In Kenya, online classifieds have been around for quite some time now. This sector has seen its fair share of drama with companies setting up operations in Kenya and leaving after a few months or years. Most of the companies that come into the Kenya and leave after a few months or years have done so because of many reasons with unprofitability being the main one.
But what would make Kenya unprofitable for such companies? Is it because of the bad strategies that the companies implement or is the market not ready for such businesses? I believe the former is true as Kenya is and has been ready for such business for a while; Implementation is where most companies get it wrong.
Why Online Classifieds?
Online classifieds such as OLX Kenya allow users to buy and sell products/services with ease. Such websites have bigger audiences so sellers have a chance to tap into this and get their products seen all over the country.
On such a website, you can list the product or service you are selling and expect it to be seen by over the 13 Million internet users in Kenya. This gives you a wider reach compared to what you would have achieved if you had a traditional shop in a mall or somewhere in their local neighbourhood.
Reaching more people means more sales for the sellers. Who wouldn’t want to increase his or her sales? Most online classifieds websites spend a lot of money on advertising to get more people on board. This can be a good opportunity for the smart business people out there to use to increase their sales without spending thousands on advertising by themselves.
With online classifieds, sellers can avoid most business related costs they would have incurred when running physical stores. Costs such as rent, electricity and the likes can be very expensive especially for new businesses that are trying to attract new customers. Avoiding these costs gives the sellers an opportunity to focus on what they are able to do best and that is to provide the goods or services.
Thinking from a seller’s point of view, it is obvious that having a wider reach means more sales and therefore more profits. If 100 more retailers do the same, this means that they are able to invest more on getting new products as the market is already there. This helps the economy of a country such as Kenya grow and as we all know, the more we have money circulating in the economy, the better it is.
Since online classifieds also target individuals who are looking to offload unwanted stuff from their houses, it still supports the theory of money circulation in the economy.
All I have discussed above are the advantages of online classifieds to sellers. The advantages to buyers include lower prices and a wide variety of products. Since more and more people are using sites like OLX Kenya to sell their products, consumers are able to get the best and lowest prices possible. A wide variety of goods at low prices is all every consumer wants and is what online classifieds can deliver.
Are They Relevant In Kenya?
Last year, I wanted to get rid of my iPod as I did not see the use of it anymore. I had a Smartphone with a memory card so I saw it as a good idea to sell the iPod and get a little extra money. This is actually the main reason why online classifieds even exist, to allow people sell what they do not need anymore. Online classifieds are not here to serve the big retailers but rather the ordinary people who are looking for ways to earn a little extra cash.
With online classifieds, all you have to do is take a photo of the product you want to sell and upload it to a site such as OLX and wait for someone to call you.
Online classifieds provide a platform for both big and small retailers to have their products seen by the masses. This is especially important for a developing country such as Kenya where the costs of setting up and running a business can be very high. Being able to avoid these costs motivates people to get into business as they are assured of a ready market that will buy what they are selling.
The fact that online classifieds allow you to get rid of stuff you do not need makes them perfect for a developing economy such as Kenya. In such an economy, credit is not something that comes easy to most people and the next best thing will be to get into business with the many shylocks around. This can be disastrous as it will always not end as you had expected. Online classifieds save many people from such bad experiences giving them a chance to sell what they do not need for extra cash.
In my opinion, online classifieds including OLX make sense for the Kenyan market. The ability to raise money from unwanted products, reducing the costs of doing business and increasing customer reach are all positive attributes. With a developing market such as Kenya, these are even more appealing.