Recent figures released by the African Development Bank Group (ADBG) showed that domestic Kenyan GDP rose as high as 5.8 per cent in 2016 (1). This was mainly the result of a robust services sector and a certain amount of this income represented online revenue generation. While larger businesses have already taken advantage of the expanding digital community, smaller organizations are still lagging behind. Still, it is expected that the SME sector will increase over the next two years as it enters into the online e-commerce community. What are some of the main driving forces behind this trend and are there any tools which can help budding businesses enjoy a digital edge over their competitors? Entrepreneurs should find the information contained below very interesting.

The Coming Paradigm Shift

There is no doubt that Kenya is part of a global economic community. As technology continues to advance and due in no small part to increased domestic Internet access, citizens are now connecting with the outside world (as well as the surrounding regions) with more awareness than ever before. This is even more relevant when speaking of the younger generation. Many individuals with university degrees would have been forced to travel abroad if they hoped to encounter lucrative employment opportunities in the past. However, they can now enjoy just as much success thanks to the rise of the digital age.

It should come as no great surprise that this very same trend is set to benefit the domestic Kenyan economy. As a growing number of professionals are experiencing online success, their profits are being funnelled directly back into the local economy. Such efforts have not gone unnoticed, as international organisations are now beginning to outsource some of their services to Kenyan-based firms.

Although the observations outlined above represent great news for the Kenyan economy as a whole, can they be translated down to smaller organizations? Will the benefits mirror those associated with larger firms? The answer to this is a bit tricky, as it will partially depend upon the methods employed by SMEs as well a the tools that they choose to use.

This is why it is just as important to understand the options at their disposal. What actions can an entrepreneur take if he or she has come up with a novel home-based business concept? As the digital world has done away with many traditional geographic borders, the options are indeed impressive.

What Methods Must Businesses Employ?

We will not delve into the mechanics involved with establishing a basic website, as there are numerous hosting services which can provide a domain name and a functional page within a matter of minutes. It is instead logical to take a look at what e-commerce methods should be examined in greater detail. Not only will these save a great deal of time, but their user-friendly nature is perfect for those who are not entirely familiar with the mechanics of the online business community.

E-commerce platforms come in all shapes and sizes. While this is great in terms of the available options, it can be somewhat difficult to know what to look for in a worthwhile provider. Some key features that should be included within any package include:

• Multiple different electronic payments options.
• Inventory and sales control.
• A centralized dashboard.
• A selection of customized templates to choose from.
• Expert help that is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week if required.

It should also be highlighted that many of the best systems can be easily implemented into an existing sales platform. The complications associated with migrating away from legacy-based software are therefore dramatically reduced.

The other main subject to cover involves the correct marketing techniques. While some Kenyan firms may wish to stay local, the vast majority are choosing to advertise their products to communities outside of the country. This is why modern methods such as cross-channel marketing and the use of social media platforms to “get the word out” is always important to adopt from the beginning. In other words, marketing professionals and owners are learning to work smart as opposed to hard. This approach allows them to focus their efforts back into the business; enhancing operations such as customer engagement and product development.

What does the future hold for Kenya? While nothing is for certain, it is a relatively foregone conclusion that this country is set to have a massive impact upon the online retail marketplace. This also open up nearly unheard-of opportunities for millions of residents from all walks of life. If entrepreneurs are able to fully grasp the options at their disposal, the chances are high that they will enjoy success for years into the future. This is good news in terms of living standards and the reputation of the country as a whole.