Brands & Advertising
Consumers should expect huge discounts in 2017 Black Friday, Jumia Travels CEO promises
Joe Falter, founder of Jumia Foods and CEO Jumia Travels was in Nigeria recently on assessment tour. BusinessDay caught up with him in Lagos and he spoke on a number of issues including Black Friday, e-commerce business in Nigeria and Africa and security in online trade. Falter who has background in management consulting and in building technology companies is optimistic of the future of technology and online business in Africa. Excerpts.
What brought you to Nigeria this time?
Business assessment. Five years ago, I took the decision to come to Nigeria to start Jumia Foods because I am passionate about technology and emerging markets in Africa. Specifically we saw a gap in the sector that is lacking in quality service and we felt we would develop an industry that consumers would find useful. When we started Jumia Travels for similar reasons, it was difficult to find great hotels and it was expensive to book flight from travel agents. So we created a service that would make it easy to find and book travels at great prices. Now we are active in 11 countries in Africa for food business and we operate across the whole continent for travels. Presently we have hundreds of people working for the organisation and we are growing very rapidly. I am very optimistic about the future of technology and Online trade in Nigeria.
Is Jumia Travels a subsidiary of Jumia Online Malls?
Jumia Group is the umbrella group and I serve on the executive committee of Jumia Group. Within Jumia Group there are several internet companies of which Jumia Foods and Jumia Travels are part of. There is Jumia Mall which is the e-commerce business. There are also classified businesses such as Jumia House, Jumia Car, Jumia Jobs among others.
Where then would you place Jumia Foods from the perspective of market share?
I may not give you accurate figure on market share because I don’t have that data immediately but what I do know is by far we are the biggest in terms of hotels we have available for customers. We have 30,000 hotels in Africa, and we have 300,000 hotels globally. In Nigeria, we have over 10,000 hotels. The best price online is Jumia Travels and when you combine all these, it means that if a customer is looking for hotel and wants to pay little price, his/her best bet is Jumia Travels.
For your food service, what challenges do you have delivering food real time to your customers, especially in Lagos?
In food service, in fact traffic is our friend because traffic means that people cant go out easily to buy food. It is important to us that we can solve this challenge for customers. We get absolutely very detailed how we run our logistics operations. We have about 100 motorbikes to deliver food to customers and we also track locations of the motorbikes. We have average deliver time of 35 minutes which is pretty fast. There is traffic but our bikes are meandering them delivering food to people.
Where are the sources of the food delivered?
We are supplied food from registered restaurants with us. Any restaurant you want to order from, you go to the site and choose your location. The site will show all the restaurants that the customer can choose from.
Assessing your operations in Nigeria with other African markets, what are the common prospects and challenges you face in Nigeria?
The biggest challenge is the question of customer behaviour. What we are doing is something that is relatively new even after five years, it is relatively new. It is a complete revolution on how people live their day to day lives. Before Jumia travels, it was a challenge for people booking for hotels manually in different cities and the challenge of knowing the price or whether the customer is getting the fair price. The same for food. What we are doing is complete revolution in terms of convenience and transparency. The biggest challenge for us is getting people to realise that there is a complete new way of doing things.
How do you factor in security in your business including food delivering and travels?
Security is the most important point in e-commerce trade. Therefore gaining trust is what underscores e-commerce. For us, we take many measures to earn trust. We work with people with real products. Payment on delivery is important so that you see what you are paying for and level of information we give on food delivery and travel is also important to us. Again if anything goes wrong it is covered by insurance.
How much would you estimate African e-commerce market today?
A report by a Nigerian newspaper quoting Economist Intelligence Unit in London valued e-commerce in Nigeria at $13 billion and it is expected to rise to $50 billion within the next 10 years. I think this figure is conservative. If you think of the population of Nigeria and what they buy and increasingly they buy more expensive products, with increasing middle class in the country, it is conservative
What is your preparation for forthcoming Black Friday?
Black Friday is the biggest shopping event of the year. It is huge event that is centred around biggest discounts. For anyone who is thinking to buy phones or gadgets, should key into the Black Friday 2017 coming up on November 13 to December 12. We have a lot brands lined up with good deals available for people. Black Friday has generated a lot of interest for Jumia customers. For this year, we also expect millions of people coming to Jumia website and it is for us to provide good services they would be excited about. We have huge discounts available for foods, hotels, travels and items. For hotels and travels, customers can book on the available discounts during Black Friday and use the services later.
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