Shopshapshap is a web platform providing a unique solution to online grocery shopping. The company offers its clients an avenue to submit their various shopping lists which is then delivered to customers. It’s target market is a percentage of shoppers who are either too busy to go shopping or are just unwilling to do so.
David Udensi is the CEO of Shopshapshap. He shares his story with Alaba Ayinuola of Africans Building Africa on his journey so far including his plans and goals to becoming the best and biggest online grocery provider in Nigeria.
- Tell us about yourself and your business?
My name is David Udensi, I am the founder of Shopshapshap Services which is based in Lagos. Owning a business, just like many other CEOs you have encounter didn’t come as a surprise to me, I have always nurtured the idea of making a difference, standing out, and most of all being a pace setter.
I don’t have a business background academically. My first degree was in Electrical and Computer Engineering, my masters degree was in Software Technology. The only business background I will proudly claim to have was from my mother. Growing up, she had a tailoring outfit and sold grains at wholesale. I still remember helping my mother peel corn from the curbs, packing them into sacks, applying insecticides, and getting them ready to be transported to the market. Unconsciously, I learned about process flow, cash flow and delegation.
I started Shopshapshap shortly after returning from my masters degree abroad. The major focus was to bridge the gap between the potential market customers and the market itself. Indeed, we’ve created a platform for people to create a shopping list online, submit it, and our team will pickup each item from the market to be delivered to the customer.
Shopshapshap has now transformed into a delivery service company focused on connecting bakers with their customers. We are among the few start-ups in the country in this market. The different operations of the business can now be grouped into: finding a baker, buying a cake and delivering the cake.
- How much did you need to start your business and how were you able to raise that capital?
Okay basically, the major needs for starting the business was the online platform, the website and hosting (as at then cost roughly between $300-500), social media handles (which is mostly free), and a vehicle to transport the packages.
I started with one of my parents’ old cars (yeah, so that was free too). An office space was not an urgent need at the time (still isn’t), so I’ve moved my base of operation from squatting in a friend’s office, a relative’s house, to my own sitting room. I’ve even operated from my father’s house outside Lagos.
Most of the capital came from my savings and subsequently even more had to come from family.
- What are some of the challenges you face in your business and how do you overcome those challenges?
The first challenge a shopping service business will face is trust. No one wants his or her groceries handled by a stranger. Therefore, we have to go through the painful stage of building trust with customers. This stage can only be overcome with EXCELLENCE, that’s the only language a paranoid customer will understand, all you have is one trial. If you fail once, chances are you will never see that customer again.
The other major challenge we faced was dealing with logistics. Lagos isn’t friendly and can be very disappointing especially when you’re working with time. A lot of work had to be done to understand the traffic in order to make pickups or delivery time predictions more accurate. We had to calculate the number of trips a dispatch can carry out in a day considering distance and traffic of course. We are currently working on developing software to further ease bookings and delivery predictions.
- Where do you see your business in 5 years from now and what steps are you taking today to reach that objective?
Our goal is to becoming the best and biggest shopping services provider in the country. We are investing so much in technology at the moment and our developers are working tirelessly to ensure booking and delivery is stress free. In 5 years, I see us achieving this and moving on to the next 5 year goal.
- What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs looking to start a business or invest in Africa?
In the words of one of my biggest role models, Africa’s greatest resource is not in its natural resources but in its people. No where in the world will you find the kind of optimism you find in Africa, an optimistic mind only needs information.
If you’re an entrepreneur out there or here in Africa thinking about starting a business, trust me, you are where you should be. You are and will be surrounded with the most resourceful and innovative people in the world, technically all we require is the information you have and we are good to go.
- How is your business participating in the development of Africa?
We are passionate about proving one simple point, the criterion for employability should first be a developed mind before a developed CV. Close to 50% of our workforce are only secondary school graduates, yet we have the best of them.
We have a goal to one day prove this point by placing our employees on the same stage with the highest qualified in their fields and compare their productivity. This will go a long way to change the popular mindset in Africa that once you’re not classroom educated, you will not amount to anything in the future.