If there is something I have come to learn over the years is to never underestimate the limitless power of social media. In my opinion, It has become the single driving point for e-commerce in our country. I have no idea who decided to first do it, but they may have single-handedly made e-commerce accessible to every single person. You most probably have joined one of the marketplace groups on Facebook where you can buy and sell items freely. No doubt, these marketplaces have made an impact on the e-commerce culture in Kenya.
Both platforms(social media and online stores) have evolved over time and have found their ‘niche’ in the market. I tend to believe buying on Facebook has a sense of familiarity and realism as this is a platform that we have used to connect with friends and family. This allows us to identify with the people selling there, its informal, easy and relatable. Due to its lack of restrictions, you can sell just about anything. I think this is the appeal of such a platform. But it does have its pitfalls. Being so open and unrestricted doesn’t protect you from fraudulent people. You need to be careful.
On other end, stores like Jumia, Kilimall, Kaymu, Rupu, OLX etc have also evolved over time. With the increase of ease of Kenyans to e commerce, they are finding the right things to sell in order to tap into the vast market. What they have over sellers on social media is definitely resources. They have the resources to support country wide delivery, to build strong foundations with retailers and developing trust with potential customers in order to prove their authenticity. They are responsible for the transaction and strive to deliver.
What I want to know is what do you buy where? Does what you buy change the platform you buy it? I personally would buy clothes of a Facebook page as compared to an online store. Why? I find that it is cheaper and not such a serious product for me to be too cautious about.
What about you?
More of my thoughts on social media’s impact on e commerce here…