Jumia Kenya is downsizing, just weeks after it announced the closure of its e-tail site in Tanzania and weeks after it did the same in Cameroon.
Jumia Kenya MD Sam Chappatte in a memo to all departments said, the firm is laying off 6% of its staff in Kenya (30 people) and that some of the staff will not be reporting to the firm early in 2020.
In an email to press Jumia said, “
The business environment and operating costs in the markets in which we operate are critical to our sustained success. After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to undergo some headcount reductions across our business verticals and geographies. While decisions like these are always difficult, we need to put our focus and resources where they can bring the best value and help Jumia thrive. We are supporting all impacted employees during this period of transition.”
Two weeks ago, Jumia closed shop in Tanzania to review its path to success. The firm announced that while Tanzania has strong potential, it had to focus its resources on its other markets. Safaricom’s Masoko also painfully pivoted from an etail store to an inhouse gadget shop selling the telco’s partner devices.
“This decision isn’t easy but will help put our focus and resources where they can bring the best value and help Jumia thrive.”
This closure in Tanzania followed a similar move in Cameroon on 18th November with the same view of putting its focus and resources on mature markets.
In a statement, Jumia Co-Founders Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara said: “Jumia is grateful to its employees in Cameroon for the hard work over the past five years and we know that Cameroon is not short of talent. The team has fought to change the way business is done and with the support of its employees, the company has proven to be the leading eCommerce in the region. This would not be possible without the combined efforts, great contribution and dedication of our Jumia Cameroon team.“
In Cameroon, Jumia also announced it will continue to support buyers and vendors via its classifieds portal, previously called Jumia Deals and which will now be the main portal jumia.cm.
Though Jumia is generally struggling due to poor uptake of e-commerce in Africa, the firm also needed to streamline its operations and run like a lean startup and hire more local staff who are more affordable pegged to its revenues.
Jumia Nigeria, on the other hand, has opened up its e-commerce platform to brands and corporate organizations to advertise.
The company’s Head of Growth & Partnerships, Olusegun Martins said being the most visited in Nigeria and being present in 12 countries in Africa, the platform saw itself as best placed for advertising for other brands.
“We are much more than “e-commerce”, we have hotels, flights, restaurants, classifieds portals, and many more platforms, which give us even more data and more ability to target the right audience for brands looking to reach a wider and more targeted audience,” Martin said.
Jumia aims to help brands build awareness, engagement and increase their, sales. Jumia aims to help brands target users geographically and also use it as a source of research, inspiration and shopping.
“We decided to open our platform starting from last month (October). There is a huge opportunity for brands to showcase their services and products to our audience and that is why we opened our platform. The way we want the brands to look at it is to think of Jumia as a search engine. The perception is that people come to Jumia to buy only. This is not entirely the case. A large chunk of people that come to Jumia come to make informed decisions; at that point when they are searching, their minds are receptive to whatever communication is available. So, people need to look at Jumia as a search engine,” Martins said.
According to him, Jumia has already established a close working relationship with a few strategic agencies who have indicated long term interests in partnering with the company over the new advertising platform.
Apart from vendors, Jumia will now reach out to banks, insurance companies, telcos and different sectors of brands to reach their targets by placing an Ad on its platform. Jumia will likely also work in other ad networks or exchanges to increase its revenues!