To get around the problem, Jumia has inked a deal with Vivo Energy, owner of Engen and Shell-branded petrol stations across Africa to transform the filling stations to supply more than just fuel.
As per the agreement, Jumia will now set up pick-up stations at Vivo’s over 2,000 fuel station outlets, allowing customers to pick up their orders as well as make payments.
Vivo operates in 23 African markets while Jumia operates in 14.
The partnership will be piloted in Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and Ivory Coast before being eventually rolled out to countries where both companies operate, says Jumia.
With an active customer pool pegged at four million and dominated by online shoppers, offering prospective “offline customers” an avenue to participate in e-commerce is seen as essential to growing Jumia sales.
Currently, delivering orders is a nightmare for Jumia as the firm has to contend with inconsistent address systems, underdeveloped road networks and relatively limited mapping in several of African markets which it operates in.
Jumia is eying to expand its operations beyond major cities and the Vivo partnership offers the potential benefit of uniformity and brand recognition with a well-known chain of fuel stations as opposed to customers needing to figure out the specific location of multiple pick-up stations.
Given Jumia’s status as a publicly-traded company following a landmark listing on the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year and the added scrutiny of its path to profitability Jumia is certainly not taking any chances to slip up.