E-commerce platforms and online trading have been gaining popularity in Kenya in the recent past. This has been facilitated with Kenyans embracing technology and internet whole heartedly. Mobile phones are the primary gadgets which most Kenyans use to access internet as opposed to PCs. Almost half of the Kenyan population have access to a smart phone and tablets which they use to purchase goods online. During last year’s holiday shopping, a third of all online purchases came from a mobile phone. In fact, statistics show that Kenyans have an internet penetration similar to some of the most developed countries or even better. Because of this, more Kenyans now prefer to shop online than visiting normal retail stores because of convenience. We’ve seen platforms like OLX Kenya, Jumia, Kilimall and many others come up offering goods and services online and at discounted and affordable prices.
However, today I want to focus on the OLX Kenya classifieds platform. In Kenya, over 2.8 million people visit the OLX platform monthly making it one of the most visited e-commerce sites in the country. They say everything sells on OLX but of course with a few exceptions. OLX Kenya has been able to make a name for itself for being a family friendly platform where the sale of drugs and weapons is not allowed. Through the platform, an individual can be able to sell used items which are no longer in use. Some trade them for other items while others exchange them with cash. Statistics show that there are over ksh 120 billion worth of used items that are no longer in use. This presents a huge opportunity for trading in used goods and what other better platform to do this than OLX. Remember this in the long run creates employment opportunities for many Kenyans.
Everyone including me has been asking how OLX Kenya makes money since the freemium model is the basic model for the platform. Well, they are now making money. OLX introduced the Sell It For Me service for selling cars where a verified OLX Champ posts a vehicle for sale on behalf of the seller. OLX takes over the responsibility of actively looking for a buyer for the vehicle. The OLX Champ manages the entire account, and oversees the entire transaction until they find a buyer. To use the champ, you have to pay a commitment fee of KES 2000. Then, for sellers who want their ads to appear at the top, they have to pay for top ads in order to reach more people. And finally, you have to pay to post a tractor. Yes, tractors are hot cake on the OLX platform. The Sell It For Me service will also be applied in the real estate sector starting next year and will be based more on demand from the buyers.
Over the years, the OLX Kenya platform has been going on an upward trend ever since the first time it came into the market in 2014. They have gone from selling electronic appliances and phones to selling of second-hand cars, helicopters, food and even pets. The category on pets actually has the most visitors compared to any other category. A few interesting things that have happened on the platform include 6000 daily ads on quail and quail eggs during the quail craze, 25 helicopters sold during this year’s election period and , wait for it… an omena seller making KES 1 million in a year from just selling omena.
OLX promised to improve the user experience on their platform and we’ve seen issues to do with con-men reduce with time due to the introduction of a new phone number verification feature and OLX champs in order to make the platform secure and trustworthy. Also anyone intending to sell goods from their shop has to first send their business permit to OLX for verification and authentication purposes.