Everyone in Nigeria knows these little shops where you can buy anything you need. Every street boast of having at least three or four of them. Although handling them may look easy, I can assure you out of experience that they are not. Perhaps what’s difficult about running them is that the Nigerian situation has continued to get worse. These retailers are now facing several problems just like every other business. They are now finding it difficult to stock up, and the prices of goods have remained unclear and unsteady.
Again, they have limited access to formal financial and banking services. Inspired by his childhood recollections of his mother’s challenges running two retail shops, Adewale Opaleye launched Alerzo in 2019.
Alerzo is a tech-enabled platform built with the sole mission of empowering informal shop owners. The platform was built in 2018 and officially launched in 2019. To help retailers stock their shops directly from manufacturers. What it means is those small shop owners, mini supermarkets and other street-side vendors in southwestern Nigeria can replenish their goods quickly and efficiently. They pay for goods online and have them delivered freely by Alerzo. Technology has the potential to change our lives. Likewise, it can transform the way informal retailers conduct their businesses. A feat that has been accomplished with Alerzo. With just a swipe and a click of a button, small shop owners now have fast and easy access to a wide variety of consumer products at zero delivery cost.
Accordingly, Alerzo was built after a Chinese platform model that combines offline logistics, software and financial services to empower small retailers. Shop owners simply have to order products via phone call, USSD, text message, WhatsApp and Alerzo app. As against closing their shops to go to market. Once an order is received, Alerzo’s internal order management app transfers the order to the appropriate warehouse and the internal logistics team delivers the order to the customer, usually within 4 hours. Unlike most deliveries, retailers don’t pay upfront. They only pay after receiving the products at their store. Alerzocurrently serves more than 100,000 informal retail stores across South-West Nigeria.
To grow its business, Alerzo has been onboarding more informal retailers in the South West, North West and North Central. It exclusively serves the Southwest cities of Ibadan, Ekiti and Abeokuta, to name a few. since they already have a strong presence in the South-West, they have continued to drive expansion to the North-West and Central. To this effect, it closed $10.5 million Series A last year in August. In the future, they plan to expand into other Nigerian states to make more impact across Nigeria.
Alerzo also connects retailers to local and multinational distributors of consumer brands, like Unilever, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Dangote, and PZ Cusson. This consolidates their desire to grow sustainably and continue to serve those that are underserved.
With their app Alerzo shop, retailers can buy goods cheaper than in the open markets. This provides the much-needed boosts for their businesses as well as widens their profit margins. They will even get free delivery in all the cities they are currently operating in. Perhaps what’s more important is that retailers don’t have to close their shops and travel to different markets to stock up. Alerzo offers them a convenient way to do business. If you are a retailer with a smartphone or you know one, encourage them to choose Alerzo. The app is available for download on the Google Play Store and Ios app store.Featured Image Source: Nairametrics
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