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LETTER: Tap full potential of e-commerce platforms

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Recently, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) hosted the first ever Africa e-Commerce Week in Nairobi, which attracted over 89 countries. It closed unnoticed by most Kenyans.

E-commerce is growing quickly in Africa, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to expand their market access and join value chains. Jobs are being created and new business models are emerging. At the same time, the evolving landscape is creating new risks and challenges.

The gains from e-commerce are not automatic, and the increased use of digital technologies can result in new divides and wider income inequalities.

For generations, the basics of retail stayed the same. People who wanted to buy something usually had to go to a store and most people were able to find a store by looking for its sign.

Many small business owners have only waded into the waters of e-commerce, but the time has come to dive in

In Kenya you can pay for your vegetables at the road side kiosk and at the same time you can pay your bill at a five star hotel using mobile money. Smartphones penetration in Kenyat is at over 80 percent

The internet has changed the world in almost every possible way, and e-commerce has revolutionised how business is done through shopping and selling. However, many MSMEs businesses, even knowing this, still haven’t realised just how large a growth spurt they can gain by selling their goods and services online through e-commerce. Which is a way of conducting business over the Internet, though it is a relatively new concept, it has the potential to alter the traditional form of economic activities.

Investing in an ecommerce software platform is important for all businesses including mama mboga, because consumers use all channels at their disposal when researching, selecting and buying a product. In-store browsers can become online shoppers and vice versa. There are a lot of people who may ‘prefer’ to shop in-store but ‘choose’ to shop online because it’s the most convenient option.

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In any case, a real value for businesses that embraces internet marketing and ecommerce to reach the large percentage of customers who are shopping online.

Improving a business ecommerce and internet marketing strategy can prevent a small retailer from falling behind their competitors and provide new sources of revenue as more consumers choose to shop online. One of the benefits about adding ecommerce to a business strategy is that it doesn’t require much more than what is already available at the brick and mortar location.

A clothing boutique that wants to start selling online only needs a computer with an internet connection to run the ecommerce solution (a website or app) and some boxes to ship things in. In this way, adding ecommerce can require far less investment than opening a second location.

It should be clear to entrepreneurs that the old models of retail have changed and that it’s essential to change their strategy in accordance with the new reality. Ecommerce and online sales will become an ever-important factor in the revenue of retailers. For marketers the writing is on the wall: you don’t need a bigger sign, you need a bigger internet marketing presence. Small businesses need ecommerce now, more than ever.

Setting up a business website and selling your products online can make a difference in your volume of sales. Many businesses with traditional brick and mortar retail shops are discovering this. Businesses that provide services and consulting can also grow their business with a strong online presence.

You can sell and schedule appointments and bookings directly at the same time, saving you effort and headache. You and your customers also have a better idea of when you’ll be available and can work together on the best time for you both.

As a small offline business, when your products/services are appreciated by your customers, it’s really hard for you to take advantage of those appreciations to influence new customers. But, with having an online presence of your business, your customers can share their appreciation over social media profiles of your business.

These reviews are publically available for everyone to see and this helps you to influence your new users to get converted to customers.

Whenever you need to announce any promotions or your deals and discounts, creating a hype is a great deal. Hype can be created on all the social platforms such as on Facebook, Instagram, and emails.

Ndirangu Ngunjiri, managing partner, Watermark Consultants

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World Bank pushes G-20 to extend debt relief to 2021

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World Bank Group President David Malpass has urged the Group of 20 rich countries to extend the time frame of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative(DSSI) through the end of 2021, calling it one of the key factors in strengthening global recovery.

“I urge you to extend the time frame of the DSSI through the end of 2021 and commit to giving the initiative as broad a scope as possible,” said Malpass.

He made these remarks at last week’s virtual G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting.

The World Bank Chief said the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the deepest global recession in decades and what may turn out to be one of the most unequal in terms of impact.

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People in developing countries are particularly hard hit by capital outflows, declines in remittances, the collapse of informal labor markets, and social safety nets that are much less robust than in the advanced economies.

For the poorest countries, poverty is rising rapidly, median incomes are falling and growth is deeply negative.

Debt burdens, already unsustainable for many countries, are rising to crisis levels.

“The situation in developing countries is increasingly desperate. Time is short. We need to take action quickly on debt suspension, debt reduction, debt resolution mechanisms and debt transparency,” said Malpass.

ALSO READ:Global Economy Plunges into Worst Recession – World Bank

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Kenya’s Central Bank Drafts New Laws to Regulate Non-Bank Digital Loans

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The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) will regulate interest rates charged on mobile loans by digital lending platforms if amendments on the Central bank of Kenya Act pass to law. The amendments will require digital lenders to seek approval from CBK before launching new products or changing interest rates on loans among other charges, just like commercial banks.

“The principal objective of this bill is to amend the Central bank of Kenya Act to regulate the conduct of providers of digital financial products and services,” reads a notice on the bill. “CBK will have an obligation of ensuring that there is fair and non-discriminatory marketplace access to credit.”

According to Business Daily, the legislation will also enable the Central Bank to monitor non-performing loans, capping the limit at not twice the amount of the defaulted loan while protecting consumers from predatory lending by digital loan platforms.

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Tighter Reins on Platforms for Mobile Loans

The legislation will boost efforts to protect customers, building upon a previous gazette notice that blocked lenders from blacklisting non-performing loans below Ksh 1000. The CBK also withdrew submissions of unregulated mobile loan platforms into Credit Reference Bureau. The withdrawal came after complaints of misuse over data in the Credit Information Sharing (CIS) System available for lenders.

Last year, Kenya had over 49 platforms providing mobile loans, taking advantage of regulation gaps to charge obscene rates as high as 150% a year. While most platforms allow borrowers to prepay within a month, creditors still pay the full amount plus interest.

Amendments in the CBK Act will help shield consumers from high-interest rates as well as offer transparency on terms of digital loans.

SEE ALSO: Central Bank Unveils Measures to Tame Unregulated Digital Lenders

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Scope Markets Kenya customers to have instant access to global financial markets

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NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Clients trading through the Scope Markets Kenya trading platform will get instant access to global financial markets and wider investment options. 

This follows the launch of a new Scope Markets app, available on both the Google PlayStore and IOS Apple Store.

The Scope Markets app offers clients over 500 investment opportunities across global financial markets.

The Scope Markets app has a brand new user interface that is very user friendly, following feedback from customers.

The application offers real-time quotes; newsfeeds; research facilities, and a chat feature which enables a customer to make direct contact with the Customer Service Team during trading days (Monday to Friday).

The platform also offers an enhanced client interface including catering for those who trade at night.

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The client will get instant access to several asset classes in the global financial markets including; Single Stocks CFDs (US, UK, EU) such as Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, BP, Carrefour;  Indices (Nasdaq, FTSE UK), Metals (Gold, Silver); Currencies (60+ Pairs), Commodities (Oil, Natural Gas).

The launch is part of Scope Markets Kenya strategy of enriching the customer experience while offering clients access to global trading opportunities.

Scope Markets Kenya CEO, Kevin Ng’ang’a observed, “the Sope Markets app is very easy to use especially when executing trades. Customers are at the heart of everything we do. We designed the Scope Markets app with the customer experience in mind as we seek to respond to feedback from our customers.”

He added that enhancing the client experience builds upon the robust trading platform, Meta Trader 5, unveiled in 2019, enabling Scope Markets Kenya to broaden the asset classes available on the trading platform.

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