“Moroccans no strangers to tech” – Kaymu

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The tech savviness of Moroccans has allowed online shopping community Kaymu to set high standards in business growth in the country, managing director Fanny Ponce has told Disrupt Africa.

Africa Internet Group (AIG)-owned Kaymu, which has operations in a number of African countries, launched its Moroccan site in 2013, with Ponce saying it had “set new standards in business growth” in less than two years since.

“There is almost a week-on-week increase in our number of sellers as well as buyers. This is probably due to the fact that we are as much a community as an online marketplace,” she said.

This, Ponce said, had been assisted by the fact Moroccans are “no strangers to technology”, especially the internet.

“Shopping online is common, as e-commerce forged its way through Morocco over the last few years. With a 50 per cent penetration rate, it is one of the highest in Africa,” she said.

“Barriers are meant to be overcome. And at this point a large percentage of the barriers have been overcome in Morocco. Some of them remain and they are slow internet and logistical problems on ground. However, Kaymu’s on-the-ground team and a number of logistics solution companies are helping Kaymu overcome these barriers.”

Ponce admitted Kaymu had had to adapt in order to build up its user base in the country.

“Morocco is unique in its culture and consumer patterns. For example in Morocco, sheep were sold on the marketplace to celebrate Eid El Kebir, an Islamic festival, where sheep are consumed as families gather, as a religious tradition,” she said.

AIG companies – including the likes of Jumia, Lamudi and Jovago – have traditionally been slow to make profits, instead focusing on long-term growth. Ponce confirmed this was Kaymu’s strategy as well, though it “definitely” hoped to be profitable relatively soon.

“Fast paced development and adapted strategies makes Kaymu’s core focus that of growth. We are looking at empowering SMEs and helping them grow their businesses. It is more about impact and growth than financial figures at this moment,” she said.

Disrupt Africa reported in October last year Kaymu was further pushing this growth strategy by launching a series of workshops in cities across Africa aimed at empowering sellers to boost sales and customer numbers on its platform.

KaymuVarsity comprises six sessions which cover the basics of Kaymu, order processing, payment methods, logistics, social media strategy and the seller centre, providing participants with in-depth information and the opportunity to ask any questions they might have about the platform.

“E-commerce is still a new concept in Africa, and motivating small business owners to take an active role in developing online businesses is necessary for the growth of the continent’s e-commerce sector,” the startup said.

“As Africa’s leading online marketplace, Kaymu offers entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to start selling online with little up-front investment. The company is eager to work with small entrepreneurs to help them capitalize on this business opportunity.”

Elias Schulze, Kaymu Africa’s chief executive officer (CEO), said the programme responds to the growing number of individuals and small businesses choosing to sell online.

“We’re seeing more and more people who want to take advantage of the Kaymu platform, but many of them have no experience in running an online shop. Online shopping is less established in Africa and Asia than in many other parts of the world, so we set up KaymuVarsity as a way of ensuring that all our sellers can access the tools and knowledge they need for success,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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