Confidence is building for online shopping in Nigeria
Retailing is going online in Nigeria as consumers’ behaviour tilts towards mobile and web based shopping helped by pulsating growth in Internet access and online payments. USMAN ARGUNGU, Principal Partner/CEO of OZyet Collections, an online retailing firm based in Abuja tells ANTHONY NWOSU of IT Edge News how his firm has been able to deliver quality and affordable products online to Nigerians.
What is Ozyet Collections offering Nigerians, specifically those in the north of Nigeria?
We try to offer Nigerians, unique fashion/clothing, shoes, accessories, fragrance, and football items from mostly the UK due to the quality standard there. We also bring a few clothing from Japan and Korea. We are also in negotiations at the moment with fashion designers from the US in order to offer Nigerians with more varieties in terms of product origin.We also offer a unique opportunity for Nigerians to feature their products on our website to encourage them sell more. However, this depends highly on the quality of their products because that is our main objective. In a nutshell we are an online fashion store that is based here in Abuja.
What is the core value of Ozyet Collections and what differentiates Ozyet Collections from other online retailers?
The main reason why Ozyet is in existence today is because I noticed that foreign products are very expensive in Nigeria while I was a student back in the UK. Our core value is really to deliver foreign products to Nigerians at an affordable rate. Another core value which our young organization is hinged upon is to deliver world class fashion products and accessories to our customers in Nigeria and in a very timely manner. This we have maintained since the establishment of our company in February 2012.
Do your services cover the whole of Nigeria and from which states do you have major customer base?
We deliver to all states in Nigeria. Our major customers are from Lagos, Port-Harcourt and Abuja.We are also looking into the possibility of expanding to a few ECOWAS countries very soon. The only thing holding us back at the moment from expanding is the high cost of shipping the products to customer.
What are the challenges you are facing?
The first and foremost problem we are facing is the delivery aspect of this business. We currently charge customers less than we are being charged. In other words we are currently subsidising our delivery charges in order to ensure that customers are not put off shopping online. Another problem is the lack of advertisement agencies in Nigeria. We have come across a few of them such as adFonic but really no advert company can be compared to Google. Google are currently exercising monopoly in the advertisement business which in turn leads to high cost of advert (more than N250/£1 Per Click). Though, we currently use Facebook for advertisement due to our current Ad budget because they are a lot cheaper than Google.
Broadband penetration in Nigeria is low, how do you see the acceptance of online merchandising in Nigeria taking into cognisance the northern Nigerian situation?
We are beginning to witness more acceptance of online retailing or e-business in Nigeria lately. This I believe was helped by the recent growth in our banking sector. The banks have played a major role in the development of e-business in Nigeria by providing a secured payment platform and other facilities which are key to the development of online business. Southern Nigerian states are currently front runners in the acceptance chart because most of our orders currently come from Lagos and Port Harcourt. We also do get a lot of orders from Abuja, but we hardly get orders from the northern parts of the country.
How do you handle logistics and delivery considering the hostility in some areas of northern Nigeria?
We are safe because we have outsourced our logistic to TRANEX who are more experienced than us in that department. They help us deliver our products to customers directly to the customers’ door step. They also help us collect money from the customers that decide to select “cash on delivery” during checkout.
How secured is the transaction with Ozyet Collections ?
First of all our website is secured with a secured server certificate which is issued to us by an American based company (GoDaddy.com). This ensures that our customer’s details are completely secured from identity theft because our checkout process is carried out via a HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). Our payment system on the other hand is provided by “VoguePay” which also provides a completely secured payment environment for our customers to shop online. We also offer a “cash on delivery” and “bank transfer” payment systems for our customers who are not comfortable putting their card details online.