Top 7 Ecommerce Platforms for Kenyan SMEs in 2023

are some powerful and affordable platforms preferred by businesses that are running eCommerce stores in Kenya

The advent of eCommerce brought forth with it a new era of unparalleled retail experience. In Kenya, these channels are growing in popularity due to low-cost sales, shopping convenience, and improved technology. The coronavirus pandemic also played a part in accelerating this adoption, as many retailers were forced to rethink the place of e-commerce in their business along with their overall web presence.

Many businesses are looking to leverage this technology to build and grow their marketplaces while solving consumer’s everyday needs. This comes at a time when there is increased attention on SME growth, both locally and internationally; a move that has led to large eCommerce players creating handy marketplaces within their platforms to help third users sell.

New to eCommerce? Read on to learn everything you need to give your eCommerce venture a head-start.

While its importance is undisputable, it is quite difficult, expensive, and almost outright impossible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to create a full eCommerce solution in-house from scratch.

Luckily, there are a plethora of eCommerce solutions available for them such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Jumia, and ClickFunnels to name a few. Each of the channels harnesses technology to offer micro-enterprises an opportunity to market their goods by linking them with customers looking for their services.

Why use Ecommerce Platforms in Your Business?

Apart from positioning small businesses on a more equal footing with large retailers, eCommerce has other benefits as outlined below.

  • Worldwide reach – The internet being an enabler of online shopping stores, they provide a market that traverses geographical borders breaking free of the limitation that physical outlets impose on customers.
  • Low barriers to trade – Ecommerce has broken down trade barriers by helping developing countries, small businesses, vulnerable communities, women, and young entrepreneurs to participate in international trade. SMEs and start-ups can easily set up their stores with minimal investments in eCommerce solutions.
  • Cost savings – With automated purchase orders, check-outs, invoicing, payment processing, and inventory management, eCommerce platforms have almost completely negated the high cost of labor as well as other inevitable expenses. These channels also offer low costs in terms of engagement with existing customers as well as promoting businesses to new customers. 
  • Improved cash flow – By investing in ecommerce tools, you open up new revenue streams for your business. Since your online store is always open, customers can shop whenever and wherever, at their convenience — you can actually make money when you’re asleep. A business model like dropshipping frees up cash that would’ve otherwise been spent on stock inventory.
  • Easy analysis – eCommerce platforms provide in-depth analytics that avail business owners an easy way to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of their retail activities. It offers an easy way to carry out a sales campaign and other customer engagement initiatives. Through data analysis, SMEs can better understand consumer preferences to better meet their needs. 

Here is a list of the best eCommerce platforms for SMEs in Kenya:


1. Shopify

Shopify is one of the most popular B2B eCommerce platforms for small businesses. It was started in 2004 by a team of snowboarding enthusiasts and today it claims over 1 million businesses across 175 countries. 

The platform is best for start-ups and SMEs looking for an easy and effective online store for their business as well as existing retail companies who need their hands held through the first steps into the world of eCommerce. It comes with everything a business needs – from storefront interface to content marketing to performance evaluation. Once all the online store basics are set up, the next is a matter of upgrading it with plugins and modules to fit your needs.

It offers a plethora of advantages including automated taxes, shipping rates, and support for multiple languages. Through Shopify, businesses can provide free shipping and wide support for a range of credit cards including Visa, Discover, American Express, MasterCard, and more. Shopify also supports other payment gateways such as Paypal

The platform also offers built-in support for abandonment checkout recovery where it automatically sends reminder emails to customers who add products to their carts but don’t finish the checkout process.

In a nutshell, Shopify allows you to sell online with an eCommerce website, sell on social media, fulfill orders quickly and precisely, accept any payment, and get paid quickly.


2. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a free, open-source shopping cart plugin for WordPress utilized by 30 percent of all stores on the internet.

The platform is best for small businesses that already have a WordPress website that need an easy-to-set-up marketplace or those who are cash-constrained but still fancy a robust eCommerce store.

Through its ability to support various features using a single click, WooCommerce has attracted many users. It also supports several extensions and themes for free. Another reason why it offers an easy solution for eCommerce is that it supports flexible and secure payments, accepts major credit cards, payment gateways, and supports deposits. WooCommerce also makes it very easy to manage orders with a neat and modern interface.

With support for mobile apps and a huge collection of free and paid extensions as well as unlimited customizations, the only limiting factor is the business’s willingness to set up their online cart services.


3. Kwaki Classifieds

Let’s face it. Most ordinary small scale businesspeople in Kenya don’t know how to do digital marketing. They do not understand the intricacies of what goes into making a successful online brand. Lots of them are too busy running their businesses to devote the hours needed to learning how to create a social media strategy or what an email list can do for their business. They are thus hesitant to spend their money online as they don’t understand how it pays off.

This is what makes Kwaki’s value proposition so enticing: they do the marketing, while you focus on selling.

Kwaki classifieds empower businesses to sell their products and services by providing free ad listings. It doesn’t matter how tech savvy you are, you can quickly add your products and services onto the platform using their user-friendly interface. Your products are then visible to the thousands of daily visitors that visit the website.

Becoming a seller at Kwaki is as easy as creating a free account with them. Upon verification, you can then start posting ads on the platform. At the moment, Kwaki allows users to create unlimited classifieds on the website for free. They have a responsive customer support team who can quickly address any queries you have and guide you through using the system.

4. ClickFunnels

ClickFunnels is another popular online store platform that simplifies online retail trade for all types of businesses. It features funnels that are customized to fit a specific niche. Small businesses can use ClickFunnels to enhance online marketing, selling, and delivery of their products and services giving consumers funnel options that are pre-built for a specific business, product, or service.

Using this eCommerce tool, businesses can create marketing and sales funnels with ease and incorporate all the core elements a desirable online store should have. The best part about ClickFunnels is that you can opt to build your sales funnel from scratch. This way you can add text, images, payment integration, checkout carts, opt-in forms, among others. It integrates with Paypal, Stripe, and other payment options.

One other notable feature of ClickFunnels is that businesses can create affiliate programs for products and services. This way, they can give links to other individuals to sell their products for a commission. By doing this, businesses are creating a team of personal salespersons who will help their business increase their sales. 

While ClickFunnels is a lot pricier than the other options listed in this article, it is by far the best marketing funnel tool on the internet today.

5. Jumia

Undoubtedly one of the leading eCommerce sites in Africa, Jumia lives true to its commitment to connecting entrepreneurs and consumers in the continent. It creates an appealing platform for small and medium-sized enterprises to link with their potential market.

The platform allows the listing of many types of products including electronics, household items, workout gear, and accessories. With services customized to each country, Jumia allows convenient eCommerce payment methods such as cash, mobile money, and major credit card payment options.

It features a simplistic design with a wonderful interface that makes shopping and selling of goods and services so much fun. On top of that, Jumia offers logistic services facilitating the shipping of orders from abroad. 

Jumia currently operates in 14 African countries with a network of more than half a million sellers since it was started. 

Jumia is active in recruiting sales agents through its JForce program, providing an income-generating avenue for thousands of African youth.

6. Facebook and Instagram Shops

In mid-2020, Facebook and Instagram introduced “shops” to help small business people sell their products through the two popular platforms. Through these, globally available shops business owners can create a dedicated store section on their Facebook Page or Instagram account and craft a catalog of their services and products where buyers can browse through, save, share, or make a purchase.

Unlike the other types of e-commerce platforms highlighted in this post, Facebook and Instagram shops are especially very convenient and valuable to SMEs. They are free, easy to create, and fast. Better yet, they are integrated across the Facebook family apps, which means that once a business sets up its Shop, it can be easily available on its Instagram and Facebook pages.

Facebook Shops also have high customization capability. With utmost convenience and flexibility, a seller can choose what products to feature and personalize the look and feel of their stores to capture the personality of their brand.

Small businesses can also benefit from Facebook’s partnership with other e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Woocommerce, Channel Advisor, among others in transferring their products into Facebook Shops. 

As e-commerce platforms, Facebook and Instagram shops also allow businesses to utilize third-party platforms to manage their stores.

7. Magento

Like WooCommerce, Magento is another open-source eCommerce platform popular across the world. Originally released in 2009, Magento has grown to become a favorite hub for small and medium-sized enterprises – with an already established demand – to offer attractive and effective shopping and checkout solutions for its customers. 

The platform is endlessly customizable which is beneficial for sellers with unusual or exclusive products or those that change their niches over time. Being open-source, the platform allows the sharing of website changes and customizations made for others to implement in their stores for free. It also allows lots of payment possibilities by integrating with existing channels such as PayPal and

Magento has an extensive library of extensions a seller can in their online carts to facilitate an easy experience. Better yet, the platform presents businesses with lots of features not utilized by other eCommerce platforms including easy expansion to multiple locations, sites, and currencies. It also helps businesses grow their online presence and sales through scalability, adaptability, and spot-on analytics.

That said, based on the above-listed eCommerce platforms for SMEs in Kenya, you can easily find the best platform for your online shopping business. Different platforms offer different prices and features, but whichever channel you choose, ensure that it has good hosting, a user-friendly interface, intuitive shopping carts, and convenient payment solutions, as well as security for your online store and customer data.

Do you need help creating and running your online store? Perhaps you’re looking to adopt a Direct-To-Consumer approach in your business using e-commerce tools. We help businesses like yours deploy eCommerce solutions that reach millions of people monthly.

Reach to us today and we’ll help you create a customized e-commerce solution for your business:

These are the top ecommerce platforms in Kenya summarized:

1. Shopify

Empowers businesses to easily and quickly set up their ecommerce website.

2. WooCommerce

An open-source solution to add ecommerce functionality to your WordPress website

3. Kwaki

A classifieds website that enables sellers to quickly get selling on the internet. Users can pay a small fee to get prioritized in search listings.

4. ClickFunnels

Easily create funnels to sell products or services online.

5. Jumia

Enables small-scale businesses to sell through their online platform.

6. Facebook & Instagram Shops

Enables users to shop while surfing on social media.

7. Magento

A powerful tool to get your ecommerce engine revving at max RPM.