According to Facebook, “Facebook Shops is a mobile-first shopping experience where businesses can easily create an online store on Facebook and Instagram for free. Shops let you choose which of your items you want to feature, merchandise with product collections and tell your brand story with customizable fonts and colors. In Facebook Shops, you’ll be able to connect with customers through WhatsApp, Messenger or Instagram Direct to answer questions, offer support and more”.
If you look carefully, that is what Jumia does. Simply, Jumia has a big Facebook Inc (Messenger, Instagram, and Facebook) problem just as movie theaters have YouTube problems in Africa. Provided these dominant ICT utilities are expanding, companies like Jumia will be left to do the hard jobs as women wigs, clothes and other easy things thrive on Facebook. Facebook has the demand and could run a quasi-marketplace better than any company in the world right now.
In this videocast, I discuss the future of e-commerce in Africa and why the sector is still anyone’s game to win despite the presence of key competitors. The loss-making sector demands someone with capital to boost logistics and accelerate scale to make money. Today’s leaders are not doing that yet, and can be easily disrupted and displaced. But there are challenges in competing in this sector because the environment and the fundamentals are toxic with largely no infrastructure to key in. The business competitive factor is not the internet or website but logistics. Winning this sector to become a category-king will be settled by a company that can invest, at scale, in logistics to serve more cities and countries.