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‘Local e-Commerce firms can take on global competitors’

NEWS
By Graham Kajilwa | August 30th 2021

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu speaks during the 2021 e-Commerce awards at Mövenpick Hotel, Nairobi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Supplying perishables and speedy deliveries are low-hanging fruit that e-Commerce businesses can tap into to grow and compete with global giants.

And while Kenya’s online business space has been lauded as vibrant and fast-growing, the country still faces stiff competition from developed markets and Africa.

This was noted during the 2021 Kenya e-Commerce Awards and Conference in Nairobi last week.

Head of Digital Business at I&M Bank Michael Mwangi said while Kenya has for a long time held a prime slot in e-Commerce growth, behind South Africa and Nigeria, Ghana is closing in fast.

“At the rate we see e-Commerce in Ghana going, it will be bigger than in Kenya,” he said.

Mr Mwangi noted that cross-border transactions make up half of the sub-Saharan Africa market. Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are among the leading technology giants due to adverts and cloud services.

“It means the competition is no longer local,” said Mwangi, citing Alibaba and Amazon as some of the big competitors. “So if you can offer that convenience, that speedy delivery, you will be able to compete with the big boys.”

Standard Group Chief Executive Orlando Lyomu, who addressed the event, urged e-Commerce companies to review their catalogues with an eye on global growth. “Is your catalogue compelling?” he asked. “The moment you join the digital space, you are global.”

Standard Group CEO Orlando Lyomu (third right-front) addressed the 2021 e-Commerce awards at Mövenpick Hotel, Nairobi. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Mr Lyomu said supply chain and logistics issues have to be sorted out if local firms are to grow and compete with global logistics giants. “It has to be reliable, reach the customers and most importantly be an industry in itself,” he said.

He added that it was not sound for an e-Commerce platform to set up a logistics and supply chain yet that is not its primary business. “Why can’t some people say ‘since everyone is coming up with a platform, why don’t we create the logistics?’”

Standard Group was the event’s media sponsor.

The 2021 awards aimed to recognise the best firms in e-Commerce categories, best e-Commerce enablers, best use categories, team or talent categories and the overall winner.

Kericho Gold emerged as the best in e-Commerce, beverages; Mum’s Village as best in e-Commerce, baby, personal care and home products; and Kenya Airways best in e-Commerce, travel and tourism.

Naivas emerged as best in e-Commerce, supermarkets; G4S Best in e-Commerce, courier services; and dukatech.co.ke as best in e-Commerce, consumer electronics. Copia Kenya won gold in both e-Commerce and customer service.

Standard Group’s ePaper won gold in the category of ePaper, while Jiji Kenya won the gold category as the best-classified website.

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