Name: Bayo Balogun
Name Of Company: CarPartsNigeria.com
Bayo Balogun is a former graduate from Lagos State University and the Director of Operation for CarPartsNigeria.com.
Mr. Balogun is known for his vast ICT experience and expertise in multi-platform environments ranging from Mainframes, Midrange AS400, Unix, Novell, Microsoft, LAN/WAN to database and ERP deployment environments in United States and Nigeria.
Mr. Balogun specialises in strategic security planning, tactical security research, operational threat mitigation, experiential security, regulatory compliance and technology education. He is an expert in the design and delivery of cost-effective, high-performance technology solutions in support of rapid international growth. He is skilled in all phases of the project life cycle, from initial feasibility analysis and conceptual design through to implementation and enhancement.
Most importantly he is an Automobile enthusiast, which explains his enthusiasm and involvement with CarPartsNigeria.com.
During this exclusive interview we discuss all things about car parts in Nigeria, the future of the Nigerian auto service industry and much more.
Find any Car Parts in Nigeria with CarPartsNigeria.com
Prince: Can you describe Car Parts Nigeria, the idea and concept as if I knew nothing about it or the market?
BAYO: CarPartsNigeria.com is a one-stop search engine aggregator for car parts in Nigeria and a mega online auto-shop. It is an online market where millions of buyers meet sellers regardless of location. This is a platform that allows consumers to compare prices, save time and save Money. It’s also a portal that links service vendors i.e. artisans like auto mechanic, rewire, panel beater, etc. to prospective clients for their auto solutions. CarpartsNigeria (CPN) gives consumers the ability to rate and review their vendor’s hence ensuring better customer service delivery.
We have also created an enabling environment for bargaining through car-listing offering that allows consumers or dealers to list their cars. However, we have gone one step further to introduce the first Real-time car Auction platform in Africa that allows for better bargaining and quicker disposition of vehicles.
Prince: How did you identify that there was a need for people to buy car parts in Nigeria online?
BAYO: Unfortunately, this was identified from a few bad personal experiences in the auto industry a few years ago while looking for a car service and automobile parts. It was always difficult finding spare parts in Nigeria and a lot of parts turn out to be fake products, especially if you don’t pay attention. The main problem was that consumers did not have choices, they had no means for reparation of undesirable parts or a way to address unfair situation in the Auto industry. So we felt there was a huge need to find a solution to the challenges faced in the industry.
BAYO: The offline markets can continue to do business as usual. What we are doing is creating an environment using technology to enhance the sector. Rather than driving all over town to look for parts, you can get on carpartsNigeria.com from your phone or computer, Enter the make/model of car, the year of the car and the part you are looking for. And this searches multiple vendors and shows you the part that you are looking for, the prices and the vendors that are in closest proximity to you. You can choose to buy online or go to the nearest store to pick it up. This saves you both time and money.
Prince: What have been the challenges that are unique to your business?
BAYO: There are a few challenges that we have seen so far. These include:
Ensuring that vendors are computer savvy enough to use their portal to upload and properly list their products.
The ever-changing market place due to uncertainty and evolution (political, economic and social in nature)
Skepticism of the people towards innovation and new ideas, but overall people love the idea. However, most vendors do have a wait and see attitude towards technology companies, but consumers have really embraced it as they can see the benefits
Prince: And what risks have you had to take to ensure your business succeeds?
BAYO: Mainly focusing on customer service as a startup can be very demanding. Especially when you know that sales are needed to survive. We are paying attention to all customers with the little human capital that we have. We believe that our “measure of success is not a product but great customer satisfaction”. This is the code that we live by and will eventually bring about our success.
Prince: What do you think are some contributing factors to the failure of startups across the continent?
BAYO: The fundamental issue for startups in Africa is the lack of funding. This is followed by the cost of doing business, Shortage of expertise, lack of infrastructure and expensive telecommunication cost.
Prince: And what lessons have you learnt that are specific to this line of business?
BAYO: The most important lesson we have learnt is to set expectations properly. And that one needs a lot of patience to understand the underlining issue of the sector. People do not respond positively to change; especially when they think or believe it is going to impact them negatively. You have to convince the industry that you are only trying to enhance and extend the sector to the digital age. The digital age is here and we are only trying to enable the auto sector to participate because sooner or later it has to come. CPN has created a platform that allows everyone to participate by extending his or her local market to the online market.
Prince: You have a team from diverse backgrounds, has this been instrumental in the success of your company?
BAYO: Definitely, the experience of the team has factored to how we conduct business. We are lucky to have several team members who are leaders in their prospective areas of discipline. This has helped to create a platform that has a focus of impacting the society and the industry. We believe this is our biggest asset.
Prince: You have some of the best partnerships in your market, how did you achieve them and what new ones can we expect from you in the near future?
BAYO: The vision of CarpartsNigeria Automobile limited is very clear. We are here to use technology to enhance people and cities. Our partners understand that we are focused and that we are bringing them closer to the consumers. We are saving them money since they do not have to create or maintain an IT Ecommerce infrastructure because we have done all that for them. We are also promoting their businesses online and making them highly visible. Most major players in the industry are in the process of coming on board and we are very lucky that they bought in to our vision.
Prince: Being selected for Demo Africa, what opportunities has this platform brought to you so far?
BAYO: It’s been quite an interesting Journey. We really feel humbled and gratified to be selected amongst the best 30 startups in Africa by such a remarkable group like DEMO Africa. It gives one a sense of validation of all the efforts to create and help our people, our country and Africa as a whole.
Demo Africa has definitely giving us more publicity to drive our efforts and a boost of encouragement and energy to keep moving forward.
Prince: What does the future hold for Car Parts Nigeria?
BAYO: We have a lot of work ahead but we believe this is the best online platform today in the industry. We are growing very fast and we need to continue to create awareness until we become a household name in the country. We also have about 10 African countries that are already talking to us about same requirements. We will leverage all our knowledge in Nigeria for all the new markets at the right time. Nigeria is a huge market but Africa and Carpartsafrica.net is definitely the future that holds all CPN countries together.
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