Are you running an online shop already? Or are you planning on starting one in the near future – to sell digital or physical products?
If you have a store online, you already know how much work goes into building and managing one.
If you are just in the planning stages – hoping to launch your online shop – the different resources you have gone through already points to the lots of hours that goes into building one that is successful.
So, why build / start an online shop in Kenya?
Well, we are one of those top countries in Africa known to be early adopters of tech. So, while online shopping is seeing a big boom in the west, we also have our own thing going on for us. Online shopping is getting bigger and bigger everyday, thanks to more people buying smartphones – and exploring the different opportunities the internet brings, online shopping being one of them.
And then there is the issue of numbers. More and more Kenyans are getting online. The Communications Authority of Kenya reports numbers (in the tens of millions) that makes having your own platform to sell your wares a no-brainer (especially if you are a small business owner).
And then it is not like in the 90s where someone had to part with lots of money to create their own e-commerce platform. Now you can just set aside a few thousands and have a store in your name – or the name of your business ( a domain name costs less than KSh 1000 and hosting for a year for low traffic sites is something around 2100 Shillings).
And then we also see big players that never existed before, coming into Kenya, and making big waves. Jumia Kenya for example.
You can sell you products and services on their platform, but the inspiration to start your own online shop shouldn’t be left lying down because platforms such as Jumia, Kilimall and countless others exist. Action should follow suit, and then if you choose to sell on these platforms, you can also own and run a website of your own where people can just go any time of the day to buy what you are selling.
That’s the other thing that should motivate you to get your store up and running – having a place of your own where potential customers can go to 24 hours a day to browse your catalogue, ask questions, read product features and reviews and place orders for the items they are interested in purchasing.
Popular e-commerce platforms to build online shops in Kenya
Then there are many robust e-commerce software available to almost everyone for free – the popular ones in Kenya being Magento, OpenCart, WooCommece, ZenCart and Prestashop.
All these platforms also integrate quite easily with countless payment gateways like M-PESA Express, PayPal and merchant account providers like Kopo Kopo (for Lipa na M-PESA), PayPal, iPay, Jambopay, DPO and Pesapal (which you can use to accept payments from VISA and MasterCard debit cards and credit cards, M-PESA, Equity, KCB, Airtel Money among others).
These free e-commerce solutions can also be tied to live chat tools (so you can chat with customers on your website in real time).
You can also use chatbots.
Or even connect your shop to email marketing / accounting software, or affiliate marketing tools – if you wan to create an army of loyal followers willing to promote your store for a commission for every sale they refer your way.
So, lots of great opportunities. Lots of possibilities.
The things online freelancers can do for online shop owners in Kenya
Keyword research. So, getting someone to help you figure out the best keywords you should go after:
- depending on keyword difficulty (whether long tail or short tail), the niche of your store (if you are building a general online shop like Jumia or Amazon),
- a searcher’s intent (so keywords more skewed to getting a person to buy vs keywords that lean more on passing crucial information to help move them along towards the shopping cart and checkout pages),
- brand keywords (for example if targeting a certain brand of a cellphone, smartphone, diaper, electronic or appliance) or keywords that can help you create pillar / epic / skyscraper posts that can later become so useful down the road when hunting for backlinks from the top sites Kenyans congregate in.
Domain registration. So, brainstorming ideas for your shop’s domain (either with a .co.ke or .com extension) and maybe even registering it and pointing it to the nameservers provided by your hosting provider.
Setting up web hosting. So, the place your site’s files, folders and databases will exist. And even creating an email such as info@ hello@ customer@ customercare@ yourdomain.co.ke.
Building the online shop and launching it on the internet. So, putting everything up:
- the software / script that will power your store,
- the necessary templates / themes, plugins / extensions / add-ons,
- your product pages and images, and
- contact information (including your physical address).
Link building. Entity has a whole category on this, because link building is a big factor when it comes to how most search engines (Google especially) determine where to rank your online shop pages for certain keywords.
In the category, you will find freelancers that can help you send outreach emails, help you with your guest posts – generally help you score as many links as possible (within your budget) from as many quality sites as they can.
You can use the services offered by these freelancers to push your well-performing pages higher up search engine results pages…or give your poorly performing pages a boost – to get them ranking higher than they do now.
Writing product pages. You can hire freelance contractors on Entity to write product descriptions for your online shop – especially if the product is common and popular among shoppers online (think of the things most people buy online the most in Kenya – for example electronics: TVs, laptops, smartphones, appliances, clothes among others).
The freelancers can even help publish the content to your site – if you give them a template to follow.
Writing articles for the blog you add to your website. Again, you can populate the blog section of your online shop with great content from writers here at Entity. Look at the listings here to find someone to hire to help with your content writing needs.
Integrating other services with your store software. So, chat bots, payment gateways, accounting software, backup services, affiliate marketing software, page builders, live chat software, security tools, email marketing tools, heat maps, social sharing plugins among others.
Ad management. Many online shop owners do like advertising their products, services and shops on platforms such as Facebook and Google. So, you can hire freelancers to help start Google Ads / Facebook ad campaigns. Or you can hire someone to manage your existing ad account.
As long as you have a reasonable budget, most freelancers will jump at the opportunity of helping you take advantage of ads to drive traffic to your shop and convert it to sales. Check the Ad Management category to find people to hire.
These are just some of the things you can outsource to freelancers in Kenya.
Start by checking the categories linked to above (outreach & link building, content writing and e-commerce) to find a contractor to work with.
If you don’t see a listing that fully captures what you have in mind, create an ad with details about what you want. It is free.