July 14, 2024

Alerzo and the changing narratives of the Nigerian informal retailers

3 min read

A look into the typical Nigerian retailer’s life will show a man or woman who undergoes tremendous stress. He or she wakes up early every morning to prepare for the shop that is expected to open as early as 6:30 am to cater for the early customers. Once he gets to the shop, he would start unpacking the wares and arranging his shop for the day. This rigorous daily routine is worse if the retailer is a woman as she would be the one cooking for her family, dressing the children for school as well as the one doing most of the other house chores.

The fallout of this kind of routine is the fatigue that a typical shop owner has to deal with at the end of the day’s work. The body, being an organic mechanism, would continue to cope with the tedious work life of such individuals until it breaks down – physically or mentally. At this point, the shop owner, not only absent from work, thereby losing income, but also loses the hard-earned income in the treatment of the ailment.

This is the kind of narrative that Alerzo Nigeria, Nigeria’s leading  business-to-business e-commerce platform, has come to change. Not only that, it has also come to promote the business of these informal retailers to make them less stressful, more profitable and more sustainable.

Since its founding in 2019, Alerzo Nigeria has been lifting some of the burden of the informal retailers across the country who have signed up to its platform, and in the process, is elevating their health status, improving their quality of family life and saving them huge resources that would have been expended in the running of their businesses.

One of the ways Alerzo Nigeria is doing this is by taking the burden of logistics off the retailers on its platform. While retailers who are not on the platform pay the logistics costs of hiring a ‘carrier’, paying market exit fees, and getting public transport to carry their goods to their stores, Alerzo delivers the orders to the informal retailers on its platform at no cost. With this delivery service, retailers save time, energy, and resources that they would have otherwise expended in restocking. It also frees up time for the retailers to commit to their businesses and family demands.

Also, the company recently launched the Alerzopay – its cashless payment and lending platform – to provide informal retailers with working capital to keep their stores running and to drive financial inclusion. Additionally, the

company advances POS terminals that run on the Alerzopay platform at no cost to interested retailers who want to act as agents. These agents receive commissions for each transaction carried out on the platform, thereby increasing the profit margins of their businesses.

In order to improve access to the platform, Alerzo Nigeria expanded its platform beyond the use of the Alerzopay by making its service available through USSD codes, toll free calls and text messages. This modification has made it possible for retailers, who do not own smartphones, to take advantage of its stock-up and delivery services.

Furthermore, Alerzo helps in eliminating price volatility which retailers face, especially during the festive seasons when middlemen create artificial scarcity to make more profits.

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