How to Start an Online Business in Kenya

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Website Development: Crafting a Compelling Online Presence
This article covers:
Planning and Research
Setting Up Your Business
Building Your Online Presence

As the booming e-commerce market continues to grow in Kenya, transactions are expected to reach $3.1 billion in 2024 and keep growing at a healthy clip of over 6% annually, reaching nearly $4 billion by 2028. 

This growth is fueled by a rising user base, expected to hit 12.9 million by 2028. The average person is projected to spend around $360 per transaction this year, but that number could rise as well.

This rise presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs in Kenya to position their businesses for growth online. With the right online strategy you can convert this opportunity to leverage the potential of e-commerce. In this guide, we will cover the fundamental practices and steps that can either make or break your venture into doing business online and thriving in the booming e-commerce market in Kenya.

Market Research: Uncovering Opportunities and Demand

Before you think of venturing into the world of online business, you have to know what you are up against. Who are your competitors? What's the demand for your product or service? Do not assume there is an existing market waiting for you.

Conduct thorough market research, identify pitfalls in your competitor's strategy, and point out lucrative opportunities and consumer demand. Analyse market trends and consumer preferences to gain insights into potential niches and target audiences. Tools like Google Trends and social media analytics can help you find valuable data to inform business decisions, and it’s important to leverage them.


Before launching that online business, there are questions that you must answer:

  • Are there existing companies that provide comparable goods or services?

  • Will there be a gradual rise or fall in the demand for this product?

  • Will it be challenging to make a profit?

  • What is the primary issue that your product or service resolves?

  • Will money be spent by individuals to address this issue?


Business Registration: Formalising Your Venture 

Having identified your business’s target market, the next step will be to professionally register the business in line with the legal requirements of Kenya. Ensure your company is properly registered with relevant agencies, like the Business Registration Service (BRS). Obtain the licenses and permissions it needs to run lawfully. 

Depending on your interests and goals, choose the form of business that best describes them, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). 

Furthermore, starting an online business in Kenya involves registering with various entities. The core registrations include the Registrar of Companies, National Social Security Fund (NSSF), National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Additionally, you'll need a business permit from your County Government, which may have further requirements based on your business type.


Website Development: Crafting a Compelling Online Presence

Website Development: Crafting a Compelling Online Presence

As soon as you have all the legal work sorted to start up your online business, it’s time to go full throttle on making your business online presence count! Your website acts as your primary online salesperson. It's like your digital storefront—a place where customers can explore your offerings and get to know your brand.

Craft a customer-centric website that's your launchpad for success. Here's what makes a great e-commerce website:

  • Search engine friendly: Get discovered easily online.

  • Effortless navigation: Let customers find what they need fast.

  • Mobile-friendly: Cater to the growing number of mobile shoppers.

  • Product powerhouses: Include detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and clear pricing.

  • Trustworthy transparency: Outline your privacy policies and data protection measures to build customer confidence.

  • Seamless payment options: Offer a variety of safe and secure payment gateways for a smooth checkout experience.

Once your website is rocking, it's time to spread the word! Simply level up your reach by marketing your business online. Consider strategies like online advertising or engaging with potential customers on social media.


Fulfilment Methods: Delivering Excellence to Customers:

The online business in Kenya is very competitive, and hence, to maintain high-level customer satisfaction, one must have seamless order fulfilment and brand loyalty. Different types of online businesses experience different shipping pains. It is therefore important to look for reliable providers and, among others, choose one with fast and reliable shipping lanes like DHL Express, which offers tailored shipping solutions for online businesses in Kenya.

At DHL Express, you benefit from having the greatest reach in the world, tracking your shipments from end-to-end, and a fast shipping option so your customers receive orders on time, both nationwide and beyond.

For more, you can open a DHL Express business account today.