In Nigeria’s Growing Digital Economy
According to the Jumia 2019 Mobile Report, Nigeria will contribute 4% of the estimated 700 million new global mobile subscribers by 2025, making it the only country in Africa marked with a significant contribution to increasing mobile penetration in the world. By this quota, it is expected that 28 million new mobile subscribers will emerge from Nigeria between 2019 and 2025, that is, an average of 7 million new mobile subscribers annually.
So far, according to GSMA, Nigeria has about 122m Nigerians on the internet today. This is riding on the back of the work done by browsers like Opera Mini who have made access to data up to 9 times cheaper with their data saving functionality.
Being that the average Nigerian has access to digital platforms, this has allowed for more educated users and created more opportunities for companies to create and capture value in this growing digital economy in Nigeria. Brands like OPay, Paystack, Flutterwave and more have been able to thrive in the economy because of this fact. This digital economy is opening pathways for inclusive growth, innovation, job creation, service delivery, and poverty reduction in Africa.
However, despite the growing digital economy in Nigeria, we have a wealth problem in Nigeria (not a UX problem). According to the World Data Lab’s Poverty Clock, about 6 Nigerians fall below the poverty line every minute!
How do you then build the right product for Nigeria’s Growing Digital Economy? The first step is to define the market – instead of the product. And to define the market, there are four key market elements to closely look at:
- Category. What category of products does the customer put you in?
- Who. Who is the target audience within the category? There are always multiple personas within a single category, so this breaks it down further.
- Problems: What problems does your target audience have related to the category?
- Motivators: What are the motivations behind those problems? Why are those problems important to your target audience?
These market elements help you find the perfect Product-Market Fit when getting started.
The interesting thing about the “good problem” of Product-Market Fit is that it evolves over time. Market and product components changes are volatile and you should let the market lead the way in this ongoing process. How do you implement this going forward?
- Expand your market definition. Start with a niche market and a tailored solution and expand the definition of your market outwards into larger markets and newer verticals. Think of it like starting at the centre of a bullseye and expanding out into concentric circular layers.
- The market will evolve with you. At the same time, markets don’t sit still. That means the markets with which you have strong Market Product Fit will evolve over time.
Discover. Develop. Deliver
Many new tech brands are always too concerned about the UX of their solutions that they forget the real issue. African users have a prosperity problem, not a UX problem. They want a better and easier life. They want a form of escape from the stress and pressure they experience on a daily basis, whether it’s induced from the workplace or the economy as a whole. As the aspirational people that we are, products that save them money or feed their aspiration to be more affluent are bound to win.
Further, meet customers in their everyday life by tapping into existing ecosystems. Don’t try to change user behaviour, let your solution adapt to theirs because it is much harder to teach a new behaviour. In the early-days, don’t worry too much about building cool or fancy UX; that is putting the cart before the horse. Hit the streets, listen to your users and build the minimum value that shares prosperity.
Maintain a continued conversation with your users. Collect feedback, study consumer behaviour and morph your product with that insight. And even when you feel you’ve reached your immediate goals, don’t stop talking to customers. To build a winning brand with a good unique selling point, laser focus on customer success.
Seun Runsewe is the Product Director at OPay, the leading fintech startup in Nigeria. Prior to OPay, Seun built Switch by Sterling Bank, a digital bank for the middle class and Nigerians in Diaspora. She was the Inbound Sales Lead at Paystack, an online payments company. She started out as a Management Consultant and the Project Coordinator for Project Africa, KPMG’s initiative to push the frontiers of Financial Services in Africa. Seun studied Business Administration at Covenant University.