Nigerian consumers react positively to American brands. To elicit consumer interest, manufacturers should ensure that sales materials are in English. The name and address of the manufacturer and country of origin should be indicated clearly on the product and packaging. Where products are labelled and bear graphics, such as beauty and health care products, it is more effective to use pictures that match the look and features (e.g., skin tone, hair color/texture) of people in the Nigerian market. Many Nigerians demonstrate a stronger inclination to purchase U.S.-made products if the U.S. flag is printed on the package.
Trade Promotion & Advertising
For trade promotion and advertising services in Nigeria, U.S. companies may contact Commercial Service Nigeria. Local partners can be available to collaborate with their foreign counterparts in trade promotion, publicity, and advertising campaigns.
Pricing is a key driver of success in Nigeria and a major challenge for U.S. firms doing business in Nigeria due to two critical factors: low purchasing power of Nigerians and the availability of less expensive alternate choices from Asian and North African suppliers.
The Nigerian federal government charges a 5% VAT, while state governments also impose an additional 5% VAT. The local currency (naira) is weaker on the parallel market where most Nigerians source dollars. As such, imports will be more expensive for average Nigerian consumers. Some businesses and individuals have access to foreign exchange at the official rates from the Central Bank of Nigeria, effectively increasing their international purchasing power relative to the average Nigerian consumer.
Sales Service and Customer Support
Excellent customer service and after-sales support is a major driver of buyer patronage in the Nigerian market. U.S. companies must be willing to do as much as they can to support their local representatives and respond positively to customer complaints. Over the past years, the Nigerian market for U.S. products and services has come under heavy pressure from Asian competitors, particularly Chinese and Indian entrepreneurs, who set up a local presence, partner with local companies, and otherwise providing beneficial terms to customers. They are active in industry sectors such as oil and gas, security equipment, construction, and power generation.
Local Professional Services
There are local professional services providers in areas such as private security, logistics, attorneys, and finance that can assist U.S. companies coming to Nigeria. These professionals help U.S. companies better understand how businesses operate and succeed in the country, as well as understand local laws guiding their operations.
CS Nigeria can provide pre-screened and reputable companies that can assist in completing specific tasks in the Nigerian market.
Many businesses in Nigeria belong to professional associations which U.S. companies can leverage to understand the local market, culture, and influencers. There is an association of U.S. companies operating in Nigeria called the American Business Council that meets in Lagos to share business experiences.
Limitations on Selling US Products and Services
Some of the major limitations on selling U.S. products and services include infrastructural challenges, customs import control and regulations, delay in registration of some products (such as in health/beauty sectors), foreign exchange availability, and foreign competition.