What was supposed to have been a temporary closure of businesses was fast leading to a permanent closure as small businesses are not strong enough to withstand such a disruption. Those who quickly noticed that online shopping was becoming the trend were however able to carry on their business as usual with the help of the Internet.
One of the platforms that offer the opportunity to sell and buy online is Jiji Nigeria. Between when the Nigerian economy went into a lockdown and now, more than 200,000 sellers signed up to Jiji.ng in a bid to cope with the financial crisis and meet the increased demands of online shopping.
Jiji provided the online version of the local market, this time with a higher traffic of people shopping at every given time. Currently 1 in 4 active internet users in Nigeria have the Jiji app installed on their phone. Jiji has also grown to be the first place shoppers think of to buy goods and services as almost 50% of Jiji traffic came from people going directly to the website/app as opposed to through clicking on an advert for instance.
Chukwuka Anyado, a seller on Jiji stated, ‘The idea of paying heavy shop rents needs to be reconsidered, everything has gone digital, most of the customers are on the internet, make a demand, and I then use a dispatch rider to send the goods to them. For a beginner Jiji makes it easier, you just get a small place if not your living house can still be of use. Gradually you see yourself growing’.
Businesses that enjoyed the highest demand on Jiji.ng during this period were:
- Mobile Phones;
- TV and DVD equipment;
- Houses and apartments for rent;
Clothing is the most surprising category on the list but it appears that Nigerians being the fashionable bunch that they are were not going to allow a lockdown limit them from still looking good.
Lolade Odueso, a car dealer on Jiji, mentioned, ‘Business was on hold for a while during the lockdown, but I had lots of inspection appointments scheduled for the post lockdown period and was then able to close the deals when the lockdown was eased’.