Reporter- Desmond Okon
Dec 18, 2021
As businesses wind up for the year, Omnibiz, a B2B e-commerce platform that removes the inefficiencies of traditional trade by digitising the retail chain, took out time to recognise the significance of retailers in Nigeria’s supply chain.
A crowd of retailers was treated to a thrilling programme at the event which was held in Lagos, on Thursday. Gifts were also given to deserving retailers as well as awards, recognising their contribution to the supply chain.
“I am very happy today. I didn’t believe that I’ll receive the award for the Best Customer of the Year,” said a retailer, Christiana Egbeoboh.
Emerging on the stage in a glittering wine-colored gown to receive the award, Egbeoboh started her business in 2007 with three bags of sachet water.
From there, she expanded and started selling other products like toothpaste, biscuits. She said she continued in that way, kept on restocking, the business grew and she soon started to sell in bulk.
Egbeoboh said she now runs three shops in Lagos, and employs her husband.
“I have three shops. I run two shops while my husband runs one,” she said, attributing the growth of her business to God who lifted her from just three bags of sachet water.
Known by her store name, ‘Mama Precious,’ she explained that she has moved from selling sachet water to now dealing with companies.
But Egbeoboh’s business did not attain these heights by putting her hopes on God only. Starting 14 years ago, she had walked through a trail of challenges.
When the business started, she found it difficult to meet her customers’ demands who often came asking for products she did not have. This was mainly due to insufficient capital to stock up, and this was a bitter pill to take.
“I knew how to manage,” she said. “I cut down on everything, including my clothes, so that my shop could be of standard so that customers can find whatever they are looking for.”
According to her, there were times she had problems with her husband because she would often divert part of the money he gives to her for food to the business.
Emerging winners of the award brought back memories of those hard times and she was grateful to her God and OmniBiz for the support.
“They really supported my business. It was them that made me stand. When I run to them (for supplies) the next day, the prices will increase and that’s where I make more profit,” she said.
Speaking to BusinessDay, Sekinat Abuhari, lead, Call Centre Unit, OmniBiz Africa, said the retailers have been with them for a year and the event was meant to appreciate them for their passion, patronage, and loyalty.
While prices are a major problem to retailers, with fewer distributors in certain areas, they still hold their place in Nigeria’s supply chain as those closest to the consumers, and making products available to the consumers is very important, she adds.
Uche Okoro, a provisions and cosmetics retailer who was given a generator set, said he felt good about it. He started his retail business in 2009, but since he started doing business with the platform, he has now cut down on his visits to the market to source products.
According to him, when he needs certain products, he calls OmniBiz, makes his order and they deliver it within 24hrs. But he is not spared of the challenges of retailing.
“It’s not easy for retailers because the goods that we buy now are too expensive,” Okoro said. “Before, you could buy one or two things for cheap prices, but now, after selling, the little profit you make will be put back and you will even need to put in more money to be able to maintain the business.”