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Buying Through Mobile Phone Will Grow E-commerce In Nigeria — Dirk Henke, MD, emerging Markets, Criteo

Buying Through Mobile Phone Will Grow E-commerce In Nigeria — Dirk Henke, MD, emerging Markets, Criteo | Gistmack

  •   Dirk Henke, is the Manging Director, Emerging Markets, Criteo.

At the just occluded Mobile West Africa 2016 conference held in Lagos, he unfolded the company’s plans for the African markets and explained that while buying online with desk top is declining, buying online through the mobile phone will help a lot in driving the growth of e-commerce in Nigeria.

Excerpt: Operation in Africa, Nigeria So far, we have been operating in Africa and Nigeria for about two to three years already, so we have clients here and this is similar to how we started in Europe in new markets.

Our offerings

Performance marketing is what Criteo does.
We work with advertisers on the one hand which are mainly e-commerce players and then everyone who is selling a lot online.

It could be pure e-commerce players who are just operating online or still a lot of brick and mortar businesses who are starting to sell more and more online.

On the other hand, we work with the publishers where we buy the media and the impressions in order to place the ads.

But what is special about Criteo is the technology in between.
Every single ad that we display is customised to the user.

We don’t reproduce the ads; we produce them in the moment. We work with publishers like news sites and what we do is for instance, you go online and look for fashion products or electronics, you don’t buy them and leave the site, may be because, you got distracted and could not make the final purchase to read some news.

So you leave the site to read news or check your email, we will recognise you again, we will know that it was you that searched for that fashion products before and now that you are on the news site, we will actually show you a banner ad that is exactly related to what you have been looking for before.

So we will show you, in the banner, products that you have looked at before or complimentary products.

For example, you have looked at running shoes and you actually bought them as well, we will not show you the shoes again before you have already bought them but we will show you products that will be matching or relevant to what you have bought, may be sports clothing, sports watch etc.

Or you have bought a video camera and then we will be showing you a bag for the camera or the memory device for the camera.

The interesting here is, it sounds quite easy and trivial but when you look at some of the e-commerce clients that have some thousands of products; it is not easy to know what the relevant products are as well.

We provide our ads in real time. So, this shows how important our advertising technology is getting as well.

And the key point of what we do is that we help advertisers to drive sales. So it’s not just that we show nice banners and we hope that something is helping our clients but the idea is to show a banner customised for you because it really contains interesting products for you.

If you really want to buy, you will click and go back to our clients and you buy there.

How we play in the Nigerian market

Nigerian market is really interesting. I would say this is because of a mixture of size and maturity in Africa when you compare it to other markets.

Nigeria this year has a larger internet audience than even countries like Germany. With about 69 million online users, its much bigger. But already with a certain maturity, you will see that with all the players that are already here including Jumia, Konga, etc, it is a very interesting market and for us, of course when we look at new opportunities and geographies earlier, it was an interesting market.


The biggest challenge that our clients have is that they have a lot of viewers who go into the site but they do not buy.

But 90 per cent, globally, it’s a common problem that our clients have.

They go into the shop without buying. This is because online, it is so much easier to leave and go somewhere else and compare the service, the price, etc.

For some of our clients, the e-commerce players that need to deal with logistics, delivery, payments, these are not challenges that are not as big as they are maybe back in Europe or US but then, in my markets, they are just normal challenges but even some of the challenges I see them as opportunities.

Online markets in the world

Nigeria is becoming among the ten biggest online markets in the world in terms of online users but you know the majority of people are still not online.

With mobile, this will even change the whole ecosystem in particular, when you look at e-commerce and online buying.

When i started with Criteo, everything in e-commerce was happening on the desktop PC because no one was buying through the mobile phone.

But now, globally, all of the more than 10, 000 clients of Criteo, run 39 per cent, all their purchase are already coming through mobile phones.

For us, Africa just for statistical reasons, its about 32 percent of all transactions of our clients are coming through mobile.

And that accounts for just South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.

Solutions for small and emerging online shops

We do have solutions that we introduced sometime for small and medium online retailers.

This is because indeed, the smaller they are yet, the less we are able to help them, technically. we have a global solution that addresses the needs of those small and medium sized players. We are rolling out now in two or more countries and eventually it would get to Nigeria at some point.

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