•Dr David Kabata, an entrepreneurship and innovation expert, says the pros of e-commerce are the wide reach, efficiency, and less cost in marketing among others.
•E-commerce entails buying and selling products using electronic machines like phones and computers.
The Covid-19 pandemic was a game changer in many businesses offering e-commerce services.
This was through enticing customers to order products that were delivered to the comfort of their homes.
One global retail delivery platform, Copia Global, says it took the opportunity to cement its operations in Kenya.
The firm targets rural populations to ensure items ordered virtually can reach the customer in remote regions securely.
In Nairobi County, we meet Jane Mukundi, a mother of two children who also doubles up as one of the company’s agents in Githurai area.
As a businesswoman running her own retail shop, she is full of life and jovial when talking to anyone that approaches her. Using her entrepreneurship skills, she has been able to increase her customer base.
“Our entire life family changed when it comes to paying our bills and daily needs,” says Mukundi.
Her role entails placing orders for customers and ensuring the items are delivered within the shortest time possible.
At first, she was hesitant to get enrolled as an agent. Reason? She posed one question to the recruiter, “You want me to sell air and goods that I have not seen with my eyes in a store?”
Eventually, she took the risk and was enrolled as one of the agents in 2018 and has never looked back to date.
Her bills, which were a struggle, have now been taken off her shoulders as she appreciates that commissions from the business venture are now paying off.
The company defines itself as a global mobile supermarket where customers are able to shop from its operations, centred on a retail approach. Customer needs are facilitated through the help of agents – who are mostly women – stationed in different spots countrywide.
Lucy Wanjiku, the Global Copia area manager for Nairobi-Kajiado region, admits that Covid-19 pandemic was a game-changer for the company.
“We are proud that our service delivery has seen our market base grow to about 500,000 customers. Majorly from low-income earners based in rural and growing urban centres. The customers are served by about 40,000 agents countrywide and can make orders using their mobile phones with ease,” says Wanjiku.
“As a country, we are now tech-savvy, it's good to get your items from the comfort of your phone. Shopping through e-commerce is the best way to save you a lot of time,” she adds.
Lilian Warui, a long-time customer since 2018 from Githurai, affirms that she has benefited from the company’s services. “From my first-time experience, our agent shared flyers of the products being sold and I saw this as a genuine business venture. I placed my first order to also test their loyalty test, and yes they passed. Since then, they are my true accomplice each time I need a product from them,” says Warui.
Another agent, Monicah Wanjiru from Kiambu county, operates her agent shop a stone's throw away from Nyathuna Level 4 hospital. “I always give myself a monthly target of not selling below Sh600,000,” says Wanjiru.
She says at least seven out of 10 customers make orders of diverse products that are delivered within two days.
“We also offer payment in instalments. The repayment plan is undertaken within three days, then your ordered item can be delivered to you,” adds Wanjiru.
E-commerce entails buying and selling products using electronic machines like phones and computers. This is the future trend which is being adopted globally due to its convenience and efficiency.
Dr David Kabata, an entrepreneurship and innovation expert, says the pros of e-commerce are the wide reach, efficiency, and less cost in marketing among others. The cons include untrustworthy merchants, logistics nightmares, to customer satisfaction.
“If these issues are improved, we expect to see much more development in e-commerce trade using such platforms by more diverse Kenyans from all walks,” says Dr Kabata.