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 survive and Derrick Kayanja was one of them. Kayanja is a businessman by occupation with a knack for men’s fashion. He sells men’s shoes at his store at Ham shopping grounds and online, on Jumia. When Kayanja started out, he didn’t know about the power of the internet but 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 arcade located in downtown Kampala. “I started off selling one pair of shoes a day at my stall. Business was not easy at the beginning, but it eventually picked up and I got many customers,” he said. As his business grew, he was introduced to the power of the internet when a Jumia employee walked up to him and tabled the idea.

“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. Kayanja was at first skeptical and did not understand how the internet could get him to double his sales but friends of his who had already joined the platform convinced him to give it try. And he did.

“In the first few months, I didn’t see much change. I only got one or 2 orders but as time progressed so did the orders,” he said. Then his business was further boosted by the Black Friday sale where prices are significantly slashed.

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 Kayanja took part in.

As time went on, Kayanja was able to double his sales both online and offline because he was able to use his newly acquired sales and marketing skills to turn his business around.

Now he owns a big shop and his bank account is constantly…smiling.

Kayanja says he plans to expand his fashion empire into clothes and accessories both offline and 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 are more evident than ever.

For consumers, it offers them easy access to a wide assortment of products at 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.

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