From Amazon to Ebay to Wallmart, online stores have become a multi-billion dollar business around the world. Online shopping is an extremely popular (sometimes preferable) way to shop these days especially in developed countries. Nigeria, one of the fastest growing countries in the world, recently joined the trend as dozens of Nigerian online stores flood the Internet.
Are we (Nigerians) ready for this? Can we embrace online shopping like citizens of developed countries? Can a Nigerian online store deliver excellent service and a 17 billion dollar profit (gross) just like amazon did in 2012? Nigeria being a developing country has numerous issues affecting the growth of existing industries let alone the acceptance and success of a relatively new industry such as online shopping.
However, amidst all these difficulties, some Nigerian online stores are doing quite well. They've been able to convince an increasing number of Nigerians to trust them and embrace online shopping.
Here are the top 5 online stores in Nigeria at the moment (July 2013):
The criteria for selection are: the activities (number of fans, comments, likes, shares) of each stores' social media community, the number of visitors to its website, review (Internet) by customers and journalist, professionalism, website design and usability, quality of products on display and others.
Note: Free classified ads sites like oxl.com.ng, price comparison sites like pricecheck.com.ng, coupon selling sites like dealdey.com were not considered as online stores in this list. This list is strictly for companies in the business of buying and selling consumer products online. Free classified ads site are not really in this business because a buyer would have to contact and buy from an unknown seller who placed an ad on the site and not from the site itself. Coupon selling websites like dealdey sell deals and coupons for offline stores. The buyer will (in some cases) have to pick up the product or service from the offline store.
Buyam.com.ng is not really like your conventional online stores. They act as an intermediary between the buyer and the buyer's favourite offline store. Their job is to add that missing layer of convenience (the main advantage of shopping online) in the buying process as buyers buy from their favourite offline shop.
They display the products of some of the best offline store in Nigeria like Ajeh Clothing and Da Viva in their online store. The buyer can conveniently buy these products from their online platform and have the products delivered to their doorstep. This process eliminates the stress of commuting as you can buy from dozens of offline stores without leaving your homes or offices.
Buyam.com.ng, although still struggling with popularity and acceptance, jumps to the number 5 spot on this list because of their impressive statistics. They've been able to keep a healthy social media community of about 8k Facebook fans and 206 twitter followers. They also get about 2k visits to their website daily (according to website informer).
Slot is already an household name in Nigeria. They're well known for the sale of computer products, phones and gadgets in the offline world. Slot, in a bid to follow the trend decided to create an online store in addition to their numerous offline stores in the country.
Slot effortlessly grabs the number 4 spot on this list because they already have loyal offline customers who trust their product and service and these offline customers can easily become their loyal online customers too. Although am yet to find a review of their online store on the Internet, the mere fact that they attract about 14k visitors to their online store daily shows that they are doing things right.
Taafoo, like Slot above is not an all-product online market; they only sell fashion products. Taafoo, from all the information gathered, is the best online fashion store in Nigeria at the moment. They are also very popular for their timely delivery of purchased items. Taafoo.com, like Slot gets at least 14k visitors daily (according to website informer) but they are way more popular on Facebook with 79k fans compared to slot's 11k Facebook fans.
News and reviews all over the Internet claim that Taafoo sells fake branded items. Also, they didn't really get it right with their website design and their imagery as all the images on the site are of a very poor quality which just makes the clothes and other products look unattractive.
From their slick website design to the wide range of products for sale in their store to their multi-million Naira advertising budget, it's not surprising that Jumia is the second best online store in Nigeria. The best part of the whole Jumia experience for me is their beautiful and easy-to-navigate website and the high quality images of products arranged beautifully on the site.
Jumia is (arguably) the most popular online store in Nigeria today with about 408k Facebook fans and 20k twitter followers. They are on the number two spot on this list instead of number one because of poor review from customers. According to this review, customers claim that Jumia continues to live below expectations with regards to their time of delivery of purchased items. In order words, don't count on Jumia to deliver that lovely dinner gown for that special date just in time. Always have a plan B as the gown might arrive a week after the special date.
Jumia still manages to convince new and existing customers to shop with them probably because of their very aggressive advertising campaigns. Rumour has it that Jumia spends about ₦8 million monthly on online advertising alone.
Konga opened their online store to Nigerians 3 months after Jumia did but Konga has been able to set the pace for quality service and fast delivery in the online shopping industry in Nigeria. Konga is also wining the online store social media battle with 418k Facebook fans and 48k twitter followers and their customer review, good so far. Read one of konga's reviews here.
Just like Jumia, Konga's website is slick and easy to navigate and with the high quality images of the products on display, you just can't help but want to buy. Konga is also very popular for offering items at low prices which give them an edge over their closest competitor Jumia. They also spend a fortune monthly on advertising though not as aggressive as Jumia.
For now, Konga has done no wrong and that's why it's the best online store in Nigeria today (2013).