E-commerce sounds like complex, hard work, especially in addition to a business or entity that already works. But it is as simple as trading in products or services using a network like the Internet. It simply uses technologies that we use every day, such as M-Pesa, to send and receive payments, or Jumia and OLX to buy goods.
It has completely revolutionized how we do business, and even leisure.
Rewind 20 years back, You would like to get a product in bulk, and you need it in a short while. Nairobi is quite vast, and shops even more so. You wouldn’t know where to start, or even whom to call. You could get a lucky break, and find a supplier in your first try, but to get about 6 others and compare quality and price, that will take more time than you have.
But with e-commerce, you could Google, and find distributors, on their websites, see their samples, and know where they are located. Send the money. Pay for the product as it is delivered. E-commerce has made life easy, giving you time to focus on the real things that bring you money.
So, how do you get started on e-commerce?
1) Create a website. Statistics from a Google Mobile Movement Study show that 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. With an additional shopping cart feature, you can make and receive payments over the site and in real time.
2) Make use of social media. Social media offers free opportunity to market, advertise and even interact with clients and potential customers. 7 out of 10 consumers are more likely to use a business if it has information available on a social media site. (comScore Networks research). With the widespread reach of social, satisfied clients can advertise you to international markets.
3) Create avenues for making and receiving payments using mobile money or online payments such as Lipa na M-Pesa, Airtel Money & gateways such as JamboPay respectively.
4) Use e-mail to market your business. Customer acquisition is said to have quadrupled in the last 4 years. There are unchartered waters and untapped markets to be reached if you use e-mail. Reach out and tap into opportunity.