Jumia’s Facebook Problem

Jumia’s Facebook Problem

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.


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One thought on “Jumia’s Facebook Problem

  1. If entrepreneurs view a business environment in this way, nobody will be able to launch anything, because every sector you look, you might think it’s already owned, and therefore a waste of time and resources to venture there. Fortunately, the reality is different, depending on who’s venturing.

    Facebook Shop isn’t solving any new problem, it simply entered into an existing space, and with the bait of making handful of things free, everybody will line up and see Facebook as everything store; humans will surprise you…

    Again, YouTube is not really a problem for the movie theatres, movies have budgets, those who do movies know where each movie belongs; there are movies, and there are movies.

    What I see is dearth of innovation, as long as people keep repeating what is already known, without bringing anything new or exceptional, they will always run out of luck. Do something profound today, and you will notice that our market is still primitive, it remains available for anyone to win.


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