Growing and scaling small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) goes beyond online promotion or reaching product-market fit, both of which are standard practices among startups and SMEs. On the contrary, establishing a workflow system that inevitably includes investing in management and automation technology is vital to scaling SMEs.
While there are several ways to implement automation in your SMEs, most are either capital-intensive or too robust for a small team of employees to manage. Hence, striking a balance between affordability and efficiency is critical, particularly for small businesses looking to thrive and stay afloat in an already saturated market.
This is one of several reasons Terminal Africa built a product that solves logistics problems for SMEs and provides software development kits (SDKs) that can be used to facilitate the automation of SMEs across Africa and beyond. That being said, the following are some reasons why your potential customers would want you to integrate your website on the TA platform:
1. Ease of Use: One of the best benefits of scaling your SME with Terminal Africa is its convenience for your business and customers. Mainly, TA offers a dedicated feature dubbed ‘T-Ship,’ which provides a single API that can be integrated across third-party business websites or pages.
Not only does this feature make it possible to access international logistic services for businesses without the need to build from scratch, but it also creates a seamless experience for end-users who would not have to worry about the point-to-point delivery of their online purchases.
For instance, Miss Adelabu is a regular customer of Wannifuga, a clothing brand located in the heart of Lagos Island. According to Miss Adelabu, going from the mainland to Lekki Phase 1 can be very stressful and time-consuming. She said, “ I prefer to place my orders online and choose from the pool of logistic services via Terminal Africa, which in my opinion, is the most convenient alternative. That’s aside from the awesome user interface that makes the entire online ordering process hassle-free.”
2. Affordable/Aggregated Delivery Services: Access to low-cost delivery is, without question, a significant driver for online shopping, and it is one of several advantages that Terminal Africa brings to the table. By integrating TA using the T-Ship API, SMEs can quickly provide their customers with affordable delivery. Customers can access interstate (within Nigeria) and international delivery for as low as NGN 1,100 and NGN 13,130, respectively.
In addition, customers can choose from a pool of premium delivery services ranging from DHL to FedEx, Kwik, GIG Logistics, etc., all of which are carefully selected, owing to their track record of outstanding performance over several years of establishment.
3. Fee Calculator: Given that Terminal Africa offers an aggregated delivery service with multiple points of deliveries, prices are bound to vary as a result of various factors, including distance, choice of delivery service, and nature of delivery (i.e., type of delivery vehicles), among others.
However, to make the process of calculating fees easier for customers, TA provides a feature dubbed ‘fee calculator,’ allowing users to access a free quote from a range of delivery carriers. Users will be required to input the pickup & delivery address, weight of the package (KG), and the currency they want to be charged. Once this is done, the users can choose preview quotes from different carriers and decide which is the most preferred option.
4. Faster Shipment and Delivery: Terminal Africa offers an improved alternative to most SMEs’ standard shipping and delivery methods. Small businesses typically take several days to process bulk orders due to the use of a small number of dispatch riders, most of whom are unlicensed.
While they aim to minimize operational costs, these businesses often face more significant challenges, such as delayed delivery, seized merchandise from regulatory authorities who are compelled to impound the bikes of unlicensed dispatch riders, and the possibility of theft from untrustworthy riders.
In contrast, TA’s T-Ship, when integrated into businesses’ websites, offers customers multiple choices of delivery services to select from and ultimately has access to faster and more secured shipment and delivery.
5. Delivery Tracker: When it comes to secure shipment and delivery, Terminal Africa provides a tracking tool that allows end-users (i.e., customers) to seamlessly track goods from delivery orders and get up-to-date information about their precise location.
Specifically, a tracking ID is issued upon placing a delivery order regardless of the chosen delivery service. This tracking ID can be input on a dedicated global tracking page, and the user will be given up-to-date information about the whereabouts of their items. Although the feature is not entirely new, it simplifies inventory management for small businesses with none in place while also boosting customers' trust.
6. Built for Africans: The Terminal Africa platform was purpose-built by Africans for Africans, making it one of the few logistic aggregators designed explicitly for African users. This way, it is easier for Africans to ship and receive products from any part of the world, taking advantage of the platform’s network of premium local and international logistics platforms built to work for African businesses.
Speaking on his decision to use the Terminal Africa platform, Mr. Bosun, a fashion designer, said that he has had to send clothes to his customers outside of Lagos State using commercial buses. “This delivery method, however, is not the safest as it is not the most reliable option, but I couldn’t find a better alternative that is equally affordable until recently when I stumbled on Terminal Africa,” Mr. Bosun said.
"Unlike most logistic solutions, Terminal Africa is tailored for Africans and African Businesses. The platform adopts a fresh approach to logistics services in Africa, particularly by allowing SMEs to integrate directly. Now, I don’t have to dispatch items to my customers as I did before; Instead, they may place orders through my website and select from a pool of logistic services via the integrated Terminal Africa logistic platform," Mr. Bosun explained further.
In the long run, maintaining and improving exceptional user experience should be a priority for any business, even when doing more with less becomes mandatory. By taking advantage of Terminal Africa’s digital network, SMEs can quickly scale faster, even on a limited budget.