On the occasion of his 41st birthday celebration, Joshua Ogunde, reminiscences on his career trajectory so far in the eCommerce sector and he’s excited about where he is and what the future currently holds for tech entrepreneurs and startups in Nigeria.
Back in 2010, I had an idea!
My friend @Tobi and I wanted to develop the first e-commerce platform in Nigeria, we admired what Amazon was doing at the time and wanted to replicate the same here in Nigeria. We did our research, asked a lot of questions, and made a lot of discoveries, however, we lacked in many ways than one; we had no technical skill, or financial capability and needed to pull in a lot of resources to actualize our dream.
Fast forward to 2012, Jumia and Konga spring up, and boom, there goes our idea! However, the interest in the sector stayed aflame. I was so interested in the business landscape and the predicted impact it was going to have on the economy, finding answers to questions some questions we were faced with like ‘how will you get people to pay with their card on this platform you are trying to develop?’ Online platforms were relatively still new and customers had little to no trust in transacting online.
Plugging in payment gateways to your website was so expensive at the time. But as technology advanced, and more e-commerce platforms were springing up, some banks and financial transaction companies started developing their APIs and the pricing came down drastically. A lot of other factors mitigated the rapid growth of e-commerce; the business landscape was chaotic and I saw logistics as one of the major problems, and I knew I had to be on the inside to discover more about e-commerce in Nigeria.
I started as a merchandise planner at Konga in 2013 and I was so enthusiastic; merchandise planners make calculated and informed suggestions around purchases using data and predictive analysis. Forecasting future trends and advising category managers on purchases to make. We guide the thoughts of the business, advise on the direction it should go based on the trends we spot and identify areas of investment, which are all driven by data!
The fashion line at Konga was born when my team and I noticed a surge in fashion trends in Nigeria at the time, the norm back then was for people was to buy from Yaba or Oshodi, or for those who had the purchasing power; journeying to specific stores in Lekki to purchase as Shoprite and other malls were just springing up, unfortunately, these options for fashion shopping wasn’t offering value for money. The trend in fashion at the time was huge, so we made a case for this investment to the management and the private label was developed. My role was pivotal as the decision to buy or continue the fashion label in Nigeria was solely on data generated, cleaned, and analyzed by myself and my then colleague @ Onyeka.
The success of the first purchase gave the business a leap and the drive to do more in fashion merchandising grew, more investments were made and of course, it was very profitable. It all started with data and grew with data at a tremendous rate, the growth was exponential and this piqued my curiosity, I can say that this is where my desire for data analytics and business development started from.
I started delving more into data, and became well-grounded and established in data analytics and forecasting, cost-benefit analysis, and much more along that line.
The new knowledge and growth would go on to create a curiosity for tech in me, the environment was enabling and it sparked up the interest with was already innate, so I started learning a lot about tech, moving with the tech guys in the team and got involved in the website management.
This period was a stretch for me because my boss at the time @teniola who was managing data analytics for Black Friday left the business and I had to perform the magic @teniola was performing. I was quick to fall back on her to learn the tricks and create necessary reports and justification for the Black Friday investment, I remember having several knowledge-sharing sessions with Teni, after work hours and sharing my work with her to spot errors, she was so helpful even though she was no longer working with the business.
On the other end of the Black Friday stretch was managing the pricing which involved; cost-benefit analysis, competitor analysis, market trends analysis, etc. working with different teams to pull it off; from the technology to marketing, logistics, inventory, warehouse, category teams, etc… It was all happening so fast that at some point I slept in the office for 3 days straight before going Live, and it all paid off! Black Friday 2015 was such an insightful experience, we had gathered in the War Room with all departments actively represented to monitor all forms of operation, making sure there’s no glitch or ensuring swift resolution of any issue that arises. Then there was the post-Black Friday analysis which involves rolling back every single item to what it was before the event, alongside other activities to analyze and pick up key learning from the Black Friday sale. Working with such brilliant minds, and being amongst these sets of people had a major influence on the trajectory of my career advancement.
The emergence and growth of e-commerce ushered in so much change in the business landscape, especially the retail landscape, logistics, payments, and even banking operations. Technology and data analytics were the key drivers for this change because e-commerce thrives on these two elements.
I have watched the e-commerce sector grow over the years, this growth has been nothing short of beautiful and I’m still watching predictions about e-commerce will play out because data analytics, predictive analysis, and technology have come to stay.
Joshua Ogunde Professional Profile
Joshua is a Techpreneur with an instinctual data acumen, a result-oriented business analyst with an exceptional track record in boosting sales performance and profitability through technology, big data management, data modeling, consumer insight and analytics, and retail value-chain and inventory management. He possesses strong forecasting correlation/regression analytical skills and an unassailable commitment to organizational goals and objectives. He has over 12 years of experience working as a business leader across different industries, mainly retail, electronic commerce and FMCG with records of accomplishment on ROI measurements and effective business turnarounds.
Joshua is adept at deploying data-driven strategies and essential technology tools in driving measurable business-worthy goals. He has led different revenue-driven initiatives that led to business growth and profitability in organizations where he worked. He played an important role in analyzing profit and loss strategy for Konga during the company’s First “Big App Sales Promotion” which resulted in spiking revenue from $148k daily revenue to an average of $346k daily. He also played a major role during Konga’s “Annual Mega Sales” locally called “YAKATA” in line with Black Friday which is a day known as international Product discount day, where sales increased on a minute basis by 3x which lead to the organization exceeding daily expected sales budgets by 2x with average revenue of $3,712,871 daily.
Following his desire to leverage technology in improving business processes has pioneered the adoption of ERP and re-organization of the company’s ERP (Reporting Portal) by practical mining, cleaning and recoding data resources for Report, Analysis, and Dashboard visualization and Data Resource Warehouse in different organizations where he has worked. Joshua is also a force to reckon with in the digital and marketing environment as he is a co-founder of the Association of Digital Marketing Professionals (ADMARP), sitting on its board.
He currently works with SLOT as the Head, of General Merchandise, Procurement & Technology. He is a graduate of Physics with Electronics and also belongs to different notable professional bodies, locally and globally.