Many companies in the FMCG, machinery, automobile, textiles, equipments, food & beverage sectors have products and services that are in increasing demand in Cameroon or central Africa in general. Though Cameroon might rank high in areas they are suppose to rank low such as corruption and human rights and rank low in areas they are suppose to rank high such as the Ease of doing business ranking, there is yet no denying of the fact that the business environment in Cameroon is fast improving and Cameroon represents a country with a young and dynamic consumer market and a gateway to over 250 million consumers in Central Africa and neighboring Nigeria.
Cameroon is the business hub of Central Africa due to its strategic economic and geographical position and it is said to be the largest market in Central Africa and the second largest in Francophone Africa. These facts make Cameroon and important market in Sub-Sahara Africa.
If you are a marketing manager, CEO or entrepreneur interested in promoting and marketing your products in Cameroon you must have been wondering how to enter this market. There are several well known possibilities to enter a new market, through a joint venture, merger, acquisition, green field project, licensing, local agent, wholesaler, distributor or direct sales to end users. Many manufactures , however prefers entering through middle men such as agents, wholesalers and distributors, since these middle men will do most of the work locally and the manufacturers don’t have to worry much about the local laws, custom duties, taxes etc. All they have to to is partner or sell to these middle men who intend sell to the end users and the problem is solved.
The main question is how to get a reliable agent, wholesaler or distributor to market your products and services in Cameroon. You can post an ad online, in a business forum or use a business directory like most manufacturers do. This will gain a lot of attention, but chances are high that you’ll easily become frustrated. You will come in contact with too many unspecialized agents, distributors who lack the local market knowledge or technical knowledge to sell your products, agents and middle men with no official recognition will easily make you search harder. In short, it is difficult to get reliable and big enough distributors in Cameroon online; they’re too busy or already have a large portfolio of products with exclusive distribution rights.
However this does not mean you have to set up a distribution network from scratch because of several obvious reasons; you might be spreading yourself too thin, lack of resources, it is too risky and you might lack expertise in distribution. These make it important to pass through local middle men, distributors, wholesalers and retailers who have the capacity and local expertise.
There is no fast and easy solution to get the right distributor or middle men in Cameroon. In order to successfully promote and market your products and services in Cameroon, you need to plan out better than making random friends on LinkedIn and subscribing to unreliable business directories and filling your inbox with spam emails.
What you can do
Talk to the right people: get information from the Cameroon Chamber of Commerce, they have a list of registered importers and exporters of particular goods and services. However, it should be noted that this list is not enough to pick a reliable agent or distributor because it does not contain information about the capabilities or capacity of these local agents or distributors and for all you know, they might not be in business anymore. This will however help you to narrow down your search. A list of reliable agents and distributors can also be obtained through a local business consulting agency. They will be able to help you narrow down your search to a handful of companies related to your area of business and provide direct contact information of the management of these companies in Cameroon.
Due diligence: after you have identified potential partners, it is important to double check their viability. Think about discussing and asking proves were necessary about their future objectives, their sales record, company size, their sales people, knowledge of the local territory, their product portfolio, how they market products and services, their operating facility and tax records. You should also be willing to provide all relevant information to the representative, agent or distributor in Cameroon.
Work with a local business consultant or marketing agency: not all companies are registered as distributors or agents but they might be interested in new business opportunity your products and services offers. Local business consultants will help you identify those hidden but very viable potential partners. This is really important in Cameroon and some African countries because most companies do not have a website making difficult to find them online.
Advertise: a local marketing agency should be able to provide you with effective ways to reach your target audience either through selected print media, mailing list, business directories, flyer distribution or any other marketing and promotional techniques that fits with your budget, product or service.
Visit the country: depending on the size of your factory and how much you wish to engage in Cameroon it is important to attend trade shows related to your industry in Cameroon or Africa, attend conferences and other networking events to have a firsthand knowledge about the market, your partners and clients. To make the best use of your time in Cameroon, connect beyond the trade show, go visit the facilities of potential partners, work with your business consultant to connect you with those potential partners who could not make it to the trade show.
Negotiate with your partners: now that you have successfully found the right partners to market your products and services in Cameroon. It is important to sign a legal contract with them to make it official. This contract will help to state the responsibility of each party and other conditions necessary for a long-term win-win partnership.
Make time: You need more than a couple of months to select the right partners, getting into a contract with the wrong partners might affect not only you sales but your brand in a particular region. Start your search early, be patient and follow all the above mention points.
Some distributors in Cameroon
Products can also be distributed through e-commerce websites such as Cdiscount and Jumia and also through super market chains such as Skull, Tsekenis, ORCA and ARNO in Cameroon.
For those planning to enter the Cameroonian market ; whether you’re planning to sell directly to end users, through e-commerce or a physical shop, through an agent, local merchants, piggyback marketers, remarketers, distributors, wholesalers or any other form of representative in Cameroon, you can save valuable time and money by contacting A54 Marketing Group. We offer valuable insight about the market and we directly help you to market your products and services.
We go above and beyond to market your products and services in Cameroon.