You should not take online sales as just another way to increase your revenue. It gives you possibilities that were once unthinkable for small businesses. Once upon a time you could not reach out to thousands of people because you couldn’t pay for ads on TV and radio. Now, your market size can reach as far as you can dream.
Things have gotten pretty hot. Kenyan entrepreneurs are no longer waiting on specialized e-commerce retailers to hand-walk them through online sales. You can facilitate online transactions by yourself. It’s easy in Kenya because of mobile money. It allows you to overcome e-commerce constraints of secure payment platform and cost of setting up such platforms.
For instance, M-Pesa payment solutions allow you to also choose how to split charges of the service. This can be between you and the customer, you can cover the cost yourself and sell cheaply or you can place this expense burden on the customer – especially if your pricing model is of the premium kind.
Even with all this ground gained, there are still a few question marks regarding e-commerce in Kenya. We are pretty social as a nation. Are Kenyans going to trade the engagement of hitting on the shop attendant (female or male) for some random delivery to their door steps? Even in e-commerce leading USA, share of such sales in retail remains under 10%. Can you build customer relationship by e-commerce alone? There is a chance, take it.
Secondly, how convenient is e-commerce in Kenya really? If you’ve ever had to deal with issues of reversal of funds, I know you totally hate it. The worst part is that it’s not your fault. Your customer, “who is always right,” messes up M-Pesa paybill business number or the Buy Goods and Services till number then you have to help sort that out. If only you never had to deal with such a problem again (I’m implying there is such…nevermind).
Enter M-Pesa Xpress
Safaricom took note of this complaint and improved on their payment solutions with M-Pesa Xpress. You definitely know of it because it allows you to buy apps on the Playstore. What you may not know is that your business, any business can integrate this platform among sales channels. You no longer really need to put your phone number on the web for M-Pesa payments by your customers.
M-Pesa Xpress would work for you just as you know it does on Google Playstore. There, you enter your PIN and that’s it! Transaction done. You will never have to deal with stories of reversal again. How is this possible? What happens is that you get to heavy-lift everything about transaction details so that your customer only has to complete one step – entering PIN.
This is in contrast to Buy Goods and Services that takes 3 steps to complete and Paybill, which requires 4. Your customer has to enter the business number, account name, the amount and the PIN. You may be a hardworker so it sounds odd to say all that is a lot of work. But you know how short attention spans are getting (DJ’s make it worse by only playing a portion of a song). It’s also an issue of competitive advantage. Why would a customer, essentially, take a long line when there’s a shorter one? And in this M-Pesa Xpress context, the line you left doesn’t start moving faster.
M-Pesa Xpress can be integrated on your business website. Your customer would confirm that they want to buy, which includes entering their phone number. Then they would enter PIN and the transaction details would be sent to them. It’s actually simple and as you’ve noticed it’s also real-time like we expect M-Pesa to be.
As an entrepreneur, it’s in your interest to know that M-Pesa Xpress cuts cost of mobile customer to business payment in Kenya by 30%.
How do you integrate M-Pesa Xpress? M-Pesa allows third parties to connect with it via the M-Pesa API (Application Programming Interface). API is simply what communicates your request online then retrieves the information you need online. Yes, yes, it’s like a waiter. You can mess around in Safaricom’s Developer Portal or contact M-PESABusiness@safaricom.co.ke
Further, you can seek the services of a payment solutions provider. They usually allow you to have multiple ways of accepting payments.
The challenge of payment solutions when making online sales is not just security. M-Pesa Xpress gives you and your customer that and convenience, which is the biggest selling point of e-commerce in Kenya and elsewhere. A point that is not limited to screen shopping and delivery.0