By Ayomide Oriade
LAGOS – There was never a time in history that e-commerce has become extremely relevant to the everyday lives of Africans than 2020.
A year best described by the outbreak of COVID-19, brought to the fore the indispensable role of e-commerce as consumers across Africa relied on its delivery system to access essential products.
Africa’s leading online marketplace, Jumia did not disappoint its consumers in this regard. The company swiftly swung into action by launching various initiatives that provided consumers access to essentials and guaranteed safe delivery of products to customers.
A crucial aspect of the company’s various initiatives is the effort of Jumia Heroes consisting of frontline workers who ensured the continuous function of the platform for customers’ convenience and satisfaction during lockdown and social distancing enforcement.
Jumia’s Heros Fund was created to support frontline and essential staff during this pandemic crisis. Through the contactless delivery initiative, Jumia Heroes delivered millions of items while remaining safe and making consumers’ safe, thanks to the adoption of contactless delivery methods.
This effort was further bolstered by JumiaPay, a cashless payment option which aligned with the governments’ bid to reduce the risk of virus transmission through physical cash.
Huge chunk of SMEs in Africa operate in the food and beverage sector which is a very important segment of the African economy.
Jumia Heroes were crucial to the survival of the segment during the year, as Jumia Food supported them to stay in business during the pandemic.
Jumia Food also partnered with groceries and supermarkets to leverage its platform in reaching consumers and grow their businesses.
“COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that Jumia Food’s service was not just a convenience but an essential service that bridged the gap for consumers between getting hot meals & food delivered to their homes while still staying safe and limiting physical contact.
“It was also a critical lifeline for many restaurants that might have been forced to go out of business when they could no longer operate. Jumia Food made it possible for them to shut down physical restaurant space but keep their kitchen open and serve consumers who order through Jumia Food app,” said Chairwoman of Jumia Nigeria and group Head of Institutional Affairs, Juliet Anammah.
Jumia’s mission of connecting consumers and sellers is anchored on solving distribution problems in Africa. With the effort of Jumia Heroes, the company provided a logistics network for third party sellers to get products delivered to consumers.
Under the Jumia Heroes initiative, Jumia coordinated the distribution of essential materials to healthcare facilities and workers, leveraging the company’s last mile distribution.
The company also donated certified face masks to Nigerian Health Ministry, while Jumia logistics networks were also used by several African governments to distribute health pamphlets and key products to where they were needed.
The year 2020 showed and further elevated the role of the often neglected efforts of logistics and delivery agents.
Their role received the essential tag it has always deserved, as they were crucial to keeping what was left of business activities in the heat of covid-19 crisis.
For Jumia, these workers were branded Heroes and their efforts will continue to be appreciated even in the post Covid era.
*Ayomide Oriade of PR Redline writesfrom Lagos.