Navigating the Future of Glovo in Nigeria

Christina Gama
Christina Gama
November 23, 2023 • 7 minutes

From fostering partnerships with top restaurants and grocery chains, including a landmark deal with Chicken Republic, to uplifting local businesses, Glovo Nigeria is not only reshaping the e-commerce landscape but contributing to the local economy. Navigating the dynamic market, Lamide Akinola, Glovo Nigeria’s General Manager and her team have been adapting their approach by focusing on user-first experiences, engaging in ongoing conversations with Partners and users alike, while actively experimenting with innovative solutions.

With a focus on building trust and pioneering in Sub-Saharan Africa, Glovo Nigeria  stands poised for a future marked by growth, transformative impacts, and a continued vision ‘To give everyone easy access to anything in their city.’

Can you elaborate on your mission for Glovo in Nigeria and your top priorities for its growth in the coming years, particularly focusing on couriers, customers, and partners?

Glovo Nigeria’s mission is consistently centered around our global mission of Giving everyone easy access to anything in their city. When it comes to Partners, our goal is to have every top restaurant and grocery chain in the country active on the Glovo app to ensure that our users get access to the best, most comprehensive offering. To date, we’ve been able to sign deals with over 1,500 top restaurants, grocery, and pharmacy chains in the country.

Our goal to have the best offering is not just limited to big chains, but we also focus on uplifting small businesses as well. Not only does this approach give users access to local options, but it also aids in stimulating the local economy. 

For many users, Glovo marks their inaugural venture into digital marketplaces. We believe it is our responsibility to give users an unforgettable initial experience in this realm and encourage them to return time and time again. 

When it comes to Couriers, I’m happy to say that earlier this year, we were able to launch The Courier’s Pledge- which ensures social rights and benefits for Couriers – here in Nigeria. This coupled with our desire to contribute to the creation of employment opportunities for the youth, especially in a region grappling with one of the highest unemployment rates globally, represents an integral part of our mission. 

Could you tell us more about the partnerships Glovo has formed in Nigeria, like the one with Chicken Republic? How do you plan to expand and enhance these partnerships? 

The preferred partnership deal with Chicken Republic is a notable development that has had a big impact on Glovo Nigeria. This partnership carries a cultural resonance that goes beyond a business partnership. Being the largest Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chain in the country, Chicken Republic has been an important partner for us. We are also partners of choice for  many other top chains in the country (e.g. Dominos, The Place, Sweet Sensation, KFC, etc)

Simultaneously, my commitment extends to nurturing relationships with small, locally-owned restaurants. Contributing to the digitization of these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through Glovo isn’t just a business move; it’s a personal commitment to amplify their online presence and facilitate the addition of incremental revenue. It’s about empowering these businesses to grow and prosper.

Simply put: we’re excited to be pioneers in this space. 

How does Glovo stay ahead of the curve and adapt to changing market dynamics?

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve personally taken from our journey at Glovo is the profound importance of staying connected with our users. It’s not just about transactions; it’s about ongoing conversations. We make a conscious effort to engage with users; diving deep into their experiences, understanding their pain points, and discerning unmet needs—especially when it comes to their preferred dining choices. To me, investing significant time in these conversations demonstrates our commitment to staying at the forefront of our industry.

We’re not afraid to experiment and test out new solutions, particularly here in Nigeria. For instance, the decision to introduce bikes (both normal bicycles and motorbikes) into our fleet was a strategic move to align with the growth trajectory of this dynamic market.

In Nigeria, we’re not just passively adapting; we’re actively growing and evolving to proactively maintain our leading position in the market. 

Over the last decade, what transformations have you observed in user habits across Africa?

The surge in internet and smartphone adoption has been remarkable not only in Nigeria but also across Africa in recent years, creating a lot of opportunity for us at Glovo. There’s a noticeable shift as people increasingly use social media platforms and slowly get accustomed to digital payments and online banking. It’s interesting to watch this trend unfold in front of me as it paves the way for a new era of e-commerce.

The rapid expansion of social media platforms is noteworthy, and we find ourselves strategically positioned to capitalize on this burgeoning user growth journey. The landscape developments present an opportune moment for Glovo to be at the forefront of change as we begin shape the habits of a generation of increasingly tech savvy users. 

Can you tell us a bit more about Glovo Bargains and how this is helping with market penetration?

Glovo Bargains is our digital first supermarket in Africa which focuses on fundamental, essential products. Our primary objective is swift delivery to customers at competitive prices. Currently, there are 11 such centers across Africa with 2 operating in Nigeria. We’re actively expanding this business, offering attractive pricing to our customers.

It’s wonderful to see that our users are finding convenience in our app for food delivery, and are also starting to realize they can also access groceries with Glovo.

In what ways are you making q-commerce more accessible to everyone in Africa and how is Glovo shaping the q-commerce landscape?

I think what we’re doing, more than anything, is building trust; building trust with a user base that doesn’t fully trust buying online simply due to the infancy of the industry. This makes for very unique timing not only for Glovo but for all e-commerce businesses.

In the realm of q-commerce, we find ourselves in a particularly unique position. Unlike many Western markets where leading grocery chains have established e-commerce platforms, such platforms are virtually non-existent in the context of Nigeria. Having recently secured partnerships with several major chains, we’ve initiated a shift in habits—users can now enjoy the convenience of home delivery for the very first time.

Notable collaborations include ShopRite and Spar in Nigeria. Furthermore, we have also partnered with Healthplus and Medplus, the largest pharmacy chains in Nigeria. 

For me, it’s not just a transformation of a business model; it’s about making a positive impact on lives. By providing access to these essential services, we’re not only reshaping our trajectory, but also contributing to the well-being of individuals. The penetration of q-commerce in Africa is still in its early stages so I know we still have a long way to go and I’m optimistic for Glovo’s  future here. 

What unique challenges and opportunities do you see in the e-commerce sector in Africa and how does Glovo navigate them?

The exciting part for me is that we’re stepping into an untapped market, giving us a unique opportunity to build and shape it from the ground up.

We are focused on ensuring our operations continue to be excellent —improving delivery times and creating the best possible online experience for our customers.

On a personal level, navigating the macroeconomic landscape in Sub-Saharan African markets poses its own set of challenges. With inflation rates soaring, my focus is on ensuring affordability to stay competitive in this dynamic environment.

As a leader in the e-commerce space, what do you see as the future trends or developments in this industry, and how is Glovo positioning itself to lead in Sub Saharan Africa?

As I look ahead, I’m anticipating some exciting trends. I think we’ll see the industry continue to accelerate in Africa, driven by users’ increasing preference for fulfilling their needs online. 

We are focused on expanding all our verticals – food, groceries, and health. It’s all about responding to the evolving expectations of our customers. As their comfort with e-commerce deepens, their desire for more services will grow, and I find it personally rewarding to be part of Glovo’s dynamic journey in Africa.