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A Discussion on Ecommerce in Kenya with 24Bit

Video by elabz Content Marketing


Once in every two weeks, I get to spend time with some of the funniest and experienced guys in Kenya’s tech space. On this particular visit, I got the opportunity to discuss e-commerce in Kenya with Nick Kanali and Emmanuel Chenze.  From zip codes on Kenyan eCommerce web-forms to online shops that don’t have basic security like SSL certificates, this is the state of eCommerce in Kenya.

Of particular interest to me is how Facebook and Whatsapp groups are competing with eCommerce sites like Jumia. In fact, according to a recent research by Geopoll, Facebook was ranked second after Jumia as the most preferred eCommerce site by South Africans, Nigerians  during Black Friday.

most preferred eCommerce site
most preferred eCommerce site


My theory is that Kenyans love talking. In fact, this might be the reason the likes of Facebook, Safaricom and WhatsApp reign supreme in our land. Additionally, we tend to measure a person’s trustworthiness based on their talk. If someone talks too much they may be branded ‘mjuaji’ or ‘mkora’, to mean that they shouldn’t be trusted easily. In contrast, a person who says little is considered ‘mpole’ or m’ngwana to mean that are harmless. However, if they keep too quiet they join the ‘mkora’ bandwagon.

Keeping in mind that most eCommerce stores in Kenya do not take into consideration the need for buyers to interact and share stories, you start to understand why Kenyan eCommerce stores are struggling to build trust.

The Future of eCommerce in Kenya

As we move towards a free and centralized African market, there is need for marketers to leverage big data in mapping the African buying journey. For example, we have learned that Africans prefer to pay on delivery as Jumia has confirmed, we have also noted but are yet to prove that buyers prefer interaction with other buyers on eCommerce stores.

Moving forward, as marketers and eCommerce store owners, let’s focus on ensuring Kenyans get exactly what they ordered for online.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful world?

But that’s just that, my opinion, what yours?


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