How to start an online shop

How To Start An Online Shop In Kenya

You have dedication, passion, and a nice business idea, but the money you have isn’t enough to set up a brick-and-mortar store. What next? Does it mean you are going to give up on the idea of ever owning a shop? Once you learn how to start an online shop in Kenya, your shop will be as good as a physical shop, or even better. If you’re unsure what type of content to put up, Hariox media offers content marketing solutions tailor-made for your business. Here’s how to start an online shop in Kenya.

5 steps to starting your online business in Kenya

Choosing Your Online Audience

Choosing your online audience involves deciding on who/what to sell your services or products to. With the availability of the internet and E-commerce tools, almost everything and anything can be sold online. So choosing what to sell depends on how much you are willing to invest and what market you want to target.

Do some market research to find out what people want and are willing to pay for. This is a vital step to becoming a successful online entrepreneur.

It would help if you identify what people need but is in short supply, so your online shop can fill that gap. If you don’t research, you risk wasting money and time on a product or service that won’t sell. You don’t need to gamble with your hard-earned money, but invest in a business that you are sure will bring returns.

You have two options here. You can either sell digital products like ebooks, software, apps, etc., or physical products like clothes, cosmetics, shoes, etc.

If you want to sell physical products, you must think about where you’ll store them and how you’ll deliver them to your customers. Choose products that are easy to store, are not delicate, and durable. For delivery, you can use the many courier services available in the country.

Choosing a product will help you decide on your delivery channels, revenue model, and payment methods. 

Decide On The Name Of The Business

The name of a business is significant for two reasons. One, it is what customers will use to identify your business. Two, it is what you’ll use to register your business. The business name should be simple and easy to remember. Some people use their names as business names or part of business names, while others use names related to the services/products they sell.

Whether or not to register your business depends on the type of services you offer or the products you sell. Registration is necessary if you are planning to grow your business and for Copywrite reasons, of course.

It is also necessary to register your business because many customers believe registered businesses are more reliable and trustworthy than unregistered businesses. And if you want to open a bank account for your business or collect payments through Lipa Na Mpesa online, you’ll need a business registration certificate. This certificate will also come in handy if you need a loan to boost your business.

Some people run unregistered businesses in Kenya to escape from paying statutory fees, taxes, and permits. However, doing this may attract hefty liabilities and penalties when caught.

Research more on how to register your business before thinking about how to start an online shop in Kenya.

Choose a Domain Name and Hosting Company

Since you’ll be running your business online, you’ll have to register a domain name and have it hosted. Your domain name is your online business address that directs people to your online shop or website. Your domain name should relate to your business name or the products/services you offer.

For example, if your business name is Mali Safi Traders, your domain name can be,,, Just like the business name, your domain name should be short and easy to remember. This is very important while trying to figure out how to start an online shop in Kenya.

Choosing a business name and registering a domain name should be done simultaneously. This is because you may choose a domain name that has been used by someone else. If that’s the case, you’ll be forced to pick another domain name.

Once you settle on the domain name, the next step is to choose the hosting company. All the files on your website will need a storage space (server) that houses them. This is called a web-hosting. Since your business will be based in Kenya, you’ll need a local web-hosting company like RojavoHost

Create Your Online Shop or Website

Your website will be your online shop. It is the place where you’ll display your products, their prices and meet your customers. That’s why your website needs to be easy-to-use, mobile responsive, and attractive.

Suppose you know how to design a website, well and good. If not, you’ll have to hire an expert web designer at this point. Your web designer should be able to integrate elements like graphics, logo, email marketing, user registration, coupons, checkout methods, payment processor, shopping cart, etc., to your website.

Once your business is up and running, upload high-quality photos of your products. You can also add short descriptions to help your customers understand what you are offering. Your website must have a contact page with all your contacts (business phone number and email) that customers can use to reach you. 

Running Ads to Create Awareness

Your online store can be the best in the world, but you’ll still have to market it and introduce it to your prospects. You can’t underestimate the power of marketing. This is a good tool to use while reaching out to new customers in specific area codes.

Now that your products are displayed online, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and start the real work. Marketing and promotion are the only ways you’ll get people to interact with your products. There are many ways to bring traffic to your website, depending on your marketing budget.

Here are some ways you can market your online shop.

  • Use Google and other search engines to pull buyers to your online store using pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
  • Use blogging/content marketing. Create informative, educational, and high-quality content on your website, then share it.
  • Make use of social media platforms for marketing.
  • Use email marketing 

Extra tools you will need

Kenya’s e-commerce ecosystem is one of the most vibrant in Africa and is growing steadily. The exact statistics and data aren’t available, but the revenue from e-commerce in Kenya is expected to hit $2 billion by 2024.

With the lockdown that was imposed because of the coronavirus outbreak, many businesses went online.

To penetrate this market and have an impact, you must have a competitive edge against your competitors. The following tools will come in handy for your online marketing. 

Mailchimp is an email marketing tool that serves over 80% of B2C and B2B companies. MailChimp is free to use if you have not more than 2000 subscribers. 

HubSpot is one of the best tools for sales and marketing. With this tool you’ll have access to tools that can help you with analytics, email, marketing automation, calls to action, landing pages, lead management, social media, SEO, and blogging.

Trello is an application you can use to organize your marketing team and projects. With Trello, you can have everything concerning your marketing strategy in one place.  

Social media plays a big role in the success of any business, regardless of the industry, age, or size. When it comes to social media marketing tools, none beats Hootsuite. This tool will allow you to schedule your social media posts, identify influencers, and reply to mentions and comment through a dashboard. 

Google Analytics is among the free tools offered by Google. You need to make Google Analytics be an integral part of your marketing strategy. 

It will take you just a few minutes to add the Google Analytics code to your site, but the benefits are massive. You’ll be able to track the actions of your site visitors so you can tailor your marketing campaigns to target those who are likely to purchase. 

Other tools that can help boost your marketing efforts include: 

  • KISSmetrics
  • Followerwonk
  • All in One SEO Pack
  • BuzzSumo
  • Crazy Egg 

For your digital marketing strategy to succeed, you need to have the right tools. Online marketing involves a lot of technical aspects. So if you aren’t tech-savvy, Hariox Media can help you take care of your online marketing. Visit our homepage to view our services 


Now that you know how to start an online business in Kenya, what are you waiting for? The advantage of starting an online business is that you can start small and expand your reach as your business grows. An online business can earn you a passive income as you work on other things to earn more money. Even if you don’t have enough capital to start a fully-fledged online shop, you can start with affiliate marketing or drop-shipping.

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