For all the talks of Facebook and Twitter in Nigeria, one solution that will have real impact in the lives of many Nigerians will be Instagram. I see Instagram evolving to become an ecommerce company that can effectively compete with ecommerce companies if they add payment interface. As we check Instagram, we are seeing shoe designers, clothe designers, necklace makers, etc showcasing their works.
Facebook.com, which owns Instagram, does not have the capacity to do that, effectively. Also, Twitter fails the test. The reality is that Instagram could win the ecommerce race when it begins to focus on that. Instagram could be so huge that we may not need the traditional ecommerce sites in some markets where there are functioning postal services that can deliver the goods when bought. Indeed, Instagram will be a competitor to Amazon because Instagram can be used to sell anything that can be captured as a photo. I want you to pay attention to Instagram, if you plan to monetize any physical product you make in Aba, Osogbo and Kano.
Instagram is a mobile, desktop, and Internet-based photo-sharing application and service that allows users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately. (wikipedia)
Instagram is going to be big in Nigeria for business marketing. In 2011, we ran a very important article. Simply, we told Nigerian developers that Android will win over Blackberry, iOs, Symbian and Windows. It was a bold call because everything happening then was Blackberry. However, we saw real problems with every mobile OS in Nigeria but Android.
For the 2011 piece which was titled “Nigerian Developers – Fasmicro says Focus on Android Platform”, we have the following predictions right:
- We wrote thus: “We understand that Blackberry is popular today in Nigeria, but Android will eclipse it within the next few months”.
- That turned out to be completely correct. We used that conviction, based on our model, to ask Nigerian developers to move into Android from Blackberry and Windows: “Now, you are a young graduate or a freelance who wants to get into the App business. You want to know what platform to build”
- In our analysis, we focused on affordability of the product: “Another reason has to do with market. Apple and Blackberry are premium…Android gadgets are more affordable simply because you do not have to pay for any software – it is free by default”. We correctly predicted that cost will help Android adoption in Nigeria and that was what happened.
- Then we made a very bold statement:
In the next 6 months, the number of Android devices in Nigeria will eclipse all the Apple and Blackberry combined. Our studies show that customers MTN will make this possible with its advertising power and brand. Etisalat did not make much impact with Galaxy Tab because of the cost. Even myPad from Starcomms is built on Android. Of course, Fasmicro and Microscale new Ovim Plus and Ovim MiE are all Android devices. Encipher Inye and Inye 2 are also Android. They will compete against the high premium Blackberry and will surely win. The notion that iPad can do well in Nigeria is not supported by any data. It is expensive and that brand is not structured for the Nigerian market.
Today, if you make shoes, chairs, upholstery, clothes, etc, the best social media site to be in Nigeria is Instagram. That is the place you can actually monetize your wares. It is a product engineered for the ecommerce world. Get there right now and begin to build user base because it will help you share those images that customers will like to see. Then when you add payment button, great things will happen.
For ecommerce companies, your competitors are not just your peers, you need to watch out what Instagram is doing. It could be the disruptive force if it begins to build logistical systems across cities. With its massive user base and solid photo-sharing experience, it can create a new basis of competition that will cause havoc. Pay attention and expand your market scanning beyond the typical ecommerce sites and consider what Instagram has in stock.
Written by: Ndubuisi Ekekwe, Chairman of FASMICRO Group, writes regularly in the Harvard Business Review.