by Karen Webs
Wednesday, 28th Nov 2018 | 10:03:43 AM
Internet availability is still costly for Kenyans in the connected areas and still largely inaccessible in many parts of the country
The number of internet users in Kenya is growing enormously with each passing day, and more and more local businesses are realizing the value of having an online presence to promote their businesses across the Kenyan online demographic. All you need to have a successful online business is an online presence, a product, online customers for your product, and a way to receive payments securely from your online customers. In today’s article, I will discuss at least 5 key challenges that your online business will face in Kenya with a goal to benefit your online strategy.
[b]1. Getting online customers[/b]
You have a product or service for your online customers, so now you will need these online customers to be aware of your business and proceed to buy your product or service. This is achieved by having a website for your business that you promote to online customers similar to how popular ecommerce businesses in Kenya such as Jumia do it. For businesses with little to no budgets for marketing their online business across the various suitable avenues, getting online customers to visit their websites can be quite an uphill task. While there are more cost effective and even free means to grow the traffic of customers to your website such as search engine optimization, having a healthy marketing budget and the right marketing strategy for your online business can generate the desired results more efficiently.
[b]2. Gaining the trust of online customers[/b]
Online scams are not new in Kenya, and that means that Kenyans generally have trust issues whenever they are required to send money for a product that they have only seen on a photo that you have posted on your social media account. Having a website for your business definitely boosts the level of trust as compared to only giving your business a social media presence, but you will still need to find ways to convince your potential online customers that your online business is legitimate. You might need to consider using cash on delivery depending on the nature of your product or service, but then that will open up the challenge of getting scammed by fraudsters posing as legitimate customers and finding a way around that might in the end prove unfeasible for your profitability.
How unique is the product or service that you are offering online? If customers can access the same product by walking into a nearby shop, can you offer a better deal or more convenience than that nearby shop? When your product or service is unique and profitable, chances are that you will soon have competitors as well – so it pays to strategize along your competitive advantage to acquire loyal customers.
[b]4. Costs of operation[/b]
The nature of online business is such that your online customers can originate from any random location wherever there is internet access. This creates a great opportunity for business that can sell their products or services electronically such as eBooks, web hosting services, et cetera; but for businesses that sell physical products and services such as furniture, dry cleaners et cetera, the costs of selling their products and services to online customers in distant locations might present logistic concerns that will make the costs of operation unfeasible for profitability.
[b]5. Internet accessibility[/b]
As of 2018, internet availability is still costly for Kenyans in the connected areas and still largely inaccessible in many parts of the country. This means that online businesses are yet to access quite a large population of potential online customers and that is a challenge that your online business will face. However, the costs of internet subscriptions have been remarkably getting more affordable over the recent years while the connectivity to the internet grid has also been expanding at a steady pace across the Kenyan geographic – so the issue of internet accessibility is expected to be resolved much sooner than later.
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