Kasuwa; Building An E-commerce Business Targeting 40 Million Nigerians

e-commerce is Nigeria is growing, however, the growth has not been so huge. There a re a few challenges that those who are offering the service are facing. One of the core issue is the issue of Payment.

With more than 40 million Nigerians having access to internet, a very large number, if e-commerce sites in Nigeria can get a grab of this huge number and sell to them, there will be huge return for them. If it were that easy to pull, every Wale, Uche and Abdulahi will be out there creating their own version of Amazon.

One new entrant into the e-commerce business in Nigeria is Kasuwa. Kasuwa is your Nigerian online shopping solution. You can purchase all your electronics, books, DVDs and more online and have them shipped directly to your home or office.

I got to chat with Neils Vugteveen, the head of marketing at Kasuwa and asked him a few questions. I was interested to know how they hope to break even with the many challenges in the e-commerce terrain in Nigeria.

OT: Neil, thanks for your time. What gave birth to Kasuwa? What needs did you see that you have decided to respond to?

Neils: Nigeria has the largest online presence in sub-Saharan Africa, internet users are projected to triple in just the next 2 years. We see that particular products are hard to get, and thus Nigerians ask family, relatives etc to bring stuff from overseas. Besides a great selection of electronics, Kasuwa will be adding 20,000 books to the website and this is just the beginning – Imagine, every book you can think of will soon be available in Nigeria and it will be delivered for free right to your doorstep within 2 – 5 bushiness, we even accept Cash on Delivery payments. Isn’t that great?

OT: That is great indeed. Who are the people behind Kasuwa? What have they done in the past and how successful has it been?

Niels: Kasuwa is backed by Rocket Internet, an Internet incubator that has a global presence in about 40 countries with 300 plus companies world-wide and about 15,000 employees

OT: What offer are you giving that is unique? Why will they choose you instead of the regular way they’ve been used to buying?

Niels: Besides our competitive pricing, our aim is to offer a huge selection of quality products that is accessible to you every time of the day. With the payment options in place like EFT, cash on deliver and very soon credit card integration, Kasuwa brings you a convenient, no stress shopping environment.

OT: What regions in Nigeria will you cover?

Niels: Kasuwa delivers to anywhere in Nigeria

OT: What customer service options have you put in place? What channels can your customers use to reach you in case they have issues to resolve?

Niels: Our customer care can be reached on phone and by email. We are also very active in social networks.

He further told me that within the next one to two years, Kasuwa will be the biggest and the most trusted e-commerce business in Nigeria. “We are however aware that Nigerians love to access the internet on their mobile device, we are working towards achieving a more mobile friendly platform,” He said.

There are people who will invest enough money in using this sort of service if and when service is proved and guaranteed. There are some other e-commerce portals, the different ones picking up are a pointer to the fact that this seems to be the the case of an idea whose time has come. Do you agree with me?

Update: [27/06/2012] I placed an order for a book at Kasuwa two days ago. They called me yesterday confirming my address. I want to see how many days before I get it. I chose the “pay on delivery” option. I will share my experience on the blog in another blog post.

Has anyone tried shopping or successfully shopped at Kasuwa recently?



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