How can Nigerians in the GTA quickly get their traditional groceries?
Moving to a new continent comes with different challenges, and food is a way immigrants stay in touch with their roots and themselves. For many cultures, the Nigerian culture being in focus here, several ingredients and groceries cannot be substituted with North American alternatives. This absence comes with a sense of isolation, disconnection from one’s core and disenfranchisement.
As numerous Nigerians in the Greater Toronto Area would testify, there is a shortage of traditional groceries from back home. The stores that happen to have these groceries are few and far between, and users have to travel long distances within the GTA to get their traditional groceries. Some have to wait for months for a friend in Nigeria to travel to Toronto and bring these items in bulk.
Landing on the Solution
A solution o the problem is to reduce the stress users go through to get these traditional groceries. There are already existing solutions that deliver groceries to users, but none of those solutions caters to the ever-growing Nigerian population in the GTA.
Voila has its own automated robotic warehouse from which it sources groceries and not from local stores. There is already an underrepresentation of Nigerian stores in the area; by extension, Nigerian groceries appear not to make it into Voila’s warehouse. Instacart allows retailers to sign up and register a storefront for selling on the app while charging variable commissions per order and markups to some retailers. From indications on the app, the Nigerian stores are majorly not on this platform.
A solution would be to aggregate these traditional groceries and list the stores from which they are sourced. The stores can be incentivised with a more accessible sign-up system and cheaper rates than what Instacart charges.
Product Manager Learnings:
I have learnt that it is crucial to understand your users' problems and know how they already solve them.
If what you propose is not a novel solution, it is necessary to look at competing options since they already exist in the market AND understand how you will solve the problem they don't in a unique way.
You would also have to prioritise and decide what is most important. Some aspects of your work may be helpful, but you might have to relegate those aspects, especially when there are insufficient resources to handle them.