Nigeria’s Mart.ng taking on delivery giants in the grocery delivery space

Mart.ng is one of Nigeria’s most promising delivery services, taking on delivery giants such as Jumia. Mart.ng delivers fresh fruits, vegetables, hot foods, household items, toiletries, drinks, beverages, health & beauty products, food cupboard, babies & child care products, office supplies and lots more within a record 59 minutes. TechMoran spoke to Mart.ng founder Frank Umeadi to learn more about his company and its vision for expansion and growth in the future.

Tell us about yourselves; your team, your educational and professional backgrounds
My name is Frank Umeadi, a software developer and avid tech entrepreneur from Anambra, Nigeria. I’m a graduate of Computer Science from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra, Nigeria. I’m the founder & CEO of Mart.NG. I’m also the founder of https://appwebsms.com; one of the largest and most reliable mobile marketing platforms in Nigeria with over 5,500 users and 6,000 downloads on Google Play.
Chinonso Ani, the CTO of Mart.NG is an Indian-trained full-stack developer with 8 years of experience. He manages the tech stacks of https://mart.ng.
Pascal Anyia, the Operations Manager, with 3 years of experience in logistics and order fulfillment ensures careful shopping and timely delivery of all orders.

How would you best describe Mart.ng what does it do?
https://mart.ng, operated by Mart Technologies Limited (RC: 1474753), is an online supermarket and grocery/food/drinks delivery service based in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria. We deliver in 59 minutes your fresh fruits, vegetables, hot foods, household items, toiletries, drinks, beverages, health & beauty products, food cupboard, babies & child care products, office supplies and lots more. We believe in high quality and exceptional customer service, and most importantly, we believe shopping is a right, not just a luxury, so we strive to deliver the best products at the most affordable prices, and ship them to the customers regardless of the time of the day. We offer consumers the best prices that they can’t get anywhere else because we source directly from the producers most times. On supermarket goods, we collaborate with most offline supermarkets and restaurants (H-Medix, AYA Amala, Tantalizer, Sahad Stores, EvePhill etc) in Abuja, enlisting their products on our platform, such that, when a consumer places an order with us, our well-trained Mart.NG shoppers close to the customers’ location will be notified of the order, then he/she will visit the closest offline supermarket, local market or restaurant to shop for the goods and deliver them straight to the customer’s doorstep. Some orders are not allowed to be delivered by the Mart.NG shoppers directly, but by the company’s in-house despatch rider, so as to ensure the quality of the goods.

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What market gap did you spot that motivated you to start this company?
Abuja as the capital city of Nigeria has many urban areas in it with very busy inhabitants. These urban areas following the report from our study have few or no offline/physical supermarkets and restaurants to cater to their grocery and food need. Take for instance, when we were serving customers offline in early 2018 via phone and WhatsApp, a customer placed a call to us as early as 8:00 am, requesting for 4 litres of an already made hot Egusi soup to be delivered in the next 1 hour. How did we do this? Of course, the customer paid ahead including the cost of the soup and our service/delivery charge. We contacted two of our partnered chefs to confirm the availability, and yes, it was available. What next? We gladly went ahead to deliver the soup and we did it in less than an hour, really. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. We felt and still feel that this market (grocery & food delivery in a record time) is still untapped especially in a city like Abuja with many busy mothers, homemakers and even bachelors, and so we are out to tap it.

Who is your target market?
According to Ipsos, a global market research company on behalf of PayPal, 65% of the 80 million internet users in Nigeria have at one time or the other shopped online yearly. This makes up about $13B according to London based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
This is our target market but starting with Abuja which has a market share of $500M. They include mostly the busy mothers, homemakers, bachelors and everyone who wants not just convenience but quality products at the best prices.

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How does your company make money?
5%-35% COMMISSION PER SALE: We partner with top supermarkets, restaurants and producers in Abuja to provide high-quality products while we take our commission ranging from 5%-35% per sale of a product on our website, https://mart.ng.
DELIVERY/SERVICE CHARGE: We charge customers a varying amount depending on the customer’s location as a delivery/service fee.
TARGETED AD SECTIONS: We charge brands for a special feature on some targeted sections of the website, www.mart.ng

What is the biggest challenge the company has faced in its journey so far?
The major difficulties we have encountered so far are products sourcing and timely delivery. Prior to our launching, we had to visit all the supermarkets, local markets, restaurants to get the products names, sizes, prices, and images. It wasn’t an easy task but it’s worth it. Also, sometimes, in the process of delivering orders, customers take longer time than scheduled to show up at home or office in order to pick up their goods from Mart.NG shoppers or the despatch rider. Also as a new venture, we partner with other delivery companies to ensure all orders are fulfilled on time as promised. Sometimes these third-party delivery companies find it difficult to fulfil those orders on time as promised. We are working hard to ensure that future orders will be fulfilled by in-house despatch riders to always deliver on our core value.
There was also a slow uptake in the first one month. The customers weren’t coming online to shop with us. We thought that it was just another online store we had launched, but after some series of Search Engine Optimization, we started getting orders trickling in.

Who would you say is your major competition in this space at the moment?
Some of our direct competitors are; nkataa.com, food.jumia.com.ng, foodstore.payporte.com/abuja, www.nextcashandcarry.com.ng, konga.com/groceries, jumia.com.ng/groceries/
Indirect competitiors are; Sahad Stores, H-Medix, Shoprite, SPAR Nigeria, Next Cash and Carry, Other offline supermarkets, restaurants and local markets

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What is your vision for the company in the next 5 years?
Our vision for the next 5 years is to be the biggest and most loved online supermarket in Africa. People will be really disappointed about shopping anywhere else.

What advice would you give upcoming entrepreneurs?
My advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is pretty straightforward but I will tell you with a story. Prior to the launch of my mobile marketing platform, appwebSMS in July 2016, a friend of mine once asked me, “Frank, are you sure this is going to work? There are lots of other bulk SMS platforms out there and they are not even doing well”. As for me, I mostly look at the positive side of things, so I braced up and said it will work. Let me just try. Today, the platform is among the top five in Nigeria, serving over 5,500 users.

Also prior to the launch of https://mart.ng, someone said “there were already many online stores, how can I beat them?

Now, look at this sentence, “success is nowhere”. Some people will see, “success is no where”, while some will see “success is now here”. You need to choose today, what you want to see.
Africa, even as an emerging market is really huge to accommodate many businesses because it’s still untapped. There are hundreds or thousands of customers waiting to patronize your new venture. You really just need to start by carving out a niche for yourself in the market and dominate it. Like Mark Zuckerberg will always tell us, “your ideas don’t come out fully formed, they only become clearer as you work on them.”
You just need to get started and as you are starting, ensure to build great relations along the line because it’s not just about what you know, but about whom you know.

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