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Online shopping in Kenya: Do it like a pro!

Online shopping in Kenya is becoming very popular because people are becoming very busy and have not time to for traditional shopping where you have to be physically be there to make a purchase.

Besides the penetration of mobile phones, the internet is encouraging most Kenyans most of whom are below 30 years and techno savvy to do shopping online.

It is predicated that in the near future, more and more Kenyans will making their purchases online. Just a few years ago, most Kenyans were very skeptical of the things online shopping in Kenya.

However, things have tremendously changed. The increase of online shopping websites in Kenya is a proof of the confidence Kenyans are putting in this e-commerce sites.

Websites such as Jumia and Kilimall are moving products in billions of Kenya shillings every day, a testimony that online shopping in Kenya has come of age. The number of subscribers on Jumia alone can make you go nuts. Within just three years, Jumia Kenya has be able to amass an astonishing 16 million subscribers and the numbers are still growing.

Online shopping in Kenya, how did all begin?

You may be fooled to think that online shopping is Kenya is a new concept. Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is, it has been with us for quite a long time. It is only that we are realizing the tremendous growth now.

With the advent of smartphones in Kenya and the fact that Kenyans embraced these devices, the growth of e-commerce sites has been inevitable.

Sites such as Olx, which allowed us to buy and sell online, have been with us for a long time and it is one of the oldest online shopping sites in Kenya. Slowly other sites have come up and the space for shopping sites in Kenya is becoming overcrowded.

Currently there are over 50 online shopping sites in Kenya and the list is growing still growing. Masoko owned by the telecom giant Safaricom being the latest entry.

This tells you how lucrative online shopping in Kenya is fast becoming.

The genesis of all this is the appetite for smartphones by Kenyan’s and every falling internet cost in the country.

How to shop online in Kenya like a boss

1.Buy from reputable websites

Online shopping websites in kenya 2
Jumia Kenya-One of the reputable shopping sites in Kenya

I have already said that there over 50 online shopping sites in Kenya and counting, this does not mean that all these websites are reputable.

Reputable websites tend to have a large customer base and reviews from these customers are positive in most cases.

I have written an article on Top 7 online shopping websites in Kenya, which list the best such sites in Kenya.

That said, it is important to note that most of these sites allow vendors (people like you and me who have products) to sell products on these platforms. It is easy to see which of these vendors have the highest rating. Always buy from such vendors with a high rating and most positive reviews from previous customers.

Large E-commerce websites have in the past been accused of selling sub-standard or fake products. That why you need to be on the lookout and avoid being a victim.

It is better to take your time and find as much information as possible from these websites than feel sorry later.

2. Remain Safe

Online shopping comes with its own security concern that must be looked into if you have to remain safe and not be a victim of frauds. Here are things to consider.

Always use watertight passwords.

During your registration, you will be required to generated passwords for our accounts. Most of us being lazy or wanting to create passwords that we can easily remember use our names, birth dates or even consecutive numbers. This is a mistake you should avoid, use numbers, capital letters, small letters and special characters in your password.

Avoid public computers.

The use computers in cyber cafes is quickly declining. However, you can easily access a public computer at your place of work. The problem is we tend to save passwords on our browsers. This automatically signs you into your accounts. Should some else access the same computer or is within the same network, your data may be compromised. Look at it this way, you have vital information such as credit cards and other financial records stored there. If this information gets to the wrong persons, you could be in for some nasty experience.

Use active anti-virus software.

Having an active anti-virus software on your computer is very important, more so if you are connected to public internet network. This ensures you are safe from attacks from virus, malwares and trojans. This also prevents anyone from accessing important information from your computer. To be safe, the anti-virus program should be up to date at all times.

Download genuine apps.

E-commerce platforms have mobile apps that can be downloaded from Google’s play store and Apple’s app store. This makes it easy for you to access these websites from your mobile phones. However, be wary of apps that are look alike. You information may be compromised when installing such apps. Moreover, they could be hiding viruses or malwares.

Review your method of payment.

Some e-commerce website will allow you to pay cash on delivery. This is sometimes ideal since there are no extra levies that come with mobile money wallets such as Mpesa, Airtel Money or even Tcash. Carrying lots of cash can be dangerous. You could be a target of thieves, pickpockets or robbers. I personally prefer paying by Mpesa, it is not only convenient but safe.

Avoid giving so much information.

You and me know that when creating user accounts on most online shopping websites, some information is required of you. This information is important for shipping your packages. In most cases, this information should only be limited to Name, Phone number and Shipping address. Should anyone ask for more than this, you should be very wary.

Check every mail carefully.

You will receive so many promotional emails once you register on these online sites. These are some of the basic requirements  of online shopping websites in Kenya. But not all mail is genuine. What goes to spam box leave it there, trust your mail filters.

3.Take advantage of promotions and offers

There are always promotions and offers running on shopping websites at any given time. I have noted that when one ends, another begins.

Promotions such as black Friday, back to school offers, end year promotions and many more others are very popular with shoppers. And I can tell you that you can get very good offers if you know what you are doing.

Whereas you should engage your seventh sense when deals are too sweet, note that most of these offers and promotions from reputable sites are genuine.

Therefore be on the lookout such promotions and offers, they can save you a lot of money in savings.

4. Check your spending.

You certainly will be bombarded with promotional emails from e-commerce websites once you sign up. This coupled with the fact that you will already have their app installed on your phone, may drive you to impulse shopping.

It is understandable that, sellers will want to sell everything to you; however, you should be wary of impulse shopping, since it can easily get you into debt.

Always buy what you need and not what you want.

5. Read and understand the companies shipping, return and warranty policy.

Each on of these online shopping websites has a policy page, which provides us useful information about shipping, return and warranty policy.

It should concern you to read and understand their terms and conditions. For example, what happens when you get a defective electronics? Within what period can you return such and get a replacement or refund? What is their shipping policy, how long do you expect to get your product? Is your electronic covered by a warranty?

These are simple but extremely important questions you need to have answers to before committing yourself to online shopping in Kenya.

I have to repeat this, you really need to read and understand the companies shipping, return and warranty policies to avoid frustrations.

6.Check whether there are extra levies.

Sometimes there are extra levies that may not be obvious when shopping online. You should not take the information see on these sites as the gospel truth. Especially for companies that allow buyers to ship from overseas, unforeseen costs may be added to the price of the product you are buying.

Such levies may include but not limited to, customs fees, international shipping fees and insurance fees.

7. Remember to track your orders.

Knowing where you package is important. If you are that person that believes in making your payment on delivery, then it only makes sense that you know when your package is arriving.

This helps you plan your day on the day of delivery.

Once you receive your package, remember to keep your receipt just in case you need it to claim a warranty or as proof of purchase.

How to take advantage of online shopping in Kenya craze

You may be asking yourself now what ? Does online shopping in Kenya make me a buyer and nothing more?

Luckily, online shopping in Kenya has opened up opportunities that you can advantage of. In fact, there are people living off the internet in Kenya by doing the very things am going to explain below shortly.

The future of online shopping in Kenya looks bright and you can take advantage of this.

Here are two ways you can try explore.

1.Sell you own products

If you are in business and are stuck on your brick and mortar business, then you need to read this story.

You could be missing business big time. Most of these e-commerce websites such as Jumia and Kilimall offer a platform for traders like you to sell at a small fee. In this article, you can read and understand how Jumia works and copy the same to other e-commerce platform.

If you are interested in selling your products on Jumia, then you can read that guide, which will help you set up shop very fast and start shipping products to your customers in no time.

2. Become an affiliate

Affiliate marketing is one of the ways to make money off these websites. What you need to do is sign up for their affiliate programs, and once you have been accepted, start promoting these products on online.

And you do not have to own a website or blog to do so (although setting up a website or blog is the best option you have) but you can promote these on your Facebook page, twitter handle and other social networks you are an active member.

You can take advantage of the huge numbers of followers you have on these social platforms to make some extra cash.

If you are interested in joining one of these affiliate programs, you can read this guide I wrote about signing up and making money on Jumia as an affiliate.


Online shopping in Kenya is changing the way we live today. More of us are embracing this without really knowing what we are getting ourselves into.

That why I have written this article to help you do your shopping like a pro. That is not all, online shopping also bring you opportunities you can take advantage of. In this day and era, you ought to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.

Should you have questions, I am here to answer all your queries.

If you like this article, share it with family, friends and colleagues.

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