1. Marketing

How To Start Distributing Your Product In 2020

Do you want to start distributing your product in Nigeria? There’s a simple way to get product distributors anywhere in Nigeria. It’s the secret successful brands have used to dominate the market and spread across the country. And you too can use the same method to grow your business.

If you are an importer, brand owner or a manufacturer, you can start distributing your products to increase sales across Nigeria. There may be demand for your product in places you have never known or heard across the country.

Sometimes, you may not even have the resources to get your products there. Or the brand advantage to spend heavily on advertising. But you can distribute your product to every part of Nigeria without stress.

Although, the challenge is usually how to get started. Some companies have tried online advertising to get distributors, but that doesn’t yield the best result always. Most of who may get are people who are interested but lack the experience or financial requirement to start distributing your product.

What you need is distributors who have both experience and the financial ability to represent your product in their local market. This kind of partners is what would help grow your product in every market.

Understanding Product Markets In Nigeria

The first thing you need to understand when you want to start distributing your product across the country is, who are your target customers. Your target customers would help you understand what kind of markets you should be interested in.

High end products may not require distributors, and so you don’t have to use this method. But low end products means that your customers are at the lower end of the demand curve. They are the common people who probably have primary access only to local markets as well.

And Nigeria has many of these markets all over the country. If you have the statistics of these markets you will agree with me that until you start distributing your product in these markets you cannot grow your business in Nigeria.

This goes for foreign brands as well. Any product that’s not available in the markets doesn’t have access to the right consumers, unless it’s a high end product.

Local Market Statistics

I don’t have all the information about every market in the country but I recently stumbled on that of Ariaria market in Aba, Abia state. Just because this market is not in Lagos would make many investors overlook it. What if I tell you that this market has 37,000 shops and over 1 million traders, would you believe me?

Ariaria is not even the biggest market in the eastern part of Nigeria. Onitsha main market is an acclaimed winner with an international status. If Ariaria has over 1 million traders, how many do you think Onitsha main market would have?

Now, let’s go down to Lagos, where we have several large markets like Balogun market, Alaba international market, Trade fair market, Ladipo spare parts market, and others. These markets are by no means small.

I’m not just showing you market statistics to boost their image. I want you to see how vast their reach can get. If they are big it’s because large number of people are patronizing them. That makes them a market to target with your product.

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List of 20 Top Markets In Nigeria

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Ariaria market 37,000 shop complex in Aba, Abia state

In order to give you an idea of these markets, here is the list of just the top 20 of them in no particular order. We have Market in every state in Nigeria, all the 774,000 local government areas in the country, and virtually every village one can think of.

So, there’s market for your product everywhere in Nigeria. These top 20 of them is just a sneak view of what’s out there.

  1. Zaki Biam Yam Market – Benue
  2. Aleshinloye Market – Ibadan
  3. Onyingbo (White sand) – Lagos
  4. Alade Market, Ikeja – Lagos
  5. Mile 12 Market – Lagos
  6. Computer Village – Lagos
  7. Bodija Market, Ibadan – Oyo State
  8. Nnewi Nkwo Market – Anambra State
  9. Newmarket, Aba – Abia State
  10. Jos Main Market – Plateau State
  11. Oil Mill Market – Port-Harcourt
  12. Oja-Oba/Orita Merin Market, Ibadan – Oyo State
  13. Ogbete Main Market – Enugu State
  14. Kurmi Market – Kano
  15. Idumota Market – Lagos State
  16. Alaba International Market – Lagos
  17. Ariaria International market, Aba – Abia State
  18. Balogun Market – Lagos
  19. Oshodi Market – Lagos
  20. Onitsha Main Market – Anambra

Distributing Your Product In Nigeria

It’s not enough to identify all these markets for distributing your product in Nigeria, you should also know how best to penetrate these markets. As I have mention earlier, there are disadvantages of just advertising online for distributors.

It attracts a lot of interest from those who are incapable of managing your product in their respective markets. You don’t want to waste your efforts on strategies that doesn’t produce better results.

And you should know that not everyone who shows interest to distribute your product has the experience and capacity to do so. There are people who are just so good at what they do. They have built success in their field of business that you are just going to tap all that blessing to grow your own business.

Imagine having 10,000 other people in 10,000 different locations selling your product. What kind of sales do you expect to see each day? The beauty of distributing your products across the country is that you are reaching everyone who needs your product, making it easily accessible to them to make the choice to buy from you.

Distributing Your Product
Nigeria’s largest electronics market: Alaba International In Lagos state

Who’s A Product Distributor?

One way to understand a product distributor is to learn about franchising. They are one and the same marketing strategy. A product distributor buys the Franchise to sell your products in a particular market or city.

Although, this arrangement doesn’t always take the form of franchising but it’s noting different from it. Because a product distributor is empowered to represent the interest of your product in that area. He or she buys from you in a large quantity and sells to small retailer who are located everywhere your customers are found.

A distributor buys your products in large quantity, warehouses it at his or her own cost, sell to retailers who can’t afford to buy in large volumes, who in turn retails to consumers as they request for it.

There’s so much benefits for your business distributing your product this way. The only requirement to tap into this form of marketing is to have a product you control in the country, even if you are not the original manufacturer.

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Tips To Distributing Your Product

If you seek the benefits of distributing your product in Nigeria, you need to know how best to do it. I’m not expecting you to know everything you have to do right, but there are basic plan you need to put in place.

There are 37 states in Nigeria, including FCT, with 774,000 local government area, while communities and villages not countable. You can have your product reaching every state, local government area, communities and villages. Imagine how massive the market would be.

I’m showing you the secret of product marketing for billionaire entrepreneur. And don’t think it cost so much to achieve this. Even if it does, there are ways you can do it to make it less burdensome on your finances.

#1: Hire A Marketing Company

The first step here is to hire a product marketing company. I’m going to be very direct on the kind of product marketing company you should hire. Because there are many companies in the product marketing arena and their strategies differ as well.

The company I would recommend is one with experience in market insertion. In case you don’t know how market insertion works, let me explain in simple terms.

These kind of product marketers recruit capable distributors and retailers to distribute your product. They can also help plan your marketing program to help push the products faster into the hands of new consumers.

That is the kind of product marketer you need. They help make your product easily accessible to consumers, and recruit for you big distributors who has both the experience and the capacity to represent your product in their market.

#2: Make Your Offer Exclusive

This part is very important. If you want serious minded distributors, you have to make the offer exclusive. Nobody would like to invest so much in your product if it’s too competitive. It’s the exclusivity that would encourage them to stake their finance on your product.

An exclusive offer makes the distributors feel they are an important partners in your business. It gives them some monopoly in their respective markets. That’s also why they can buy in large quantity because they feel responsible for the product supply in their assigned market.

If your offer doesn’t include this kind of exclusivity, then it’s not enticing enough. You may still get some distributors, but may not be the experienced and capable ones. It takes a huge value proposition to entice serious and capable distributors to join your network of product partners.

One good way to offer exclusive distribution to your partners is to segment your market either according to states or cities. Design your distribution plan in a way the distributors will know how the market is shared among distributors. And stake your integrity to maintain this exclusivity without fail.

#3: Target Experienced Distributors

In distributing your product, don’t just sign up anyone who says they want to start distributing your product. There are distributors I call road side distributors. These are people who has no experience in business but have money to buy products and stock.

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The type of distributors you have can either impact positively on your sales growth or frustrate it. The best bet is to go after distributors with track record of achievements in their respective markets. And if they are new or aspiring distributors, ensure they possess the zeal and passion for the business.

These experienced distributors have already gained some relationship with fast growing retailers who they can introduce your product to. They have some experience in the market and knows how to move any product faster to the consumer.

Avoid recruiting inexperienced distributors. That’s why you need to hire a marketing company to do this one for you. Don’t waste your money on advertisements for distributors, rather spend that advert budget on promoting your products to the consumer and directing them to the stores near them.

Distributing Your Product
The popular Ikeja computer village in Lagos State

#4: Set Standard Relationship

You don’t want your distributors to feel like they are on their own. That can discourage them or make them feel less interested in pushing your product. Think of your distributors as your partners. They are your marketing partners that should be brought closer to every plan you are making about your product.

Create an easy communication channel to reach all the distributors in real time concerning distributing your product. Update them on promos, incentives, commission increase or decrease, and other measures aimed at marketing your product.

Also, don’t ignore their complains and concerns about your product. Use them as channel to get feedback about your product. And hear what they think about how well you are compensating them for their efforts.

Most importantly, make them feel they are too important to your business. People like to be valued and appreciated. If you appreciate the value your distributors bring to your business, they will be happy to do more.

Conclusion

Any product that’s not built around a network of distributing partners won’t grow fast in Nigeria. The Nigerian market is still built around local markets, like in the calendar of the Igbo market days of (eke, orie, afor and nkwo). The Igbos go to different markets based on assigned market days to buy and sell.

That same structure is what’s being used today but a bit different from the past. Everyday, millions of Nigerians go to these different markets to buy or sell. And no matter how the markets transform, they will still be the congregating point for buyer’s and sellers.

Finally, use experienced product marketers to grow your distributing partners for your product. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it at long run. However, you can take one market at a time for cost consideration, until you have covered every market in the country.

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