunkwo, a co-managing partner at Purple Capital. “Those of them that had the foresight to look for local alternatives or local producers are doing relatively well – those that were not able to make that transition are doing badly.”
Michael Ejekam understands the retail environment in Nigeria and still believes this is a good time for people to begin a business, but also adds that much of one’s success has to do with the strategy a business creates. Although these three tips may not be a comprehensive strategy for success, it’s a good start for anyone looking to get into the game right now.
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