Customer experience expert gives her take on how it all went wrong for the once-powerful global company that lost its brand values.
Proliferation of B2B platforms will boost informal retail in Africa
By our News Team | 2023
B2C e-commerce on the continent is facing headwinds. But the fast-emerging B2B digital retail platforms may have a bright future.
But for most African consumers – who are cash-strapped and have traditionally shopped in the informal retail sector at mom-and-pop stores, markets and street vendors – the many B2C e-commerce platforms have had little relevance.
For these consumers and the informal retailers who serve them, their game-changer could be the rapid proliferation of business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce apps and platforms,
Informal retailers and their customers can benefit from the new B2B e-commerce platforms. Photo by Onyinyeonuoha via Wikimedia Commons
These businesses, typically tech start-ups and often using investor capital from abroad, are revolutionising the largely inefficient supply chains that have traditionally linked FMCG manufacturers and fresh-food producers with wholesalers and informal retailers.
Depending on your viewpoint, the new B2B platforms are either complementing or competing with the old-style middleman (and his price mark-up, of course) who have been a part of the continent’s last-mile route-to-market scene for so long.
This new wave of B2B business models includes TradeDepot and Omnibiz in (both founded in Nigeria), Wasoko and Twiga (both Kenya) and Jabu (Namibia).
B2B platforms digitise the distribution layer
“B2B e-commerce companies seek to digitise the distribution layer of the fast-moving consumer goods business, which makes up the bulk of items bought in street shops. They also provide credit to keep their retail partners’ stock high,” explains TechCabal, the Nigerian-based tech news website.
Essentially, the B2B operators use smartphones and simple digital front-end technology, backed by sophisticated back-end tech, to enable micro-retailers to easily place their orders for FMCG products and possibly fresh produce too. This can be done via dedicated apps or WhatsApp.
Street-level retailers use these B2B operators to manage inventory, keep up to date with product availability and market prices, and to obtain credit. The latter moves the process a long way forward from a common ‘old style’ scenario where a middleman delivers a small order to a vendor in the morning, allows time for the vendor to sell the stock, then returns in the evening for his money. The whole process is repeated the following day.
You can read more about Africa’s rapidly evolving B2B and B2C e-commerce marketplaces in the latest issue (Issue 2 2023) of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC). You can access the Digital Edition here.
Continent set to outpace projected global average and be the second-fastest-growing region after Asia, says macro-economic report.
Gathering is for the growing number of OOH entrepreneurs in Africa who are pioneering new ways to reach increasingly affluent audiences.
At least four global conglomerates have announced they are exiting the country. There are concerns that more may follow.
Youth agency discusses key marketing trends that will resonate with Generation Z consumers in an authentic and impactful way.
Two industry bodies team up to establish clear and consistent definitions and measurement guidelines for ads in Augmented Reality campaigns.
Study emphasises the impact of nostalgia on consumer behaviour, and how typography in ads and marketing material is a key influencer.
News reports say 14 infringement notices are being issued to organisations for contravening consumer-protection laws.
Brands will need to understand and tap into culture in a more nuanced and empathetic way than ever before, says Ogilvy.
This year’s conference and awards dinner takes place at Victoria Falls in May, under the theme ‘Elevate-Innovate-Thrive’.
Kalu has been with the agency since 2016 and brings a wide range of experience and professional expertise to his new role.