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Top B2B Ecommerce Marketplaces Digitising Informal Trade in Nigeria

SMEs and Mom and Pop stores in Nigeria have basically operated offline over the years. They figuratively ran away from being digitised. While B2C ecommerce marketplaces thrived, B2B eCommerce was left unattended.

Perhaps no one was ready to put in the hard work then to bring the traditional stores which are largely disorganised, fragmented and informal online. They are all over the place like scattered habitation.

However, this is no longer the case as the sleeping and untapped B2B eCommerce gold mine has been uncovered and unleashed. Now, there are quite a number of B2B marketplaces rushing to dominate the space and control a large chunk of the market.

COVID-19 has redefined Nigerian shopping habits. According to a survey from McKinsey, over 50% of shoppers have chosen new stores and websites, with prices and accessibility the main criteria.

Interestingly, investors are willing to fund this B2B marketplaces. Why? Because they see huge potentials and the retail market is quite lucrative.

As competition grows in the B2B eCommerce business, we highlight the top startups digitising Nigeria’s informal retail sector.

Omnibiz Africa

One of the largest business and service online marketplaces in Nigeria VConnect rebranded its business arm to Omnibiz Africa in 2019. This gave birth the startup. Deepankar Rustagi founded Omnibiz Africa which has a partnership with Tolaram Group, the largest noodle maker in Nigeria.

Omnibiz Africa is a B2B e-commerce platform that connects fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs) manufacturers to retailers by digitizing the supply chain stakeholders. The platform offers a mobile app, WhatsApp channel and a phone number that retailers can use to stock their shops. It claims to have 52,000 businesses across the FMCG industry.

Omnibiz Africa recently raised $3 million to bring retailers online and has also recently launched a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) payment model and a bookkeeping app called MyStore for its retailers.

TradeDepot

TradeDepot is perhaps one of the first B2B eCommerce marketplaces to identify the importance of bringing retailers online.

TradeDepot, established in 2016, uses a digital platform to connect producers with an informal network of 40,000 micro retailers. The startup is active in 12 cities in Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa (Accra, Johannesburg and ten cities in Nigeria).

On December 6th, 2020, the startup raised $110 million to extend its Buy-Now-Pay-Later services to 5 million retailers. Also, back in July 2020, TradeDepot raised $10m in equity, with investors including Partech and the International Finance Corporation.

Founders of TradeDepot include Onyekachi Izukanne, Michael Ukpong and Ruke Awaritefe. It currently has about 60,000 micro retailers in its network.

Wabi Nigeria

Wabi Nigeria is an e-commerce platform that is a subsidiary of Wabi BV, a joint venture between the Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company.

Wabi seeks to transform the way consumers buy their products on a daily basis. By bringing the neighborhood store to the consumer’s cell phone and giving them the ability to access their favourite brands in an easy and fast way.

Wabi2b is a marketplace that enables FMCGs to sell all their products directly to the Traditional Trade stores fulfilling through multiple channels and allowing them to know each customer. Wabi is present in 18 countries around the world. In Africa, we are in Kenya, Egypt and Nigeria.

The objective is to digitalize the traditional trade channels and basically help the small business owners to have the same leverage that the big e-commerce platform has by giving them the opportunity to buy and sell online. Omolara Adagunodo is the country manager, Wabi Nigeria.

Alerzo

Alerzo is a B2B e-commerce retail company providing a technology and services platform that transforms how informal retail stores operate.

It offers on-demand inventory distribution and financial services for small informal stores while also providing real-time market trends, customer feedback, and other consumer purchasing data to brands and manufacturers.

Adewale Opaleye founded Alerzo in 2018 as a last-mile distribution platform that helps retailers stock inventory directly from manufacturers. Its business, officially launched in 2019, is centered on helping street-side vendors and shops in Nigeria’s south-western cities access household supplies quicker and efficiently.

The startup is based in Ibadan, Nigeria. It recently launched its services in Lagos. In September, Alerzo expanded its operations to the Middle Belt and Northern regions of Nigeria, and now operates in Abuja and Kano. The company plans to serve most of Nigeria before the end of next year. It recently raised $10.5 million. It has now secured more than $20 million since launch.

Alerzo claims to have more than 150,000 informal retail stores and has built a payments business that now processes more than 400,000 transactions each month.

Sabi

Founded in 2020, Sabi is digitising Nigeria’s $244 billion informal trade sector by enabling agents, merchants, wholesalers, aggregators, distributors and manufacturers to grow their businesses using Sabi’s technology rails.

These rails facilitate access to fulfillment, logistics, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools, data insights, a B2B marketplace, and financial services.

According to the startup, it has over 175,000 merchants using its category agnostic platform to manage their businesses and make B2B transactions. Merchants are transacting at over a US$100 million GMV annualized rate on Sabi’s platform.

Sabi’s network of over 10,000 agents now interacts with merchants across all 36 Nigerian states, delivering the online and offline support needed to properly service the over 41 million micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria alone that can benefit from the Sabi platform.

Sabi which is a spin-off of Rensource raised $6 million recently to expand its service offerings. Anu Adasolum is the CEO of Sabi.

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