African countries have always lagged behind when it comes to online shopping. This can be attributed mostly to low internet penetration and usage of computers. It is however changing fast, and Kenya is among the elite African countries quickly embracing this new way.
We have seen many players open shop in the country, and a few have stood out. Unlike in the developed world where online shopping is mostly Business to Customer (B2C), Kenya seems to have embraced Customer 2 Customer (C2C). This sector has been growing and 2014 will be a very significant year.
The most successful player in this scene is of course OLX Free Classifieds. They’ve probably played the biggest role in promoting online business with their numerous TV commercials, and many Kenyans will confess to either selling or making a purchase through the platform.
Online shopping tend to be much easier than the traditional shopping or window shopping. One does not have to move from stall to stall looking for that perfect phone or shoe. With an internet connection, you can find out which shops have which phones or shoes or whatever you’re interested in, and you do not have to visit 10 shops when you finally decide to buy. A great time saver indeed.
One thing I’ve come to love about online shopping, particularly the C2C model preferred in Kenya, is the ability to get almost anything. You may find yourself in need of a particular book, or office furniture. Financial strains may however prevent you from buying brand new ones, and thats where a simple search on an online shopping platform works wonders. On more than one occasion, I have gotten exact matches of whatever am looking for, or received replies minutes after my post. These come from people who seek to dispose the items, normally at a fraction the price of brand new ones.
A perfect theoretical explanation would be that ‘for everything you want to buy, there’s someone who wants to sell’. You can get that someone online.
Remember when transacting any business, take adequate security measures.