It is never been easier to create an online store in Kenya. This guide will walk you through the process, from A to Z.
You will learn how to choose a platform, set up your website, and select the best payment solution for your business.
We will also cover marketing strategies that help increase sales and get your products in front of more people!
Why create an online store in Kenya?
The opportunity to sell your products or services online in Kenya is bigger than ever before.
With more people shopping on their phones, the demand for mobile-friendly platforms has increased dramatically in recent years.
With an eCommerce platform, you can reach customers all around the world and tap into a new pool of potential buyers.
Online stores in Kenya are also great marketing tools that help increase brand awareness and create customer loyalty!
What do I need?
To create an online store in Kenya, it is good to have some basic knowledge about HTML & CSS when getting started – but it’s not necessary (we’ll teach you everything else).
There are three things you will definitely need:
- A product idea
- A domain name
- Hosting with SSL certificate
How much does this cost?
It depends on how big your business is. There are three types of online store solutions:
- Free to about 3K per month – Best if you have a small budget and want to try things out before investing in your business
- 3K-6K/per month – Ideal for businesses with medium budgets
- Above 12K per month – If you’re serious about creating an online store in Kenya, this is the option for you!
Let’s get started!
We will go through each step together so that by the end of this guide, you can create your very own eCommerce platform!
Let us know if there was anything confusing or incorrect on this page? Do not hesitate to ask.
1. How To Create An Online Store in Kenya: Start with a goal
What do you want your store to look like?
What do you want your store to look like?
Where will it be hosted (e.g., Shopify, BigCommerce)?
Where will the products I sell come from (i.e., dropshipping vs inventory storage)?
How much time can I invest in managing my online business every week?
Asking yourself these questions helps you make a more informed decision on which eCommerce platform is right for you!
We’ll go through each step together so that by the end of this guide, you can create your very own eCommerce platform!
2. How To Create An Online Store in Kenya: Choose a product
Next up is choosing a product (or products) to sell in your store.
What niches and categories do you like?
Do any of them fit the goals we set out earlier in this guide?
How much competition will there be for these types of products?
This step can seem daunting, but with our helpful tips, it is actually not too bad! Let’s get started…
How to choose the right product
There are three main steps to choosing the perfect product for your store:
Step 1: Figure out what you like
Do some research to determine which products are selling well – and why.
Look at the top-selling items on platforms like Jumia, Amazon, Etsy, eBay; this will give you an idea of what types of things people are looking for online.
You can also look into profitable niches that fit within your interests (i.e., if you are a coffee lover who enjoys reading books about mindfulness …)
Step 2: Find products with good margins
Good margins are an indicator of how much money you can make from each sale after paying the platform fees.
If you find a product for KES 2K that costs KES 1500 to buy wholesale – then your margin is 25%.
You also want to look into shipping prices and any other expenses related to selling the item (i.e., marketing materials).
Step 3: Do some research on competitors
Being aware of what sorts of things other stores in your niche are doing helps you determine whether or not it’s worth starting up shop yourself!
Look at their branding, pricing strategy, customer service quality… anything that gives insight as to where they are succeeding and where they are lacking!
If possible ask friends & family what they think of the competition to get a more well-rounded opinion!
After completing these steps you should be able to determine whether or not there is enough demand for your product, and how much money you will make from each sale.
If this seems like too much work – don’t worry; we’ll also include some helpful tips on finding products to sell online at the end of our guide (step four)!
3. How To Create An Online Store in Kenya: Choose a platform
There are many options out there when it comes to creating an online store – but which one is right for you?
Asking yourself these questions can help narrow down your search find what works best with your store:
How much money do I have to spend on a platform?
Will this fit within my budget – and is it worth the cost?
Do I want to sell internationally or just in my home country?
Some platforms may be more limited when selling outside of your own territory.
Does this matter for me/my store?
If you are unsure about whether or not you will need an international presence, let us quickly go over some pros & cons!
Pros of Selling Internationally (i.e., reaching new audiences)
This can make your company seem larger than life; especially if you are working with small-time suppliers who don’t normally deal with big brands like yours…
You also get access to markets that may otherwise be inaccessible due to geographical or language barriers.
You can fully customize your website to target different audiences; this means tailoring it specifically for the countries you are targeting (i.e., things like currency, time zones, and payment methods)
Cons of Selling Internationally
(i.e., managing overseas orders & shipping processes)
International shipments often require more detailed paperwork – which is an extra hassle when trying to get your products out ASAP…
Also, factor in that international fees/taxes may need to be paid on top of what’s already been taken by the eCommerce platform!
Do I want my store integrated with social media?
Having a Facebook page set up might make sense if you’re pushing sales through ads… But where do Twitter followers come into play?
Do I want to sell on multiple platforms or just one?
This depends largely on your budget and what you hope to gain from the platform.
Popular integrated eCommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce allow for a wide range of customization options; whereas standalone websites can be created with specific, targeted audiences in mind (i.e., Etsy).
Here are some of the best online business platforms in Kenya.
4. How To Create An Online Store in Kenya: Choose a payment processor
At this point you should know more about what sort of eCommerce platform is right for your store; now it is time to decide how people will actually be paying for the products they want (i.e., MPESA, PayPal, Stripe, etc.).
The first thing you need to do here is to decide on a payment processor: either an integrated online service like Shopify or something else entirely?
As we mentioned before; some platforms integrate seamlessly with certain kinds of services – and others don’t!
Let’s go over the pros & cons when choosing between settling down with one option or another.
Pros of using an integrated service
This can make life easier since everything from setting up shop/payment processing happens all in one place…
You will also get access to whatever kind of back-end tools are available for the platform – which can make things like inventory management way easier!
Cons of using an integrated service
If you are planning on selling internationally, it may be difficult to find a good combination between your eCommerce provider and payment processor.
It is also more limited when it comes to features/integration options; since they cater primarily towards one business type (i.e., online stores).
How about using a Standalone Payment Processor?
This is where flexibility really kicks in… You will have tons of different companies at your disposal such as PayPal or SquareCash
While this means you will get access to many different platforms with totally unique capabilities, there will definitely be some trial and error involved when it comes to finding the right one…
Once you have made up your mind on which services you want to go with, register an account and get ready to start setting everything up!
Many of these companies offer free trials so that users can test out their products before paying anything.
Once you are in and have had time to play around/get comfortable – move on to step five of how to create an online store in Kenya.
5. How To Create An Online Store in Kenya: Setting Up Your Online Store Ready
Let us dive into specifics about how this all works when choosing certain e-commerce platforms, but first things first…
What kind of website should I build my store on?
If you know exactly what type of online platform fits best with the type of store you are trying to build, then there is a good chance that this step will be pretty simple.
If not… Then it will probably take some time before finding something that meets all requirements – which could end up being quite the headache!
You have two choices;
Either use online store builders like Shopify and OLITT to create your store, or use wordpress.
Now, if you are going to use WordPress, just install WooCommerce and you are ready to go.
In fact, here is a step-by-step guide on how to use Woocommerce in Kenya to create an online store.
Now, if you decide to use a tool like OLITT, here is how the process will look like;
How to design your store using a tool
In this tutorial on how to create an online store in Kenya, I will be using OLITT.com, which is a free website builder.
This means that, with this tool, you do not need any coding skills to start an eCommerce website in Kenya.
1. Head over to https://www.olitt.com
Go to https://www.olitt.com to get started.
Click on Create Your Free Site to get started.
By doing so, you will be able to create a free online store in Kenya.
2. Create an account
Your next step is to create an account before you proceed.
Here, you have three options:
- Use an email and choose a password (make sure to provide a valid email, because you will be required to verify before you proceed).
- Google account – here, you can use your Gmail account to create an account
- Apple account – use your Apple account to sign up
Once you have signed up, move to the next step of how to create an online store in Kenya.
3. Choose a category
Before you start creating a website, you will first have to decide what category it falls into.
This way, you can get the appropriate content for the site. Choosing the right category also helps you pick the right template.
For this tutorial on how to create an online store in Kenya, click on Online Stores.
4. Choose a template
After choosing a category, the next step is to pick the right template.
For this reason, go through the library of free online store templates and pick the one that catches your eyes.
Luckily, OLITT gives you access to over 200 designer-made templates, making the building process easier.
5. Start Editing
Once you have the right template, start editing.
Replace the text with your own, and even the images, upload your own.
To learn more about how to customize your new online store in Kenya, visit the OLITT knowledgebase.
And then move on to upload products, update descriptions, set prices, among other things that will help a potential buyer.
Your online store in Kenya is up and running.
Your next step on how to create an online store in Kenya is promotion.
6. How To Create An Online Store in Kenya: Promote your store in Kenya
After setting your store and uploading the products, the next step is to let the world know.
And to do that, you will need to promote your store.
Here is how;
Start growing your audience
This is where the hard work begins, but before you move on to this stage there are a few questions that need answering.
First of all – do I want an email list?
If so then what’s the best way for me to go about doing it?
And how will people be able to find out more information about my store/products once they’ve signed up with me?
You can either make use of third-party platforms or build one yourself…
Let’s take a look at some pros & cons when deciding between these two options here:
Pros of using third-party services
There are tons of different ones available which makes them incredibly versatile – and ultimately easier to set up than building your own from scratch…
They also offer tons of great features like A/B testing, detailed analytics, and custom signup forms.
Cons of using third-party services
You will need to pay for access (which can be annoying if you’re on a budget)…
Platforms are also constantly updating their toolsets and creating new ones – which means that these options could change pretty quickly depending on whether or not they decide to keep your account active!
Pros Of Building Your Own List From Scratch
It is totally free (assuming you don’t mind doing some work yourself!) …
This is especially attractive because it is so easy to see exactly what kind of results have been produced by the efforts being put in here.
And this works out well since there will likely be lots of trial & error involved when it comes to building your audience!
The Cons Of Building Your Own List From Scratch
It is difficult to find the right tools that offer all of the features you need…
There will definitely be some time spent doing research here before finding something worthy enough.
And this obviously means there will be a lot more work put into creating/optimizing these signup forms, too – which isn’t always the easiest thing in the world to do.
Building an online business in Kenya is no easy task; however, there are certain tools out there (i.e., Shopify) that can make things run much more smoothly than with other services like Magento or Volusion
There are tons of different ways in which you can start getting traffic…
But most people won’t have enough money lying around for an effective marketing campaign right away… Which unfortunately means they’ll need to get creative when it comes to attracting potential buyers.
Other strategies you can use to drive traffic to your store in Kenya include;
- Social media – start sharing your products on social media, such as Facebook or Instagram.
- Create videos reviewing your products and upload to YouTube.
- Use Facebook ads to reach more people for less.
- Approach influencers to endorse your products or brand online.
If you implement any or combination of all of these strategies, you should see a spike in traffic to your eCommerce website in Kenya.