Two of Africa’s leading online stores, Kasuwa and Sabunta, have merged as Rocket Internet GmbH, the firm behind the two, steps up efforts to consolidate its Nigerian operations into offering unified services across Africa.
In mid August, Kasuwa was renamed Jumia. It has now been merged with Sabunta as Rocket positions itself to become the number one online store in Nigeria.
Widely known for its investment in online stores that copy successful online retail outlets in other parts of the world, Rocket is betting on the Nigerian market for further growth.
Techloy, a Nigerian tech blog, reported that the consolidation of their operations resulted in the discharging of fifty of their staff. This is in contrast to a hiring spree when operations began, which involved hiring a former digital marketing officer for Wakanow, an online ticketing and reservation startup, Onyeka Akumah.
Rocket Internet GmbH’s operation in Nigeria has energised the e-commerce sector, challenging players like Taafoo and encouraging new players to enter the arena, such as Konga, Kamdora and the like.
“[Kasuwa and Sabunta] came at a time when online retail was still riding on the e-commerce runway and getting ready for take-off,” Loy Okezie, a technology and startup analyst told HumanIPO.
“They easily got the other players uber-ready to fly, especially with their free nationwide delivery and pay on delivery method. That was a differentiation and has now become the status quo of the growing e-commerce industry [in Nigeria],” Okezie said.
Rocket Internet GmbH claims that the name change and the merging of their services will help them serve customers better as well as unify its brands across Africa.
Online shoppers in Nigeria have hailed Kasuwa for its pay on delivery feature and the ease with which products can be verified and orders placed.
HumanIPO has reached out to Rocket Internet GmbH’s officials for comments and will update this report.