‘Competition is good for business growth’
Shola Adekoya is the Chief Executive Officer, Konga.com, one of the leading online shopping mall in Nigeria. While granting audience to journalists, including ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, at the launch of Konga Daily, a grocery shopping initiative, Adekoya said competition brings out the best in businesses. Excerpts.
What is your assessment of the e-commerce market in Nigeria, vis-a-vis volume of transaction and volume of investment?
The e-commerce business in Nigeria has grown in folds in recent time and this has impacted on people’s lifestyle and the nation’s economy. To put it in figure, I will say the investment in the industry is in millions of dollars; conveniently in six digits and this is a huge sum. I will also say it has also impacted on the success of the electronics market and other areas. In the last few years, e-commerce operators have been able to build trust and play down the culture of ‘touch and feel’, which at the beginning made it difficult to convince some potential online consumers. But let me confess that we are still growing but the response and level of the growth have been encouraging.
Nigeria's eCommerce sector has been highly competitive. How has competition helped the Konga brand?
For any business, competition is good. The moment you take competition away, you relax. When you have competition, it will compel you to do more than what you plan to do. In energy, investment, strategies, competition will help you to think wider and deeper.
What informed the decision to go into the groceries category?
It is not entirely a new thing to us. Konga tried the groceries segment when it first launched in 2012, but had to quit because the logistics was just too tough to crack. However, the company has found a way to make it happen now, even on nationwide scale. The groceries category is one area we have always willing to play big. The reason is simply to further add value to customers’ lives. When you look at the statistics in terms of where people spend most of their money, food comes first. Nigerians spend about 34 per cent of their income (based on NBS statistics) on food; hence Konga has seen the opportunity even to create jobs through merchants and other partners. What we are saying at Konga and through kongadaily.com is; can we extend the values we bring to people on phones, laptops and extend it to them in the food category? When we say value, it’s just not the discounts or benefits you get in pricing, but also the peace of mind. You actually get more time and that’s huge value. You can now focus more on things that really matter.
Every home needs groceries. Whether it’s cupboard food, frozen food, fresh food, drinks and beverages, beauty, health and toiletries, you can get all your family groceries on Konga Daily, shop for your groceries from top brands at best prices on Konga daily. On KongaDaily, we are putting our best forward. We have a warehouse and orders are picked up within three hours, with 100 per cent freight rate. There won’t be excuses on KongaDaily as customers are guaranteed delivery within 24 hours. So, you can never experience ‘out of stock’.
Who are the target customers now?
It’s across board offering, it doesn’t discriminate. Whatever it is that you can afford, is what we are going to offer.
Is there a limit to what can be ordered?
You can buy from any amount; from N500 and pay the shipping fees. You can decide to buy N2 million worth of tomatoes, no problem. No limits.
Have you considered the logistics challenges?
Who bears the cost of damages in case of any? Logistics is a big deal for this category. What we are promising customers is that from where it is shipped to where it is delivered; this is coming straight from our warehouse to you. We don’t ship in nylon bags: it’s with coolers and ice. So by the time you get them, it’s actually in the right condition. We are saying customers should reject it if it’s not in good condition.
How are you handling the issue of security looking at what befell some of the operators recently?
There is an e-commerce association that is already in the making and very soon, there will be officers that will drive the association to give us a single voice. On the risk in delivery, much as I condemn and feel bad about what happened to that gentleman that was killed, I still insist that this is not only the challenge of the e-commerce industry alone but the society. It is not necessarily right to put the challenges on pay on delivery alone. When you go into the open market, where we like to call cash on delivery, how many stores do you see around, where payment can be done via ATM? Do we now say those innocent women’s lives are at risk too? To me, I believe the more we continue to do cash, the risks will continue to exist.