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Alerzo: Using technology to improve the quality of life of informal retailers


Most informal retailers run their businesses on a non stop basis. Even in their leisure time, they are either thinking about the stocking of goods, or the current market prices and how to get the best bargain to maximise their profit margins. In the background is also the normal daily and social aspect needed to balance up their human life. 


The Nigerian informal retail sector consists mostly of women. It is estimated that 40% of small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria are owned by women. Majority of these women also combine the roles of wife and mother while running their businesses. A peep into their world would show a set of people in need of more daily hours, as the normal 24 hours appear not enough for their daily activities. Hence, initiatives that take up part of the burden and deliver cost-saving results would be highly appreciated.


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Insearch of this relief, some retailers have tapped into the emerging ecommerce wave to ease their daily pressure, but the majority of options available for now in the country suits the B2C model more than the B2B needed for their retail businesses. However, a proposition from Alerzo Nigeria, an online business- to-business platform, is out to bridge the gap by offering retailers the opportunity to have more time for themselves, while the Alerzo team takes care of their goods stocking and delivery.


“At Alerzo, we understand how important family is to our retailers. We are elated to be playing a critical role in improving the quality of their family life, which means so much to them. So we have designed our business model to free up more time for them to focus on other important things. They can now use the time previously allocated for market trips, to get the much needed rest to protect their mental health and spend time with their families,” said Alerzo Nigeria CEO, Adewale Opaleye.


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Interestingly, Alerzo’s offer to retailers goes beyond the ease and time management. Opaleye further explained that Alerzo’s business model factored in the cost effectiveness that retailers crave to maximise their profit margins.


“For the past two years, we have delivered to informal retailers at no cost. We help them save on transportation costs, then make the delivery at their shops for free,” Opaleye added.

Research shows that an average informal retailer spends at least N1,000 transport fare on every trip to and from the market. For a retailer who stocks up 3 times in a week, they end up spending N3,000 every week, with an annual expense total of around N144,000. Added to the expense of transportation is the fee paid to market authorities. If the same retailer spends N500 on this fee each time she goes to the market, she will spend N72,000 per year. This means that each year, she spends at least N216,000 on trips to restock her inventory, this takes out a huge proportion of their profit margins. Beyond bringing the products to their doorsteps at no cost, Alerzo also offers market support services to retailers so that they can improve their profit margins.

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The CEO added that through Alerzoshop, the company’s digital retail app, retailers can easily place their orders, get timely delivery at their shops with zero delivery fee and join the community of businesses benefiting from Alerzo platform. The company’s retailer App eliminates the frequent market visits by informal retailers.

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