Mall for Africa: Revamping e-commerce in Nigeria

From left: Head Of Customer Service, Gbolafunmi Adeyemi; CEO, Mall For Africa, Tope Folayan; Founder, Mall For Africa, Chris Folayan; Country Manager, Mall For Africa Kunle Oguneye; IT Manager, Textmond Nmor and Legal and Corporate Communications Manager, Samira Eshian Otu.

A relatively new entrant into the international e-commerce space, Mall for Africa, is set to break barriers in the international commerce by addressing the needs of foreign exchange and global shipping.

Before the advent of Mall for Africa, the situation of shopping online from reputable United Kingdom and United States stores was highly challenging because of the constant denial of Nigerian payment sources, coupled with the refusal of most stores to ship directly to Nigerian markets.

The platform, which was founded by Chris and Tope Folayan, was to bridge the world and solve the peculiar challenges experienced by the Nigerian/African shoppers. The concept of the business is also based on the need to provide a seamless, easy, secure and efficient way for Africans to shop directly from international stores.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Mall for Africa, Tope Folayan, said, “Mall for Africa which is the first–of-its-kind online mall, no doubt, would allow Nigerian shoppers buy online without having to bother endlessly about picking up and forwarding purchases. Also, customers have the option of home delivery or receive goods through pick up points. At present, MFA currently has pickup locations in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Bayelsa and Warri with plans to expand to other cities soon.”

With its aim to expand the market network and providing service across sub Saharan Africa and including on its list of stores Nigerian businesses, the mall is currently in operation in Nigeria, Kenya, the UK and US, The brains behind the initiative also have it in the pipeline to expand service provisions across the continent.

A further advantage to shop via the medium is to eliminate needless extra luggage charges. The era of when customers would depend on the good will or convenience of relatives and friends coming into the country to get their purchased items delivered to them; or even having to deal with the challenges relating to purchases getting shipped to the wrong locations from where retrieval becomes an issue is over, as Mall for Africa has made it safer, cheaper and easy alternative to engage in a secured business transaction.

One can select any desired items and with four clicks one would have the items purchased and shipped to Africa. Interestingly, customers have access to over 180 stores in various categories such as fashion, electronics, and auto-mobile parts, among others. It gives reduced shipping costs through its bulk purchase orders. It also delivers purchases way below quoted costs of online stores who have recently begun shipping directly to Nigeria.

Aside its aim in giving prospective customers special treats through discounts and special deals such as seasonal sales and special offers, the platform also has friendly as people could easily order items through a simple download of the MFA application, create an account at www.mallforafrica.com, purchase chosen items and select shipping/payment methods.

One of its main goals is to make life easy for individual buyers, business owners and procurement officials. Through its application and online platform, buyers can shop any store in the UK and the US such as Amazon, e-bay, and have their items delivered anywhere in the country. One can also shop without a daily access limit, use a regular bank card, return wrongly ordered or non-fitting purchases within the stipulated timelines.