Can you give us a brief background of Kalahari Nigeria?
Kalahari Nigeria (http://www.kalahari.com.ng) is an ecommerce company under MIH Internet Africa Group. MIH Internet Africa is well recognized all over Africa as a leading internet business with strong presence across Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. We launched our online retail shop in Nigeria in February 2010 with the platform is Kalahari.com.ng Currently, we are at the forefront of giving Nigerians access to original and valuable products that they usually travel out of the country to get in the past. For those who are familiar with what Amazon is doing in the US, UK and other parts of the world, that’s the exact concept we are bringing to Africa.
What products do you offer Nigerian consumers?
As a leading online retailer, our desire is to offer convenient shopping for Nigerian consumers in choice product categories. Currently we offer mostly media and electronics products. Our site gives consumers access to millions of books, music, DVDs, games and more at the click of a mouse.
We offer top-selling products, local payment options, door-to-door delivery,
wish list facilities, vouchers, and free gift-wrapping,
We also give those Nigerians living abroad the opportunity to shop from http://www.kalahari.com.ng for their families back home.
How does the process work for a new customer who wishes to purchase products from your site?
Usually, consumers visit our site and use our search engine to find products of interest.
Once a particular product has been found on the web site, they put it on their basket, a shopping cart that allows them accumulate multiple items and to adjust quantities. When they are done, they can check out to make payment either with their debit cards or through bank deposits. Our customers also sign up for a permanent online account, with which we send new product information and weekly promotions across to them. From the time our customers make their orders to the time the orders are delivered to their doorsteps, they can sign on to their accounts on our site to track the progress of their orders. We also have a dedicated call center where our customers can call for product information, order-related enquiries or any complaints they may have.
How about competition?
Right now we are not facing stiff competition from our local market.
However, this ise an internet-based business. And the beauty of this business is that you can operate from anywhere in the world. So international companies like Amazon and Ebay are competing with us because right now a lot of Nigerians buy from them. The edge we have over these international companies is that we are right here in Nigeria. We understand the market better, we know what Nigerians need, we quote our products in Naira to forestall ehange hassles for our customers and we have customer service center in the country to deal with any issues our customers may have.
We also have few local companies in Nigeria with some online prescence. Most of our competitors only sell what they have in their physical shops. Because we do not have a physical shop, it’s been easy for us to maintain strong relationship with top suppliers of quality products from virtually all parts of the world. Besides, none of the local ecommerce companies currently have multiple products like we do. We are currently offering media and electronics products and we are thinking of adding more product categories as we assess the market and know what Nigerians need.
What are the benefits of buying online compared to buying from traditional shops?
Look, the benefits of online purchases over traditional buying are too many to mention.
One, buying online gives you an unlimited access to the world. For instance, we have millions of books, dvds, electronics, games, toys, gifts that no traditional shop can accumulate in a shop.
Two, you are buying from the comfort of your PC. That gives you convenience. You no longer need to travel to buy stuff, except you really need to travel for leisure.
Three, we deliver your products at your doorsteps. The cost and burden you put into moving products from one place to another are removed from you. You just stay where you are, make your orders and we get it delivered to your desired destination.
Four, our 14-day money back guarantee gives you assurance that you are buying quality and original products sourced from top suppliers worldwide.
Five, you have great searching capabilities that help you sift through millions of products in seconds to know what you want. It’s rather impossible to do this in a traditional shop. Add to that the wish list, recommendations and new product information you get as an online buyer.
What are the barriers you have been facing in this business?
There are several challenges facing this industry and I think that’s why a lot of local and international companies with capabilities for ecommerce business are not looking at Nigeria at the moment.
Owing to their not-so-impressive experiences with debit cards in the past, Nigerianan consumers are still wary of buying and making online payments online. Because we are very much aware of this problem, we have provided tremendous security features on our site to forestall any fraud attempts. We also encrypt all customer information to ensure no other person have access to them. And we have direct bank deposit option for customers who are still not satisfied with this.
Another major challenge with this service is the lack of access to quality access to internet facilities for homes, homes and offices. Internet service is still extremely expensive here in Nigeria compared to other parts of the world where ecommerce is well established.
Moreso, many Nigerians do not have access to the computer. Unlike in developed
Talking about the fraudulent transactions - how do you eliminate the risks?
First of all, during the registration process, the client receives the unique name, password that will be further used during the login process and we have account number that will be associated with this particular client in the system. Secondly, all our customers’ information are encrypted and protected to prevent third parties having access to them. Thirdly, all transactions are monitored by our Risk-management engine. The system filters all processed transactions by matching them to a long list of rules. Once the account demonstrates any suspicious or unusual activity, the accountholder would be immediately contacted by our risk-management department. It is also applicable in case of the change of the sensitive information as to the accountholder name, password and etc. We have not recorded any fraud yet in the process because of these features although we have had cases of payment duplications where we had to refund money to customers even when they are not aware themselves.
How do you see kalahari’s growth in the next five years in Nigeria?
Well, we are still very much new in Nigeria. In the next three to five years, we look forward to maintaining leadership in the industry in terms of offering quality products, seamless payment options and effective delivery systems for our growing customer base. We want to be very effective in serving our customers such that Nigerians will accept buying on the internet without reservations. We are also very open to assessing the needs in our marketplace and sourcing for local and international suppliers to meet those needs.
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