E-commerce penetration locally currently stands at 7%, according to the 2017 UNCTAD B2C E-commerce index. This means about 2.6 million Kenyans are shopping online. While a bigger untapped market remains existing, it will take a while for it to hit other regions. One of the biggest challenges facing e-commerce in Kenya is the lack of a national addressing system. E-commerce is entirely dependent on addresses for delivery. The Jumia mobile report 2018 reports that 70% of purchases made were in Nairobi. This suggests that the majority of shoppers are based in Nairobi and do so since they have a sense of control of their delivery. Other shoppers from other towns would prefer to buy from physical shops.
The Google Maps Local Guide Program could help solve this problem. The program allows for any registered Google user with a smartphone to put new places on the google map. The idea leverages on crowdsourcing, where several people from all over the world can post new cities, restaurants, and towns. Any user can post reviews, photos, answers, videos, ratings, edits, places, facts, and Q & A. These features are helpful for tourists visiting new places and depend on the accuracy of this information
The accuracy of data given on this platform remains to be a challenge as not so many people who participate in this process. The most recent incident is when a twitter user Brian Msafiri narrated his encounter of being conned by an alleged DHL Kenya offices who ended up being the wrong contact person as shown in this thread.https://twitter.com/BrianMsafiri/status/1183657264130990080
The genesis of this incident was the open nature of Google places where people can edit information of places, and if no one is keen enough to confirm them or check them, unsuspecting customers use the contacts, and hence, the fraud occurs without any form of reprieve. So, what should be done? Businesses ought to ensure that all information posted on Google places is accurate and is updated to avoid such scenarios.
It is also crucial for the end-users to participate in reviewing information given on this platform. The goal of crowdsourcing is for participation for the crowd. If more people checked and reviewed information provided online, it would be much easier to trust it and verify it as opposed to a single review or post with little interaction.
Google Local Tour
Google is attempting to solve the national addressing problems by sending influencers to discover new places and post them on social media. Through this method, more locations will be found and it will solve the last-mile delivery problem. They recently conducted the Kisumu with Google Tour where places were added onto the Google places. If similar drives are to be held in all parts of the country, then it will go a long way in solving the last-mile delivery problem. The biggest hindrance of e-commerce in the local markets apart from trust is the lack of a national addressing system. The colonial addresses remain intact to date, with minimal effort being made to expand the addresses.