Nigerian startup Todara has launched its e-commerce platform that facilitates the easy buying and selling of books and education-related products online.
Rolled out in June, Todara allows vendors to easily list their products and sell to customers across Nigeria, who are able to search the site for specific books, make payment and arrange shipping using the platform.
The startup actually began life late last year as a general e-commerce platform, but the team quickly realised the challenges associated with this and decided to re-launch with a more niche offering.
“Our focus on the book business will allow us to build trust with customers and at the same time allow us to build capacity to tackle the challenges facing the ecommerce sector in Africa,” co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Olanext Oduntan told Disrupt Africa.
“There is a huge gap left unfilled in the book market. Often lots of people find it difficult to get the books they want, as most major bookstores are located in big towns and cities. Many books can’t even be found in the big bookstores,” he said.
Todara is also keen to make African writers more discoverable for Nigerian consumers, and feels its focus makes it a more attractive proposition to booksellers than major rivals like Jumia and Konga.
“Though they can sell on Jumia or Konga, those two companies are spreading resources on a wide range of product categories, therefore not giving the book market the attention it requires. Our goal is to bring online every bookstore in Nigeria, allowing them to easily list their books online for quick access by customers,” said Oduntan.
The startup is currently based in Ogun State but plans to open an office in Lagos in October alongside its first fulfillment centre.
“With the opening of the fulfillment centre, we will begin to accept books from vendors, meaning we will be responsible for packaging and shipping of books. This is in our quest to offer the best of customer experience and free shipping throughout Lagos and Ogun State,” said Oduntan.
A second fulfillment centre is due to open in Abuja early next year, with a third to follow in Port Harcourt as Todara builds a national presence.
“Subsequently, Todara will expand operation by adding more product categories, with the promise of offering free shipping to all locations,” Oduntan said.