Jumia Spotlight: The Future of Ecommerce in North Africa
We sat down with Elyes Jeribi, CEO of Jumia Tunisia to understand his perspectives on how consumers will respond to e-commerce opportunities in a post-COVID era.
Elyes joined Jumia in 2017 to serve as the CEO of Tunisia and has had a wealth of experience in his career from working with McKinsey & Company to setting up his own IT start up between Tunisia and France. He has shared some great insights on some of his lessons learnt both at Jumia and throughout his career. We will welcome Elyes back at North Africa Com 2021 to discuss Jumia’s journey in becoming one of the few African Unicorns.
The COVID-19 pandemic, has accelerated a global shift towards e-commerce.
Africa is (still) the second least impacted continent in the world after Oceania with less than 5 million cases (with around 132K deaths) on June 7th. It is still too early to know the full impact of COVID-19 in Africa. To date the experience has been varied. There are causes for concern, but also reasons for hope. Early estimates were pessimistic regarding the pandemic’s impact on the continent. But the relatively low numbers of COVID-19 cases reported thus far have raised hopes that African countries may be spared the worst of the pandemic. While the virus is present in all African countries, most countries have recorded fewer than 50,000 cases. However, the situation can evolve and is still very uncertain due to new variants.
For 9 years, Jumia were providing convenience to their consumers but with the COVID-19 context, they provided access to basic and essential products and services to allow their consumers to stay safe. Their platform is providing solutions, more than ever, to all the important daily needs of their consumers. There have been mostly localized lockdowns/ partial movement restrictions in Q2 and some in Q1 2021 which has meant less drastic changes in consumer lifestyle vs nationwide lockdowns. Where Africa’s had all encompassing nationwide lockdowns (like in Tunisia or Morocco) they saw a clear acceleration in usage.
COVID further reinforced the relevance of Jumia and e-commerce in Africa to
- provide consumers with continued access to essential goods and services
- acceleration in e-commerce adoption by sellers and brands in particular
The most valuable market growth opportunities for e-commerce in North Africa.
Elyes sees the most valuable growth opportunities with local SMEs as Jumia enables over 110,000 SMEs across Africa to reach new consumers, benefiting from the economics of digitization to achieve a significant increase in their activity level.
A second growth opportunity is focusing on inclusive growth - Jumia is reaching people in rural areas and giving them access to its extensive catalogue of products and logistics.
Lastly, there are growth opportunities in online payments. Jumia, through JumiaPay, is contributing to the development of dematerialized payment solutions; which are key to the success of e-Commerce
Brand evolution to cater to new patterns of customer demands.
Across their footprint, Elyes saw an acceleration in e-commerce adoption on the sellers and brands side. This led to enhanced partnerships with brands which are now putting in place dedicated marketing and commercial strategies for e-commerce and chose Jumia as a venue of choice to implement that. They also have a lot of partnerships with brands as they try to work closely with them.
Some concrete examples of actions done in 2020:
- Partnership with MasterCard to encourage cashless transactions
- Partnership with Total in Tunisia to launch the first network of pick up stations across the country
- Partnership with Reckitt Benckiser to provide consumers access to hygiene products in Africa.
The biggest barriers to the adoption of e-commerce services in North Africa.
The biggest barriers to adoption of ecommerce have been the lack of trust on online shopping (online payment). Trust is the biggest barrier as customers are still sceptical about ecommerce. Seamless payment systems and efficient logistics operators are other barriers to ecommerce services in North Africa.
Jumia is constantly developing innovative solutions to tackle challenges. Historically, consumers in North Africa were forced to struggle with inadequate legacy infrastructure which inhibited growth, eroded trust and crippled an already challenged business environment. Jumia’s multi-purpose innovative platform is the path to Africa’s future by empowering both small businesses and consumers in the continent.
Every country where Jumia operates has a unique environment and they are committed to working on solutions that allow everyone access to Africa’s most trusted and essential digital infrastructure.
Lessons learned from Jumia.
Jumia addressed the trust and e-commerce issue by putting in place the guarantee "satisfait ou remboursé". This meant a lot for their customers and allowed them to gain their trust.
Jumia’s deep understanding of economic, technical, geographic and cultural complexities which are unique to Africa enables their Company to offer a solution that addresses the vast needs and preferences of both sellers and consumers.
Another lesson has been development through online payments. Jumia, through JumiaPay, is contributing to the development of dematerialized payment solutions, which are key to the success of e-Commerce and an important asset for most countries when it comes to development prospects.
Jumia also has a deep knowledge of the logistics and payment landscapes and uses this to navigate the unique challenges of operating an e-commerce business in African markets.
Their increased focus on everyday product categories is key to position them at the heart of everyday consumption in Africa and drive an increased share of consumer consumption online
To hear more insights from Elyes, you can watch the video below. We will be welcoming him again at North Africa Com 2021 so make sure to register for your free pass here!