How have you found the Ugandan market?
We have been in Uganda since February though we didn’t start immediately because we didn’t really have stock by then. For the few months that we have been on the ground, we have been doing a shop to shop training about Kaymu. We usually do this down town Kampala in the various plazas. This is one of the reasons that we have achieved some success in terms of traffic on our website.
Business is progressing. We get about 25,000 visits per week to our website. We have about 5,000 sellers and we get about 1,000 orders per week.
You are in only 16 African countries, why Uganda?
Why not Uganda any way? The market in Uganda is quite big, stable and people are quite adoptive in terms of technology. As a matter of fact, there has been a great expansion. Business in Uganda is growing every other day it has picked much more than in the other African countries where we have been. It is second to Nigeria in terms of benefits in business and expansion on our side. We are also in South-East Asia, Central Asia and Southern Europe. We are generally in 30 countries globally.
How do you deal with the issue of cyber security in these times of high-level cyber crime?
We highly value the privacy of our customers. We are working with a g global internet company called Rocket Internet – one of our parent companies – which gives us ultimate cyber security. Other big companies like MTN and Tigo both of which are telecom companies are also in partnership with us. This makes our chain quite g and unbreakable. We are aware of cyber crime and we are well-guarded.
We also currently do not require credit card information so there isn’t money to steal. The transactions are done on a ‘cash on delivery’ basis. Soon, we will roll out the use of mobile money as another means of carrying out these transactions. In all the countries where we operate, there isn’t any danger that our clients – both buyers and sellers – can be exposed to cyber criminals.
How would you compare the market in Uganda to other African countries?
As I said, Ugandans are quite receptive to the idea much more than the other African countries. It could explain our success here. Uganda actually comes second to Nigeria in terms of growth of the company on the continent yet we have been here shorter than we have been in some other countries. It is also true that the market grows day in and day out and people are in the habit of shopping.
What challenges are you facing with the Ugandan market?
Our greatest challenge is with promotion and training. It is quite hectic moving around training people who are clueless about e-commerce. It is a completely new concept to many of them and so they find it quite hard to easily adopt and also to learn how it works.
It is also true that many of the people who own shops – which are our main target – unfortunately do not see the need for using email yet it’s our best platform of informing the sellers about their progress on the products they posted on the website. Some sellers also fail to update their accounts to put the latest details about certain products. We have got scenarios where a buyer orders for a product that is still on the site only to get news from the seller that it is out of stock or has been bought off. This is sad news to the buyer and to us as this inefficiency is blamed on us.
Why is this e-commerce concept not yet deeply entrenched in developing countries?
This is basically because e-commerce didn’t start here. I will not be pessimistic about the concept on the continent. I would rather say it is a new concept here and it is going to catch up soon since the people are actually positive about the entire issue. And because this is where the world is going, I believe it will soon become deeply entrenched in Uganda as it is out there.
What about the school for Kaymu – Kaymu Varsity?
Kaymu Varsity is to train especially the sellers on the running of their businesses on-line. It is important because many of the people here have not been exposed to e-commerce. We throw light on the benefits of e-commerce we enlighten them that this is where the world is headed because people are quite busy to do practical shopping. This training is basically to show our sellers how to run their business online with us. This is why we had to open up Kaymu Varsity.
Source : The Independent