The Amazon experience with African twist. Discover the story of Jumia, the Online retailer made in naija.
“When Nigerians think of shopping, we want them to think of Jumia”, say the founders and CEOs of Jumia, Tunde Kehinde and Raphael Afaedor. “And we’re on a roller-coaster ride to getting there.” Jumia’s leaders explain why Africa may be ready for the ease and convenience of the web-based shopping experience.
When the company launched in June 2012, Kehinde and Afaedor were aware that Nigeria comprises the biggest population on the continent. “We expected Jumia to become big; but when a company takes off like ours does now, it still takes you by surprise.”
By many the comparison is made between recently founded Jumia and America’s long-standing Amazon. “Jumia is a website that offers a wide selection of products, varying from home appliances and electronics to clothes and fragrances, to music and literature. Products are bought with the click of a mouse and shipped to your doorstep. So yes, in many ways Jumia resembles Amazon. And yet to a high degree our products, services and payment methods have been adapted to the Nigerian market. Through our company, local brands now sell their products nationally; we deploy field sales teams that instruct customers on how to use the internet and make their purchases on our website; and to compensate for outdated payment systems that prevail in Nigeria we made sure our customers pay with cash at delivery only.”
Competition, in addition, isn’t much of a hindrance to take for the two newly-appointed chief executive officers. “Our biggest competitors are traditional offline stores, boutiques, and vendors. In Nigeria, people are used to wandering traffic for hours when they want to make a purchase. They arrive at a store that might or might not have their product in stock, and pay a price that possibly they think is unreasonable. Which makes it our obligation to keenly communicate the convenience of Jumia’s online shopping experience. In fact, we invite potential customers to test us and see for themselves. We believe they will be convinced by our wide selection of high-quality products, friendly prices, and delivery within one day in Lagos, and five days throughout all of Nigeria.”
But what, at the end of the day, drives such exponential growth? “In a country like Nigeria, not much formal retail – registered and formally organised stores – is in place. Therefore, demand is overwhelming for a service like ours. Divided between the country’s 160 million inhabitants, there are maybe ten legitimate malls, at most. But whether you are in New York, Shanghai or Lagos, people are always in need of a pair of shoes, a shirt, or a spontaneous gift for their loved ones.”
“The internet brought Africa a new technology that helps us live our lives offline. Thriving on this shift, Jumia builds organised online retail in a country that houses one of the world’s largest populations, while educating its customers and vendors on how to purchase online. Jumia fosters an ecosystem that creates jobs, nation-wide economic opportunities, and shows that African commerce extends beyond the mere extraction of natural resources and export of commodities.”
What opportunities do you see for the likes of Jumia in other African countries?
Source : flyingblueclubafrica