That knowledge is power’s not a fact that requires explanation. If you would enjoy the continued loyalty of your customers and convert them into raving fans and purchasers, it’s paramount you understand their way of life.
Common cultural practices in Nigeria include preservation of extended family ties, prolonged breastfeeding, respect for elders, donning of babanriga (a large, flowing top worn over large trousers) by males in the North, wearing of double wrappers on a blouse and a head tie by women in the east and dressing in colourful extravagant attires by women in the West.
If you think all these are insignificant to your business in Nigeria, think again!
You should seek to decipher the sentiments, dispositions, beliefs and idiosyncrasies of your customers. That’s the only way you can respect them. You don’t need to accept the beliefs of all your customers, but you must know them and respect them.
If you injure their belief or culture, what happens? They leave!
Let’s see some instances. It’s popularly believed in many parts in Nigeria, that black signifies sorrow and evil. It’s not uncommon to hear people ask their friends in black attires: “Are you a widow?”
So when you open your clothing store and display only black apparels, you should know why no one is patronizing.
Or maybe you live in a region populated by Muslims, and the one thing you’re selling is pork, or alcohol, or dog, then your only customer might just be you.
So tailor what goods and services you offer to what appeals to your customers’ way of life.
Also, this knowledge informs your choice of business location. Your Islamic school or Islamic bookshop would not thrive in Calabar. Your pork business would not thrive in Kano or Ilorin. And I believe you know why!
The belief and cultural practices of your customers also affect the sustainability of your business. If you start selling ram during Sallah (Eidul-Kabir) or chicken during Christmas, you may not make enough sales again to break even after the festivities. So think well.
Always remember the customer is king…so respect him.