For decades, Nigeria’s open market was the core channel to reach customers for FMCGs players. Across the nation, these markets are in many varieties – 4 days, weekly or 8 days in most rural areas, and daily in cities. Then you have the security guard tents and the traffic stop boys. Supermarkets and megastores like Shoprite are new inventions. Most companies in the broad domain of FMCGs won by mastering how to win on those open markets.
But time is changing. Unilever now has a director for modern trade, and companies like Konga and Jumia are providing new channels to reach customers. Open market will remain with us but we are going to have versions on the web. Jumia has one – and Unilever just signed up. Jumia makes a section of its website dedicated for Unilever. There, it will host its products and brands for customers.
Yes, fast moving consumer goods manufacturer, Unilever, has joined the ranks of multinationals leveraging the huge potential of e-commerce to create more visibility for their brands in Nigeria. Unilever has officially launched its store on Jumia – jumia.com.ng/unilever-store. The online store houses some of the company’s fast-selling brands, such as Close-up Red Hot and Herbal lines, Knorr, Lifebuoy, Lux, Pepsodent, Sunlight, Vaseline, and Shea Moisture.
“We are pleased to partner with Jumia to make our products available to our customers and consumers by leveraging on technology through e-commerce channels. This is in line with our commitment to continuously seek innovative ways to make our products available and accessible to shoppers. Our message to consumers is that we will continue to live up to the commitment of making sustainable living commonplace through our brands and operations. Apart from our relaunched Lifebuoy soap, newly launched Pepsodent sensitive expert range and Shea Moisture, we have exciting new products planned for the year. Our shoppers on Jumia will be duly informed as we launch,” said Iqbal Farrukh, Modern Trade Director, Unilever. (press release)
This strategy is not new – Amazon.com has been doing it, working on strategic partnerships with major brands like Canon, Sony and P&G to maintain noticeable presence in the portal. Bringing the major brands in Nigeria within the ecommerce platforms will remove the risks of customers buying counterfeits and fake products. I expect the model to blossom. Yet, do not leave the atom-based open market because that is where the trades happen in Nigeria.