Technology firms provide more opportunities for micro businesses in rural areas
B2B e-commerce platforms continue to provide increased access to products, for micro businesses in underserved areas as they expand their e-commerce services, reaching the retail market end in the underserved rural communities across Nigeria.
Alerzo’s Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Adewale Opaleye, said the B2B e-commerce firm was revving up its market presence with an ambitious expansion drive to bring the benefits of digital solutions closer to Nigerians irrespective of their locations, especially micro businesses operating in the underserved rural communities.
“Our strong presence in the South-West and continued expansion to the North-West and Central consolidate our desire to grow in a sustainable manner and continue to serve those that are underserved,’’ he said.
Speaking against the backdrop of the impact of e-commerce on the national economy, Opaleye stated that e-commerce players in the country were offering digital solutions that enabled informal retailers to access a vast assortment of goods and commodities with ease and faster, thereby saving them lot of time, energy and resources, and ultimately bring down their operating cost.
“On our Alerzoshop retail app, we have a vast assortment available to our customers to choose from, and we offer free delivery in all the over 13 cities we’re currently operating in. We change the landscape for the retailers through our one delivery at a time model,’’ he stated.
Opaleye added that, ‘‘for the past two years, we have delivered to informal retailers at no cost. With our delivery services, retailers save time, energy, and resources that they would have otherwise expended in restocking. These benefits have resulted in 85 per cent of our retailers reducing their two to four times a week restock trips to zero.”
He noted that Alerzo was committed to alleviating the peculiar challenges which micro business owners in underserved areas go through. According to him, some of the challenges include difficulty in accessing goods on time occasioned by dearth of infrastructure such as good road network, long distance to the market and lack of adequate transportation system to move purchased goods to the stores.
There is need for more intervention of e-commerce platforms to reach the underserved, and to further boost the national gross domestic product (GDP) of which the informal retailers are critical. The informal retail segment makes up the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) bloc which serves as the engine of economic growth contributing 50 per cent to the GDP and 80 per cent of the country’s total employment.
B2B e-commerce platforms have significantly impacted the manufacturing, distribution and retail value chains by supporting them with tech-driven digital solutions including warehousing and logistics infrastructure, and fulfilment solutions. B2B e-commerce platforms like Alerzo have their presence in rural areas and are reaching the underserved with access to extensive catalogue of products and logistics. Through texts, phone calls and logging on to the site where applicable, customers now easily place orders and get the goods delivered swiftly without being charged for delivery. So, unlike the deprivation of past years which micro business owners in underserved areas faced, most of them today can boast of better and faster access to goods and commodities.