I first discovered Microsoft Encarta in 1997, and what a joy that was. A digital repository with seemingly endless ways to satisfy my hunger for knowledge. Being a rap obsessed teenager it did not take me long to check what Encarta said about hip-hop. I found an article on Grandmaster Flash considered the grandaddy of hip-hop (at least by Encarta). In the article there was an audio clip of one of his most popular tunes 'The Message' which was later popularly resampled in 'Can't nobody hold me down' by Puff Daddy and Mase. One line of that great song in particular comes to mind right now "can't nobody hold me down... ohh no I got to keep on movin"
And so it is with me, I have continued with my dream of promoting online business in Kenya. My latest effort is Incorporator, an online company formation service I have helped design, create, market and manage for a business services company. I consider this one of my most comprehensive works in e-commerce: with aspects of cookie-based shopping carts, payment processing through m-pesa, ordering through a secured web, and shipping and handling of products using courier firms. In brief, technically the product works.
The real test however is whether the business model works. One thing I am hesitant about is the issue of payment. I am yet to see whether Kenyan shoppers would be comfortable paying KSh. 15,000 (about $190) online with their order for a product that they have yet to touch, feel, and see physically. Some alternative ideas I am entertaining in case this doesn't work out are: cash with delivery, or setting up of branches/drop-off money(pick-up package) zones.
Right now though things are looking up, and the low cost barrier flagship product (1-day company name search) which costs only KSh. 200 ($2.50) has been getting a lot of activity. Hopefully it will help build the trust and customer relationships that such a business necessarily needs to build.
Watch this space for updates.