Last Updated on 9 March 2021 by Gertrude
Why are more people opting to sell their products and services online?
What are the advantages of selling online for Kenyans?
And is selling online a good marketing strategy for businesses in Kenya?
How can Kenyans sell their products and services successfully online?
These are some of the questions I get asked every time I speak of selling online/beginning online businesses.
Selling online means removing the thought of displays, rental spaces, inventory and huge startup capital.
Selling online means beginning a business from the comfort of your home using resources you use like social media for advertising your business, your smartphone for communicating to your customers and Google for reaching to customers.
With an online business, the most important thing is the time you invest in the business is the biggest capital.
Advantages of Selling Online in a Pandemic in Kenya (Find Success Fast)
What are the advantages of selling online in a pandemic? And how do I find success selling online as a Kenyan? The following are the advantages of selling online in Kenya and they include:
- It takes a few clicks to begin selling online
It’s easy compared to beginning an offline store.
For example, if you want to sell your services as a writer, you need a blog.
And to set up a blog, you need WordPress, Wix or Squarespace then you’re done.
All these from the comfort of your home.
You don’t need anyone to help you. It takes a few clicks or drag and drops to begin your business online.
2. Low-cost operation
Using the WordPress example above, it takes a few dollars in investment to set up your online business/e-commerce store.
The most you invest is your time and bettering your services/products and improving your customer service.
Starting a Shopify store for your e-commerce store takes a few dollars, in fact, it’s a free trial for 14 days.
You can begin your WordPress site by purchasing a domain name/web site’s name and paying for the hosting for only $30 (domain name and hosting) if you use Dreamhost.
The next months before your business takes off, you pay about $15 or 1500 per month for hosting.
That means you put in the effort in your business to see it come to fruition.
3. Shoppers begin their shopping online
Though you may love social media and the possibilities of the shopping experience feature added like the Facebook Marketplace, beware, shoppers begin their shopping online on google.
When someone wants to buy something, they check the businesses providing the products or services on google before making a purchase with them.
Ensure your business is on Google’s page one because shoppers don’t go beyond page one of Google.
Create blog posts for your business, which means targeting your market with certain keywords.
For example, if you sell socks, you could write blog posts with titles such as How to choose sock colours for stylish men.
Men who want to stand out (look stylish) will get drawn to your business. Or their wives or girlfriends will pick your brand because you know a lot about socks and how to style men socks.
Utilise the power of Google search by listing your business in the Google Business Directory, Google Snack Pack and writing blog posts.
Search for keywords that help you decide user intent by researching keywords using tools like Google Trends, Google search, what I use the most, and if you have money invest on Semrush or Ahrefs.
4. Data collecting with an online business has never been easy
We know the importance of data in the real world.
Data helps Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Amazon stay on top of trends.
Data becomes easy with Google analytics and on social media with channels like YouTube which have algorithms.
In fact, it’s the YouTube algorithms that helped me realise the kinds of content Kenyans engaged with the most.
You don’t need to be a data analyst though it’s one of the best paying tech jobs for beginners; you need to understand the conversions.
What blog post did your audience connect with the most?
Can you find topic ideas surrounding that niche/industry/category?
How will the additional or related topics benefit your audience?
Are you providing them with value? Your customers convert when you add value to them.
Also, ensure to make your content evergreen. This way your content stays relevant for years to come.
5. It’s easier to reach new customers with an online business
An offline business is limited to a certain location, not these days though.
You can market on social media and reach a big audience with your business.
An online business isn’t limited to/by a location, buyers throng your shop from all over the world.
Ensure your product (s) is of high quality and your customer service too.
Because without high-quality products, you won’t sell beyond your borders. Also, with the larger audience, comes competition.
To minimise competition ensure you know your target audience.
Related What’s High-Quality Product and How Do I Maintain High-Quality Standards With my Online Store in Kenya?
6. You focus on the key features of a product or service with an online business
The reason why every online internet marketer speaks about niching out is that it’s easier to get recognised when you keep your focus on one subject.
I remember not too long ago I wanted to become a motivational speaker, lifestyle blogger, financial blogger all in one blog.
Now, if you want to operate such a blog, it’s going to take one area of focus. For me, it’s about money.
Then create content surrounding motivation while saving.
That’s what happens when running an online business, you choose your focus and find content surrounding/related to your topic of choice.
You can search for ideas on Google. Google has the answers, most of the time.
7. Concentrate on a niche
Like focusing on the key features of a product or service, it’s easier to niche out.
Niching out means choosing an area of specialisation.
Meaning, if you want to begin talking about business, what type of businesses and why?.
I chose to work from home because I began working from home when no one talked about it in Kenya. It was alien.
Then, I realised it’s not just work that Kenyans want to do online, there are some people who want to run businesses online but don’t know how to go about it.
So, I branched to cater to these people.
Plus, running a blog is an online business and I needed to understand how to run a blog like a business!
No matter how many ideas you have, begin from your expertise or from a topic you love the most.
The other ideas you have will fall into place always.
Related: How to Find a Business Idea When You Have Too Many Ideas
8. Meet and connect with customers
Starting a business isn’t the problem.
Connecting yourself with customers is the hardest work.
Customers want different things depending on what stage of their lives they are in. So, they will request different things all the time.
For example, I started a business to sell bags then a customer spotted a pillow, and asked, why not sell pillows as well?
Aren’t pillows and bags related?
It’s easier to connect with your customers in an online business.
They are your friends on social media and some help you know what your business needs or lacks from their suggestions.
9. Your shoppers are on a mobile
Smartphones invention was the best thing ever.
We connect with our friends and families not necessarily with laptops and computers but with our smartphones.
Your customers shop using their phones because it’s easy to carry and they have the phones in hand.
You want to reach out to these customers by ensuring your site responds well to mobile.
10. Personalise your customer experience
Every customer’s needs are different.
Your customers, no matter how similar they look, come in different forms.
Some are yes customers, loving everything you do. Others are doubtful/tasters of your products and services.
Others are simply dissatisfied or disapprove of you just because you got ahead of them.
Make sure your customer service caters to all customers needs no matter who they are. Some customers ask many questions or point out errors in your operation.
Listen to what your customers say in order to satisfy even the most complicated customer.
Related: Everything about customer service you must know
11. Using trusted reviews and prove satisfaction
Online businesses thrive when they have positive reviews.
When beginning an Airbnb business, you get nervous because you don’t have a customer review.
After your customer gives you a stellar review, other customers follow suit. Some people took advantage of reviews therefore they buy reviews.
You don’t have to fake it.
Ask your customers but guide them on how to write honest feedback about your customer service, for example, products or services you sell, and give other shoppers a reason to shop with you.
Related: How to ask for honest feedback from customers without looking obnoxious
12. The possibility of making money and becoming a millionaire with your online store
I couldn’t get a job back in 2009; I sunk into depression in 2010.
It was harrowing that I decided to take my sister’s offer of signing up for Facebook.
After browsing through Facebook for months, I started seeing the potential of making money with Facebook.
At the time, I didn’t think of any creative outlet like knitting which I learnt from my mum as a child as a way of making money.
I thought I could string a few words into sentences, right?
I can perfectly write in English. I didn’t know it’d take three years from the day of the idea conception to 2012 to make a dime online. I was on the moon.
The only hindrance was my imagination.
Do you have a dream to become a millionaire online or from the comfort of your home?
Did the world throw you a curveball like getting sacked from your high paying or stable job? Don’t fret.
Internet millionaires get born every day.
Find out what your skills, passions and talents are. Then ask, how can I make money with these skills?
Take the skill or the idea you love the most and fly away. Be prepared to fail, fail, fail than succeed.
Related: How to get rich online as a Kenyan
How to begin freelance writing/online writing
Businesses to begin online
How to find what you are good at as a Kenyan
13. Becoming a boss with your online store
Do you want to become a boss?
It must be a tagline for a business somewhere, right?
Check on Instagram or Facebook and you see bosses partying in yachts, drinking champagne at 5 am while you’re preparing to go to work.
I am not saying that’s what bosses do.
Every boss has their angle, a little time here and lots of work and headache there.
The internet provides you with the ability to become a boss from the comfort of your home.
You can own e-commerce or drop shipping or work as a freelance writer or invent something.
You’re limited by your creativity and imagination.
14. Marketing becomes easier with your online business
If you told me about marketing my freelance writing before beginning my pillow business, I’d think you’re playing with me.
I don’t think the time to grow or take my writing to higher heights was then.
I spent time hiding behind the keyboard, typing or sending resumes and writing samples.
I advertised my writing through this blog which I rarely logged onto. What a shame! I didn’t know what building a writing brand was all about.
I wanted to write.
If your intention is to write and not run a business, then you will struggle a bit. A brand has to have a marketing strategy.
I remember being told to advertise my writing on Facebook. But I dared not reveal what I did to others, I was shy, I excused myself.
No, brands are on billboards, matatus, flyers explaining and reaching out to our customers telling them why they must be chosen.
You want to be that brand. Go out there announcing what you do. Stop hiding. If Apple, Amazon, Netflix hid would we know about them?
15. Increase sales
It’s easier to increase sales with your online business because buyers come from all over the world and your customers aren’t concentrated in one place/region.
You reach a whole new market.
Your buyers will also market your business through online reviews and your business grows wings beyond your market.
16. Saves you money of opening a new store
It’s daunting to open a new store.
Even if you begin with products you owned.
I invested next to nothing when beginning my pillow business.
I already owned a sewing machine and an overlocker/serger and lots of fabrics, zips, thread, cutting scissors and fibre.
I only needed cording to add to the pillows.
I invested money and time for the creation, I would say.
I had not many displays so I used a chair as the display.
If I worked from home with the sewing, I’d have saved the headache of displays because there are couches and beds readily available.
I’d only need money to advertise my business.
17. Stand out from the competition because of branding
If you want to win against your competition with your online business, you have to brand.
When Kenyans hear branding and brand, we want to bolt to never own a business. What makes Safaricom stand out?
Or any other local business you know in your area.
They have a story/brand story.
They have an awesome marketing strategy because they know their target audience and they believe they have a product to help solve customer’s problems.
A brand stands out when they have a website where they talk about the products through video demos.
Related: Branding Simplified for Kenyans
How to Build a Brand Story in Kenya
How to Stand Out From Your Competition in Business in Kenya
Effective Easy Ways to Market Your Online Store in Kenya
It’s easier to begin an online business.
Because of the low costs of getting started.
That’s why it gets easier each year with new inventions happening in the online business world.
There is software created to make your checkout easier, for example, if you run an e-commerce store.
You need the patience to see your business come to success. You cannot give up after one year or five years.
Know that in business, there are lessons, not failures.
Build high-quality products that your customers look for. And don’t be afraid to change according to your customer’s needs.
After all, you started this business for them and not for you.
You’re the product so always be your first customer.
What would you love to improve in your business?
How can you stand out?
There are many online businesses how do you stand out from the competition?
You have to learn every aspect of your business even the one you hate the most so that when you delegate duties you know the effort that goes into a role.
Do you plan on beginning an online business in Kenya?