No one can dispute the exponential growth the e-commerce industry has recorded in 2020, pushed forward by the COVID-19 pandemic that broke out early this year. The pandemic saw a lot of businesses shut down as a result of the government imposed lockdown and even when the lockdown was lifted, many struggled to get back on their feet.
Only a few vendors who had jumped onto the online wave seemed to be surviving and Kayanja Derrick was one of them. Derrick is a businessman by occupation with a knack for men’s fashion selling men’s shoes at his store at Ham shopping grounds and online on Jumia as well.
When Derrick started out, he didn’t know about the power of the internet, he did know that he wanted to make money. He started his business in 2011 by selling men’s shoes at a small stall located in a shopping plaza located in downtown Kampala.
“ I started off selling one pair a day with my stall, business was not easy in the beginning, but it eventually picked up and I got my customers. “ Derrick added.
As his business continued to grow day by day, he was introduced to the power of the internet when a Jumia employee walked up to him selling the dream of the internet in 2015.
“I didn’t understand what he was telling me in the beginning. He started talking about how I could make money off the internet and earn more money without people having to touch or try on the shoes, all they needed was a picture of my product.” he said.
Derrick was skeptical at first, not quite understanding how this miracle internet could get him to double his sales but friends of his who had already joined the platform managed to convince him to join them & that is how he got started.
“ In the first few months, I didn’t see much changing, only one or 2 orders but as time progressed so did the orders & then the Black Friday sale happened & things completely changed.” he said
The Black Friday sale is an annual global sales campaign that sees online stores and offline stores offer discounts to consumers for a limited time period. One of the more popular ones here in Uganda is the online Jumia Black Friday which is the one Derrick took part in.
As time went on, Derrick was able to double his sales both online and offline as well because he was able to use his newly acquired sales & marketing skills to turn his business around. With his earnings, Derrick was able to buy a shop and hire some assistants to help with the shop. On what his plans are for the future, Derrick says he plans to expand his fashion empire into clothes and accessories both offline & online.
As more and more business owners continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of switching over to online platforms continue to be highlighted even more. For consumers it offers them easy access to a wide assortment of products on their fingertips all delivered safely to their homes and for vendors, they have the advantage of reaching more customers at a lesser cost to them.