Kenyan e-commerce websites limping but moving along

Kenyan e-commerce are definitely coming of age. The new entrant in the scene is Kalahari which has integrated even m-pesa as a payment method in their website. The website sells Books, Electrnics, Aparels and other goods. The only problem with most of the local e-commerce sites is that you cannot do an online purchase 24/7 and the time spent from order to delivery is actually longer than taking a bus from Mombasa to Nairobi to go and pick the stuff from a physical shop.

But we hope that the game is going to change and that they are going to learn from competitors like Mama Mikes which apparently seems to be failing in the game. Mama Mikes has been in the field long enough to have its own warehouse and packaging team. But when you seen that Mama Mike still operate from backstreet with very worried staff and not much of an office is a big show that maybe the game needs re-invention. ScreenShot

There is also Chekelea which is an online division of A to Z Technology company. Chekelea mostly deal with IT stuff and it went into operation in mid 2009. The website is still an off-the-shelf script with not much of local coding put in it. Its a joomla e-commerce template integrated into a joomla CMS.Consider also the fact that when local Tech enterprenuers develope websites but cant keep the content while no website is having high ranking with a 2 month old content. Chekelea was last updated in November

The highest ranked classifieds websites according to Alexa is Patauza. Its ranked 43 among the Kenyan most accesed sites better than Mama Mikes which is at No 1008. But Maybe Mama Mikes should be for Kenyan in the diaspora and Patauza is also a classifieds website. Butthe funny thing is that Mama Mikes is even better ranked in Uganda at No 468.

All in all the distribution infrastructure as a Web Design specialist, Areba Collins, says “is not developed”. There is also the problem of payment systems with no gateway since Mpesa, Cradit Cards, Zap, EFT and Banking systems need all t have a gateway like Paypal, Obopay and others to make it easier to purchase online.

The other thing is that the “hot cakes”, Movies, Books and Music are very easy to get in Kenya for free since piracy is the norm here. We will reach where Amazon, Ecost and Others are sometime but not now.

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Written by Cyrus

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Cyrus is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @Kahawatungu or Facebook page (


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