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Retailer rides e-commerce wave

With increasing number of smartphones in the hands of Kenyans, the online retail sector is banking on the numbers to tap customers. Business writer FRED AMINGA spoke to Jumia managing director Sam Chappatte about online retail experience. Below are excerpts:

Question: How has business being for Jumia so far?

Answer: Last year started on a slow note but ended stronger with Jumia’s Black Friday in November emerging one of the biggest events ever for us. Having increased product range to more than 800,000 products compared to 30,000 during the same period in the previous year, our plan is to hit five million customers with a substantially increased number of vendors and improved pricing. This year’s January was twice as big as last year, meaning the market is still bullish.

Q: Is online retailing getting more appreciated in Kenya?

A: More Kenyans are embracing e-commerce daily. In the last 13 months, we have served more new customers.

Q: Kenya has millions of people with smartphones. Kindly break down the age bracket of your customers?

A: Half of those who visit Jumia retail platform are aged between 25 and 34 while 20 per cent are aged between 18 and 24 years, the rest are aged 35 years and above.

Q: What plans do you have in place to enhance vendor and customer experience?

A: We are working on a next-day delivery for an assortment of goods under our ambit. As long as products are in our warehouses and the customer is in Nairobi and orders goods worth more than Sh4,000 before 4 pm, the delivery is made the next day.

Q: What is Jumia’s game plan?

A: Moving forward, we are planning to have at least one major event every month. The next big thing will be mobile week in March. We plan to grow this business three times by increasing our assortment of goods by six times.

We plan to penetrate new ground and move into other towns. Currently between 60 and 70 per cent of our business is in Nairobi, 10 per cent in Mombasa and the rest scattered to other towns.

To get to where we want to be, we shall triple number of vendors and gain trust through major educational activities. We aim to leverage on a programme called J-force to recruit 14,000 vendors by end of the year.

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