E-shopping becoming the norm as Covid-19 bites

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The shift to e-commerce has gained momentum as businesses seek to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Enterprises, big and small, are looking for ways to make their online presence felt and reach out to customers who are unable to move around due to curfew and lockdown imposed as part of measures to contain the disease.

Online and tech firms such as Sokozillah, Jumia and Compulynx, in partnerships with various organisations, have rolled out plans to help businesses shift to digital platforms.

Jumia, has entered partnership with The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) to help local businesses establish e-shops.

Kepsa chief executive Carole Karuga said the partnership was informed by the current situation where Kenyans now spend more time online as they remain indoors to help curb spread of the dreaded Covid-19.

The partnership with Jumia through the Digital Commerce Program will see local businesses trained on using online platforms to maximise sales of their goods and services.

“We believe Jumia with its current scale and countrywide operations is well positioned to facilitate visibility for local businesses and is prepared to invest upfront in this initiative,” said Ms Karuga.

Jumia Kenya chief executive Sam Chappatte pledged support for local businesses seeking to establish an online presence. Jumia, he said, will allow local companies use its distribution network to service orders as received from across Kenya.

“We will commit resources to support Kepsa’s digital commerce initiative, to train vendors and give them tools to sell online effectively. We hope this will save jobs in the short term and help digitise the economy over the longer term,” said Mr Chappatte.

The Kepsa-Jumia deal will see local companies open their e-shops on the Jumia platform at no start-up costs with Jumia cutting its commissions on vendors by 50 percent for locally manufactured goods to one percent.

The pact will involve free online training, ranging from the basics of e-commerce to operations, marketing, finance and sales where Jumia will allow participating companies to access its online self-study modules available on Jumia’s Vendor Hub page.

Kepsa said the partnership will initially be rolled out in Nairobi ahead of a planned nationwide expansion.

Zillah Technologies, a software company based in Western – Kenya in partnership with African Development Funding Program (ADFP) have also launched a Multi-vendor E-commerce platform- Sokozillah which works on connecting businesses across Kenya via the kenyan version and globally through the Sokozillah Global.

A commercial on Sokozillah-Kenya

Kenya-based retail software developer CompuLnyx and digital payments company, DPO Group have also launched e-commerce platforms for local businesses.

CompuLnyx with a presence across East Africa and the United Arab Emirates serving 400 companies in 36 countries, said its cloud-based NEXX e-commerce platform will be available to retailers at no cost for a three-month trial period with no obligation to subscribe after the trial period.

”CompuLynx recognises the pressure on retailers during this challenging times of Covid-19 and has opened its patented retail software allowing Kenyan retailers to serve loyal customers on a portal that allows home deliveries,” said chief executive Sailesh Savani.

Last month, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) also launched an online directory giving its members a platform to market locally manufactured goods.

Also, DPO Group has partnered with MasterCard to launch a free-of-charge e-commerce platform where supermarkets, food stores, pharmacies and other essential service providers will “own” branded webpages on DPO store platform where buyers log onto shops and pay via mobile phone money or pay-cards.

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