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Leveraging e-commerce for solving youth unemployment

24 August 2015, 10:00

As the world commemorates the International Youth Day, we are reminded that youth unemployment remains a foundation evil that is capable of leading to several other evils in Nigeria. Though, there is a forecast that by 2030, Nigeria’s economy may be recording over $1.6 trillion from $510 billion in 2013 which will make Nigeria one of the world’s top 20 economies by 2030, there are other estimates that by 2030 the number of Nigerians of working age (15 to 64) is also expected to be 50 percent higher than today. If such population is not well harnessed through gainful employments, it could spell doom for the peace of any clime.

Meanwhile, the economy of Nigeria is fast growing at a rate which makes it fairer than some oil producing countries. The economy is riding on the wings of a large consuming class of citizens. By 2030, some estimated 160 million Nigerians (out of a projected population of 273 million) could live in households with sufficient incomes for discretionary spending. This of course explains why the compound annual growth rate of Trade has risen to the current 7.1 per cent.

To succeed in Nigeria’s evolving consumer markets, companies will need to deal with a fragmented wholesale and retail environment and this is where e-commerce becomes indispensable.E-commerce websites helps to aggregate the fragmented market into a whole making life better for households by bearing the responsibility of delivery logistics. Take Supermart.ng for instance, an online grocery store which delivers customer’s order within three hours within Lagos. Supermart has signed strategic partnership agreements with all the major supermarkets and local markets within Lagos.

Also Read: E-commerce firms must look beyond the Electronic Transaction

This ensures that Nigeria customers can now buy their groceries and everyday essentials (local and imported brand products) at one address and have it delivered to their homes and offices across Lagos in as early as three hours. Customers can now select from over 60,000 items – the largest assortment of groceries and everyday essentials in Nigeria across physical and online Supermarkets. This singular massive market is managed from just one website and with just a click you can access everything you need from the comfort of your home without having to move from one market to another.Contrary to the concerns arising from certain quarters about how the advent of ICT is shutting the young population out of employment, ICT and e-commerce in particular is opening new vistas of opportunity for the teeming youths. For instance, a typical e-commerce firm in Nigeria would always have a need for logistics in order to make delivery to customers possible within a reasonable time.

In addition to logistics, the firm will also require a merchandising team to access the situation of the products to be sold and more importantly, a team of attendants who will be responsible for the satisfaction of customers. All these job roles present young people with the potential of getting employed. To further take a cue from the Supermart.ng model, the company employs lots of Personal Shoppers who tend to be University graduates, pre-NYSC and post-NYSC youngsters who are then well trained to be able to professionally communicate with Supermart.ng customers via email and phone; these people are also well trained to buy, pick, pack groceries and everyday essentials which are skills that are absolutely critical to the development of a formal retail and service industry in Nigeria. Not only are these Personal Shoppers getting great professional skills, they also get to learn to be able to work autonomously, learn to supervise themselves, and colleagues, negotiate with managers of the shops in their  territories and to manage their time. They grow to become Supervisors in this rapidly growing business within two years. 

- MyNews24

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