Startup Review: How TradeDepot Makes Constant Restocking Possible for Nigerian Retailers
If you walk through markets like the one at Mile 12 in Lagos or Bodija in Ibadan, you will see numerous stalls with provisions and people selling them either in bulk or pieces. Buying and selling is a basic part of everyday living and the traders who sell need an easily accessible avenue to keep restocking on necessary items.
TradeDepot was launched in 2016 by Onyekachi Izukanne to create that easily accessible avenue. The startup began with a mission to make milk available to more retailers using technology. Right now, TradeDepot’s distribution network extends beyond milk to food, beverages and personal care products.
TradeDepot has built a value chain that cuts across manufacturers and importers of products, retailers and delivery agents. With 6 apps on the Playstore, the startup provides an avenue for each category of people to access services that are tailored for them.
TradeDepot’s primary audiences are the manufacturers and suppliers of products while its secondary audience is the retailers. The startup buys products from suppliers and then handles the inventory, pricing, shipping, customer service and returns.
According to TradeDepot, tens of thousands of retail stores are on its distribution network and receive supplies from it on a daily basis.
Recently, the company raised a $10 million pre-series B funding round and expanded into financial services for its retailers. Customers can now borrow money up to N40,000 to stock up on supplies. The credit score of the retailer is determined from their history of buying from TradeDepot.
Suppliers are provided with intelligence from analysis of various transactions carried out with the retailers. Analysis of how well a supplier is performing compared to its competitors is made available on the dashboard.
Overview of the restocking app used by retailers
I installed the application from the Playstore and inputted details which included the name of my store, address and type of products I sell. To check if the service is available outside Lagos, I entered my location as Bodija Market in Ibadan and found that it is not yet available there.
The app has a simple and clean interface where retailers can either buy stock, check their orders, and fund the wallet. Considering that the users may not have a high affinity for techy ways of managing money, the traditional payment method of bank transfer is provided on the app.
Users have to send money to a bank account provided on their dashboard. This money reflects back in their wallet. Once the wallet is funded, the user can make selections for products available by tapping the ‘Buy Stock’ option.
On the flip side, some portions of the app are not so easy to understand especially for a first-time user. Retailers are allowed to join the beta levels and choose subscription plans from Platinum, Gold and Silver. The terms used to describe the plans do not clearly give insight into what it means for anyone who gets them.
We reached out to TradeDepot in a mail for further clarification and will update the post when there is a reply.
The app has more than 1,000 downloads from the Playstore. About 40,000 retailers are in its distribution network in Nigeria.
Since 2016 when it launched, TradeDepot has had 2 funding rounds. The first was in 2018 when it raised $3 million in a round that was led by Partech. The second funding round was in July for $10 million.
The second round was co-led by Partech, the International Finance Corp., Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative and MSA Capital. In all, the company has raised $13 million.
The solution that TradeDepot provides is one that is needed by businesses and entrepreneurs as it makes it easier to buy and sell while making sure that goods are constantly in stock.
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