E-commerce platform Jumia Kenya says it increased its sales by 900 per cent in 2014, while expanding to Nakuru and Mombasa and signing a number of major partnerships.
First launched in 2012 in Nigeria, Jumia is already active in Ivory Coast, Egypt, Cameroon, Morocco, Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and Angola, while it has also launched a site in the United Kingdom (UK).
It has been busy expanding its operations in Kenya, and managing director Parinaz Firozi told Disrupt Africa the company was beginning to see the results of this expansion as well as partnerships with the likes of BATA, L’Oreal, Microsoft and Infinix.
“Jumia increased sales by 900 per cent in one year which is proof that the uptake of e-commerce in Kenya is massive,” she said. “The company has also grown by double-digits to become Kenya’s leading online retailer. We have been delivering to many towns outside Nairobi to as far as Garissa, proof enough that Kenya has embraced online shopping.”
She said Jumia was still focused on growing its customer base as opposed to immediate profitability.
“Jumia is currently focusing on acquiring customers and ensuring that we provide them with the utmost satisfaction. The more satisfied the customer and the more they purchase the closer we will be to break-even,” Firozi said.
The company’s primary competition in Kenya, she says, is the brick and mortar market.
“Nairobi itself contains 18 malls with a large informal market as well. In the online space there are several small players, however, no one carries the same weight as Jumia. Jumia is currently in the top 15 most visited websites in Kenya.”
That said, Firozi said the company has had to adapt to the specifics of the Kenyan market, with barriers including low rate of internet penetration, “fear of the unknown”, and the lack of addresses. Jumia’s main play has been the launch of an online marketplace, which allows SMEs to open virtual shops on Jumia.
“This was basically to bridge the gap between online and offline sales and ensure their customers could find their products online thus increasing the traffic and trust,” she said.
“We have also partnered with local courier services such as Aramex to launch offline pick-up points from where our customers can order online and pick up from all Aramex centres countrywide.”