Nigerian online gifting platform Lucy.ng is seeing impressive revenue growth having identified a niche in the African e-commerce space.
Lucy.ng is an online gift superstore for seasons, occasions and events, which aims to make it easy for individuals and companies to shop for personalised or branded merchandise on-demand.
“The idea came about in 2014. We had weddings concurrently in the family but it was a big headache to get branded gifts to give away at the wedding events. Going to the brick and mortar stores where these items are sold is chaotic and full of poor branding vendors, and because these items are usually bought in large quantities it was a real headache,” chief executive officer (CEO) Luther Lawoyin told Disrupt Africa.
“We couldn’t find an alternative to fill our need, so we decided to create one. While creating it, we found that corporate companies had the same headache and most had to work with the average suppliers they could find. We had to present a better alternative.”
Lucy.ng, which sells party souvenirs, corporate gifts and promotional items, and runs a gift registry, seems to have done that, selling over 200,000 products worth over US$250,000 so far and seeing revenues grow by a factor of six over the last year. Lawoyin puts this down to having identified a niche for itself.
“We found that this huge niche market was fragmented, undeserved and unstructured with no known market leader,” he said. “The majority of people had to go to brick and mortar stores, which are very chaotic and have an ugly user experience, or at best buy from semi-professional vendors who sell via social media at higher costs,” he said.
“It is even more of a headache to find unique gift items. There are limited options for customers, as products are as dispersed as the brick and mortar stores. We had to create a platform where all items can be viewed at once.”
Lucy.ng started life as a self-funded entity before securing pre-seed funding in 2015, but Lawoyin said there had been a very good product-market fit from the start.
“We had our first paying customer the day after we launched in beta, and since then we have served many individuals and corporate companies -notably Deloitte, Phillips Consulting, Shell and Google Nigeria,” he said.
“We have expansion plans for neighbouring West African countries and South Africa in the near future.”