Guide to Online Selling in Kenya

Successful Online Selling in Kenya

By Sokojiji

With the penetration of Internet services and relatively affordable smartphone devices, there is a growing opportunity in the Kenyan e-Commerce sector which boasts a population of over 50 million Kenyans(2019 Census), with an estimated number of active internet users currently over 20 million, and this is set to grow in the coming decades. The median age of the country is 20 yrs as of 2020. One in every four shops online.

Setting up a successful online venture requires a systematic approach to capturing leads & prospects before you can turn them into brand followers and clients. Mobile e-commerce makes up a significant chunk of the e-commerce space surprising desktop web traffic hence maximizing for this segment improves revenue streams for your venture.

A few of the things to consider before you start selling online

  • Content (is King).
  • Advertisement ‘Get the word out’.
  • Social Media pages.
  • Campaign Data.
  • Customs, Tax & Duties.
  • Payment method.

Sky Garden

The online marketplace has been in business since 2017, it has seen increased month on month transaction volume on its marketplace that allows SMEs, established business to Informal traders to trade on it’s platform, it brags of advanced e-Commerce capabilities that help tailor make products to defined local targets. Payments are disbursed daily and this goes a long way in improving and predicting cash flow which may be vital for a starting business. The down side of this platform includes high cancelation rates and high number of failed deliveries as they try to live up to the promise of same day delivery.

 

PigiaMe

It’s a classifieds website and application that offers sellers and buyers a unique opportunity to effectively reach their target audience. They provide tailored ads bundles to promote, highlight and boost businesses. They offer a freemium package but it has limitations to the number of ads you can post; the paid packages provide more features and services in ads management.

Though it provides relatively the same conversion rate to Jiji it offers better profits margins.

 

Jumia

Arguably the largest e-Commerce platform in the country by the shire number of orders  processed on the platform. For a seller considering the platform it offers quite a number of advantages ranging from guaranteed orders, weekly payments and a dedicated customer care to resolve issues that may arise, it has its downside which include very low profit margins, high penalties and return rates. It’s highly advisable when you have a wide selection of items from 20 onwards or you plan to clear stock as they have a number of promotions running throughout the year. Before you list with them, carry out a research on the products and services you hope to provide to reduce competition from other vendors on the platform. Electronics and utensils tend to be the preferred products of choice for most vendors.

Kilimall

Launched in 2014 with the aim of being the No.1 e-Commerce platform in Africa with its retail-customer model. It’s a worthy alternative to Jumia. It offers guaranteed orders and payment every two weeks. The downside to this is delayed and irregular payments and the customer care is relatively nonexistent hence follow up becomes quite difficult if you have no connections to someone working for the platform.

 

Jiji

A classified selling platform formerly known as OLX Kenya that can act as an alternative to PigiaMe it guarantees orders though the profits margins are low it’s advisable when you place an ad on the site you should buy the monthly advertising bundle for improved conversion rates and high number of impressions. Best for starting an online business but exercise caution when dealing with clients. 

 

Instagram Shop

This platform appeals to the younger generation of buyers who like to keep up with trends. It requires consistency when posting and keeps the content fresh and appealing to the target audience. Instagram has better profit margins as long as products are unique and appealing and also consider paying for advertisements for better reach.

 

Facebook

Due to the number of users on the social media platform having a presence on the platform is highly recommended. Facebook guarantees orders with good profit margins.Link all Facebook products(Instagram & Whatsapp) and it can also be linked with your website if you have one through Facebook Pixel, the importance in doing so is it helps in collecting data that’s helpful in advertising and retargeting. To harness the full potential of Facebook you should open a business manager account to help in advertising. When you post a post on Facebook it’s not advisable to use the boost option provided on the post. 

 

Website

This is an expensive option but with good returns. If you like being in charge of most aspects of your business this is excellent for you although it’s labour intensive and time consuming but in the long while it’s going to worth the work. When you decide to develop one, make sure to link mostly Facebook to your site and other social media platforms to help you build a customer database for advertising and retargeting.

 

Honourable Mention

Jambo Shop

  • Guaranteed orders
  • Better profit margins compared to Jumia
  • Delayed payments

 

Google Ads

  • Expensive advertising
  • Good profit margins compared to PigiaMe
  • High returns as opposed to SMS marketing

In conclusion you could use at least 4 of the listed platforms above as every one of them has a season in which the order volumes goes up or down hence a combination helps mitigate that. Due to the over changing business climate regulations are updated on a daily i.e Facebook may close your account once in a while without a valid reason but their customer service is readily available to address the issue at hand. Hence with a combination you are able to remain in business, hope this was helpful. Success in your new endeavour and enjoy selling. Feel free to Contact Us for insights.

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