How often do you choose to buy something from your phone or computer rather than physically running to the store to buy it yourself? According to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) at the first Africa e-commerce Week, Kenya is ranked 7th behind Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco and Ghana. You can see the full list here. This position is not bad as it is an improvement from past years.
Indicators of Online Shopping Success or Failure.
- Postal Reliability – Recently, the Communications Authority of Kenya indicated an improvement in the reliability of postal services in the country for both postal and courier services. The postal services have adapted to consumer online shopping needs to services like online track and trace, digital identities and utilisation mobile and web applications.
- Secure internet servers – Kenya boasts the highest internet penetration in Africa up t0 85%, which is extremely high. This factor has highly been attributed to the amount of success that e-commerce has had in the country. Internet service providers like Safaricom, Faiba, Liquid Telecom, Poa Internet and Zuku have played a huge role in the provision of reliable internet for both commercial and home usage.
- The number of Internet Users – Out of the total population of about 50 million Kenyans, it is estimated that only about 28% use the internet. Internet users in the country are mostly situated in urban areas.
- Account ownership at a financial institution or with a mobile money service provider –Mobile money is very dominant in the country. Mpesa has been used widely to enable transfer of money and payment for goods and services both offline and online.
Reflection of Statistics for E-commerce to Kenyan Businesses
Kenya excels at two of the four indicators of e-commerce. The meaning of these statistics to businesses countrywide can hardly be overestimated.
- Overcoming Geographical Limitations – Businesses cannot be limited to a particular region. A good example is My Dawa application which offers a new and innovative way for delivery of a wide range of quality medication and wellness products all over the country not limited to urban centres.
- Accrual of New Customers with Search Engine Visibility – Customers will easily find businesses offering the kind of product or service they are looking for by a simple search on a search engine like Google.
- Lower Overhead Costs–E-commerce has the potential to reduce the overhead costs in a great way by reducing cost on personnel, advertising and marketing and also real estate since a business does not necessarily require physical premises.
- Improved Efficiency – Transport and Distribution is highly reduced by limitation of travel, time and cost.
- Providence of Adequate Information to Customers before Purchase – Before a customers clicks on the ‘Buy Now’ button, he or she has an opportunity to carefully examine the description as well as read the reviews from other customers.
- Functional anytime of day – An online shopping platform has no close of the day and operates all day any day.
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Keywords: UNCTAD, eCommerce, Online Shopping