As a leading ecommerce marketplace operating in multiple African countries, we are committed to providing consistent customer experience across the regions in which we operate. However, this is hard to achieve if vendors cannot conduct business online with the same ease in each country.
In recent times, our team identified numerous bottlenecks affecting the vendor experience within our ecosystem as a prelude to making positive changes. Firstly, vendors had to sign up via disparate websites for each country where they intended to operate.
Secondly, vendors lacked collective visibility into the overall performance of their stores in different countries. Thirdly, vendors selling in different countries had to replicate any online actions related to marketing, product catalog creation, order tracking, inventory management and other day-to-day efforts in several portals.
These outdated approaches meant massive inefficiencies and also hampered accurate decision-making based on metrics with country-specific variations.
Harmonizing vendor activity
To improve the system, we started by creating a new diverse team of experts in Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) from several countries, including Portugal, Ukraine, Brazil, and more. Their main objective was to build a new platform that would converge all the capabilities of the previously separate vendor portals.
The result is a new Global Vendor Center through which a vendor can set up and manage marketplace stores in different countries from one central dashboard. More importantly, the new team is able to cater to varying sets of vendor needs rather than being a one-size-fits-all.
Additionally, we equipped the platform with Application Programming Interface (API) capabilities that enable vendors with existing internal systems for managing different aspects of their business to plug the relevant tools into our system seamlessly and utilize its full functionality through a more familiar environment.
Additionally, we delved deeper into the existing data on vendor behavior to understand the disparities in vendor performance and determine the extent to which inadequacies in the legacy systems influenced these gaps.
Our progress thus far
Currently, membership for the new Global Vendor Center is by invitation only. We have reached out to several conglomerates and other mid-sized businesses whose products are available in many African countries. In the last six months, we have seen a 118% increase in the number of vendors migrating to our new platform.
Our team has also received plenty of positive remarks from a number of the larger vendors about the smooth API integration between their business platforms and our Global Vendor Center. Going forward, we intend to act on both the active and passive user feedback to guide the introduction of more features such as in-depth analytics.
Vendor Center capabilities and their benefits
The new Global Vendor Center offers a leaner approach to product catalog management. Vendors can import existing product databases from various sources. They can also create new products in one instance and make them available in the catalogs of different country stores instead of making an entry for each country’s store. All they have to do is link them to an already registered business entity recognized within our records. In that sense, they can easily browse their catalog and ascertain each product’s availability in different countries with minimal clicks via one collective list. They can also quickly access templates that will guide them on what information to make available for each item’s product page. Furthermore, this new center has product quality and authenticity measures intuitively embedded within the product creation process. Vendors now have an easier time understanding our policies for creating products and are less likely to face the applicable penalties and other punitive actions like account delisting.
The new platform also gives vendors a clearer picture of the orders coming in and the progress status of each order. Vendors selling a specific product in multiple countries through Jumia have an easier time contributing to any follow-up actions once an order has been placed. These can include communication about stock levels, product price and attribute variations, location of packages along the journey, returns and more. As a result, from the vendor to our support team and the consumer, everyone concerned will know what they need to know at the right time since the information is all in one place and easily discernible.
The “Account Statements” tab in our new portal enables vendors to get a quick overview of their stores’ combined performance. They no longer have to log into different dashboards to retrieve revenue totals and manually tally them or enter them into another system for further processing. In cases where they fall short of their ultimate targets, they can quickly zoom in on individual country operations to understand where the problem is.
Our new Global Vendor Center also simplifies vendors’ digital marketing efforts through the “Advertise Your Products” tab. Vendors can view different pre-designed packages that boost product visibility through various avenues such as website banners, push notifications, email and other channels. And with their products’ performance data just a click away in the same dashboard, they can quickly check on these figures, determine which products and stores need extra advertising, and how much of a boost to give to each of them. Vendors can also initiate and monitor discounts and other promotions through our new platform. Subsequently, they can revisit both pages periodically and perform juxtapositions to determine the effectiveness of their campaigns.
All-in-all, our new Global Vendor Center is a vendor’s paradise since it allows them to manage several stores serving various countries like they are simply running one store. It offers an unprecedented collection of features and functionality for vendors’ administrative activities, all within one place.
But as elaborated, these advancements are strategically delivered to have a trickle-down effect on the consumer experience. The new Global Vendor Center significantly contributes to a more streamlined flow of pertinent information during the customer journey.
We never forget that there’s a person on either side of every trade, and the services we offer in between are most impactful when the buyer and seller engage each other flawlessly.
Ashley Fogha Product Owner at PTC
Ashley is a Product Owner with a Software Engineering Degree. She's form Senegal and she joined Jumia in 2015 and has since navigated across various departments such as content creation, logistics, marketing, and systems analysis. Today she's working for Jumia's Porto Tech Center manages all aspects of the lifecycle of products related to sellers and the marketplace catalog.