Expanding Access to Leroy Merlin Products in Côte d'Ivoire through Jumia’s E-commerce Platform
One of our longstanding e-commerce goals at Jumia is to consistently expand the range of products we offer on our platform. However, there are category-specific constraints we need to address to achieve the variety we desire and get consumers to explore and try out the expanding range of products.
For example, our Côte d'Ivoire customers endured a lean Home category for a long time due to a scarcity of reputable home product brands within the country, among other reasons. This also meant limited information on consumer behavior in this category, yet it includes plenty of vital household products like furniture, décor, plumbing fixtures, toolkits and more.
Bridging the home products gap
To solve this problem, we started by identifying established home product brands worldwide, focusing on those with some experience supplying African markets. In 2018, we eventually selected Leroy Merlin, a popular French-based home improvement retailer with a footprint in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
However, this was only the first step, and we still had other challenges to overcome. Since Leroy Merlin didn’t have a physical presence in Côte d’Ivoire, we’d have to institute a tailored logistics solution to move products across borders to the final customers. We addressed this by zeroing in on the most desired home products in Côte d’Ivoire and relaying this information to the Leroy Merlin team.
From here, we agreed on the minimum number of units the company could provide for us to store in our warehouses and how to synchronize inventory with changing order volume. This is all key to achieving economies of scale and executing feasible direct-to-consumer trades over time.
We then harmonized Leroy Merlin’s online standards with ours by ensuring that its products are presented on our e-commerce platform with the same meticulousness. One major effort in this area was getting hyper-appealing product visuals and accurate and insightful descriptions that convince consumers that these products are ideal choices.
Our team also gives special attention to the marketing side of this effort by devising a year-long business plan in close collaboration with Leroy Merlin so that every offer is strategically rolled out for maximum impact. We dedicate different periods to promoting and discounting products in specific sub-categories like bathroom, kitchen, power solutions, and others, so they all get adequate attention and support.
Considering that many of these home products require extra attention to find the right fit when shopping online, we work with a small team of Leroy Merlin experts on the ground and deploy J-Force agents who can make orders on behalf of willing buyers who may not be as conversant with e-commerce. In fact, these agents initially drove 30-40% of Leroy Merlin product sales on Jumia.
We’ve also enabled our customers to directly access Leroy Merlin aftersales services for tasks like assembling and fitting products into different spaces. They can easily view the guarantees attached to the products, the aftersales team’s phone contact and their working hours when browsing the Leroy Merlin page on Jumia.
Lessons, achievements and future targets
We have learned that our customers can quickly move past any skepticism associated with e-commerce, particularly with products from abroad. All we have to do is earn their trust by providing all the relevant information, linking the customers to a brand's official store and having support agents ready to offer assistance before, during and after a sale.
Our team has helped get Leroy Merlin products into several households and other premises in urban areas in Côte d'Ivoire, and we are leading the charge in other regions of the nation. In a bid to expand to other African markets, we recently made Leroy Merlin products available in Senegal. Admittedly, home improvement and gardening products are needed outside the typical residential house, such as in hospitality businesses and other realms.
This is why we continue studying the varying demands of different types of customers, whether related to price, aesthetics, support services or other factors. As we understand them better, we will definitely make Jumia the number one source of high-quality and affordable home improvement products, with the most convenient shopping experience.
Brand Manager, Jumia Côte d'Ivoire
Edwige Tie is an accomplished Brand Manager for Jumia Côte d'Ivoire with a wealth of experience in vendor service and commercial management. She started her career with Jumia Côte d'Ivoire in 2017 as a vendor service agent, where she excelled in managing complaints and ensuring vendor satisfaction. Her outstanding performance led to a promotion to Vendor Service Center Manager in 2018, where she continued to excel in managing vendor relations.
In 2020, Edwige made a career transition to the Commercial department at Jumia Côte d'Ivoire, taking on the role of Home Senior Key Account Manager. In this role, she focused on expanding the category and building strong relationships with key accounts. Her remarkable success in this role led to her most recent move to Brand Manager, where she now leads the development of local and international brands on Jumia.