After Black Friday trials in both Nigeria and Uganda, Kenyan-Chinese backed online store Kilimall has launched full-scale operations in Nigeria and Uganda, as it moves to achieve its objective to be Africa’s Amazon faster than Jumia and Konga have ever thought.
Using Jumia’s marketplace playbook, but carefully scaling on budget, the firm has been operating in Kenya since July 2014 where it’s an unsatisfied number 2 after Jumia. Luckily it’s quickly gaining popularity due to its cheaper products and the many discounts it offers and tries hard not to sell items that are out of stock unlike Jumia whose inventory and web teams seem to be out of sync.
Kilimall-coined from Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain approximately 5,895 metres above sea level, and Mall-the normal shopping malls you know aims to be Africa’s largest online shopping mall and with persistence, it stands a chance though this might too early to judge.
“We launched in July 2014 and our mission is to become No.1 E-commerce platform in Africa,” says the firm. ”We serve a retail customer base that continues to grow exponentially, offering products that span various categories including Phones, Computers, Clothing, Shoes, Home Appliances, and Books, healthcare, Baby Products, personal care and much more.”
Kilimall recently launched same day deliveries in Kenya and is sure to extend the same to Nigeria and Uganda after trials in Kenya this festive season to take on competitors Jumia and Konga and Yudala. It will also face Supermart and Gloo when it expands into more verticals.
Its expansion to Nigeria and Uganda is huge but it’s just step one into expanding across Africa. We hope the lessons the firm learns in each market will help it become better and serve customers well across these markets. Its biggest hurdle will be by-passing the various countries’ fluctuating currencies to make a profit and maintain its low cost strategy and figuring logistics. Kilimall might be positioning itself for an Alibaba or Amazon acquisition, and it stands a better chance than Jumia which is mostly overvalued and owned by a web of almost everyone in the global tech investments scene.
If the firm gets customer care right, Jumia (Kenya) might not stand a chance to beat it in the next 2 years. Calling itself ‘highly customer-centric’ Kilimall was supposed to launch in Uganda in May this year but setting up infrastructure sometimes doesn’t go as planned on paper.
As Africa’s biggest economy and the continent’s most populous country, Nigeria is a juicy but tricky market and it won’t be a surprise if Kilimall gets stuck in Lagos instead of serving users countrywide. It might also not get out of Nigeria to other markets just like Konga decided to-though investors might have seen no need of such scaling.
Wish them luck!