Have you ever wondered why the spare parts dealer at Oshodi, who doesn’t have a website, even a logo and does not understand how the internet works still rakes in huge sums every day from his little shop in Oshodi? He doesn’t have on online presence. Slot commands most of its sales offline and sell more gadgets a day than most e-commerce companies. Jumia, an online e-commerce company recently announced a loss of over 60 billion naira but if you visit offline mega stores like Shoprite and Next, you will still witness long queues at cashier points. Clearly, customers haven’t grown wary of buying, but an important question this raises is: Is the push towards online or e-commerce overrated, especially in the Nigerian context?

Before rushing to an answer, let’s take a little step back. The 21st century ushered in a huge technological disruption – the internet, with the push of a button, brands are able to spread news of their products and services. With a small budget, small brands can now compete for attention almost fairly with big brands; the internet indeed levelled the playing field.

This led to a strong push and attention towards the new media. Most businesses (and in most cases emerging ones) now think Digital, first and ignore or really do not think critically of their offline channels and strategies. More focus is put on having a sleek website, getting featured on top blogs and having many likes, retweets and shares rather than on how to reach out to people physically in their immediate space. But the reality is that the hustle though gradually moving online is still very offline, especially in the Nigerian context and here’s why:

  1. A major chunk of the market is Offline.

Despite the exponential growth in internet penetration, a large number of Nigerians are not yet online. For those online, they are still trying to understand the online system. Out of a population of 200m people, only 16 million Nigerians are on Facebook, the number is even lower for twitter. According to Google’s Consumer Barometer, 22% of global consumers purchase products or services online, while the remaining 78% stick to offline.

  1. “Buy, Pay Cash and carry”Is still King in Nigeria.

The fact is, people are in a hurry and crave for instant satisfaction but online channels are yet to keep up with the instantaneous gratification that offline channels present: I see it, I like it I buy it and I take it home with me.

  1. The issue of trust.

Offline channels still command more trust than online channels. A typical example is the fact that Nigerians still prefer payment on delivery than paying outrightly for goods bought online.

Now, this is not to imply that small businesses should neglect their digital marketing strategies, the point here is that neglecting the offline behaviours of your target audience or failing to have an offline strategy that is in sync with your online strategy can prevent a business from achieving greater success and that is why our products – content and loudspeaker employ a coordinated dual approach i.e online and offline, to solving our client’s need. In essence, it is not old school to still knock on doors, send out souvenirs and gifts to potential clients, go out of your way to form new friendships and relationships that can lead to more business, print and distribute fliers, call that your old contact up, take that business executive you have been trying to woo to a dinner. Etc.

We are Endgame. The Strategy Company, using a mix of strategy, marketing, media and digital design, we can help you succeed.

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