Have you ever imagined an e-commerce platform that would make it possible for local manufacturers and producers to sit at the comfort of their homes and sell their products to merchants and individuals across the world, without having to go through the hassles associated with importation? If you ever did, it is time to put a name to that imagination, and the name is Ebeosi.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Ebeosi, Chibueze Izugbo, explained on the Nairametrics Business Half Hour that Ebeosi is opening up e-commerce and trade beyond borders for Nigerian manufacturers to connect to more than 25% of the international marker.
Ebeosi is an Igbo word that can loosely be translated into “the source” or “the origin”, and the name was inspired by a dream to make it easy for people to buy products manufactured in specific locations. It started in 2019 as a typical online marketplace, but chose to toe a unique path by first onboarding manufacturers, producers, and importers across several countries.
“While it had always been my dream that Ebeosi should help small business owners to be able to sell their products to customers anywhere around the world, I realised that we could not start that way. As a way to place a quality check on all products listed on Ebeosi, we had to start with the manufacturers, importers and the big brands that could guarantee the authenticity of the products they were listing. We did not want to have issues of people receiving products of less quality than what they ordered,” Izugbo explained.
Sometime after commencing operations in 2020, Ebeosi progressed and started listing small business owners who were ready to abide by the same policies and regulations on quality. In about two years of operation, Ebeosi has earned its spot as the third largest e-commerce platform in Nigeria, and is heading on to become that one platform that will connect Nigerian products to the international marketplace.
Ebeosi launched in the United States of America and Canada, and has concluded plans to launch in two African countries – Senegal and Ghana – in 2022. This will allow Nigerian manufacturers and merchants sell their raw materials and products to customers in those countries, and also directly source products from manufacturers and countries of their choice.
“This is to enable Nigerians and Africans sell directly to the consumers and businesses USA/Canada. It is time we talk about earning in dollars right here in Nigeria, rather than looking for dollars to import. The launch in Ghana and Senegal is for wholesale transactions only, so our users in Nigeria can sell their products and raw materials to businesses in those countries, and also buy from them as well. We are positioned to drive the intra-African trade starting with wholesale between Nigeria and those two countries,” Izugbo stated.
What this means is that a customer can visit Ebeosi, type the product he wants and then choose the country of origin he wants to source the particular product from. Buying shoes made in Italy, or Electronics made in Japan, or gadgets made in China, for instance, thus becomes easier with these filter options.
Izugbo recounted that the funds to start Ebeosi came from his savings from earlier businesses, partnerships with key players in the sector, a couple of loans and exploring his network within the industry.
Another competitive advantage also comes from the logistics end of the business. According to Izugbo, the company offers some of the cheapest logistics services. “One can order a computer or a gadget and pay a delivery fee of N480 or thereabout within Lagos, and about N1,300 across other states in the country. This is about the cheapest you can get, and we are also working on plans for same –day delivery, and this is going to add another feather to our cap and more benefits to our customers,” Izugbo stated.
There is the dropshipping option where a vendor in Nigeria can purchase or pay for a product, and have it delivered straight to his customer’s location in Nigeria, USA or Canada. This will help Nigerians make money even without huge startup capital.
Ebeosi also provides an affiliate marketing plan where users can share products listed on the site using their unique links, and get paid when purchase is made with the link. It sure seems like the birth of a whole new e-commerce era for small business owners and individuals, with so many earning options to explore.
The Buy Now Pay Later option with zero-interest for salary earners
Understanding the revolution of credit in Africa, and the role credits will play in online purchases in the near future, Ebeosi entered a partnership with Carbon to offer customers a Buy-Now-Pay-Later option.
With this option, customers who are salary earners in the civil service or structured private sector, can make bulky purchases (based on their eligibility) and spread the payment over a span of six months with zero interest.
“What this means is that you do not need to start saving for almost a year to buy gadgets for your home, for instance. If you are a salary earner, you can buy the gadgets you need to make your home comfortable, and then spread the payment over the next six months so that you pay with ease and without having to break the bank,” Izugbo explained.
The fintech partner in the arrangement – Carbon – does the checks to determine the customer’s creditworthiness, income range and the amount he is eligible to access under the Buy now pay later option. Once this is decided, the customer can make purchase not more than his permitted range and the payment is structured.
“Nigerians are not bad people. I think the reason why people default in some times is that they borrow money to get a product, only to see that the quality is substandard or less than they wanted. In some other case, some platforms allow the individual to take loans or purchases that is even more than his annual salary. How can that individual repay with convenience in such a case? In our case, we have had minimal to zero defaults because the issue of quality has been taken care of, and the credit amount is also within a convenient range,” he explained.