[Interview] Caroline Mutuku, General Manager, Glovo, Kenya
Caroline Mutuku is the General Manager of the multi-category app Glovo. Caroline joined Glovo in December 2022 from Swvl Kenya where she also served as the General Manager from December 2021.
In this interview, she discusses the outlook for the business environment, upcoming services, sustainability efforts, and more. This interview also provides valuable insights into the future of e-commerce in Kenya and the region.
What is your outlook for the business environment in Kenya in 2023?
We are optimistic about the business environment in Kenya this year. The region has shown resilience and adaptability to various challenges, including economic downturns. We have continued to see strong growth in the Kenyan market. We believe that our focus on providing a high-quality, convenient delivery service will continue to resonate with customers in Kenya and drive growth in the coming years, with that we believe that there will be many opportunities for businesses to thrive.
What new services or features are you planning to introduce in Kenya in 2023?
We are constantly looking for ways to improve our service and meet the needs of our customers. In 2023, we plan to continue to expand our partnerships with local businesses and restaurants, making delivery more convenient for our customers. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities to integrate more sustainable practices into our operations in Kenya, such as the use of electric vehicles for delivery.
How do you see the delivery market evolving in Kenya in the coming years?
We expect to see continued growth and innovation in the delivery market in Kenya in the coming years. As more and more people adopt online shopping and food delivery, we believe that there will be increased competition in the market, which will drive innovation and improvements in service quality. We also expect to see more partnerships between delivery providers and local businesses, as well as the adoption of new technologies to improve the efficiency and sustainability of delivery operations.
How do you balance the need to grow your business with concerns about sustainability and the environment?
At Glovo, we are committed to sustainable growth and responsible business practices. We believe that our business can have a positive impact on the environment and the communities where we operate, and we are constantly looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint and contribute to the development of sustainable practices in the delivery industry. For example, we have introduced electric delivery vehicles in some markets, and we are exploring opportunities to use renewable energy sources in our operations. We also partner with local organizations to support community development and environmental conservation initiatives. Moreover, we implemented The Couriers Pledge in Kenya last October, a commitment by the company to increase the social rights and benefits available to couriers in the market. In Kenya, we have been focusing on safety courses, improved insurance, parental support coverage, and learning programs.
How do you ensure the safety and well-being of your riders in Kenya?
A: The safety and well-being of our riders is our top priority. As mentioned before, the company has developed a comprehensive program called The Couriers Pledge that aims to promote the well-being and safety of the riders, who are the backbone of our operations. This project is a commitment by the company to set a new set of standards that includes fair hourly earnings, improvements to insurance coverage and access to training, safety and maintenance provisions. It includes training on road safety, improved insurance, paternity and maternity leave, and access to G-learning, an e-learning platform where couriers can access more than 200 online courses to develop soft and hard skills and access to language learning apps. Through this initiative, Glovo has been able to create a more sustainable and supportive environment for the couriers. Additionally, we have a customer support team available 24/7 to assist with any issues or concerns that our customers may have.
How do you work with local businesses in Kenya, and how does this benefit your customers?
We have developed strong partnerships with local businesses in Kenya to offer a wide range of products and services to our customers. By partnering with local businesses, we are able to offer a greater variety of products and support the local economy. We also work with local businesses to develop exclusive deals and promotions for our customers. In addition, Glovo recently launched Glovo Local, a new program for SMEs in the retail and restaurant industries to enable them to digitize their products and services in order to boost their growth. Glovo Local is an all-in-one hub where local businesses can pick and choose solutions based on their needs through a single site. Glovo will also support the implementation of digital transformation programs and provide training sessions and development tools to help SMEs grow.
What are the trends that you are seeing in e-commerce in Kenya and the region?
One trend that we are seeing in e-commerce in Kenya and the region is the increasing adoption of digital payments. We have seen a significant increase in the number of people who are comfortable using digital payment platforms, and this trend is expected to continue. Another trend is the growing demand for convenience, especially in urban areas, where people have busy schedules and little time to shop physically. This demand for convenience is driving the growth of online shopping and delivery services.
How is Glovo adapting to these trends?
Glovo is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of our customers. We have invested heavily in technology and logistics to ensure that we can offer our customers a seamless and convenient shopping experience. We have also expanded our range of services beyond food delivery to include grocery delivery, medicine delivery, and more. We are continually looking for ways to improve our services and make our customers' lives easier.
What are the biggest challenges that Glovo faces in Kenya and the region?
One of the biggest challenges that we face is the lack of infrastructure in some areas. This can make it difficult to provide efficient and timely delivery services, especially in rural areas. Another challenge is the high cost of logistics, which can eat into our margins. We are constantly looking for ways to overcome these challenges and ensure that we can provide our services to as many people as possible.
What sets Glovo apart from its competitors in Kenya and the region?
One of the things that set Glovo apart from its competitors is our focus on customer experience. We strive to provide our customers with a seamless and convenient shopping experience, from ordering to delivery. We have also built a strong network of partners, including restaurants, supermarkets, and pharmacies, which allows us to offer a wide range of products and services. Finally, our technology platform enables us to offer real-time tracking of orders and deliveries, which provides our customers with peace of mind.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs who are looking to start an e-commerce business in Kenya?
A: My advice would be to focus on solving a real problem for your customers. Understand their needs and pain points and develop a solution that addresses them. Additionally, invest in technology and logistics to ensure that you can provide a seamless and efficient shopping experience. Finally, build a strong network of partners and suppliers to ensure that you can offer a wide range of products and services.
How do you see the e-commerce industry evolving in Kenya and the region in the next few years?
We expect to see continued growth in the e-commerce industry in Kenya and the region in the coming years. As more people come online, we expect to see an increase in demand for online shopping and delivery services. We also expect to see more players entering the market, which will drive innovation and competition. Finally, we expect to see a continued focus on customer experience and convenience, with companies looking for ways to make online shopping even easier and more efficient.
What is Glovo's vision for the future of e-commerce in Kenya and the region?
Our vision for the future of e-commerce in Kenya and the region is to be the go-to platform for all our customers' needs. We want to provide a seamless and convenient shopping experience by giving everyone easy access to anything in their city.