Much has been said of Nigeria’s tech industry even though its just at its toddler stage, just as is with every country in Africa. One firm however wants to see the more young entrepreneurs joining the league and building the tech scene even more, with energy.
In a rare interview, Jumia Nigeria talks to Olaolu Samuel biyi, Adeoye ojo and Babafemi lawal, the co-founders of the new online platform ‘Suregifts.com.ng’ on their experiences inside Jumia and why they left and what inspires them to launch a gifting service.
Jumia: Can you tell us about yourselves?
Suregifts– (Middle) Olaolu Samuel Biyi, Former Senior Financial Analyst at Jumia Nigeria, currently the Finance and Vendor manager at Suregifts. (Left) Babafemi Lawal, former Operations Business Intelligence Analyst at Jumia Nigeria, prior to Jumia worked at Samsung Nigeria and currently the Operations Manager at Sure gifts. (Right) Adeoye Ojo, Former Marketing business analyst at Jumia Nigeria. Prior to Jumia worked at TNT & Samsung & currently Marketing Manager at Suregifts.
Jumia: Can you share your experience at Jumia and what you learnt?
Suregifts: (Deoye) Experience at Jumia was great. We all started from the days of Kasuwa and we started out without knowing much about ecommerce or online retail. I personally learnt about the importance of numbers, how it impacts your business as well as tracking everything to conversion rate. Jumia gave us real time experience on how running a successful e-commerce business can be. (Biyi) Jumia exposed me to a new world where managing a high quality business is not easy yet having to make fast and important decisions on the spot that could change everything.
Jumia: What was your inspiration for launching Suregifts?
Suregifts: We got the inspiration when we were back at Jumia. We did a lot of research from our days at Jumia and all roads led to a gifting platform. Jumia and Rocket inspired the business idea. Rocket opened doors with different online sites in Nigeria. It was easy to think around a platform that will focus on a niche like gifting.
Jumia: What is Suregifts? What is it about and what do customers gain?
Suregifts: Our platform is the home of gifts; we prey ourselves as the home of gifts and gift cards in Nigeria. Our innovation helps to solve customer problems of having to decide what to get for someone. All they have to do now is to get on Suregifts and buy a gift card which will serve the need for all their gifting purpose to friends, loved ones & family.
Jumia: What kind of Vendors will you find on Suregifts?
Suregifts: We are covering all kinds of vendors to give our customers the best experience with gifts. Some of our vendors offer services from restaurants to spas & cinemas. So far we have high quality vendors such as Mothercare, Samsung, Denaki, Adam & eve and many more. The aim is to acquire more vendors all over the country to service customers nationwide. Our vendors are also not limited to physical locations, we have vendors online such as Ella Mathew and we are working to get more vendors like Jumia on board
Jumia: What would you say your biggest challenges have been so far?
Suregifts: For us, it comes down to communication. Ecommerce/online retail in Nigeria is still relatively new and like every other business online, we have to educate people about what we do and how it can help them. We have had a good response from customers picking up the idea. Another major challenge is expanding across the country. We are already getting request from states up north about our services. It is interesting for us that we are reaching people and now we are trying to find a way to reach out to more merchants in those areas for customers to enjoy the pleasure of gift cards.
Jumia: With the new CBN policy pushing cashless economy, will you say your business is in line with that?
Suregifts: As a new brand we have built our platform to accept electronic payment. We do very little cash exchange. Our business model works as an invisible gift, so you can’t expect the recipient of a gift card to pay when he receives a card. It would have already been paid for and the fastest way to do that is either online or bank deposit. We are working hard to restrict the movement of cash and promote the cashless policy.
Jumia: With your brand growing so fast, Entrepreneurs are wondering how you did it. Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs trying to step up?
Suregifts: It is simple. Make sure you position yourself well, and meet the right people. Also don’t just dream, talk to people about it, visualize it and make a move. Finally you need to have the CAN DO attitude, which is really important. Believe in yourself and Push push push
Jumia: What would you say the future of Suregifts is? What should people be expecting?
Suregifts: We want the Suregifts brand to be embedded in everyone’s head, so when you think gifts you think of Suregifts.
Jumia: With the tech eco-system growing so fast where do you see the industry going in a couple of years?
Suregifts: Following Jumia’s success in the ecommerce space in Nigeria giving a name to the industry, it has opened doors for more people to be able to pitch their ideas and start their own ecommerce sites. We expect more people to take more courageous steps with their ideas. The growth of ecommerce has had an impact on tech space in Nigeria; people are using technology to build solutions for a lot of things now.
Jumia: Would you say Jumia impacted your business so far, asides from inspiring the idea?
Suregifts: Yes Jumia impacted how we have structured our business and also for us not to make so many mistakes in the beginning. We learnt a lot working in Jumia and this has really helped.
Jumia: Should we be expecting more innovations from Suregifts?
Suregifts: We are changing a lot about gifting and it is all about finding new ways to ensure gift redemption is effective in Nigeria. Our solution is to find a way to put Suregifts with everything you can do or buy e.g wedding gifting, party celebration, buying fuel and much more.