The physical address system in Kenya is stifling the growth of electronic commerce, says a new report.
Titled ‘‘Africa B2C E-Commerce Market 2016’’, it says the gaps delay deliveries.
“Many cities and towns lack an organised physical address system where all streets and major roads are named as well as buildings numbered and named. Lack of such a system make it impossible to trace a client,” it says.
This, it notes, has denied Kenyans benefits of direct purchase from a manufacturer via online vendors whose prices are low due to low costs incurred in setting up shop.
Many people, especially outside Nairobi, still believe in cash-based transactions because they don’t trust any deal struck online with an imaginary person or company who pays through the phone, the report says.
With the growing Internet connectivity, adds a survey widely quoted by yStats.com website, many Kenyan consumers are now taking advantage of online shopping.
“Surveys cited show that convenience is one of the enticements for buying online, for instance, in Nigeria and Kenya, but the fact remains that few Internet users in Africa have made an online purchase,” says yStats.com.
Local online ‘malls’ have opted for a cash-on-delivery model where the payment could be done in cash or via a cashless mobile money transfer service.
Kaymu with 3.3 million Facebook likes has the largest fanbase followed by Jumia with 1.1 million while recently launched Kilimall has exclusive phone selections, threatening the old players.
OLX has been a phenomenon especially after it struck a deal with G4S Courier Services to expand its reach on the sale of pesticides, human drugs and certified seeds among others.
Bidorbuy, Rupu, Himall, Cheki.com (vehicles), Mamamikes (utitity payments), Mimi (clothes) and electrohub (assorted accessories) are some of the known names in Kenya’s online shopping.
The report which hails Kenyans and Nigerians as online shoppers, says mobile phone-based payments if harnessed could help to fast-track uptake of e-commerce.
The study recognises the role played mobile phone companies for providing a nationwide reach of Internet services though the tech-savvy population, now standing at 39 per cent mainly within urban areas where youthful populations are actively involved in sharing data.