Niche e-commerce is on the rise across Africa, and they don’t come more niche than Nigerian startup Gibadi, a B2B marketplace specialising in business and industrial goods supplies for small and mid-sized companies.
Launched last year, Gibadi says its aim is to fast-track industrialisation in Africa through its wide range of essential tools and spares covering maintenance, repair and operational tools as well as safety supplies, hand tools, and test and measure devices, among others.
The startup possesses a delivery fleet, which delivers goods across Nigeria within five days and allows customers to pay on delivery. Customers are able to raise quotations on the homepage, with the Gibadi platform integrating into existing procurement software platforms such as SAP, Oracle, JD Edwards and SAP.
Gibadi’s also doubles as a marketplace, and currently has over 500 merchants with 400 industrial brands already represented. General manager and co-founder Ola Ogunsemowo told Disrupt Africa Gibadi was operating in a niche market that has previously operated almost completely offline.
“Email enquiries were used to request and process RFQs, getting accurate product specifications and descriptions was very difficult, pictures are not readily available, downtime was occasioned by protracted delays in delivery – these and many more challenges plagued the industry,” he said.
“One of our major aims is to minimise downtime by offering quick delivery and very flexible payment options.”
Gibadi is targeting small and mid-sized companies in industries such as manufacturing, oil and gas, construction, hospitality, transportation and general business, and plans to spread across key African cities in the next five to 10 years.
Self-funded so far, the startup plans to raise funds this year. Revenues, however, have been strong, with Gibadi processing US$100,000 worth of orders in February alone. Its active user base is already over 20,000.
Niche e-commerce, Ogunsemowo says, allows companies such as Gibadi to focus on serving specific customer needs and creating a distinct value chain.
“This we’re already achieving through a very deep assortment of industrial products difficult to find in the general online stores. Product listings on general e-commerce can only scratch the surface of the variety we offer,” he said.
“More so, the nature of our customers is such that they know exactly what they want – brands, specs, part numbers. What they needs is where to source it. We’re the answer – the platform making the process easier for such a detailed customer.”