How DHL Ghana grew its retail footprint through innovative win-win partnerships

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Effectively reaching customers in Ghana involves navigating a fragmented retail landscape. It is estimated informal markets and kiosks account for 90% of Ghana’s retail industry. There is, however, a slow shift towards modern trade as evidenced by a growth in shopping malls.

Kader Coulibaly, general manager of DHL Express Ghana

Kader Coulibaly, general manager of DHL Express Ghana

The 20,000m2 Accra Mall, completed in 2007, was one of the first modern shopping centres and is anchored by South African retailers Shoprite and Game. Since then, the capital Accra has seen the development of numerous modern retail facilities, including the West Hills Mall, Marina Mall, The Junction and Oxford Street Mall. Retail centres are also being developed in secondary cities such as Kumasi, an important commercial hub situated in the interior.

Express logistics company DHL Express has been especially successful at growing its retail footprint in Ghana. In addition to rolling out its DHL-owned service points, it has also entered into win-win partnerships with hundreds of local business owners to sell DHL’s services alongside their normal offerings.

According to Kader Coulibaly, general manager of DHL Express Ghana, partnerships have been formed with a variety of businesses, including travel agents, pharmacies, supermarkets, laundries, photo studios, art galleries and even forex bureaus.

For these businesses there are numerous advantages of partnering with DHL. They receive commission on DHL sales generated from their outlets, and also benefit from an increase in foot traffic.

“Most DHL customers who enter our office get to know about the other services we provide. In fact, there are two customers who came to our office to ship documents, but now whenever they need flight tickets they call us to book tickets for them,” says one of DHL’s travel agent partners.

“The DHL partnership attracts more customers to do business with us. After sending their parcel they normally enquire about what we do, and what we are offering,” comments another company.

Being associated with a global brand such as DHL also boosts their credibility. All partners are provided with a complete branding kit and go through an extensive training programme to ensure compliance with DHL’s requirements and procedures. In addition, working closely with DHL improves their general customer service skills. As one company explains: “DHL has actually demonstrated to my staff what excellent customer service ought to look like.”

“My partnership with DHL has helped me to increase my customer base and turnover because of its internationally trusted brand name,” says the owner of FOA Consult & Construction Works.

“Partnering with a global brand like DHL has given our company, Dreampack, a lot of exposure and built trust with our clients,” notes another.

“Since DHL started operations in Ghana in 1984, we have always worked hand-in-hand with the local firms, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help promote and grow their businesses,” says Coulibaly.

“Our retail partnership programme in Ghana is mutually beneficial, and our partners have indicated that they have experienced increases in their profits, visibility, and customer service delivery,” he adds.