Why E-Commerce websites are always bound to fail in Kenya

E-Commerce websites such as Jumia ,masoko etc will always fail simply due tothe lack of a proper ADRESS SYSTEM in the republic. The logistics and back in forth communication involved in having a package delivered is more hectic than the traditional route of just buying it from a retail shop.

When you order stuff online it’s paramount that you be present at the time of delivery to direct the delivery guy your exact position who at most times is really not familiar with the area. The logistics is just tiresome and makes you want not to repeat the process again.

Now let’s look at US a country where e-commerce is thriving,they have one of the most sophisticated and simple address systems. Every house has a proper adress you indicate during ordering stage. Items gets delivered whether you there or not. You simply wait and receive. Even apartment blocks have unique mailboxes ,every flat has an address that is unique to them. Delivery guy gets to the apartment blocks, hands it over to property manager who in turn puts the package in your mailbox. Easy peasy.

DON’T INVEST IN E-COMMERCE TILL A PROPER ADRESS SYSTEM IS ESTABLISHED.The industry will experience a boom after that is taken care of.

Jamaa wa Redbull mwitu, you’re right about the lack of a proper address system hindering ecommerce, but Jumia has become relatively successful nonetheless. Their pick up centers work well, although they need to add more. This is one way Masoko could have beaten Jumia. They could have turned their Mpesa agents into pick up centers. Everyone knows an mpesa agent within walking distance.
Anyway, even without these centers, doorstep deliveries can still work by integrating Google maps and other location services. You send your delivery guy a pin of your location and they come straight to you.

It will be a daunting task to design a functioning address system in Nairobi or any other town in Kenya for that matter considering how chaotic our societies develop. Foresight and future planning is never in our genes. When I was growing up there was some sort of address system in formal neighbourhoods of Nairobi. For example, Ngei Estate Phase II, Maboko Road, House #144 or 21 Westlands Road. This was common in newer formal housing developments and established colonial neighbourhoods in Nairobi. In fact, the city council used to collect garbage every Saturday and the fire engines and St. John Ambulance would show up on time in the event there was a fire or medical emergency. There was a resemblance of order some planning all the way until Buru-Buru was completed. The hell broke loose!

At this time, one of the solutions would be to utilize lock boxes (similar to PO BOX) placed at strategic locations where the recipient is given an auto code to open the lock box and get their package once it has been delivered. Zoning and address numbering would be extremely difficult. Plot numbers won’t work for this purpose either. Apartment blocks can also have their own on site lock boxes where packages can be deposited.

Posta tried that thing of using your phone number as an address. Must have been sabotaged by ‘kamiti conmen’

Stop moaning and find a solution that’s how people became rich.
Just find a solution.

There’s a startup called OKHi that’s solving the addressing problem in Kenya. They’ve raised 75m so far, I wonder how far they’ve gone in tackling it

Its actually not that complicated. Google can easily do it. It takes them about 3 months to map a city entirely. But it costs a lot of money. The problem is that once they do it, it will be adapted for free. They wont gain.