One Kiosk Africa is a Nigerian ecommerce startup that uses geolocation to connect customers online with their local mom-and-pop stores. Each store gets its own page or catalogue on the site to advertise their goods — with a focus on FMCG categories. The startup targets micro-retailers but also works with supermarkets and wholesalers. One Kiosk Africa is located in Lagos, but is also looking to expand to Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano. The company was founded by Adeshina Adewumi in 2019.
Orders are shipped from mom-and-pop stores and verified independent drivers take care of deliveries. Covid-19 has forced the company to expand its delivery services, and more recently the company also started working with Gokada and Bolt for package deliveries.
The startup uses digital marketing and field reps to assist with onboarding — and works with retail associations and company membership programmes to promote their services.
The Nigeria challenge
Adewumi mentioned in an interview, that Nigeria “is a very peculiar place” and the country lacks the required infrastructure to aid ecommerce development in the country. Many ecommerce startups failed because they implemented models not suitable for local market conditions. The company believes that their strategy can succeed as they leverage the proximity of micro-retailers and delivery drivers to customers, and tap into the lower inventory holding cost of neighbourhood stores.
Adewumi noted that many ecommerce companies in Nigeria have been crippled by poorly crafted strategies — such as pay-on-delivery to boost sales. Often delivery companies would arrive — with customers unable or unwilling to pay for goods. “Most Nigerians don’t trust locals, but they pay Alibaba miles away in advance and hope to get value,” said Adewumi. He noted that it is very important to build trust with customers and consider the operational impact services will have on your business.
The FMCG ecommerce sector in Nigeria is gathering steam, with big players such as Jumia and Konga revising their strategy to serve customers better. TradeDepot recently raised US$10 million in a pre-Series B funding, and e-grocers such as Supermart.ng are also adopting geolocation style services. Players such as Succor.ng and Rensource Energy’s Merchlist.co also entered the space.
The Nigeria retail market is fragmented and modern trade is still in the early stages of development. Many companies deal directly or indirectly with informal traders such as small groceries, table-top sellers, and “go-slow” hawkers — often peddling Nollywood videos and snacks in Lagos’ congested streets.
With lower oil prices, slow mall development, and currency devaluation, modern retailers have found the going tough in the country. Shoprite, Africa’s biggest supermarket chain, recently announcing their planned exit from the country.
Nigeria’s love affair with open markets continues, and more than 50 percent of all wholesalers and retailers are located in traditional markets in large cities. To broaden their service offering, One Kiosk Africa introduced the make-a-list service — where the startup will do your shopping for you in the market — often at two to three outlets in a market. The popular service is driving growth and costs around $7 (N2,700) per transaction. “We are simply just providing convenience, without changing the culture in Nigeria,” said Adewumi.