Despite the current growth of the internet and the new E-commerce business, online shopping continues gaining more momentum compared to the offline business. Day after day we are seeing many retailers and brands crossing over to E-commerce business just to maximize their sales and also cut down the gap between online and offline business. According to a new research conducted recently, Kenyans spent more than Sh10 billion in online shopping last 2 years.

Kilimall’s Marketing Director Victor Ma says that more than 1 million people visit their site every single month. About 800 thousand customers make either one order or two ranging from electronics to households products. Research shows that these customers are mostly the young people between the ages of 18-35 years. With such a huge number of potential online buyers, Kenyans seems to have won the trust of online shopping.

In China, the Alibaba group of companies holds 60% of all the online sales, recently it overtook Walmart as the number one retailer in the world.  Remember that this company was started a few years ago back in 1999 by Jack Ma, a man who rose from a very humble beginning. Such a growth within a short period of time tells that trust is a systematic growth that is catching up with Kenyan slowly but surely.

For the first order online, a customer has to do a thorough evaluation of the online shop.  A first-time visitor has to decide whether you are trustworthy to safeguard his personal data. All that the customers want is their privacy to be protected and also get what they ordered when they expect it. Additionally, they will go ahead to confirm if customer service is available if they need it. Generally, online shopping is influenced by online trust, shopping orientation, and prior online purchase experience. A customer online purchase intention is so much influenced by quality orientation, online trust and brand orientation.

In Kenya currently, there is a stiff competition for sites selling the same or similar products. The question is how can an online shop stand out and convert its potential customers into real buyers? Mr. Victor says it all comes back to trust. “If we earn customer’s trust, they keep on buying from us” He adds. Speaking to one online buyer Mr. Odiek, he tells me that online shopping saves time and it’s convenient when buying products. “I got to know about Kilimall through a friend who was happy with a product he had bought there a week ago,” Mr. Odiek says.  What does this mean; prior online purchase experience has been the number one drive for gaining trust to online shopping in Kenya.

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The truth is, trust has to be a long-term process since customers always look for a good experience and credence quality of the products. Kenyans are looking for a site they can trust. This means that, if a first-time buyer is treated right, he or she will still come back for more. More often, site trust is indicated through online reviews and other third-party certificates. The number one key trust is the payment gateway. M-Pesa, for instance, is regarded as a fast and convenient way of payment during online shopping. It is a trusted payment gateway and has increased conversions for sites like OLX and Kilimall. In a nutshell, it makes online shopping easier!

Consumers trust is a paramount thing in E-commerce business. However, knowledge influences the level of trust among Kenyans. What I’m trying to say is, Kenyans who know more about online shopping have more trust and considers online shopping than offline shopping. This means that online shops need to make Kenyans knowledgeable about E-commerce to build strong trust in online shopping. If we have about 19.1 million internet users in Kenya today, the number of online shoppers is bound to rise in the next few years. The most important this is trust and more trust in days to come.

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