As online spending continues to soar, the ever-changing market makes it important for ecommerce companies in Kenya to adapt, anticipate trends and innovate to maintain and grow their customer base. Kenya’s online stores offer a greater variety and range of inventory. With the increasing trend towards drop shipping, there are no limits to the number of products an online store can offer. Drop shipping allows an online business to offer stock from another wholesaler or retailer without the need to store stock or worry about postage. When an item is drop shipped, the consumer thinks it is coming from the website they have bought from but it may be being sent from a completely different supplier with the initial source not ever touching, stocking or sending the product.In Kenya, there are lots of comparison search engines and sites that compare and recommend products and give the best prices listed online access to online auction sites where consumers can decide on the maximum price they are willing to pay for a product or service.There have been significant increases in ecommerce spending in the last five years in Kenya. This trend is set to continue as it becomes increasingly cost effective to conduct retail trade online compared to traditional retail shopfronts. Some of these ecommerce trends throughout Kenya also include mobile and responsive sites. With the increase in mobile use for search and shopping, it is vital that a business has a mobile optimised website. With a responsive website Kenyan retailers are offering site visitors a far better user experience than a separate mobile site. As more consumers move online for greater value and convenience, ecommerce has grown by 20% over the past year.The industry is set to top $1 billion next year, offering lots of opportunities for ecommerce businesses. Thanks to mobile technology, Kenyans can now shop anywhere, any time. 10% of Kenyans have purchased online with their smartphone in the past 12 months. By 2018, mobile ecommerce market will have a predicted worth of USD$100 million. More than ever, online retailers need to have excellent mobile functionality.Nairobi are the biggest users of online shopping in Kenya, while Nakuru has the most users among regional towns.Nairobi’s shoppers are bigger spenders in the whole country, with an average $45 per transaction. Retailers are now using geotargeting to dynamically tailor their products and web content to tap into Kenya’s lucrative market.
The most popular day of the week to shop in Kenya is Tuesday, a day when most people are in the shopping mood.Most online shopping occurs between 6pm-9pm when people are relaxing at home after work, making this a great window for countdown offers and social media discount deals.The top performing categories for this quarter of 2017 were household items, discount stores, electronics, and travel. Groceries and liquor also make up a significant portion of online sales.No doubt 2017 has seen the rise of many trends that revolutionise the way Kenyans shop, making ecommerce an exciting place to be right now. Amazon has benefited from a very solid logistics and supply chain to capture Kenyan market. This is one of the factors that has set them ahead of the pack. It is expected that Kenyan online retailers will need to improve their supply chain and many may take advantage of having local systems if they do want to sell outside Uganda.Small businesses are expected to increase their market share and the trend for people to show a preference for local produce continues to grow. Small businesses can access online retailing relatively cheaply in comparison to setting up a brick and mortar storefront.Some retailers are offering what is known as retailtainment, the fusion of both retail and entertainment to make the shopping experience more enjoyable and engaging while others are offering personalisation.Kenya’s small, specialty shops are still preferred to huge, department store type online stores. The trend is towards niche driven and curated stores. Consumers in towns like Nakuru, Eldoret, Nyeri, Nanyuki, are increasingly concerned about where products are sourced and how they are made. Online retailers that make the effort to source quality and ecologically sound produce, and can demonstrate this, are expected to benefit from this trend.Small, online retailers in Kenya, those who have a revenue of less than Kshs 5 million ($50,000) experienced a significant increase of 15% with small retailers now taking about 43% of market share. This is significant and demonstrates the enormous opportunity and potential for niche, specialty estores in Kenya.