Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wherever you are in Ghana, Jumia is here for you

I first learnt about Jumia via a billboard in Lagos (on the main bridge connecting the island and the mainlands) sometime in 2013. I was in Las Gidi working with external and internal clients for Rancard. Given what we know about putting billboards and their costs, I was giddy about seeing these - for an ecommerce website nonetheless. I later found out it was a ‘popular’ website for Nigerians to buy items online. Amazon for Nigeria. This month, still Africa’s leading online retailer, Jumia, launched in Ghana. Ghana is the latest African country Jumia is operating in. Akwaaba, Jumia.

Jumia first launched in 2012 and has already successfully brought e-commerce to Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon. If you know more about Jumia, you know it’s actually managed by Rocket Internet, one of the most aggressive tech companies worldwide. With German type efficiency and American type aggression and African type resourcefulness, Jumia is growing at a fast pace. I fully expect it to ramp up quickly in Ghana and be a major player in the space here shortly. So don’t be surprised when you see their billboards in town. Actually, I will not be surprised if we don’t see their billboards in town. Maybe they’ll do more BTL this time, then ATL. (below-the-line, above-the-line advertising.

Jumia is part of Africa Internet Holding’s portfolio. AIH is the parent group of nine successful and fast-growing companies in more than 20 African countries, accounting for over 3000 staff. That’s a lot of IT jobs right there, which has been a major discussion point in the ongoing Innovation Month in Ghana. AIH’s network of companies includes JUMIA, Kaymu, Hellofood, Lamudi, Carmudi, Zando, Jovago, Lendico and Easy Taxi. Easy Taxi is a popular service amongst people in my network. HelloFood is patronized here and Lamudi has been making some good waves.https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif
One of the most impressive things about Jumia is that they have their own warehouses and delivery teams. They have recently turned on a variety of payment options including cash on delivery, credit card and mobile money as well - closing the loop on e-commerce and payments. Jumia has adapted the global megatrend for African consumers and won the trust of a large and constantly growing customer base. I wasn’t surprised when I realised they were among the first cohort of companies in Stanford SEED’s West Africa program, hosted in Accra when I attended the launch.

According to a 2013 report by good old McKinsey, Ghana has 3.5 million internet users and an internet penetration rate of 55% in urban areas, while a quarter of city residents go online daily, the second-highest rate in Africa. To do what exactly, I’d love to know. A quarter is impressive, and will be more meaningful when we collectively go online and do more than communicate amongst ourselves. I must add my favorite stat - Ghana also has more mobile users than people. That means a whole lot of people accessing Jumia will be via the phone. Being mobile responsive cannot be underrated. At all at all at all.

Temitope Abereoje is the Country Manager for Jumia Ghana. I will forgive you if you thought of Nigerian aggression. But believe you me, the Jumia Ghana team will operate Ghana with a lot of insight, while borrowing from best practices elsewhere. In a press statement, Temitope said: “This is another exciting step for Jumia. We are confident that Ghanaians will embrace the opportunity to shop easily and conveniently online, and are committed to maintaining our high standards of security, great value and fantastic service as we continue to expand across the continent.”

In spite of the cedi’s troubles, Ghana is still one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, with a GDP of $37 billion. If the masses thronging the new mall in Accra is anything to go by, it is proven that Ghanaians have an increasing purchasing power and are in a position to begin taking full advantage of online services. These point to a great market for Jumia to thrive in and Ghanaians to gain more value from being online. But you can stop reading from me now. Here are some other testimonials. Go on, select an item, register your order and get it delivered anywhere in Ghana.
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