I have hesitated to write an answer to this question because I am really not an expert on it. But here goes.

Drop shipping as a concept could work quite well in Nigeria, if you can overcome the associated challenges.


As always, the first problem for the Nigerian market is infrastructure. Specifically, transportation, i.e shipping. Door to door shipping is expensive and difficult in Nigeria.

Second, is suppliers. Most, suppliers in Nigeria want faster turnover. Also very few manufacturers provide shipping to consumers.


Current situation

As with a lot of overseas ideas, Nigerians have already created similar but shoddy substitutes.

Many wholesalers provide a service similar in some respects to dropshipping. For example, a retailer collects clothing, autoparts etc without paying from wholesalers, sells to customers, and then pays at the end of the day or week.

Another similar service is the overnight, or two day, shipping of scarce/uncommon goods from Lagos to local sellers across Nigeria on demand, usually after payment.


So what needs to be done is the optimisation and/or combination of these two services.

Maybe, a portal that aggregates autoparts available by wholesalers in ladipo market. Retailers request a particular part which is shipped by sellers to local retailers on demand.

Through a process similar to fiverr, payment is made by the buyer but is held in escrow until the two parties are satisfied with the order. Like fiverr, a flat percentage is deducted for the service. Also add a flat fee for packaging that goes straight to the wholesaler regardless of the sale's success.

You might need to provide an alternate shipping provider, maybe a partnership agreement with the luxurious bus companies close to or even in ladipo market. Likely this will not be necessary, the seller and buyer can arrange this themselves.

But the main service you would be providing is ensuring trust.

It will require a lot of work. Taking the autoparts example for an illustration, you would need to research and standardise part numbers, weights and dimensions, which many at times the sellers themselves do not know, or use alternative non standard names for.

But the most significant issue, is that most wholesalers do not have computerized inventories or even any inventory system at all. Unfortunately, I currently do not have a solution for this. Though this is changing slowly.


I thought about this and concluded that you might be able to sidestep the issue by focusing on goods that are so simple they do not need much in the way of inventories. Eg rice, water, etc.

You can also minimise the transportation issue by using only local retailers/wholesalers. But startup costs will increase correspondingly.

Edit 2:

I thought about it and suggest a database of standard part names and their equivalents to aid translation. A machine learning model could also help with this. In addition, a statistical model or deep learning model could help identify which sellers are likely to have a good in stock. However, the second solution requires a lot of data.

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