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Q&A: Kilimall’s approach to overcoming barriers to online shopping in Uganda

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Kilimall country Managing Director, Wang Chengyang

Kilimall country Managing Director, Wang Chengyang

Kilimall launched into the Ugandan market in May 2016 serving a retail customer base that continues to grow exponentially to offer products that span the widest variety in the country.

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We caught up with its country Managing Director, Wang Chengyang to discuss their 7 month journey in Uganda and what plans they have for 2017.

E-commerce in Africa comes with very many challenges despite the big potential market. How is Kilimall doing things differently to succeed?

We cannot say Kilimall is successful in the Ugandan market yet since we are a new player in the e-Commerce industry in Uganda. We only launched our website for around half a year.

Yes, there are a lot of challenges, for example, people in Uganda are still not familiar with online shopping, and it’s a bit hard to change people’s shopping behavior, payment & delivery as well.

In order to meet different clients’ requirements, we have different shopping services:

We have Global Shopping, where people can buy a variety of products from all over the world at factory prices. The number of Global Shopping SKU at Kilimall Uganda is more than 20,000. We will incorperate a lot of famous brands in the future, to let them open shops at Kilimall. And let everybody afford them from Kilimall, because our mission is -“Affordable Products for Quality Life“.

Meanwhile, we cooperate with a lot of local famous brands. Some of them, their products we keep them at our warehouse, to shorten delivery time, for example, Infinix, Huawei, Samsung – we call it FBK, short for Fulfillment By Kilimall. The products of FBK, we can finish fulfillment within 24 hours after client placed the orders.

How has been the adoption of Kilimall in Uganda in the months you have operated? 

We optimized a lot in the beginning, acquiring the vendors, building the local team with different positions, verifying partners for logistics, etc.

After that we did a lot of advertisement online, because our target customers are the internet subscribers, we have to let them know us. But Kilimall is new in the Ugandan market, so it’s a bit hard for people to trust us. We started to organize different events with different vendors, for example, we had BUY ONE GET ONE for free with Bata, we had Road Show with Huawei, and we launched the smartphones with Infinix.

In order to ensure the security of payment, we integrated MTN Mobile money and Airtel Money.

How different is Kilimall from other ecommerce shopping sites in Uganda?

Kilimall is a B2C platform, all the products at Kilimall are from the brands or the distributors of brands, and all the products at Kilimall are genuine. We can make sure the quality of items sold at Kilimall is good. We have return policies and warranty to ensure the buyers rights.

Distrust is a common challenge with African shoppers, how is Kilimall handling this?

As I described above, Kilimall is a B2C platform, all the sellers are big brands, and we cooperate with them and organize the campaigns with them. And we also cooperate with the media houses to let our customers know who we are, what we are doing, which products we can provide and how their quality are, etc.

But it is a long way to move, we are still working on it.

With non-functioning postal systems in Uganda, how is Kilimall dealing with having to ship goods to its final buyers?

We work with local outstanding courier service providers; they help us the deliver to the door steps. As the number of orders grow, the requirements of riders will increase which means we will bring more job opportunities.

How does Kilimall ensure quality of products, given the high rate of counterfeits in the market?

As I described before, Kilimall is a B2C platform, all the sellers we cooperate with are brands or the distributors of brands, it’s not allowed that the common shop to sell at Kilimall, we will verify the sellers’ certificates from the brands if they are distributors.  For example, some brands are not authorized to sell in the Ugandan market, but there are some sellers that want to sell them with us, and we have to refuse them.

What are Kilimall return policies like? For example if I buy a smartphone and find out the screen is cracked.

Yes, we have return policies, the buyers should check the parcels as soon as he receives it. If when he opens the box and finds that the screen is cracked, he can ask the rider to bring it back.

The buyers need to develop the habit of checking parcels as soon as they receive them, if they don’t check them when the riders are around, in which case, he (the rider) will report to us about the problem immediately. You can also call our customer care line or send us mail or send messages on Facebook.

Any online safety shopping tips you would like to share with the readers?

Don’t share your Kilimall Account information to others.

Don’t share your order information to others except the Customer Service member from Kilimall.

Pay online (pay with MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money) is much safer than paying cash on delivery, and all our online payment fees are discounted.

What should we expect from Kilimall Uganda this year?

Our costs of operation are high, we need to increase the numbers of orders and make profits.

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Celebrity Gossip

Interview: Meet DJ Kathy, a rising female deejay

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DJ Kathy

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Although the deejaying industry in Uganda is still male-dominated, many female deejays are coming up lately. One such is Dj Kathy, a rising young female deejay. We caught up with her for an interview and here are the excerpts:

1. Who is DJ Kathy?

My real name is Namiiro Kathleen Anna. Although I may seem quite reserved, I am a friendly person and very passionate about music.

2. When and what made you fall in love with deejaying?

I fell in love with deejaying in 2012. But my journey in this line of business started in 2010 after joining the Kampala Music School where I studied music and keyboarding.

I think what made me fall in love with deejaying was seeing people do something I felt I could also easily do given my IT background and love for music. I had previously completed a short course in IT at Makerere University during my S.6 vacation.

3. What is your typical day like? Take us through how you prepare for a deejaying gig.

After I have been contacted for a gig and payment negotiations are done, I start preparing a playlist depending on the type of event where I will be playing and make sure I am ready for my set. But If I don’t a playlist prepared, I simply study they crowd and play music that gets them excited.

4. Are you still in school? If yes, how have you managed to strike a balance between your academics and deejaying career?

Yes, I am still in school. I am currently in my final at MUBS where I am pursuing a bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.

Juggling between school and my deejaying career is quite hard, but I believe I have managed to do it because of my persistence and taking my studies seriously. Actually for me, education is my top priority.

5. What is that one thing most people are wrong about deejays?

One thing that most people are wrong about deejays is that they think deejays did not go to school. But, I tell you these days, most deejays are graduates. Some even have Masters Degrees. I actually want to be the first in Uganda with a PHD.

Another thing people wrongly assume about deejays is that they all have multiple partners, and that is not the case because every individual has their own principles they uphold. For instance, I am still single and not even searching.

DJ Kathy

6. What is your biggest achievement as a deejay at the moment?

My biggest achievement always is when I get the crowd dancing to the music I am playing. It does not feel good to be playing music and then see all people seated. It is very demoralizing.

My other achievement was being awarded the “Best Female DJ – Central” at Ug Mix Maestro awards in 2017.

I am also proud to say that I am currently the youngest female professional deejay in Uganda, going by records kept by the DJ Association of Uganda(DJAU).

7. Is a career as deejay fulfilling financially or you need a supplementary job to meet your day-to-day needs?

I am earning quite well through deejaying, because I am usually paid per hour. About a supplementary job, I am still quite comfortable with what I earn for now because my parents still take care of the big bills like tuition and I take care of the smaller bills like my upkeep. But, I think in future I will need another job, and that’s why I am still in school.

8. Finally, what is your advice to the youth who are still scared to follow their passion?

If you are following your dream, you have to be very focused because often there are always lots of temptations that could derail you.

The other thing is that you should always pray. I am a strong believer, and I know God will always make a way where there seems to be none.

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Celebrity Gossip

INTERVIEW: Pia Pounds talks relationship with Eddy Kenzo, Fashion and Music

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Pia Pounds

By Demo Riley

She is curvaceous, with a glowing smile and was recently signed to Eddy Kenzo’s Big Talent, making her the first female artiste to be signed by Big Talent (at least officially). But who is Pia Pounds? Well, we caught up with her and this is what she has to say.

For starters, who is Pia Pounds?

My real name name is Tracy Kirabo. My father abandoned us and my mum raised us as a single mother but later died and left me and my siblings with her sisters.

I was raised on a staunch Christian foundation, I was the lead vocalist in my church choir all my childhood.

I became immensely drawn to music when I was 8, I felt like no one understood me… and the best way I could express myself was through music. I became an outlaw at the age of 13 when I ran away from home because I felt mistreated and always misunderstood. Call me the black sheep of the family and certainly yes, I am very different.

I struggled while I was a teenager, with tuition and rent because I had to provide all that myself, my situation forced me to grow at a very tender age. I’ve worked in half the supermarkets and restaurants around Kampala, insurance companies too because I started working during the holidays of senior 3.

I’ve learnt to be independent and since I was a kid, I’ve always known music was the only thing I was truly good at. At 14 years of age, I was surrounding myself with music related environment because that’s where I felt confident the most.

I have always been insecure and very shy. I love music and art, writing, fashion, food and am a psycho for love.

Well, now that you’re under Big Talent, how is your experience working with Eddy Kenzo?

Big Talent in some way is more than just a label to me; it’s family. It’s one of those places where I feel safest the most. I’ve grown close to everyone there, sometimes I wonder what took me so long to find them.

We work hard, always in studio, always in training. So far, I love it there. And I hope my dreams really become a reality.

By the way there’s been rumor that your relationship with Eddy Kenzo goes beyond just music, how true is that?

I have grown weary explaining to my fans and Uganda at large that me and Eddy Kenzo have only business in common.

Eddy Kenzo is a very tough man, he has no time to play, you have no idea how many times he scolds me(laughs). He’s a great mentor and director, his heart is too big and I feel sad that people hardly see all this.

Many female artists whose music journey started off in labels have been dogged by similar rumors, for example Rihanna was accused of dating Jay Z, and Rema was rumoured to be dating Bebe Cool, but time is a healer.

You recently confessed that countless men have been approaching you for sex, how are you dealing with that?

I never said that countless men approach me for sex. The media chose to twist my words into what they wanted to hear.

I simply said in this industry, many females as viewed as sex objects that’s why thousands either fail or quit. It’s unfair how the world connects sex to our talents that If Pia is an artist it means she’s a whore. We are better than that and we deserve a little more respect.

Besides that, who’s the lucky man taking care of you?

Honestly, I am not ready to disclose my relationship status.

Three things you can’t leave without?

Definitely food, my fully charged phone and lipstick

What would you say is your inspiration, fashion wise?

Like I said, I was always insecure and I thought little of myself. Until one day in 2015 when I met Fatumah Asha. I was in my first year at university and she told me I had such an amazing body and she couldn’t wait to have me in some of her dresses. That compliment changed my life, next thing you know I walked into my school Miss registration office and registered as an aspiring Miss IUEA (International University of East Africa) in the competition I was crowned Miss IUEA second runners-up and Miss IUEA talent.

I was filled with so much confidence that out of 54 contestants I was a chosen one. I then met Bettina Tiana who became another inspiration and big mentor, most outfits I put one are chosen by her. I knew fashion was part of me, it makes me confident to put on a good outfit, there’s how it transforms my whole look.

Pia Pounds

Who’s your best male artist Ugandan artiste and why?

I have like 5, first the late Moses Radio – this man was exceptional, he wrote so damn well. He’s music took me through so many years of loneliness. And vocally, he was a genius.

Second is Eddy Kenzo. Before I knew him I thought he was just lucky but after seeing how creative he is in person, he can freestyle on 5 tracks in one day and he will release them all. He chooses his words in a way that makes them very relatable to the listener and hard to forget. My fave songs from him are – Twala Ewamwe, Stress free and Jubilation.

The third is David lutalo – I think he’s a very talented man. He writes so well and he’s voice is beautiful, his jam ‘So Nice’ is always on replay at my house.

Lastly, Fik Fameica. This kid has changed the whole Hip-pop industry of Uganda. I am his big fan.

Musically, what should your fans expect from you this year?

Music, music, music and more music.

The first time I was signed my boss he told me “Gwe ogenda ku kikuba”

We have a lot of work, only waiting for the perfect time to release it. I have great collaborations some with the male artists I mentioned above. I keep bettering my product all the time so the once a song is released, it’s hard to be taken un-seriously.

Some of the future prospects?

An album will be dropped at the end of this year. And lots of collaborations.

Last message for your fans?

I love them so much. They push me into becoming the best version of myself. I don’t intend to let them down, believing in me is a gift I take very seriously. Greatness is where we are headed.

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Interviews

Interview: Edward Nimusiima shares his experience as Smartphone photographer

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Edward Nimusiima talks mobile photography

Edward Nimusiima taking a photo with his smartphone.

By Our Reporter

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Edward Nimusiima is a man who wears many hats. Besides being a Digital Manager and blogger, he is also a photographer. However, he is not your conventional photographer. He doesn’t not own one of those high-end cameras, but uses his mobile phone to capture all the everyday moments.

We recently caught up with him to share his experience as a smartphone photographer.

1. When and what made you pick interest in mobile photography?

I picked interest when I first fell in love with photography. I was admiring Mutua Matheka and Ben Brown’s photography. But I didn’t have a camera. So, I decided to use my phone instead. It’s been around 4 years now.

2. What do you look for in a phone?

I travel a lot and do lots of work on Social Media so most of what I do is about visuals – pictures and videos. Therefore the reason I would buy a phone is because it has a good camera so I can easily capture every moment.

3. Which phone are you using right now?

I am currently using a Camon X. I have been using this phone for over a month now. Honestly, I have always been an iPhone person, and I was a bit skeptical when I switched to a Camon X. But I must admit I have been impressed.

4. Why a Camon X?

It has a very good camera which compares to very few on the market. And given that it is relatively cheap makes it a plus for me.

The other thing is that the Camon X is user friendly. It has an easy to navigate interface and does not freeze which enables me carry out my work smoothly.

Edward Nimusiima's current phone.

Edward Nimusiima’s current phone.

5. Would you recommend this phone to anyone?

The Camon X is about Ugx 683, 000 and I think it is a good deal compared to other phones that can match it on the market.

6. What editing tools/apps do you use?

I use VSCO, Snapseed and Lightroom.

7. Are you already earning from your photography?

Yeah, I have earned from it. Especially the video part (I use my phone to shoot videos). I have done work for Airtel, Speke Resort Munyonyo and Elephant Hab Lodge.

8. Any advice to those looking to venture into this craft?

Keep shooting. And don’t over filter your photos.

9. Lastly, a phone camera or DSLR?

I believe the best camera is what you have in your hands. If you have a phone with a good camera, especially in this digital age, you don’t really need a high end DSLR, because a phone can do much of what a DSLR can do.

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