A reader recently read my article on Google’s kbo. She left me a comment suggesting that there was a better resource for Kenyan businesses: Powerpage.co.ke. I went ahead this morning to the site to open my own personal website.
Powerpage.co.ke is a website that lets individuals and businesses start up websites. The registering party is allocated the sub-domain name they chose. For instance, I got githinjimuchiri.powerpage.co.ke ( I have since deactivated it). I have to say, after going through the start up process, I am somewhat disappointed. When I heard of the site, I thought that finally, there was a Kenyan born website competing against the big companies (ie. Google & WordPress). however, the website I got was not pleasing.
First off, the website owners are distributing a free template from the web. Not that there’s anything wrong with using free web resources; but they have changed the name of the initial template developers. Also, everyone gets the same looking website. You would think that if a website was going to distribute free templates it would get a variety.
Secondly, the website has a very curious signup process. I had to give up a lot of information to be allowed to sign in. I am not comfortable with a website demanding that it has to have my phone number and address. It’s not like I will be transacting anything on the site. The process also takes forever and you have to wait about ten minutes to get your site.
To be fair though, I am not all disappointed. The website has taken a bold step in marketing its personal and business websites. The How it Works page is very promising; if only they could deliver on the actual websites. I liked the business website, it allows for businesses to showcase a lot of their products (good template choice). I found it curious that a majority of business websites here were car dealers.
I also liked that the website allows you to deactivate your website easily, came in handy.
I recently attended a discussion about online shopping in Kenya. I got some very interesting insights into the views of normal Kenyans on shopping online. The discussion involved a group of eight young guys, many of whom are in school or doing small business. Each of the individuals had at one time purchased a product or service from a Kenyan website. There were mixed views about the quality of the services offered but there was a general agreement that there was great room for improvement. Apart from this, I also noticed some interesting trends; most of the start-ups coming up are focusing on discounts and they are focusing on mobile money as the main form of payment.
Kenyans love bargains.
Kenyans love their mobile money.
For this reasons, there are over five sites trying to make it by selling bargains to Kenyans. Questions is, how are they doing? From the insights I collected from the group, there are a few too many kinks that need to be straightened if Kenyans are going to move their shopping online. Perhaps the highest concern for the eight young Kenyans, was delivery. I am sorry to say that the track record for this start-ups on delivering what they sell is not pleasing. For this start-ups to attract the mass market, they need to improve on how they deliver to their customers.
That being said though, you have to appreciate the energy these companies are putting towards their success. Many of them do not have the money to advertise offline like Deal Fish or Google, but they make sure their daily deals are known on social media.
The recognizable players in the Kenyan online shopping are Zetu, Rupu and Mocaltiy for daily deals and Google Trader and Dealfish for peer to peer selling. And now there is a new Kid on the block: Sahizi.
The concept of Sahizi is group buying. The more the people that agree to buy a product the better the deal you get from the merchants. It is an interesting concept since in a way, it is similar to buying goods on wholesale, then dividing them up among several people. While Sahizi is just starting, it is bound to disrupt the not yet established market. I look forward to experiencing the modelling and formation of the online shopping market in Kenya.