Sefik Bagdadioglu, the Managing Director of Kaymu Nigeria, a Turkish-Canadian, is a man fired up by “Nigeria’s incredible potentials.” He joined Kaymu after consulting for Monitor Deloitte in Canada with more than eight years of experience in strategic planning, operational excellence and process improvement, working with multinationals and governments. He has also lived and worked in East Africa, where he ran a start-up company backed by the World Bank. In the interview arranged by Blessing Oigiangbe, he expresses his desire to play an integral part in realizing Nigeria’s business potentials through Kaymu.
Kaymu has been in existence in Nigeria for over two and half years and it has witnessed tremendous growth within that period. We began operations with staff strength of five, have grown to accommodate close to 90 employees and many more affiliates. We are amongst the top 40 e-commerce companies with the largest social media followership
with a fan base of more than 5 million people. We have witnessed increasing visits to our site and currently attract hundreds of thousands of unique visitors weekly.
I can tell you that Kaymu enjoys tens of thousands of sales monthly. We believe that the internet can break economic barriers and change the way business is done. We want to bring e-commerce into the lives of Nigerians and to empower local entrepreneurs by helping them take their businesses online.
As with every business venture, e-commerce comes with its own unique challenges ranging from inefficient delivery systems to epileptic internet service and so on, however, these challenges are being managed via strategic partnerships with the right delivery and internet solution partners.
It is no secret that logistics is a challenge in Nigeria. To overcome this issue and to be able to provide the best experience to our community, we partnered with sister venture AIG, to handle logistics for our sellers.
In addition to that, we offer options such as Cash on Delivery and Kaymu Safe Pay- an escrow service that protects buyers and sellers to provide our community with options.
The online space in Nigeria is still evolving however, some of the main categories are e-tail, online marketplaces, classified sites and deal sites. Kaymu is the leading online shopping community that connects and empowers buyers and sellers to build their own success stories.
Our mission is to empower entrepreneurs and individuals to do business as well as to make shopping accessible for everyone, everywhere.
Online trading value
Last year, Former Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson valued Nigeria’s e-commerce market at an annual $10billion with 300,000 daily transactions. I would expect that value to have increased now and we are definitely one of the biggest players.
Since inception Kaymu has been at the forefront of e-commerce in Nigeria.We welcome competition as it gives an incentive to continually seek innovative ways to improve the quality of our service to our community.
At Kaymu, we see everyone who has internet access and buys and sells as our target audience. Kaymu is an online community of buyers and sellers. We empower individuals and Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises, SMEs; we offer professional approach and customer support to enable small players and even individuals to gain regional and national exposure. And this increases traffic and sales volumes. Furthermore, buyers have a large choice of products and the best prices on a user-friendly platform.
We do not keep stock. We exist as a secure platform for buyers and sellers to meet. The platform exists for every and any product or service not prohibited by the law to be listed/sold. In cases of returns, the sellers set their own return policies which the buyers accept at the point of purchase.
The basic requirement for an online business to thrive is accessibility to the internet and a smart device. In this age where technological advancement has placed one’s office in the palm of his hands, it becomes easy for everyone in the Kaymu team to work effectively whether at home or in the office. Kaymu’s operational services around the country are managed and controlled by Kaymu staff.
Within Nigeria, the bulk of Kaymu’s orders come from Lagos. However, we receive orders and listings from all over the 36 states of the federation. We are an African company with talented employees. 90 per cent of the team is local. Kaymu is present in 17 countries spread across Africa, making it possibly Africa’s largest marketplace since its launch in Nigeria in 2013. We are experiencing great interest in every country we are present in and strive to do better to ensure our sellers maximize their full business potentials using our platform.
I believe that nearly every market, small or big, will, in due course, adapt to the proven global e-commerce and marketplace models that have shown tremendous success across most of the world to date. It’s just a matter of time. It is cost effective, enables better productivity, has higher margins, allows for quick comparison, the positives are countless.
Fashion and gadgets are some of the most popular categories on the platform. Our strategy is to continue to improve the quality of our service and seek innovative ways to satisfy our ever growing customer base.
Kaymu’s value proposition
Kaymu fosters local economies, supports efficient price-finding, and creates tech-enabled know-how in every active country. We empower entrepreneurs and individuals to do business as well as to make shopping accessible for everyone, everywhere.
Kaymu contributes to the growth of mainstream businesses by providing marketing support as well as free business intelligence to SMEs. As an example, we are holding quarterly seminars tagged the Entrepreneurs’ Club- a seminar for SMEs and startups to provide hands-on practical sessions with business, technology and financial experts to understand how small and medium scale enterprises can harness their efforts and leverage technological advancements to enhance productivity.
Future of e-commerce
E-commerce is more advanced in age in the UK, US and Europe. However, at the pace in which it is growing in Nigeria, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next five years, the e-commerce share in the country’s economy can be compared to that of more developed nations. The future of e-commerce in Nigeria is very bright. With the e-commerce bill being passed, the sector is expected to witness strategic reformation geared towards the regulation of e-commerce practice in Nigeria.
The potentials for Kaymu’s growth are very high and we have very exciting initiatives coming up. We are a start-up company, and creating a sustainable business is important. We grow with our community and we want to become the most connected online and mobile community outside of US and China. We want to be known as the company who shook things up. We want to democratize access to e-commerce in Nigeria.
Kaymu is part of AIG (Africa Internet Group) which is backed by MTN, Milicom and Rocket Internet.
Click-and-mortar has many advantages over brick and mortar shopping, some of which are wider reach, ease of use and navigation, better time management, no overhead cost, lower risk and damages and greater marketing advantage to name a few. Everyone benefits from it because it encourages economic growth.
Published in the Business Eye’s print version, Sep 2015 edition