Rocket Internet-backed Jumia has launched an online lending programme for its merchants in Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and Ivory Coast helping them borrow loans to grow their inventory, and help it become an everyday and everything store.

By leveraging on transactional, operational and behavioral data on its vendors, Jumia believes it can work with partners to provide credit facilities to vendors who are the B2C platform’s lifeline.

“We are always working with those partners and we bring them business online and by just listening to them we realized how difficult it was for them to access funding. So we realized they had a problem and we thought we could help them solve their problem by using the Jumia data to provide them with better financing opportunities,” Jumia co-CEO Sacha Poignonnec  told TechMoran on the side lines of the TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield Africa held in Nairobi.

The whole idea that the vendors-technically SMEs have little access to financing and if they do, it’s so expensive. So Jumia decided to mine its vendor data, get the right financing partners who will extend credit to the vendors to help the SMEs grow their online businesses.

Jumia is therefore creating a virtual Sacco where the vendors can access better finance from various financial institutions to create a win-win situation for both Jumia, its merchants and the financial institutions.

 

With low interest rates of up to 12% per annum, Jumia believes the loans will help provide the much needed working capital vendors need to buy goods to sell on the Jumia platform. With more items on Jumia, there will be less need for guys to shop offline or visit other sites such as Konga in Nigeria among others.

However, for Jumia this is about choice and price for its customers as Africa is in the early stage of ecommerce and the move will imply shoppers can be sure of finding whatever good or service they are looking for online instead of looking for elsewhere.

“It’s really about bringing the relevant products to people and when we started a lot of transactions were for people to buy mobile phones and fashion but once you have bought one mobile phone you cannot buy a mobile phone everyday. So, it’s really about fulfilling people’s needs. Today, if you go to Jumia in Nigeria  or in Kenya you will see a lot of grocery items,  fashion, hygienic items, diapers, cream toothpaste and pampers, you see a lot of new products bringing which are fulfilling everyday needs to the people. To us its about about bringing more and more choice to people and better prices to the people that when they go to Jumia they can always save time and money because they can find whatever they are looking for.”

The firm has not mentioned the financial partners and its still mum whether the public would soon be allowed to access loans on Jumia, but that is the plan, to make it the go to place for everything.

That’s the push Jumia is doing now. Going down to people’s needs and making sure that whatever it is they need they can find it on Jumia. So that Jumia becomes an option for them to buy anything anytime. Jumia will need to sort out its instant citywide delivery to become Africa’s everything everyday store and reign on estate kiosks.