Tunde Kehinde, co-founder and former managing director of Jumia Nigeria. Photo by HumanIPO.
Jumia Nigeria recently celebrated its one year anniversary and, along with Konga.com, has led the way in Nigeria’s quickly growing e-commerce industry.
HumanIPO caught up with Tunde Kehinde, co-founder and managing director of Jumia Nigeria, to discuss their progress so far and plans for the future.
HumanIPO: When you started Jumia Nigeria one year ago, did you envisage it would become this big so quickly?
Kehinde: To be honest, we had an idea it would be very big though not this quickly. It was December last year that it began to spike. We got more visits, we got more orders.
And at the back of the mind it would make sense because we are in a country of 160 million people, people will always need to buy something – for their homes, children and loved ones. Considering the market capacity, I can say it could be ten times bigger.
How wide is the gap between the numbers of visitors just looking and those actually buying?
We don’t disclose numbers, but I can tell you now we are seeing record numbers on our e-commerce platform. People are buying what we are selling.
Yesterday, you may be inquiring about where you should go to get a particular shirt, book, home appliance, a phone and several others.
You may choose to physically go to a store where you are not sure about the price and quality, you can neither ascertain whether such product could be returned or not.
But basically on Jumia, we are telling you to sit at your desk or in your house, press the buttons on your device and we will come to you.
In the US I can walk down the street and I’ll see about 30 stores with top service quality and return policies.
I can see a wide range of offers, but here it’s not like that which is why our platform is still in the best interest of our customers and that is also the reason why they keep coming back to make new orders.
As you embark on the second-year journey, what’s the new focus and goal?
To be a real nationwide player, rolling out new categories so that there will be more options for Nigerians to buy and at the same time we would want to continue harping on our customer experience.
We want every single time you interact with us, whether you visit our site, see our price, or you talk to a Jumia rep, to be an amazing experience. We will keep investing in that this year and for the next few years.
There are several products on Jumia, which ones are people ordering more?
They are all selling. Fashion sells very well for us, computing sells very for us. We have exclusive deals with Nokia, Samsung and Dell, these are helping us to push the volume of sales.
What we are seeing is if it’s a good offer, people will buy it – whether it’s for kids, daily care products, perfumes, or fashion; if it’s a good offer, people will buy it. At the right price and right quality, they will try it out.
On several e-commerce sites including Jumia, foreign products in various genres get more promotion than local products. Why is this so?
To be honest with you, majority of our suppliers are local, because most of the electronics we get are sourced locally – whether it’s the mobile devices like BlackBerry or fashion products like Prada. In some cases it might be an international brand, but the entrepreneurs who are getting these brands are local suppliers.
Raphael, co-founder and managing director, jokingly hinted that Jumia Nigeria may soon start selling Sallah rams online. Is it something you are seriously considering?
Why not? The idea is when you think of buying anything, you would think of Jumia first. What we are trying to do is to keep covering more categories that make sense to the customers – whether it is home appliances, or other categories that we think will appeal to the customer.
If the option for you to buy it is difficult, Jumia will help you solve it.
Do you think the market is big enough to accommodate all the e-commerce sites appearing in Nigeria and do you expect the industry to evolve?
The market is very big and I think there is still enough market for people to succeed. As many are coming up, I see people will begin to focus on specific categories – whether it’s clothing, books or phones. I see that happening soon.
We have such a large share of the market yet many people are still afraid about buying – “I’ve heard about this thing. Should I try it?”
So I believe there is still enough market for everyone once we can overcome that trust barrier.
Konga recently launched pick-up stores. Is Jumia doing anything similar to that?
We’ve had pick-up stores for the past six months, we just haven’t publicized it. We have in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Warri and Benin.
For us, the idea is to focus more on customer experience.
If you come on Jumia, you can virtually find a way to buy that is convenient for you in any way possible – we have pick-up stores, next day delivery, and several others.
We are also getting to the point where we are beginning to have an internal geek squad where we can fix your issues for you at Jumia.
We are pioneering a lot of opportunities in the sector and we have a few we are going to announce this year.
We just partnered with Pagatech for SMS-to-order where you can text something and the order comes to you. So look to Jumia for more solutions aimed at improving customer experience.