JForce women and the growth of e-commerce in Côte d’Ivoire
As a premier e-commerce platform in Côte d'Ivoire, one of Jumia’s main goals has always been to reach every corner of the country. Nevertheless, several factors continuously hinder e-commerce expansion, especially outside the major urban cities.
Firstly, internet connections in rural areas are not always reliable and present a major challenge for both sellers and consumers. In addition, many people in these areas are used to making face-to-face purchases from physical retail outlets, are not proficient in using e-commerce platforms, and do not trust online sellers.
Another important trend in Côte d'Ivoire is that women make up a significantly lower portion of Jumia’s consumers, based on a recent ground study that showed that women make up only 1-3 of every ten consumers. With that in mind, Jumia set out to expand their involvement in our e-commerce platform.
Bringing more women onto our platform
In order to empower women to be more active consumers, Jumia launched the JForce program in 2016 to boost awareness of our offers and increase access to our services. The core idea was to recruit sales agents who would help to boost awareness of Jumia and its products and help people place orders.
Jumia’s network of pickup stations bolstered this effort, with some operators at these physical stores also doubling as JForce sales agents. Consequently, new consumers could get more value in one place, have a physical outlet where they could make inquiries, place orders, and pick up packages.
As part of the commitment to supporting women, Jumia analyzed available data on existing female consumers. Starting in March 2020, our team selected the highest-purchasing and most active female consumers from 11 countryside towns andthen set out to enroll them in the JForce program.
Ground study discoveries reinforced this approach by proving that women are more likely to purchase based on recommendations from relatives and friends. Jumia’s platform already had plenty of offers for women across categories like fashion and electronics. With more representation, we hoped the female JForce agents would make it easier for women to purchase.
The journey so far
The JForce program has gained traction amongst women, with many non-consumers approaching the ground team during training exercises despite having no prior awareness. We have also made the program more self-sustaining, with high-performing agents bringing in more women.
Benefits of the JForce Women program
● Women now have access to a new income stream that can help them achieve financial independence. In addition, they can start their entrepreneurial journey with minimal overhead. A smartphone, internet connection, and a proactive attitude towards selling are all they need.
● We also go beyond training women on how to assist potential consumers to place orders. The sales program offers lessons on leadership, balancing work and marital life, and many other soft skills needed in making sales.
● Women who are already JForce agents can participate in a referral program with incentives for bringing in more women into the program.
● Female offline consumers have an improved shopping experience, especially regarding inquiries that a fellow woman answers better.
As we seek to expand our e-commerce reach within Côte d'Ivoire, we strive to make our services more inclusive while also giving value beyond the shopping experience. The JForce sales program brings us a step closer to serving female consumers better, in addition to economically empowering women. *****************************************
Head of Offline Media for Jumia Côte d’Ivoire
Karine has been the Head of Offline Media in Jumia since November 2019. She holds an MBA in Global Strategic Communications from Florida International University (USA). She has more than ten years of professional experience in multicultural communication and marketing by thinking and executing campaigns for local and international brands in the Ivorian market.