Published On: Fri, Dec 4th, 2015

Kaymu – The e-commerce Company of Tomorrow


Adam Dawood, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Kaymu Pakistan speaks to IBEX about the current business conditions in the e-commerce industry of Pakistan.

Adam-Dawood-KaymuPlease tell us something about your professional background?
I have been a part of Pakistan’s tech and start-up culture for over 4 years now. I was a core member of the initial team that successfully launched in 2012, the success of which allowed Rocket Internet to bring in more e-commerce ventures to Pakistan. After setting up the processes at Daraz, I founded my own company, DYL Ventures, which was a startup consultancy providing guidance and services to entrepreneurs and startups. Currently, I am serving as the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Kaymu Pakistan since August 2014. I am responsible for all operations and a team of over 140 people across two offices in Karachi and Lahore.

Kaymu Interview from IBEX Magazine on Vimeo.

Tell us about Kaymu, its history and current operations in Pakistan?
Kaymu is an online marketplace which connects and empowers buyers and sellers to take advantage of the best deals on an extensive range of products including electronics, mobile phones, clothing items, and many more. Globally, Kaymu is present in over 35 countries across Africa, Europe and Asia. In Pakistan, Kaymu originally started as in November 2012 as a deals and auction site. In a global rebranding in March 2013, Kaymu was launched as a buyer and seller focused community where, due to the sheer number of sellers on the platform, it would offer the best prices in the market. Here, it is Pakistan’s largest online shopping community, which has over 15,000 sellers and over 500,000 buyers benefiting from trading online.
Tell us about your target audience?
We are currently focusing on mostly middle and lower income segments of the economy, which we believe has the largest potential. Over 50% of our orders come from outside Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and some of our loyal buyers reside in Gilgit, Muzzaffarabad, Pishin and even Chaman. Additionally, since we function as an online marketplace, we are also constantly reaching out to sellers to enable them to digitize their businesses and to offer a greater variety of products across various price bands. People with physical shops and people with an enterprising mindset looking to start a business are also our target audience.
Who are your direct and indirect competitors?
Kaymu doesn’t have any direct competitors. At this point, it is the only open marketplace in Pakistan. Various other e-commerce platforms also sell on Kaymu, such as Symbios and The Warehouse.
Can you share details about your sellers, who can sell at Kaymu?
Everyone who wants to, can sell on Kaymu. It’s really as simple as that since Kaymu is an open marketplace and the idea is to have no barriers to entry. They do need to have phone connectivity and decent internet for them to be able to keep track of their orders and to ensure contact with buyers as well as the Kaymu team, which is constantly offering guidance and support, especially to new sellers.
Most of our sellers are in the Fashion Category, followed by Jewelry/ Watches and Mobile/Tablet categories. Additionally, most of our key sellers don’t have physical stores and are often simply working out of their homes. One of our oldest seller is a housewife, a mother of 4, who started selling western clothes from home. We also have a young man, who works a full time job in the day, and runs his Kaymu shop later, all while dealing with polio. Also, among our sellers are a 17 year old young boy and a girl studying in 9th grade. That, I think, says enough about how absolutely anyone can sell on Kaymu, provided they have the will and the dedication!

What is your opinion about the e-commerce market of Pakistan? What are the challenges and potentials?
Pakistan has witnessed exponential growth in the e-commerce arena over the past several years. There is certainly a lot of potential, but we are far from maximizing on that. For the industry to grow at an even faster pace, we really need to look at some of the major challenges we are facing today and we need to come together as an industry to work towards addressing those issues at an industry level.
Since the launch of 3G and 4G services in Pakistan, the number of overall broadband users in the country has risen rapidly to over 18 million. The upgrade in IT infrastructure has resulted in an inevitable increase in demand. Among the most important challenges we are facing today is to accompany this increase with an increase in efficiency, protocol and service standards in order for the industry to meet its full potential.

In your opinion why is women percentage less than men for e-commerce activities?

More men are connected more to the internet than women. Also, men tend to be online more often. Additionally, a lot of women who do order online are likely to order in the names of their husbands/ fathers/ sons/ brothers to cover the fact that a woman has ordered or not wanting to share their contact number and email address.

How do you compare the e-commerce conversion rate of Pakistan with other countries where Kaymu has presence?
Out of the 36 countries Kaymu operates in, Rwanda has the highest conversion rate (CVR), but it also has a much lower population. Of the largely populated countries, Nigeria has the highest CVR, followed by Pakistan and then Bangladesh. Taking this into account, Pakistan is among the top countries with high conversion rate and we are always trying to further increase that by improving the visitor’s experience on the website/ app/ mobile web.

Apple iphone, being the top user of e-commerce, does this show that people with more spending power and who are more educated tend prefer to shop online?

Certainly, the trends do suggest as such, although that is also likely to be correlated with the fact that they are generally more aware and connected.  Kaymu’s target market, however, is the average Pakistani, which may not be completely familiar with the concept of shopping online. This is where we can really scale our models and see three digit growth rates year on year.

What makes a customer brand loyal with an e-commerce website?

It is a very simple mantra – focus on the PPT – Product, Price, Time! Provide the right product at the right price and the right time and it will do you wonders!

Apart from buying and selling, what other segments have potential in online business?
Buying and selling online products is only one aspect of e-commerce. Otherwise, everything under the sun can be brought online. From tailoring services to booking a taxi, or sharing a ride, legal consultancy, ordering food and grocery, utility bill payment, laundry services, hiring a hair stylist; all of these services are being offered online and thriving! The need is only going to go upward and the potential here is tremendous.

What advice would you like to give to new entrants in the e-commerce market of Pakistan?
Strive to create a strong customer base by going the extra mile. Simplify the processes for the customer and make the entire experience as seamless as possible. It is going to be a long and tedious struggle but Word-of-Mouth is the best way to win. Every unpleasant experience mars the industry and every pleasant customer story we create is a small step forward for the industry as a whole.

What are your future plans?
The only plan is to grow continuously, while creating an educated and more aware base of internet users. We intend to start an e-commerce revolution which brings more and more people online for all their needs. The way Kaymu has expanded in the last one year, the speed at which Kaymu’s reach and awareness have grown into far-flung areas and the number of lives we have transformed so far, it would be safe to say we are definitely headed in the right direction!

About the Author

- Zonaira joined IBEX from the first issue as a writer and later joined the editorial team. She completed her Masters’ degree in Mass Communication from Kinnaird College majoring in Film Making and Advertising. Lifestyle stories, social issues, budding entrepreneurs and fresh startups resonate and inspire her writing. She is keen on putting in perspective the latest business developments and happenings and highlighting prominent professionals belonging to all walks of business. She has worked as a content writer, editor and reporter for a number of publications. Always in transit, an avid reader and traveler, her other interests include theater, languages, religions and teaching young children creative writing.