47 responses

  1. Daniele Yung
    May 3, 2013

    An entrepreneur is an economic agent who unites all means of production- land of one, the labour of another and the capital of yet another and thus produces a product. By selling the product in the market he pays rent of land, wages to labour, interest on capital and what remains is his profit. He shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.`’

    Good day
    <http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/

  2. Julius
    March 19, 2013

    Mocality closed last month. All south African ecommerce sites in Kenya will close. Groupon is struggling after the much hyped IPO.

  3. Jacques
    July 21, 2012

    Good article. I think more Africa just start to bloom with online sales with all the mobile payment gateways that start. But they still have the problem with Paypal thats why I started this new site http://helpafricabuy.com feel free to visit us and have a look around.

  4. Gerald
    March 30, 2012

    In run this site with my co director http://www.maragates.com

    We sell tours and safaris online. We started way back in November 2009.

    Business has been very good and we cant complain. Most of our business comes from the website.

    We rank well for keywords such as Masai mara safaris, masai mara lodges, masai mara camps etc

    One can sell online here in Kenya. Its doable. Depends on which market we are in

    It also takes effort and time to market your site. Dont just build a site and hope people will come to you.

    I started my online marketing company http://www.ebiz.co.ke to help others make it on the web.

    The biggest challenge is having online payment solutions provider. Jambopay is good but the transaction fees are very high which might make it hard to close on sales

    If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask me.

  5. kB
    January 7, 2012

    Interesting read. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t agree more with the author’s sentiments which some people overlooked while making their all too passionate comments. The reason why E-commerce is not successful in Kenya is because of the small number of people who can afford/access internet services easily. (Picture a person going to a cyber-cafe early in the morning to order something online. Absurd! Internet is a basic feature in the households in developed countries; you can decide to buy something at midnight.) The author put it this way,
    “The people you are selling your goods to must have enough of a disposable income to be willing to go online and spend their money. That’s why E-commerce succeeded in America… America already had a large enough middle-class that simply shifted their buying online.”

    Middle class Kenyans don’t even have internet in their houses so even if you ‘localized’ your website, (I didn’t understand that comment by the way) Kenyans will still not be able to afford/use it. Kalahari was an e-bay clone alright but it offered services relevant to Kenyans. They still failed. We will get there, but perhaps in 2040-2050. The easiest way to introduce e-commerce successfully would be, in my opinion, through handsets. What I presume is going on now. Using M-Pesa and the likes on mobile websites to sell to people. A person with the smallest internet enabled mobile phone would be able to get that.Then again, at the pace we are developing at, lol it will be a miracle if e-commerce sets off before 2035. All this is mere opinion, I might be right I might be wrong, feel free to comment on that.

  6. Mel Okudo
    November 17, 2011

    On government records, check out: http://opendata.go.ke/ powered by

  7. Julius
    October 27, 2011

    As i said on this blog, the south african ecommerce businesses were bound to fail. Kalahari.co.ke has closed. see the link below. Dealfish is next. kenya is a unique market.

    http://www.standardmedia.co.ke.....m=&d=

  8. Julius
    October 27, 2011

    The South Africans have come in with their Dealfish.co.ke and Kalahari.co.ke. These two will not succeed in Kenya coz they are just a cut-and-paste of ebay. They must localize them if they have to succeed. Problem is that they do not want to listen and they have enaged people who have no idea how to do it. Just watch this space and you will see how they fair on.

    As i said on this blog, the south african ecommerce businesses were bound to fail. Kalahari.co.ke has closed. see the link below. Dealfish is next. kenya is a unique market.

    http://www.standardmedia.co.ke.....m=&d=

  9. Live Man Utd
    October 20, 2011

    That good work and keep it up!!!

  10. Anonymous
    March 15, 2011

    The South Africans have come in with their Dealfish.co.ke and Kalahari.co.ke. These two will not succeed in Kenya coz they are just a cut-and-paste of ebay. They must localize them if they have to succeed. Problem is that they do not want to listen and they have enaged people who have no idea how to do it. Just watch this space and you will see how they fair on.

  11. Julius
    November 5, 2010

    Embody, if you want to succeed in ecommerce in Kenya, you must start local i.e. selling local goods to local people. Trying to sell local goods to international customers or international goods to local customers will not work because the cost of shipment is prohibitive especially for small items.

    If you make it work for local goods to local people, then you can gradually move international if the volumes can justify it. Even payments must be localized. It does not make sense to use paypal when dealing with local customers. Use what they are used to: cash, cheques, debit cards and mobile money.

  12. Embody
    October 23, 2010

    interesting read. Am not a techie but now based in Kenya, I wished to develop an ecommerce website along the amazon line whereby my locally designed and crafted works could be sold directly to any global customer that appreciated my designs. Once payment via paypal etc, which is now fully operational locally is received, the goods would be posted / courriered to the customer.

    Herein lies my roadblock to this venture – the infrastructure or more precisely the cost of getting the goods, often weighing less than 0.5kg to said global customer are prohibitive!!! Charges are 3x or more the cost at which I sell at.

    Imagine the product costs 6USD but to get it to your address in say London, yoU must pay in total 40-50USD? Not happenning – especially as its not a life saving item, just a nice to have piece of art! So trying to go global whilst operating locally seems for now impossible. Unless someone knows a way forward that I may haVe missed??Note I have more than 5 qoutes from different delivery firms! Thanks

  13. Julius
    September 15, 2010

    Ecommerce is going to flourish in Kenya in the coming years but the business models that will suceed will be entirely different from what we see in developed markets. Kenyans must adopt local business models in order to address the needs of the local market. There is no copy-paste solutions that will work in Kenya. Trying to replicate ebay or amazon will fail terribly fail in Kenya.

  14. AK
    September 7, 2010

    interesting blog! I think the e-commerce idea is growing and catching on well. But It appears that it is the MPESA/ZAP payment options that are getting the most buy-in for now.

    I was encouraged by the Pewa Hewa idea and it is the first time I bought something online. However, it was not as seamless since the two times I made my purchase it took me a day or two to ‘receive’ my product as I had to wait for my transaction to be confirmed. However kudos to them I am sure we Kenyans are learning from our views on this e-commerce solutions.

  15. Julius
    July 28, 2010

    Mr. Entrepreneur, ecommerce is suffering the same fate as the BPO sector – Too young to be understood and trusted. Ecommerce entrepreneurs must first build local clientele and trust to be able to make any headyways. This will take 5-10 years so any investor in this sector should not come with the idea of making quick buck. Ebay was started in 1995 and only become profitable after the millenium.

  16. Julius
    June 16, 2010

    Ecommerce will only succeed in Kenya if the solutions address the fundamental commercial needs for Kenyans.

  17. Julius
    June 11, 2010

    It must be localized. If it cant sell locally, it won’t sell anywhere else. Why? There are already loads of those products or softwares available in the developed markets so they are not very intersted in Kenyan ones. So the best way forward for local techies is to create localized solutions for the local market and if they become successful, other markets will start buying them or copying. Charity begins at home.

  18. kenyanentrepreneur
    June 5, 2010

    Airtime:

    It will happen in what form? maybe you can explain it to us. how do you see it evolving?

    Julius:

    Are the situations really that different? The only real difference I can think of is money. i.e. there’s a lot more of it in America than in Kenya so why localize it? This is what I was saying to Kenyan techies – create a product or piece of software that you can sell to ANYONE, ANYWHERE in the world. Don’t localize, go global.

  19. Julius
    June 4, 2010

    One problem with Kenyans when they start ecommerce sites is that they do not localize the concept. Copying from the US will not work here since the situations are completely different.

    The other problem is that the big companies (e.g. Safaricom, KDN & Nationmedia) who are awash with cash think that they can do everything and hence want to engage in ecommerce in the country. They will steal any small idea and invest heavily in it thereby overshadowing the small entrepreneurs. They need to partner with entrepreneurs who are understand the business to develop serious ecommerce sites

  20. Airtime.co.ke
    May 24, 2010

    I understand the Safaricom are working on something for their own online shop. It would work along the lines of fields for phone number and PIN, then submit. The buyers Mpesa would be checked for sufficient credit then the funds transferred to the sellers (in this case Safaricom) Mpesa account and the payment considered complete.

    Whether they are considering releasing the technology for others is another matter altogether…

  21. solo
    May 23, 2010

    Do we have apps for making online payments via m-pesa? like paypal…

  22. Airtime.co.ke
    May 17, 2010

    Hi,

    this has been an interesting read. Particularly this comment…
    “how could buying something over the internet(from a Kenyan retailer) benefit him as opposed to his usual methods of solving buying needs?”

    try http://www.airtime.co.ke

    You can get airtime cheaper, and if you are in your office on the 10th floor, easier and faster.

    Ecommerce WILL happen in Kenya, sooner or later.

  23. kenyanentrepreneur
    May 2, 2010

    Kenyan music:

    I typed in the words, Pewa Hewa and the site name (pewahewa.net) did come up on google’s first page but who (if they were looking for Kenyan musicians) would type in the words pewa hewa? They’d type the words Kenyan music in google.

    The problem with seo is that it takes years. You need loads of content and good links and you can’t get that in a short period of time. That’s why I”m surprised they didn’t try to use the words Kenyan or music in their website description. Very important for seo that you pick the right words.

  24. Kenyan music
    April 29, 2010

    No. 1: Wanjiku, even though when you google “pewa hewa” you don’t see the actual site pewahewa.com. You see some Facebook page, and a few articles about them in other publications.

    No. 2 KE, though “pewa hewa” is not the term they should target, a search for the words in the domain not bringing up your site points to a pathetic state of affairs seo-wise

  25. Boss Mayor
    April 26, 2010

    Even before we get to all the lacking facilities/services/infrastructure.. has it ever dawned on anyone that just maybe, MOST Kenyans simply do not see the value of e-commerce? Just think of the typical working class jamaa, he has his job in town or wherever in Nairobi.. how could buying something over the internet(from a Kenyan retailer) benefit him as opposed to his usual methods of solving buying needs?

    Currently, the market for e-commerce is dead, and will be dead for a long long while. That is just a fact of life. The best thing yet is payment systems.

    Kenyan techies(if they want to survive) need to divert their attention to actually making some damn paid mobile applications that can generate themselves some revenue as that is where the masses and $$$ are. The idea of copying the West doesn’t apply to Kenyas IT world. The person who creates the future rather than copy it will win.

    How in this fucking world will me buying anything on the internet benefit me in Kenya? someone just tell me what the heck i could possibly be buying.. I’ll ride KE on this.. WE PRODUCE NOTHING!

  26. kenyanentrepreneur
    April 26, 2010

    The key is not to do a google search for the words “pewa hewa” because that’s not how most people would search for kenyan musicians.

    Most people would go to google and type the keyword: Kenyan musicians (which I did and when I did that, pewa hewa’s site was not on the top 3 pages.

    What does come up are google images of the Kenya’s most googled musicians: Eric Wainaina, Wahu, etc, etc.

    Interesting to note that the band heading the Makemende buzz doesn’t appear on the top 3 search results for that key word term.

    So, for example, if you googled the keyword: “Kenyan entrepreneur” or “Kenya entrepreneur” – this blog because it’s been around for a while comes up as the number one search result. i.e. it is number one for it’s search title, which is what you ultimately want as a website owner.

  27. wanjikuMworia
    April 26, 2010

    Come now to your computer and Google “Pewa Hewa”. Nothing.

    YOU LIE!

    A Google search of Pewa hewa reveals alot about the company .Try it and dont hate.

  28. wanjikuMworia
    April 26, 2010

    Kenyan guys with websites think traffic will come to their sites like manna from heaven.Its more like they assume that we shall find them!

    Not necessarily! Once you have established an online presence, your next task will be drawing traffic to your site and thats where kenyans fail!

    I Think Kenyan website owners should Remember, you are a needle in a haystack competing against millions of other websites. How will your customers find you?

    so what next? any success stories out there to emulate? None that Ive known or heard from kenya so far.

  29. Kenyan Music
    April 25, 2010

    The problem is the mentality of Kenyan techies towards marketing their websites. Very few people know the difference between ‘traditional’ marketing and internet marketing.

    For example, take the recently launched pewahewa.com music website. David Kuria and his crew at Intrepid Kenya went all the way with their launch. They had a big conference at the Stanley, and they invited all sorts of bigwigs from the music industry and even the minister for ICT. Then they went to radio with advertisments on several radio shows. Then they went to the printing press with several articles about their vision and mission.

    Come now to your computer and Google “Pewa Hewa”. Nothing.

    Google “Kenyan music”. Nothing.

    Google “Buy Kenyan music online”. Nothing

    Then you leave.

  30. kenyanentrepreneur
    April 22, 2010

    John Karanja:

    How do you know what the turnover at Babawatoto’s is?

  31. mdomo baggy
    April 22, 2010

    ok look,

    I read about how m-pesa works andI have come to a conclusion that the future of African economies lie on mobile phone banking.

    Mobile phone banking is the future.. Why ? Because African countries have taken to the mobile phone industry like a duck is to water. This is so to an unprecedented scale.

    Examples of how mobile phone banking can be used ?

    People buying stocks through their phones. Stock brokers have a four digit code which can be used by any person to buy stocks under their name.

    People can buy products online or through radio adds with four digit product codes and send them via postal outlets to customers.

    Since Radio and newspaper and tv are the most used in Kenya. Product adds can have a four digit code that consumers can use to buy these products and have the sent to a nearer location where they could go pick it up.

    Mobile phone banks can also give credit lines or loans to their customers through the number of transactions they can form a way to measure credit risk.

    This way will unlock the potential of the continent since mobile phones can be used as a bank account.

    I think this is the future of African economies since the western type of arrangements are not taking off as expected. Banks are seen by many Africans as lacking creativity in capturing the the needs of the small(Jua Kali) enterprises.

  32. lost
    April 22, 2010

    Most people access internet via their mobile phones 2.5m to be exact. Shopping using mobile phones is rather difficult though apps are being created to make it easier. ecommerce site will only thrive if they offer bargains and deliver on time, that’s not happening at the moment.

  33. wanjikuMworia
    April 21, 2010

    Why have ecommerce -payments methods failed in kenya?
    me I Thinks its becuase of the fact that theres an Overly complicated for customer and business – technology gap.Also ,In kenya Income is very dependent on customer Ability to sacrifice (difficulties in cashflow management)

    Customer anxiety and fear of fraud – could act as a deterrent

    The last point i believe is Difficulties in standardization – lots of different approaches, variant media and of course No customer education. people put up a site and expect it to succeed!

  34. John Karanja
    April 20, 2010

    Great discussions here on ecommerce in Kenya.

    There about 4 million internet users in Kenya who we should expect have access to Mpesa.

    Websites such as PesaPal.com have started coming up to provide online transactions through Mpesa.

    I heard that BabaWatoto.com has a monthly turn over of $60,000 a month. If its true its a huge success.

    I also know a number of sites that have been around for a while and are doing great.

  35. kenyanentrepreneur
    April 19, 2010

    Okay, I see were people are going with this and you have all raised a very good point, which is: that the answer is not online credit card payments. It is mobile phones using payment services like MPESA.

    However, the other fundamental problem still exists and it is that the middle/upper middle class numbers are still too small to really give your online business a boost.

    For instance, I’ve been seeing a lot of Kenyans in Kenya now buying airline tickets from American websites and sidestepping travel agents in Kenya who they say are too expensive.

    So, for example: My cousin recently bought an airline ticket for his mum to come and visit him in Washington, DC. and what my cousin did was go online to expedia.com and use his credit card to purchase the ticket for his mum (from his end). Then, when his mum landed in DC, she simply gave him the money for the price of the ticket.

    I also know middle class Kenyans who are doing this for clothes. i.e. going online (b/c they have access to the internet) seeing what they want (from American retail stores) then telling a trusted family member in America to buy the clothes for them(online) and then they simply wire what you owe back to them.

    In other words, those who have access to the internet are not waiting for a “kenyan” site. They can already get what they want if they have to.

  36. Chegepreneur.Com
    April 19, 2010

    Mpesa is definately the ideal way to recieve & make payments for e-commerce in Kenya, however I believe not a large number of Kenyans have internet access. The number of Kenyans with mobile phones are more than those with the credit cards so that makes MPESA number one. Credit cards can prove to be very nasty.

  37. wanjikuMworia
    April 17, 2010

    How would e-commerce function in East Africa? Is there really a large enough market with good access? One day eventually I think that ecommerce will work here. It will work for the company that can win the mindshare of that niche of middle/upper class Kenyans and expats who can afford consistent internet access..

    What are the leading e-Commerce sites In kenya or that serve kenyans? anyone with info let me know!

  38. lost
    April 17, 2010

    Kenya so called techies are quite expensive for simple things they do. For what they charge one can getting cheaply at elance or rentacoder.com and get quality work. Nokia has competition for apps and the last competition only 3 people entered and one of them didn’t submit app but an SMS platform. The competition was between egypt and south africa.

  39. lost
    April 17, 2010

    Some of the local sites have started incorporating Mpesa as way to collect payments in Kenya as way of going around credit cards. While most people don’t have credit cards, visa debit cards are readily available. The problem with kenya is one would think e-commerce would make goods cheaper but on the contrary. So in my opinion the true value of ecommerce isn’t being realized cause site owners aren’t driving cost down to attract bargain hunters.

  40. aesopes[mahmud r joel]
    April 17, 2010

    …no Kenyan on elance, you might be right but we sure do have a writer and of course the techies will follow very soon as i incorporate them in my acc. as members as i spread the word around.Currently concentrating on ‘elance university’ and as i said earlier-spreading the word.My handle is aesopes so outsourcing as you say KE here we come.

  41. kenyanentrepreneur
    April 16, 2010

    One of the main points coming out of this discussion seems to be the credit card issue. Difficult to use in Kenya; also not that many people have them.

    I heard the same thing about Paypal transactions – i.e. you can’t use it in Kenya currently. Has that changed?

    This is why in my post I mentioned that if you are a Kenyan techie, your goal should not be to try and sell to Kenyans IN Kenya. No.

    Your goal should be to try and sell your tech skills (including your English language skills) to Americans or Europeans who are looking for cheap labor. i.e. outsource your skills to those who already have credit cards and disposable income and try and get their money. Why look for water in the desert (Kenya) when there’s a whole ocean out there? (aka America, Europe, etc, etc)

    For instance, they are no Kenyan techies on Elance.com and that is astounding to me.

  42. Chegepreneur.Com
    April 16, 2010

    Good post. I also think one of the main reasons why e-commerce businesses are not doing well is because many people do not use the internet while many others do not even know how to use computers. Up to this day I still meet stranded people in cyber cafes. There is also the issue of credit cards. Most e-commerce businesses require that you use credit cards to purchase & credit cards are owned by a few. There is also the fear of being ripped off the internet is full of scams.

  43. P
    April 15, 2010

    Ok…lets lay this to rest for a moment. I work for a credit card processing company. Ok, so you go to a store or what have you and you swipe your card and you wait there for your money (you as a business owner) to hit your account minus the processing fees. And there’s so much that goes to that….I could go on. So what has Kenya set up for that? It’s a complicated game and I can explain in depth. But I’m curious to know how it goes down over there (Kenya). There’s so much as far as fees “you” as a merchant pays for every transaction. Pay attention to those. Online stuff, it’s all out their….I can advise. If u are doing a website thing then u should be paying some kind of gateway fee. It’s complicated in a way but it’s so simple also. Let me hear from you guys that have e-commerce sites. Maybe I can lead you in the right way. But, I really want to know how Visa, MC, DC etc are doing it back in jamuhuri

  44. kaka
    April 14, 2010

    problems with e-commerce in kenya

    legal framework – inadequate for transacting e-commerce,certification,digital signatures
    financial credit cards – low level in circulation.
    Market access for certain products
    logistics for local distribution of goods
    confidence building – security of transactions

    what needs to be done

    •more efforts should be focused on int’l trade to provide fast track results

    -create and develop–awareness
    –confidence
    -an overarching incentive framework to expand telecommunications
    –increase ownership of computers,
    –lower cost internet access

  45. Joe
    April 13, 2010

    Have a look at my blog post on technology entrepreneurship. I have listed some questions that techpreneur’s should ask themselves before they embark on their ventures.

    http://blog.zilojo.com/2010/04.....er-part-1/

  46. John Karanja
    April 13, 2010

    Hi KE

    You will be shocked there are many people tonnes of money using E-commerce in Kenya.

    Some of which are featured on my blog.

    The thing is people who make money rarely announce they are doing so… for good reason.

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