The first E-commerce Day celebrations were held in Nairobi with several players in the industry calling for enhanced collaborations to drive growth in the industry.
The global event initiated in Kenya and is set to be held annually was marked with the launch of the inaugural E-commerce Awards 2019. The awards programme is aimed at recognizing and celebrating the best ecommerce platforms in the industry, which has witnessed exponential growth in recent years.
Speakers at the event which brought several key players in the industry and government officials stressed on the need to foster strong customer relationships and winning partnerships with marketing and communication enablers to drive growth in the sector.
They also called one commerce platforms to create seamless collaboration with Order Fulfillment players and strong partnerships with merchants to give more value to customers.
Jumuia Kenya MD Mr.Sam Chappatte said e-commerce has helped vendors save working capital in terms of space rent and employee wages and challenged those engaged in the sector to create more marketing channels and invest in training to attract more vendors and consumers to their platforms.
“E-commerce offers more sellers and entrepreneurs a platform to reach consumers directly and we need to open up more opportunities for them as a way of building the marketing place,” said Chappatte.
Cheki CEO Mr. Michael Mureithi noted the importance of artificial intelligence and machine learning in predicting and responding to market demands.
“Data has been key in business growth but with the rapid developments in the digital landscape we must exploit new technologies like artificial intelligence to determine market needs and move e-commerce to the next level,” said Mureithi.
Gobeba CEO Mr. Peter Ndian’gui, however, regretted the emerging trend where e-commerce players are locking out competitors from manufacturers through contracts that give exclusive rights on online trading of certain products, saying if allowed to continue it would kill the industry.
“Exclusive deals will have a negative impact on our e-commerce innovation ecosystem and the Competition Authority of Kenya should reign on such practices to enhance fairness,” he said.
Glove Kenya CEO Mr. William Benthall challenged players in the industry to focus on niche markets to benefit from numerous opportunities in the sector.
“The customer journey is fast changing with more and more consumers making decisions around their places of work and this offers a huge opportunity for ecommerce. You can never go wrong in the industry when you collaborate with the right partners,” said Benthall.
Martin Muli, the founder of Digitalks Africa Ltd, the organisers of the event, said the sector has witnessed rapid growth as e-commerce platforms offer more social functionalities such as in-app live?streaming?for brands to communicate with their customers; more?personalized shopping experience using artificial intelligence technology; and convenient access to different products through features like image search.
“The various social functionalities that e-commerce platforms offer has endeared them to manufacturers who are adopting new efficient and cost-cutting ways of doing business by using different digital platforms directly connected to the final consumer,” said Muli.
The penetration, adoption and usage of e-commerce globally has completely disrupted the legacy brick and mortar stores as millennials slowly acquire purchasing power while digital immigrants appreciate the value and relevance of digital in everyday live.
With more than 7.6 billion people in the world with 4.1 billion using the internet, it is projected that the global retail e-commerce sales will reach US$4.5 Trillion by 2021
According to Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) 2018 September report, the Kenyan population is 46.6 million and the internet has 42.2 million users with 100%mobile penetration. The number of mobile commerce transactions was recorded at 526.9 million valued at KSh.1.5 trillion.
The E-commerce Awards Gala night will be held during the E-commerce week scheduled for August in Nairobi.