It has been interesting to see the rise of online shopping in Kenya. While I may not have figures to back me up on the number of Kenyans who actually shop online, the rise in the number of services that make buying things from just the click of a mouse or touch on a smartphone screen is a pointer to something.
One of the greatest barriers to shopping online is the mode of payment. The use of credit and debit cards, Paypal accounts and the like (eer bitcoins/banglapesa?) is not something that is widespread locally. There is however one thing that is widespread here: mobile money transfer. Mobile money transfer services like Safaricom’s M-PESA and Airtel Money have made this much easier since they also allow you to pay for services and goods directly. Online marketplaces have tapped this to the benefit and convenience of Kenyans. One of the companies that has come to tap into this is Jumia. They have been around for a while and they recently unveiled their Android app on the Google Play Store. I have sampled the app and it comes in handy.
The Jumia app is fast, responsive and gives you just what you wanted: the goods on offer. In true Android fashion there’s that sliding menu panel that we have all come to love in various Android apps. It can be accessed by a simple tap at the top of the app or using the menu soft or hard buttons your device. It’s a bit disappointing though that the sliding menu panel can’t be swiped open and closed. You have to tap it again or hit the back soft or hard button.
Navigation is a breeze. You can use the sliding menu panel to access your account profile where you can change your settings like how you are notified of new deals and goods. There’s also the shopping cart menu at the very top right after the sliding panel toggle for you to track your purchases or items currently in your cart. You can search for other goods using the app’s search functionality or browse through the categories like Fashion, Tablets and Accessories, Mobile Phones and Computing and Accessories. Popular categories can be easily accessed from the landing page of the app. Swiping from left to right or vice-versa also takes you through the categories. It is all seamless.
To be honest I find the app more likeable as compared to the web portal (jumia.co.ke).
I tried the app on three devices: a high end Android device (you know which one), a low end Droid and a tablet. While the app is very responsive on the S4, it stutters a bit on the low end Droid. It is equally great on both the Galaxy Mega 5.8 and the tablet in part to the sliding panel which makes navigation easier. Maybe more optimization for the app on low powered devices will be in order. However it fairs way better than some other local online marketplace app I have been using for a while.
You can find the Jumia Android app on the Google Play Store. With M-PESA, Airtel Money and YuCash locked in, getting that smartphone you’ve always wanted at a discounted price (there are some nice discounts currently) is very easy. Shop and pay from your phone. The only downside is that delivery isn’t via phone too :). If you are still naïve about making transactions online you can still order and pay at your doorstep or office desk once the item is delivered. So much for convenience.