The new Konga is on a mission as it is working to enable the fusion of offline and online retails. The expectation is that doing so would remove more frictions in Nigeria’s retail sector. As I have noted, hybrid commerce is an opportunity as most elements of our business systems are still offline. Largely, building a business with carries a huge offline marginal cost with purely online components will not work in the contemporary business scene in Nigeria. Leading global ecommerce players like Alibaba and Amazon continue to drive the integration of the physical and digital in retail, and they are enabling new vistas in the industry.
The key sentence is thus: “Our mid-term goal would see to the establishment of more stores across Nigeria”. Yes, the new Konga would be opening physical stores across Nigeria. Certainly, that is a great winning business model. Besides the money being in the physical space, having stores will reduce the marginal cost challenges associated with pure play ecommerce. The piece quoted me as it argued the brilliance of pursuing this hybrid commerce for Konga.
Simply, if the money is in the physical space, why must we build a business that is exclusively online? Unless for pride and fancy, it makes no sense. The new Konga understands this and is working to enter the race where the opportunities abound
The Mind of Jack Ma
From the legend of Alibaba, we can see a clear picture where future retail is going. Simply, the future will have many integrations where data, logistics, etc will morph offline and online components, making it possible for customers to have seamless experience during shopping.
Alibaba Founder and Chairman Jack Ma coined the term “New Retail” in a letter to Alibaba’s shareholders in October last year. Ma said, “Pure e-commerce will be reduced to a traditional business and replaced by the concept of New Retail?the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.” We believe that this is very much how next-generation commerce will look globally, with large retailers and niche category specialists leveraging technology to provide an integrated service with the consumer at its core.
This approach will be anchored on four major elements – the enablers of modern digital companies:
- Digitalization: Digitize business processes to improve supply chain and process efficiency.
- Omnichannelization: Deliver omnichannel experience across platforms and ecosystems,
- Platformization: Unify online and offline information regarding customers, products and services through platforms.
- Entertainmentization: Enable experiential retail at scale.
The future of retail will run through the amalgamation of both online and offline. That means building ecommerce ecosystems without physical integration may not be enough. Companies can approach this through partnerships since it would be expensive to execute such models single-handedly. The four elements noted are going to be catalytic in the retail sector of Nigeria in coming years.
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