It’s no longer news that the Tech space in Nigeria is buzzing. Many tech entrepreneurs are solving real market problems and getting validation from Global investors. In 2019 alone, about $360 million was invested in Fintech related businesses in Nigeria.
However, with this positive development, we are yet to see many of these companies scale in such a way that their solutions become mainstream and are used on a frequent basis by a significant portion of the population.
Why might this be? First, I think with time, many of these Tech solutions will become more validated by users, and recommendations to other users will invariably help to position the products at scale. But before then, startups must pay attention to ease of use, and customer support as those become even more important.
Recently, I decided to sell my car in the US and was looking for the easiest way that guarantees quick turnaround and convenience. It was clear to me that I couldn’t use the traditional retail channel to sell as it takes time, and is unpredictable. The option of shipping the vehicle to Nigeria to sell was also not really there, no thanks to the hefty importation duties and clearance fees at the port.
With these options out, I decided to visit the nearest offices of CarMax (yes, CarMax has an office close to most Zip codes in the US), to get the car evaluated. The promise of giving you a real offer is real. We waited at an agent’s desk while the car was being evaluated and during our wait, the agent tried to sell us a replacement car, stressing the convenience of drop-off and tax savings. After about 30 minutes, they made an offer that looked decent and was guaranteed for 7 business days. We left, obviously thinking that we would sell the car to CarMax.
A few days later, we saw a Carvana commercial on TV and decided to give it a try – this is where things got really interesting. On the website, I provided some information about the car including the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and answered a few follow-up questions, Carvana made me an offer which was 12% more than Carmax’s.
I accepted the offer online and was asked to upload my driver’s license and proof of ownership, and a day later, I received an email asking me to choose an appointment for the car to be picked up. From that point on, I received emails and text messages from the agent coordinating the pickup process. A day later, the agent showed up with a pickup truck, gave me my check and rolled the car to the truck! My car was sold!
Back to the lessons for Tech Startups
- Where possible, invest in advertisement and promotion. It doesn’t have to be on TV or other expensive media but be very descriptive about the service you are offering. Carvana TV convinced me about how easy it was to sell my car using the service.
- User experience is everything, online and offline. The magic of an offer in the convenience of my office was great and the interaction with the agent afterward was equally satisfying. Remember, I had to drive for about 60 mins (return trip), waited for another 30 minutes for evaluation before receiving an offer 12% less. You know where I will be returning to, the next time.
- Process compliments technology – there were several steps outside my interaction with the Carvana platform but they made the experience synchronous. I didn’t think I was in a different environment, it was easy and you could tell that it has stood the test of time and they stand by it.
Wole (Tech RoundUp)