Jumia, Africa’s leading e-commerce player, has partnered with Zipline, a global instant delivery company, to offer on-demand drone delivery services to the growing number of ecommerce players on the continent. This launch comes after a pilot phase of this logistics service conducted in Ghana a few months ago.
The pilot test involved 1hr deliveries from distances as far as 85km from the take-off point, with real-time visibility of the drones for all stakeholders in the process. Such advanced technology is quite unexplored at scale in the African logistics space, and Jumia is again positioning itself to be the pioneering force behind a shift in consumer behavior, just as it’s doing by bringing more shoppers online.
“Using the latest instant logistics technology will allow Jumia to offer our consumers on-demand delivery of the products they need – instantly. Whether they’re ordering electronics, fashion, health, beauty, or other categories, Zipline’s instant logistics system will provide fast and convenient access,” said Apoorva Kumar, EVP Jumia, Group COO.
“This will support Jumia’s commitment to sustainability and innovation and provide much-needed access to rural and remote areas where conventional delivery services have challenges,” he added.
Laudable as the drone delivery innovation is, the service will not yet be available in all the 11 African countries Jumia operates in. Perhaps, more intriguing is the fact that Jumia is not rolling this out in Nigeria, a country that stands as Jumia’s biggest market and the third African country Zipline has forayed into within Africa. While Jumia’s official statement gives no reason for this, it promises an eventual expansion to Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
Last week, TechCabal reported Jumia’s launch of a new warehousing and logistics facility in Nairobi. The icing on the cake of that story is that Jumia allows other logistics players in the region to leverage its extensive network and technology. This will also be the case for Jumia’s drone delivery services, changing Jumia’s game from playing as a competitor to an ecosystem enabler.
Daniel Marfo, Zipline Africa’s senior vice president, expressed his company’s delight to partner with Jumia, maintaining that the collaboration will spur the growth of SMEs in Africa.
“Zipline is pleased to partner with Jumia to use instant logistics to improve the lives of customers across Africa. This collaboration will increase access to goods for customers and help small and medium-sized businesses grow. Zipline’s safe and efficient instant logistics system will make shopping on Jumia even more convenient, sustainable and accessible for its customers,” he said.
The Jumia-Zipline partnership brings to fore, the ongoing conversation about a greener logistics system for Africa. Zipline’s instant logistics system is electric and autonomous, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 98% compared to car deliveries. This tallies with Jumia’s commitment to eco-friendly delivery services, a commitment the e-commerce company has previously shown by partnering with Ghana’s Solar Taxi and Kenya’s eBee.