Iyad Kamal is the Chief Operating Officer, Aramex International, a global provider of logistics and technology. Kamal spoke with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, about the importance of the Nigerian market to global business. He spoke on how the eCommerce sector can improve in the country.
How will you place the Nigerian ICT industry?
In Nigeria, we see telecommunications infrastructure has been very advance. Credit card usage is also increasing, even if there are challenges around it; cash-on-delivery is also permitted. I don’t think there are obstacles to doing good business in Nigeria. Mobile penetration is high and eCommerce services are getting bigger. So, the market here in Nigeria is actually ready for the new phase of technology growth. I don’t see why Nigeria should not be a major hub for mobile technology growth or eCommerce development in Africa. The fact remains that Nigeria has become highly important for global market.
What value and volume of business is Aramex bringing to the Nigerian system?
Aramex is bringing in the global network; this is because Nigeria is a global and important destination for businesses. The population here is huge and the atmosphere is still not volatile for doing buiness. So, for Aramex, Nigeria is a big partner. We are bringing in technology, business and the entire global community so that they can tap and add value to the ecosystem here.
We want people to enjoy the Aramex culture, which tends to differentiate us from competition. We shall also be very aggressive in investing in startups that can help to achieve Aramex vision in Nigeria. The startup can be a technology or logistic firms.
We shall aggressively tap business development in the country. Though we have partners, we are also going to deliver services individually. We shall partner with both IT and logistics firms to be able to get to every part of Nigeria. In another few years, we see Aramex becoming the logistics player of choice in the Nigerian market. This is based on the experience we coming with
Can we know more about your services?
We are talking about our expansion here in Nigeria, especially as it relates to the type of technology we are bringing into the country, especially in eCommerce. For us at Aramex, we have concluded that whatever technology being deployed in other markets, especially the advanced ones, we shall bring them here.
Now, on the consumer side, we have been able to develop an app. Aramex consumer app can be downloaded by consumers. It is for those who have ordered Aramex to help deliver the goods. So, the customer can track the goods online. With the app, he can purchase and pay for the goods online. The target is to improve consumer experience.
We have also launched courier app, where anyone can easily become Aramex courier. It is a mobile app, where you can easily with it becomea major part of Aramex.
We are also deploying a very big data engine technology in Nigeria, whereby all the information coming out from eCommerce, especially lastmile delivery process can be harnessed for economic growth. We have developed a vast technology that can easily analyse data to improve customer satisfaction.
You mentioned eCommerce, which of the players are you providing logistics solution for in Nigeria?
It is a combination. We targets both local retailers in Nigeria and international ecommerce players from across the globe, be it from USA, Europe, China and even South Africa that sees the Nigerian market as been critical for their business growth. We have solution from pick-up to lastmile strategy in Nigeria. We are opening up that solution and we have told clients that Nigeria is potential market for new services.
Do you have any relationship with market leaders including Jumia, Konga, Yudala and others in Nigeria?
We don’t do much business with them for now, but this is part of our strategy here. You see this eCommerce ecosystem is fast evolving and you will always see that you nee to work with them all from the smallest to the biggest. We all need each others. The market is big, so that strategy must fast and dynamic. We are focusing also on the SMEs.
Some of the solutions you are canvassing for, how fast do we see them impacting positively on the eCommerce sector?
This has to do with the direction of global trade. Today, it has become much easier to buy goods from any part of the world. Besides, clearances from across the globe are becoming easier for people. Countries globally, through our research are looking for ways to improve eCommerce, so they are becoming more accommodating, introducing new experience across board.So, where Aramex comes in, including other competition, is to make the entire ecosystem seamless without hitches for customers. We are deploying solutions that make the entire process simpler and faster for all to benefit.
A critical aspect of eCommerce is lastmile infrastructure and this is still a challenge in Nigeria, how is Aramex going to deal with this situation?
To look at this, you have to dissect the entire issue. We need not to have Aramex delivering the entire process. It is possible to select three or four couriers that are specialised in those areas. It is also possible to select another 20 couriers that focus on the rural areas, especially outside Lagos.
The whole issues revolved around getting the experts in those fields, then make them a sub of you and let them deliver the services on your behalf of the company.