Kilimall woos local brands to expand its market

    Kilimall Maketing Manager Gladys Liu

    Online shopping mall Kilimall projects to grow its business threefold over the next two years, riding on the rising wave of e-commerce in Kenya. According to its two-year strategic plan, the company seeks to double its market this year and triple it by end of 2018.

    Kilimall Managing Director Victor Ma said that business had grown by over 300 per cent in the last two years, with customers crossing the one million mark by close of December 2016. Releasing its second phase growth plan today, Mr Ma said growth will be accelerated by bringing on board local brands and expanding markets outside Nairobi.

    He said Bata Shoe Company is already selling its footwear products on Kilimall, being the first local brand to sign up, as well as Ramtons, a popular household electronics brand in Kenya.

    He said Kilimall, which has expanded to Uganda and Nigeria, plans to bring on board other popular brands locally such as LG, Samsung and Hotpoint. “We want to have a balance between local and foreign brands in our second phase of growth,” said Mr Ma. “There is a significant section of Kenyan shoppers who want to buy local brands online.”

    Kilimall has expanded its market outside Nairobi from 10 percent to 25 percent and expects to grow it further as internet penetration deepens in rural towns.

    The retailer is also working with international manufacturers to tailor-make products such as phones and fashion wear to Kenyan tastes.

    Kilimall Marketing Manage Gladys Liu said trust in online transactions is still low, which has forced many online retailers to use the pay-on-delivery service. She noted, however, that from a trust rate of 10 percent two years ago, 40 percent of Kenyans now have confidence transacting online.  “The older Kenyans are beginning to be tech-savvy and embracing online shopping, which presents a new growth area for us,” she said.

    Mr Ma said Kilimall has increased its product portfolio to over 200,000 and expects this to stimulate demand, backed by the new Global Shopping service that enables Kenyans to buy products from the international and have them delivered for free.