Launched in Nigeria in 2012, ecommerce startup Jumia aims to mimic Amazon’s success by delivering a wide range of items, from toys to generators, across Africa.
In less than two years Jumia has become Nigeria’s biggest ecommerce company, with a fleet of over 150 delivery vehicles and 600 staff serving an audience of more than 400,000 daily subscribers. Like its main rivals Kongaand Zando, the company is eager to meet the demand of Nigeria’s 170 million consumers. Online payments have tripled in the last three years to $1bn.
In fulfilling its pledge to deliver anywhere in Nigeria within five days, Jumia faces logistical hurdles that rarely affect firms in the West. Poor infrastructure, congested roads and payment difficulties have deterred most global players.
But Jumia counters this with cash payments on delivery, with its own logistics networks and with apps for the 50 million people who access the internet via the more dependable mobile phone networks. Even so, security concerns mean no deliveries after 7.15pm.
Jumia’s customers are as demanding as elsewhere, but as the company builds trust and loyalty, it is looking to expand across Africa. Jumia also operates in Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast and Kenya. In order to reach more Kenyan consumers offline, the company is implementing a franchise model offering commission payments for entrepreneurs who set up local collection points.
Nigeria has the fastest growing rate of ecommerce in Africa, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones and an expanding middle-class market.
With a reliable and ready-made infrastructure often lacking, brands need to overcome substantial logistical hurdles with innovative supply and payment solutions tailored to local conditions.
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