With Lamide Akinola at the helm of Glovo, an online delivery platform, a fresh gust of change is sweeping across the dynamic landscape of Nigerian e-commerce and technology.
As the recently appointed Country Head and General Manager, Lamide hopes to bring a powerful blend of vision, strategy, and passion to transform how Nigerians access goods and services while advocating gender inclusivity in the tech industry.
I’m super excited about the role. I’m excited about the growth potential in Nigeria. We’re already the number one delivery app in Nigeria. We know that we’re just at the very beginning of our growth journey.
In an exclusive interview for our women in tech series, Lamide Akinola discusses her priorities, challenges, and aspirations for Glovo while also shedding light on her efforts to drive gender inclusivity and diversity in the tech industry.
A vision for Glovo
Lamide’s mission for Glovo is straightforward and ambitious – to establish it as the premier online delivery platform in Nigeria. Unveiling her top priorities for Glovo’s growth in the coming years, Lamide highlights three crucial pillars: couriers, customers, and partners.
I think my priorities are very simple, and I would take it from the three main aspects of our business. The three main aspects are our couriers, customers, and partners, whether big restaurants or grocery stores.
From a partner standpoint, Lamide emphasizes the significance of nurturing relationships and fostering new collaborations. She envisions a comprehensive selection of restaurants and grocery stores on the Glovo platform, ensuring users’ broad spectrum of choices. Lamide further explained that she is committed to enhancing existing partnerships, amplifying revenue generation, and fostering business expansion.
Glovo has already partnered with Chicken Republic, the biggest QSR brand in Nigeria, which will make it “a key platform for Chicken Republic customers ordering online,” the food delivery platform said in a statement seen by Technext on Friday.
Lamide underscores the vital role of couriers and operations in Glovo’s success. She acknowledges the importance of timely deliveries and aims to optimize delivery times and operational metrics, ensuring customers receive their orders fresh and promptly. She also aims to enhance the courier experience, scaling the number of couriers while improving their earnings and personal growth.
We have about 3,000 couriers that work with Glovo. We want to continue to improve the experience working with us, improve their earnings working with us because we know that our couriers are also driven by earnings, and make sure that they are growing as individuals.
Speaking on customers as another priority standpoint, Lamide explained that the goal is to continue to invest in marketing and the brand to acquire as many users as possible in and across Nigeria.
I think in terms of the journey that we are on in Nigeria at the very early stages, and there’s still a large market of people who don’t transact online today. We’re continuing to focus on acquiring them to our platform so that they can get easy access to anything in their city.
Promoting Gender Inclusivity and Empowerment
One of the striking aspects of Lamide Akinola’s approach is her dedication to promoting gender inclusivity within Glovo’s operations. When asked about the representation of women among Glovo’s couriers, Lamide acknowledges the existing market dynamics and explained that the number is significantly low as most courier drivers are male.
However, she wants to encourage more women to join the dispatch community. She believes in prioritizing diversity, making it a core value within the courier community and Glovo’s organization.
We hope to see more women delivering orders for us. But it’s also the nature of the fact that the market is very heavily skewed toward men. Consequently speaking, a larger portion of our couriers are male.
She further explained that one thing Glovo has done right as regards gender and diversity inclusion is it has quite a good number of women in the leadership team and also within the broader organization.
At the end of the day, it tends to be a role where men put themselves up for more. But we continue to try to get more women to try out the courier service and grow the share of female riders working with us.
Charting a Bold Future for Nigeria’s E-Commerce
Lamide Akinola’s ascendancy as the Country and General Manager of Glovo automatically heralds a new era in Nigerian e-commerce and technology. With a profound focus on couriers, customers, and partners, Lamide’s leadership promises to elevate Glovo to unprecedented heights in the online delivery realm.
As a leader building technology in this season, I want to be able to be part of Nigeria’s tech journey. I want to build a platform where customers can place their first transaction online on Glovo. I want to be able to build the next generation of tech leaders in my team that will go on to build the biggest tech companies in Nigeria.
Moreover, her commitment to gender inclusivity and empowerment demonstrates a forward-thinking approach to bridging gender gaps in technology and entrepreneurship. Through her leadership, Lamide Akinola plans to shape the future of e-commerce in Nigeria and lay the foundation for a more equitable and diverse tech industry.
I look forward to being able to bring a lot of partners into the e-commerce space and allow them to have another channel for revenue. Also on the flip side, to make it easier for customers to access their services…I look forward to bringing not just big companies, but lots of SMEs online for the first time and giving customers an opportunity to order from them.
E-Commerce Investment Opportunities, Regulators and Economic Downturns In Nigeria
When asked about addressing concerns related to customer-merchant interactions, Lamide highlights technological solutions like machine learning and AI tools. Glovo has introduced these features like card payments and an efficient customer claims portal, to minimize miscommunication and fraudulent behaviour.
According to her, such initiatives streamline the customer experience and build trust in the platform.
We have channels for customers to very active customer claim portal where customers can launch their claim and live chat with their agent. Then if we find out that the driver is committing fraud, we block them…We also have machine learning that helps us and AI tools that help us to identify customer fraud and discourage customers from doing so by limiting their permissions to the application.
In the face of market fluctuations, like the recent fuel price hike, Lamide explained that Glovo has learned to be adaptable. She acknowledges that the situation has prompted changes in courier behaviour and earnings, leading Glovo to adjust its pricing structure to ensure couriers are adequately compensated.
We’ve adapted our pricing structure because, at the end of the day, if our couriers don’t make money, they don’t work. We don’t have careers to deliver orders. If we don’t have careers to deliver orders, customers will not get their orders…We continue to look at our vehicle mix to explore different vehicle types to optimise our costs.
Lamide also acknowledges the role of regulators in shaping the e-commerce landscape. She emphasizes the need for collaboration between the private sector and regulators to create a conducive business environment.
I think it’s a two-way thing. It’s a part of the industry that the private sector has to build and there’s a part of the industry that the regulators have to build.
Lamide Akinola’s insight and priorities
I think it’s an important question for women to be able to figure out the balance. I just had a baby, and so I’m definitely trying to navigate that season of life. I think I see life versus balancing and I see it as seasons. There are seasons where you will have to optimize more on a family front. There are seasons when you have a bit more capacity to optimize more in your career. I don’t think you can have it all simultaneously, but I think you can have it at different times, depending on what you prioritise in that season of life.
Beyond her professional endeavours, Lamide offered a glimpse into her personal life and values. A recent mother, Lamide finds joy in spending time at home, witnessing her baby’s growth, and fostering strong family connections.
Her dedication to physical fitness through swimming and tennis reflects her holistic approach to well-being. She is also a passionate traveller. Lamide values relaxation and exploration, contributing to her overall rejuvenation.