TradeDepot is a B2B distribution platform that connects FMCG companies with micro-retailers in Africa. The company is servicing a network of more than 40,000 informal retailers in Nigeria and has grand ambitions to expand beyond the country’s borders and be the preferred supply chain partner for micro-retailers in Africa.
The startup works with multinational and local FMCG companies like Nestle, Arla, Unilever, Danone and Promasidor, and aims to bring more affordable goods and regular supply to a fragmented retail base, and plans to improve retail margins and reduce working capital requirements for micro-retailers.
The company was founded in 2016 and raised US$10 million in a pre-Series B funding round in June 2020. The Lagos based company also has an operation in Abuja and plans to expand to other major cities across Nigeria and Ghana in the short term.
Platform and logistics improvements
To easier find products on the platform, the startup built a hyperlocal product discovery system to ensure that each retailer only sees products and prices available for their specific location. TradeDepot also developed geo-tracking tools to monitor their sales force and implemented a retail execution tool that enables field staff to work offline — as internet disruptions are common in Nigeria.
To drive efficiency in the supply chain, orders are aggregated and assigned to the nearest distributor and scheduled for delivery. The startup implemented a new central scheduling system that collects orders, identifies distributor locations, assesses each driver’s available load capacity, and automatically schedules the delivery routes for each driver. The new system improves operational efficiency and increases daily truck utilisation.
Nigeria’s retail market is predominantly fragmented, dominated by a complex distribution network of micro-retailers, kiosks, hawkers, table-top sellers, open market traders, wholesalers, and suppliers. Retailers are small, spread out over many locations, and with low volume per drop — distributors struggle to service them cost effectively. There are an estimated 1.2 million informal retailers in Nigeria, according to Nielsen.
Video: TradeDepot Nigeria