5 Reasons to Start an Online Business

February 12th, 2023 by Felix Cheruiyot


The rise of technology and internet connectivity has led to a surge in the number of online businesses in Kenya. In recent years, the country has seen a growing number of entrepreneurs and small businesses move their operations online to reach a wider audience and increase their sales. In today's digital age, online payments play a critical role in the success of any online business. Online payments enable online businesses to receive payment from customers quickly and easily, reducing the time and cost associated with manual payment methods.

This article aims to provide an overview of the benefits and challenges of online payments for online businesses in Kenya. The article will cover the current state of online payments in Kenya, the role of government regulations, and real-life case studies of successful online businesses that have implemented effective online payment strategies. The article will also provide insights and recommendations for online businesses in Kenya looking to maximize the potential of their online payment systems.

The Current State of Online Payments in Kenya

The online payment landscape in Kenya has undergone significant changes in recent years, with new payment options and solutions emerging to meet the needs of online businesses and consumers. Today, there is a range of payment methods available to online businesses in Kenya, each offering its own set of benefits and limitations.

Popular payment methods used in Kenya

One of the most popular payment methods used by online businesses in Kenya is mobile money transfer services, such as MPESA. This service has become widely adopted in the country, with millions of users relying on it for day-to-day transactions. MPESA offers fast and convenient payment processing, as well as a high level of security and reliability.

Debit and credit cards are also becoming increasingly popular among online businesses in Kenya, especially those targeting international customers. This is due to the growing number of Kenyans with access to debit and credit cards, as well as the ease and convenience of making online payments with these methods. Card services are usually offered by local payment providers, one of which is IntaSend.

Online payment platforms like PayPal are also used by some online businesses in Kenya, but they are not as widely adopted as mobile money transfer services. This is partly due to the challenges that come with using them, one of which is limited services for folks in Kenya and the rest of Africa.

Current trends and challenges in online payments in Kenya

One of the current trends in the online payment landscape in Kenya is the shift towards more secure and user-friendly payment methods. Online businesses are looking for solutions that offer improved security features and are easy to use, in order to increase customer trust and reduce the risk of fraud.

Another trend is the integration of payment systems with other systems and processes, such as accounting and inventory management. This helps to streamline business operations and reduce manual errors, making it easier for online businesses to manage their finances and track their sales.

However, there are also challenges in the online payment landscape in Kenya, including security concerns, high costs, and customer trust issues. For example, online businesses may struggle to secure their payment systems against fraud and hacking, leading to a loss of sensitive customer information and financial losses.

Additionally, high fees associated with using certain payment methods can make it difficult for online businesses to remain competitive and make a profit. Finally, building customer trust is a challenge for many online businesses, as customers may be hesitant to enter their financial information online or may be concerned about the security of their transactions.

Why online business?

Efficiency and convenience

One of the key benefits of online payments for online businesses in Kenya is increased efficiency and convenience. Online payments can be processed quickly and easily, allowing businesses to save time and streamline their operations. This can be especially important for small online businesses that are just starting out, as they can focus on growing their business and serving their customers, rather than being bogged down by manual payment processing.

When businesses use online payment methods, they eliminate the need for manual data entry, reducing the risk of human error and freeing up time for more important tasks. Also, businesses can automate their payment processes, so that payments are processed in real-time, without the need for manual intervention. This can save businesses time and money, as they won't need to employ additional staff to manage payment processing, and they can reduce the risk of payment fraud and other payment-related issues.

Increased customer reach and sales

By accepting online payments, online businesses in Kenya can reach a wider audience and increase their sales. Customers who may not have access to traditional payment methods, such as debit or credit cards, can now easily make purchases online using mobile money transfer services, such as MPESA. This can help online businesses tap into new markets and customer segments, increasing their revenue and growing their business.

On top of that, offering online payment options to customers can also increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers appreciate the convenience and flexibility of being able to make purchases online, without having to visit a physical store. This can lead to repeat purchases and word-of-mouth recommendations, helping businesses to grow their customer base and increase their sales.

Better security

Another benefit of online payments for online businesses in Kenya is improved security. With online payments, businesses can benefit from secure and encrypted payment processing, reducing the risk of payment fraud and protecting sensitive customer information.

In addition, businesses can implement additional security measures, such as two-factor authentication and fraud detection systems, to further protect themselves and their customers from security threats. These measures can help to build customer trust and reduce the risk of payment fraud, ensuring that businesses are able to provide a safe and secure payment experience to their customers.

Cost savings

Online payments can help businesses in Kenya to save money by reducing the costs associated with traditional payment methods. For example, businesses can eliminate the need for expensive payment processing equipment, such as credit card machines, and can reduce their reliance on paper-based payment methods, such as invoices and receipts.

Moreso, businesses can also benefit from lower transaction fees associated with online payment methods, such as mobile money transfer services, as well as lower processing costs and reduced fraud-related expenses. This can help businesses to remain competitive and increase their profitability, allowing them to grow and succeed in the online marketplace.

Access to valuable data and insights

By accepting online payments, businesses in Kenya can gain valuable insights into their sales and customer behavior. This can help them to make data-driven decisions, such as identifying popular products or services and making changes to their offerings based on customer demand.

Furthermore, online payments provide businesses with real-time data and analytics, allowing them to track their sales and monitor their performance. This information can be used to make informed decisions about marketing, pricing, and product development, helping businesses to grow and remain competitive in the online marketplace.

Overcoming the Challenges of Online Payments

In this section, we will delve deeper into the best practices for overcoming the challenges of online payments for online businesses in Kenya. These best practices will help businesses maintain the security of customer information, prevent technical issues, and increase customer confidence in the payment process.

Choosing a reputable payment provider

One of the most effective ways to overcome the challenges of online payments is to partner with reputable payment providers. This will ensure that the payment process is secure and reliable, reducing the risk of fraud and technical glitches. By partnering with a payment provider that has a proven track record, online businesses can offer customers peace of mind and increase their confidence in the business. If a business chooses IntaSend as its preferred payment provider, such a business can have all the peace of mind in the world because IntaSend is reliable and makes payment processing very seamless. And with state-of-the-art security components, you can offer your customers the most secure and reliable payment solutions.

Implementing strong security measures

Implementing strong security measures is essential to protecting sensitive customer information and preventing fraud. This includes using encryption and secure socket layer (SSL) certificates to secure transactions and regularly updating these measures to keep up with the latest advancements in technology. Online businesses should also educate their customers on the importance of security measures and how they are being used to protect their information. By providing customers with resources and information on the latest security trends, businesses can build trust and confidence in their services. Providing resources on the best practices for users to keep their accounts secure, such as strong passwords and not storing passwords in an unsecured location, is an important part of any business’s security strategy.

Providing excellent customer support

Providing excellent customer support is a critical component of overcoming the challenges of online payments. Customers should have access to a dedicated support team that can quickly respond to their inquiries and resolve any issues they may have with the payment process. Online businesses should invest in training their support staff to ensure they have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide effective customer service.

Educating customers

Educating customers about the benefits and security measures of online payments is an effective way to increase their confidence and trust in the business. Online businesses can provide informational resources on their website, such as how-to guides and FAQs, to help customers understand the payment process. Also, online businesses can use email marketing and social media to reach out to customers and educate them about the benefits of online payments. This can help to foster a sense of trust and familiarity between the online business and its customers.

Regularly monitoring transactions

Regularly monitoring transactions is a crucial step in preventing fraud and detecting suspicious activity. Online businesses should have systems in place to detect and flag any unusual transactions and have procedures in place for investigating and resolving them. In addition to monitoring transactions, online businesses should also regularly review their payment systems and identify areas for improvement. They should have policies in place for addressing any issues that may arise and ensure that their systems are up-to-date with the latest security measures. For instance, they can ensure that their customer data is securely stored and that only authorized personnel have access to it.

The Future of Online Payments in Kenya

The growth of the online business sector has brought about the need for secure, fast, and convenient payment solutions. As technology continues to advance, online payments will play an even more important role in the success of online businesses in Kenya. Check below for what we believe the trend to be in the coming years.

Adoption of mobile payments

With the increasing popularity of mobile devices, it is likely that the use of mobile payments will continue to grow in Kenya. This trend is already apparent, with more and more consumers using their smartphones to make purchases online. Mobile payments provide online businesses with the opportunity to reach a wider customer base and offer them convenient payment options. In addition, mobile payments are often more secure than traditional payment methods and can help online businesses in Kenya build customer trust.

Integration with other technologies

The integration of online payments with other technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain, will bring about new and innovative solutions for online businesses. For example, AI can be used to analyze customer spending patterns and predict future purchases, while blockchain can provide a secure and transparent platform for online payments. These advancements will enable online businesses in Kenya to offer more personalized and efficient payment experiences to their customers.

Healthy competition

As more businesses enter the online space, competition among online businesses in Kenya will increase. In order to stay ahead, online businesses will need to offer customers a seamless payment experience and provide value-added services. This could include offering flexible payment options, providing fast and secure transactions, and offering customer support. To remain competitive, online businesses must continually strive to improve their payment solutions. This will come as good news for consumers because they're the winner at the end of the day.

Government support

The Kenyan government is likely to provide increased support for online businesses in the coming years. This support may include tax incentives, funding opportunities, and the development of infrastructure to support online payments. This support will help online businesses to overcome the challenges they face and will provide a positive environment for the growth of the online payments industry. In addition, government support can help to increase consumer confidence in online payments, leading to increased adoption.

How to Use IntaSend to Collect Payments for your Online Business

Online businesses can benefit greatly from using IntaSend to accept payments from their customers. By using IntaSend, businesses can provide a seamless and secure payment experience for their customers, which can increase customer satisfaction and help boost sales. One of the key benefits of using IntaSend is its ease of use. Businesses can quickly and easily set up their account and start accepting payments from customers in just a few clicks. IntaSend also offers a variety of payment options, so customers can choose the one that best suits their needs. IntaSend also offers competitive pricing, making it an affordable option for businesses of all sizes. With IntaSend, businesses can save money on transaction fees and other charges associated with accepting payments online.

Cover Photo by Roberto Cortese on Unsplash

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