What Two African Entrepreneurs Have Learnt from Amazon.com – Globalization in Action Serving Humanity


Boasting exponential growth since its inception in 2012, Jumia became the first e-commerce site to bring the coveted Play Station 4 to Nigeria. The company announced the offering after just two days of the release in the US. The Nigerian would-be Amazon is following the global giant’s footsteps in becoming a super networked business, although there is still a long way to go.

Jumia started with a relatively similar aim and manifesto to Amazon, which puts customers at the heart of its operation. In the same vein, the Nigerian site also reaps benefits from being one of the pioneers in Africa’s emerging online retail market. “Being first is good, but it is not everything. What fuels Jumia’s success so far is somewhat akin to Amazon’s evolution into a Five-star business network” – said Vivek Sood, CEO of Global Supply Chain Group.

Jumia is not shy of innovation either, given the fact that people are still skeptical about online retailing as well as online payment in Africa. The Lagos-based retailer launched a range of online payment options but steers its technology-shy consumers by accepting cash on delivery and offering free returns. “It’s very important that people know it’s not a scam,” said co-founder Tunde Kehinde. They even take a step further and deploy a direct sales team of 200 to educate Nigerians about secure online shopping, which also serves as a means to build trust. Now with pick-up stations spanning over 6 locations, a warehouse facility, 200 delivery vehicles in Nigeria and 4 other country-specific microsites, Jumia seriously strives to become a one stop shop for retail in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Here you are collecting cash and reconciling payments almost like a bank desk, here you are building a logistics company,” said co-founder Raphel Afaedor.

Both co-founders and Harvard Business School graduates built the business from $75 billion in funding and are bringing “a couple of million” dollars in monthly revenue, a growth rate of nearly 20%. Vivek Sood, author of the book “Move Beyond the Traditional Supply Chains: The 5-STAR Business Network”, said: “Jumia is taking the right steps towards building the five cornerstones of a super networked business: innovation, efficiency, profitability maximisation, product phasing and result-oriented outsourcing. With the promising results so far, perhaps we could see the next perfect example of a 5-star business network besides Amazon.”

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Vivek Sood

I write about "The Supply Chain CEOs", "The 5-STAR Business Networks", and, how to "Unchain Your Corporation". In my work, I help create extraordinary corporate results using several 'unique' supply chain methodologies. Contact me for interesting, high impact projects, or, to get access to my IP for creating transformations using these methodologies.

  • Cathy in Supply says:

    What a heart warming story. Capabilities of both companies to learn from competitors and other innovative companies. Amazon’s evolution through 5 star business network strategies is worthy of emulation. Kudos!

    • Vivek Sood says:

      Thanks Cathy for a wonderful comment. You can read a lot more about Amazon in many of my other blogs (not all of it is positive, I must warn you). Also, in my book linked below…..

      • Jayden SCM says:

        Hey Vivek, From where can i purchase this book of yours? I mean, It seems that this book of yours is very interesting to read over it i would like to purchase that book please share me the link to purchase.

    • Henry says:

      Hey Cathy! Do you use the 5-star business network in your company?

      • Cathy in Supply says:

        Yes, Henry, I’m getting guidance by The 5-Star business network book that explains practical aspects of business in the supply chain by Mr. Vivek Sood. He explained very nicely How we can grow business through our own network.

      • Cathy Supply Chain says:

        I suggest: You can buy the book by here https://globalscgroup.com/blog/

        Also, you may get the first 3 chapters in free to review it. I hope you will get helpful suggestions for your business.

        • Henry says:

          Thanks Cathy! I welcome to your suggestions and going to get free chapters of The %-star business network Book. I’ll get back with my query after reading free chapters.

  • Stewart says:

    Jumia, the startup that’s been nicknamed the Amazon of the African continent, become the ecommerce leader in Africa in just 4 years of its launch. With record growth, it has seen sales multiplied by 5 in the initial two years. While the African continent has enormous opportunities for online retailers, there are still quite a few obstacles that hinder ecommerce growth; weak internet infrastructure, a complicated banking sector and logistical difficulties.

  • Oswald says:

    Good to read about the tremendous success of Jumia but how did Jumia achieve this great success in such a short time period? Jumia identified a market opportunity, and strove to effectively fill the need. It began with a small team and huge plans. It raised smart investment to fund the first crucial years of market penetration, facilitating operation scale up and growth. The company established important strategic partnerships in its market, such as with telecom companies, and researched its market in order to best answer the needs and concerns of its clientele.

  • Elaina says:

    Jumia has been able to achieve this level of growth in 3yrs due to the fact that they put their customers first. They understood the role customers play in achieving long-term success. The company’s email support team are up and doing. For example, I once had an issue with two clippers I bought from their site. In order to resolve the issue, I sent an e-mail across to them which they promptly replied. They sent a short mail informing me that the issue would be resolved in the shortest possible time. And to my surprise, within two days, they had come back to retrieve the item from my location. And not only that, they also provided a replacement within the space of one week.

  • Quackenbush says:

    Honesty is like Dettol in an injury. It may sting at first, but it heals with time. So Don’t just focus on an immediate gain. Jumia at present suffered a net loss of about 33 million dollars, but most of this is as a result of their expansion drive. However, despite this challenge, they have been able to show honesty in their dealings. They have provided a platform that has given opportunities to buyers to write reviews of product purchased without trying to doctor it. This honesty gives buyers a good idea of what item to purchase.

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