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How to Grow Your Online Store in Kenya

Growing an online store in Kenya can seem like a daunting task, but with the right strategies and tools, you can build a successful ecommerce business.

In this post, I’ll provide tips and advice to help you increase traffic, boost conversions, and expand your customer base.

Introduction to the Online Store Landscape in Kenya

The ecommerce industry in Kenya is still developing but showing promising growth.

Internet and mobile penetration rates continue to rise, providing opportunities for online businesses.

Currently, there are over 15 million internet users and close to 50 million mobile subscribers in Kenya.

Kenyans are increasingly shopping online, especially through their mobile devices.

According to Statista, the number of online shoppers is expected to amount to 38.1m users by 2027 in Kenya.

The main product categories purchased online include electronics, fashion items, beauty products, home appliances and airtime.

Local online marketplaces like Jumia, Kilimall and Masoko are quite popular.

International companies like Amazon are also making inroads into the Kenyan market. Overall, the future looks bright for ecommerce in Kenya.

Importance of Having a Well-Designed Website

Having a professionally designed, mobile-friendly website is critical for any online store.

Your website is the digital “shopfront” and the first impression you make on potential customers. Invest in a site that is simple to navigate, loads fast and highlights your products appealingly.

Here are some tips for an effective online store website:

  • Optimized for mobile – Many customers will be visiting your site from mobile devices so ensure your site is responsive. Use mobile-friendly themes.
  • Fast loading – Site speed is a ranking factor for Google and a top consideration for users. Compress images, minimize plugins, and optimize code.
  • Clean layout – Avoid clutter. Use plenty of white space and clear categories so customers can easily find products.
  • Prominent calls-to-action – Include buttons for “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” so customers know what actions to take.
  • SEO optimized – Use relevant keywords, quality content, and best SEO practices so customers can find your site through search engines.
  • Secure checkout – Invest in SSL certification so customers know your site is safe and secure. This also boosts search ranking.

Tips for Optimizing Product Listings

How you display and describe your products will greatly impact conversions. Follow these tips for product pages that sell:

  • High-quality images – Have at least 3-5 images per product showing different angles and details. Let customers zoom in for close ups.
  • Detailed descriptions – Don’t just list specifications. Use persuasive language focusing on product benefits, uses, and purchase motivations.
  • Reviews and ratings – Display customer reviews, testimonials and star ratings to establish trust and social proof.
  • Comparison tool – Allow customers to easily compare similar products on factors like price, features, specs. This assists decision making.
  • Video demos – Show YouTube videos to demonstrate how the product works. This provides added information.
  • Sizing charts – For clothing and shoes, include detailed sizing charts so customers order the right fit.

Driving Traffic to Your Online Store

You need targeted strategies to get your website in front of those looking for your products.

Here are proven tactics to increase traffic:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO improves your rankings in search engines like Google so your store is easily discovered by searchers.

  • Research relevant keywords around your products and target those across your site content. Avoid overstuffing keywords.
  • Create blog posts and guides related to your industry to establish your expertise. Link back to relevant products.
  • Include keywords in page titles, headers, URLs, alt text, schema markup to boost rankings.
  • Get high-quality backlinks from industry websites through guest posts, partnerships etc.
  • Make pages mobile-friendly and fast loading since these impact rankings.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC ads like Google Ads help you get your store in front of motivated shoppers as they search for related products.

  • Research the main keywords and phrases in your industry to target with ads.
  • Create targeted, relevant ad copy and headlines focused on products.
  • Implement call tracking numbers on ads to measure conversions.
  • Continuously split test ad elements like headlines, keywords, landing pages etc.
  • Use location targeting to show ads to users in your area.

Social Media Marketing

Promote your online store and products across various social platforms.

  • Facebook – Create a Facebook Business Page. Post images, videos, special deals. Run Facebook ads.
  • Instagram – Post product photos, behind-the-scenes footage, user-generated content. Use relevant hashtags.
  • Twitter – Share curated content, industry news, special offers. Engage with followers.
  • Pinterest – Create product Pinboards. Add buyable Pins to enable in-platform sales.
  • YouTube – Upload product unboxings, tutorials, demos and build subscribers.

Email Marketing

Collect customer emails through opt-in forms and newsletters. Send targeted promotions to subscribers.

  • Offer an email sign-up form or newsletter subscription on your site. Provide a compelling offer for joining.
  • Segment your list by interests, purchase history etc. and send relevant emails. Personalize using merge tags.
  • Send a welcome series to new subscribers to onboard them.
  • Promote sales, deals, product launches through broadcast emails and automations.
  • Develop relationships through valuable non-promotional content like how-tos, industry news etc.
  • Track open rates, click-throughs, and purchases to optimize your strategy.

Leveraging Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has huge power in Kenya. Partnering with relevant bloggers, YouTubers and social media influencers in your niche provides these benefits:

  • Increased brand awareness – Influencers expand your reach to new demographics and their engaged follower base.
  • Drives traffic – Sponsored posts, reviews and product placement in content drives visits back to your online store.
  • Boosts SEO – Getting quality backlinks and mentions from influencers improves domain authority.
  • Builds trust – A recommendation from a trusted influencer persuades followers about your brand.
  • Higher conversions – Followers clicking from influencer content convert at a higher rate due to established trust.

Start by identifying influencers in your industry with an audience overlap.

Reach out for collaborations like sponsored content, giveaways, or free products to review.

Use tracked links to measure the impact. Pay influencers fairly for their promotions.

Providing Exceptional Customer Service

Delivering an amazing customer service experience builds loyalty which translates to repeat purchases and word-of-mouth referrals.

  • Respond quickly to pre-sale questions and post-sale support queries, even on weekends and holidays.
  • Train support staff on your products and brand voice so they can provide personalized, empathetic assistance.
  • Make it easy for customers to reach you through live chat, email, phone, social media, and convenient contact forms.
  • Surprise customers with little extras like handwritten thank you notes, special discounts on future purchases.
  • Proactively follow up with customers after purchase to resolve any issues and improve future experiences.
  • Publish clear shipping timelines, returns policies and frequently asked questions to set expectations.

Going the extra mile for customer service gives your store an unbeatable competitive advantage.

Increasing Conversions and Boosting Sales

Growing your online store requires getting more customers to add items to cart and complete purchases. Here are some proven techniques:

Optimizing the Checkout Process

Remove friction in the checkout process:

  • Guest checkout – Don’t force registration if not required. Allow guest checkout.
  • Pre-fill forms – When possible, pre-populate name, email, address fields at checkout for logged in customers.
  • Save payment – Allow customers to securely save payment methods for faster repeat checkout.
  • Multiple payment options – Offer popular local payment methods like M-Pesa, credit cards, PayPal.
  • Progressive checkout – Break checkout into logical sections so it seems shorter. Show progress bar.
  • Highlight security – Display security seals and emphasize encryption for reassurance.

Promotions and Discounts

Strategic promotions motivate purchase behavior.

  • Offer first-time buyer coupons or percentage discounts in exchange for email sign-ups.
  • Cross-sell relevant products like accessories with a main purchase.
  • Bundle commonly purchased items together at a discounted bundle price.
  • Highlight flash sales and daily deals using urgency like limited quantities or timing.
  • Provide free shipping above order value thresholds to incentivize higher cart totals.
  • Reward loyal customers with exclusive promo codes, extra points or members-only discounts.

Retargeting Ads

Win back visitors who left your site without purchasing through retargeting ads on platforms like Google and Facebook. Display relevant products they viewed or left in cart. This serves as a reminder and brings them back onsite to complete the purchase.

Reviews and Social Proof

Prominently display positive ratings, customer reviews, testimonials and trust badges across your store. People are heavily influenced by what others think. Social proof builds trust in your brand and convinces visitors to buy.

Analyzing and Measuring Success

It’s essential to track key ecommerce metrics to understand what’s working, identify issues, and optimize your online store’s performance. Important analytics to monitor include:

  • Traffic volume – Number of visits to your store and traffic sources. Shows demand and marketing effectiveness.
  • Bounce rate – Percentage leaving your site after one page. Highlights navigation issues.
  • Pages per visit – How many pages visited per session. Indicates engagement.
  • Conversion rate – Percentage of visitors becoming customers. Measures sales effectiveness.
  • Average order value – Total sales revenue divided by orders. Identifies customer spend.
  • Sales by source – Sales driven by various channels like ads, organic search, referrals. Determines high-ROI sources.
  • Cost Per Acquisition – Marketing costs divided by customers acquired. Calculates return on ad spend.

Regularly review reports and trends to identify successes to double down on and problem areas for improvement.

Helpful Tools and Resources

Here are some useful tools and resources to support your online store’s growth:

  • Website builders – Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, Squarespace – make launching online stores easy.
  • Email marketing – Mailchimp, Sendinblue, Constant Contact – services for email campaigns.
  • Live chat – Intercom, Zendesk, LiveChat – add live customer support widgets.
  • Payment gateways – PayPal, M-Pesa, Visa, Mastercard – accept payments securely.
  • Shipping carriers – Posta Kenya, DHL, SPS Kenya – integrate delivery and fulfillment.
  • Ecommerce forums – eCommerceKenya Facebook Group – get tips from other Kenyan online sellers.
  • Google Analytics – Track store traffic, conversions and other metrics to optimize performance.
  • Google Search Console – Monitor website search traffic, backlinks and performance in Google.
  • Google Trends – Identify rising product searches to target and tap into trends.
  • Facebook Business Suite – Manage ads, Pages, and Instagram for your brand from one dashboard.
  • Canva – Easily create store banners, ads, and social media graphics. Completely free to use.

Final Thoughts

Launching and growing an ecommerce business in Kenya has immense potential if you implement the right strategies outlined above.

Provide an exceptional shopping experience through your online store and content, deliver outstanding customer support, and track sales and marketing metrics to refine and expand your business continually.

Your Kenyan online store can gain market share and build a loyal customer base with hard work and dedication.

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