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.
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.
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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.