Ecommerce is a growing industry in Kenya. If you are planning on starting an ecommerce business, you need to strategise before establishing an online shop. The key factors to consider include what to sell and on what platforms to sell on. This article will offer detailed and relevant information including the viable products to sell online.
Benefits of Ecommerce to a Small Business
Ecommerce offers small businesses many benefits. Some of the benefits are:
- Reduced operational costs. An online store eliminates certain expenses such as rent, store maintenance costs, licenses, and the need for several employees. In fact, the only costs you will incur is those of starting an ecommerce store and marketing it.
- Wider reach. With a physical store, you only tend to serve individuals within a particular locality. On the other hand, an online store lets you reach a wide clientele base especially if you use effective marketing tools such as social media, reviews, referrals, and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Ability to be in business 24/7. A physical store limits the time of day or night that you can operate due to personal reasons, security concerns, or the building’s rules. These limitations do not apply in an online store; an aspect that makes it possible to receive your clients’ orders at any time. This flexibility is bound to increase your number of customers as well as the returns.
How to Start an Online Business in Kenya
Identify the Product to Sell
Just like a brick-and-mortar store, the first step to successfully opening an online shop is to identify your niche market. Conduct detailed research, couple it with your experience and passion, and identify a product that people are looking for. Granted, there are other enterprises with similar items as yours. However, you can increase your competitive advantage over the rest by ensuring you provide quality, variety, attractive prices, and pleasant customer service.
Choose a Domain Name and Webhost
Come up with a domain name that is memorable, short, catchy, and related to your business. Once you have ascertained that it is available, register it. This step should be followed by selecting a well-established webhost for your site. In most cases, cheap webhosts are unreliable and have poor performance since they use one server to host numerous accounts. The chosen host should have:
- An uptime of at least 99% (uptime is the time a site is available to users over a particular timeframe)
- Proper technical support
- Features necessary for running an ecommerce store
Choose a Shopping Cart
This is part of the process of establishing an attractive digital shopfront. The shopping cart system you choose should have basic features such as:
- Urls that are SEO friendly
- Special offers such as gift vouchers or coupons
- Single page checkout
- Product displays and catalogs
- Analytics and reporting
- Chat support
Some hosting providers come with an in-built shopping cart (hosted shopping cart). You can also opt for a website builder that comes with hosting and a shopping cart functionality such as Wix and Shopify.
In Kenya, a website developer like Tandao Commerce will assist you on this procedure.
Choose a Suitable Payment Mode
At the end of the day, the clients have to pay for your goods or services for you to succeed in an online business. As such, it is important to choose a suitable payment mode. In Kenya, you can use various payment options including M- Pesa, Mastercard, Visa card, Pesapal among others. Offering your clients several payment options ensures that they do not fail to purchase an item simply because there is no convenient mode of payment.
Make Your Store Attractive to the Targeted Clients
At this point, you can start selling your products or services. However, adding some final touches to the online store will go a long way in attracting more customers. For instance, it will be helpful to include the name of the shop, your contacts and a physical location where applicable. Using colors that suit your brand and targeted clientele is another helpful way of upgrading your online store’s appearance. If you are not able to complete such details by yourself, you can always seek the services of a reliable web designer.
Open Shop and Start Selling
You are now set to run your digital store. From here on, the success of your online venture largely depends on your ability to market the merchandise efficiently. For instance, you already have potential clients in the form of family members and friends. Get them to buy from you, refer others to your site, and leave pleasant reviews. Additionally, use social media to market your products. Offline marketing through approaches such as banners, signboards, and in meetings are also useful in expanding your customer base.
What Are the Best Products to Sell Online in Kenya?
The modern Kenyan woman is keen on how she looks and is influenced by the current beauty trends. Currently, there is a craze of two hair trends: human hair and natural hair. If you are looking to start an online store in Kenya, you can reap big from this craze by availing high-quality items such as hair extensions, accessories, and haircare products.
Clothes and Fashion Accessories
Different occasions require different fashion styles. Based on the fact that Kenyans are now keen on looking the part in every setup, an online boutique is a feasible idea. Depending on your target market, you can sell men, women, or kids’ clothes. Adding fashion accessories such as watches and jewelry to your collection will give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. For instance, if you stock men’s clothes, sell shoes, ties, cufflinks, and caps as well.
One of the areas that the rising middle class in Kenya is willing to spend on is their houses. Be part of their efforts to transform their residential or commercial units into appealing spaces by providing high-quality yet affordable furniture, decorative pieces, or utensils.
Electronic market is huge. You can sell electronics on your online store such digital cameras, TV’s, earphones, laptops, mobile phones, power banks and video game consoles.
Your online store doesn’t have to be filled with goods, it can be a platform for you to offer certain services. Catering is one of the profitable services in Kenya. It could be delivering home-cooked food to offices and homes, baking cakes and other pastries, or preparing meals for different occasions.
Ecommerce Sites in Kenya
You can successfully operate an online store by yourself. However, partnering with a well-established ecommerce site is bound to increase traffic to your shop. In Kenya, there are a number of such platforms. This includes:
To sell on Jumia, you have to be based in Nairobi. Additionally, the goods have to be new and genuine. For instance, if you plan on selling clothes, you can’t sell second-hand clothes locally known as “mitumba”.
Jiji was formally known as olx. You can sell a variety of items on this platform ranging from furniture to cars, property, vehicles, electronics, and even services.
Its mode of operations is very similar with that at Jumia. At Kilimall, you can sell a wide range of products from fashion items to electronics and household items. However, they have to be new and genuine.
PigiaMe is a site that allows sellers in Kenya to sell both new and second-hand items. One can trade in a variety of items including furniture, vehicles, and electronics.
The Internet has enabled traders to reach more clients in addition to reducing the operating costs. In Kenya, there are various sites that allow individuals to sell their products. Through these platforms, one can sell a range of items whose demand is high and consistent.