How to Start an Online Business in Kenya 2024 (Quick Guide!)

Kenya’s ecommerce sector is quickly growing and currently ranks 74th globally. According to studies, the industry is expected to be worth at least $801.4 million by the end of the year, and every hawk-eye investor is seeking how to start an online business in Kenya.

You can start an online business in Kenya by first identifying what to sell, registering your domain name, branding the business, identifying a reliable supplier, and building the store. Then, arrange for deliveries, set up payments, start marketing, and build a team.

It takes nine quick steps to start a business in Kenya, run it legally, and be able to compete against the existing online stores. I’ll share what to do  

I’ll also share the advantages of starting an online business in Kenya and, more importantly, brilliant business ideas to consider. Here’s what we shall cover:

  • Why start an online business in Kenya?
  • How do you start an online business in Kenya?
  • Which online businesses can you start in Kenya?

Let’s dive in!

how to start an online business in kenya

In a rush? Below is an overview of the nine steps for starting a business in Kenya:

Quick Steps on How to Start an Online Shop in Kenya

StepsWhat to Do
1Identify what you would want to sell online.
2Register your site’s domain and business name.
3Brand your business
4Identify a reliable supplier.
5Build your website
6Arrange for deliveries
7Set up the payments
8Start marketing your online business.
9Build a team for your business.

Why Start a Genuine Online Business in Kenya?

There are numerous reasons you may want to start your business in Kenya. As I mentioned, Kenya’s ecommerce economy is quickly growing. So many Kenyans turn to the internet to order a product or seek a service, where you capitalize as an online store owner.

So many places have access to fast internet, which has helped Kenya’s ecommerce sector grow. And since the industry is growing fast, online businesses are easy to scale in Kenya. You can easily transition from a local site to an international target.

Furthermore, it’s not expensive to start an online business in Kenya. With a budget of Ksh 5K – Ksh 10,000, you can set up an online shop or website if you have some coding and web design background. It only becomes expensive when you hire people – a web designer, programmer, social media manager, customer support agent, and the like.

A Guide On How to Start an Online Business in Kenya

Here are nine simple steps to help you start an online business in the country:

Step 1 – Product/Service Selection

What do you want to sell online? It could be a physical or digital product or just a service. Whatever it is, do proper market research to see if you’ve got what it takes to start and run the business.

According to the research I mentioned earlier, some niches are doing better in the Kenya ecommerce sector than others. Here’s a breakdown of their market shares:

Niche or Ecommerce CategoryEcommerce Market Share
Hobbies and Leisure21.7%
Furniture and Homeware11.7%
Care Products8.3%
Best online business in kenya

Step 2 – Domain and Business Name Registration

Even though it doesn’t apply to all online businesses, you should register your business domain name if you plan to run an online store or website. You must also register the business name just like any other formal business to be legally recognized as a taxpayer in the country.

Regarding the domain name registration, you’ll need to register it with your hosting service. For one, I register my website domains with Bluehost and Namecheap. However, there are still other local hosting services you may consider.

Regarding the business name registration, visit the e-Citizen portal to get started. Cost-wise, the domain and business name registration may cost you about Ksh 1,000 each. That makes it Ksh 2,000 in total.

Note: The domain name could also be the business name if it’s not taken. You can tell that during the registration.

Step 3 – Business Branding

Having reserved your domain and business name, it’s time to give your online business a unique identity. This requires creating a unique logo, color scheme, and graphics.

Everything should resonate with what your online business is all about. If you can’t do the branding yourself, consider hiring a graphic designer.

Step 4 – Supplier Identification

Unless it’s a service business, you need someone to supply you with the merchandise you plan to sell online. This could be a wholesale or manufacturer. Whoever you go for, ensure they are reliable and offer the best quality products.

Step 5 – Website Building

A lot goes on behind the scenes when creating a professional website. If you have some coding and web design knowledge, you can set up the website yourself if it’s not too complicated. However, if you don’t know anything, you may want to hire an expert web designer and developer to set it up for you.

At this point, you also have to pay for the hosting if you didn’t do it when registering for the domain name. The hosting could cost you about Ksh 5,000 – Ksh 7,000 per year for shared hosting.   

Step 6 – Delivery Arrangement

Your customers will likely want you to deliver the merchandise to their doorstep or somewhere close. So, you’ve to consider that. Ensure the delivery route you opt for favors both parties (you and the customer).

Depending on location, you may consider charging a flat rate or what courier services charge to a particular area. And if it’s around your business headquarters, you can offer free deliveries.

Step 7 – Payment Setup

You must also set up payment options on your website to allow customers to pay you before delivery. That includes MPESA pay bills and credit cards, two of the most typical online payment options.

Alternatively, if the business is small, you can work on a pay-on-delivery basis.

online business in kenya that pay through mpesa

Step 8 – Marketing

Your target customers must know about your online business to make a sale. That means promoting it as much as possible, and you can use social media, especially Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Step 9 – Team Structuring

If it’s a big business, you’ll need help to run it. That means hiring a few people to help you, such as a stock manager (to take care of the inventory), customer support agent (to handle the customer complaints and requests), social media manager (to handle the social media aspects), and website manager (to monitor and manage the website itself).

20 Best Online Business in Kenya

Now that it’s clear what you must do to start an online business, below are 20 ideas to get you started.

Online Business in Kenya That Pay Through MPESA

Some of the best online businesses that pay through MPESA include:

1. Ecommerce Store

Consider opening an ecommerce store like Kilimall or Jumia if you plan to sell physical merchandise. That includes baby gear, beauty products, fashion, home crafts, electronics, home appliances, clothes, shoes, home decor, and pet products.

2. Dropshipping Business

You don’t need inventory to open an online store. You can do Dropshipping, which involves the following:

  • Talk to suppliers about the opportunity to advertise on their behalf online on social media or your website
  • Add your profit to the wholesale price that the supplier suggests
  • Wait for the orders to come in and relay them to the supplier
  • Pay the supplier wholesale price and keep the difference
  • Follow it up to ensure the customer gets their orders

3. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing lets you promote other companies’ and peoples’ products and earn commissions from successful sales or referrals. You can promote the products on YouTube, personal blogs, or social media.

Locally, you can sign up with Jumia or Kilimall to earn 5-10% commissions, and internationally, you can join Amazon to get 3-6% commissions on sales.

4. Online Marketplace

You are probably familiar with Jiji, PigiaMe, AutoCheck, or BuyRentKenya. They are amongst the country’s most popular online marketplaces, and you can start one to connect buyers and sellers. If so, you can charge the sellers a small fee to advertise and sell through your platform.

5. Digital Marketing Agency

Suppose you are good with online, social media, SEO, and content marketing. In that case, you can set up an online digital marketing agency to offer such services. Your goal should be to help improve your clients’ online presence so they can pay for your service.

6. Online Repair Services

If you are an expert phone, laptop, or tablet technician, you can set up an online repair service and work anywhere. You can then offer pickup and delivery service at a fee. With most of these devices failing often, you are likely to run a successful online business if you are good at your job and trustworthy.

online business in kenya without registration fee

7. Print On Demand (POD) Business

If you are an expert graphic designer, consider creating designs and adding them to tees, hoods, mugs, plates, bedsheets, and other surfaces. People will likely buy such customized items, and you can advertise them on Instagram, Facebook, or WhatsApp.

8. Online Gift Shop

With so many festivities and holidays all year round, people will always seek gifts. Thus, you can start an online gift shop where you customize gifts for clients and even do deliveries at a fee.

Online Business in Kenya Without Registration Fee

Examples of online businesses that require no registration include:

9. Freelancing Business

If you have an essential skill, you can start offering services online as a freelancer on Upwork, PeoplePerHour, or any other freelancing site. That includes online writing, online surveys, proofreading, transcription, programming, web design, app development, graphic design, virtual assistance, and remote customer care, to name a few.

10. Digital Goods

You can also sell nontangibles (digital goods) instead of physical merchandise online. That includes online courses, software, mobile apps, eBooks, tutorials, manuals, and audiobooks.

11. Blogging Business

Consider starting a personal blog like this (Centwarrior.com) if you enjoy writing and know a few things about SEO and keyword research and implementation. It allows you to earn through affiliate marketing (which I discussed earlier), paid ads, sponsored content, and digital goods sales (which I also mentioned).

12. Vlogging (Video Blogging)

You can also start a video version of a blog, what we call a vlog, and make money through views and affiliate marketing. This is particularly important if you are a YouTube fan and have something creative, informative, or entertaining to share online.

13. Online Consulting

Suppose you are an expert in a particular field such as law, health, fitness, nutrition, business, finances, agriculture, lifestyle, career coaching, or any other. In that case, you can offer consultation online through your website at a fee.

14. Online Tutoring

You can also work as a tutor online and run a business. It allows you to offer lessons as an individual or agency and charge hourly or sell packaged online courses.

how to register an online business in kenya

Other Ideas for The Best Paying Online Business in Kenya

Here are extra online business ideas to consider:

15. Travel/booking site

Start a travel or booking site like ViuTravel, Safari Bookings, or Bonfire Adventures.

16. Job portal

Connect job seekers and potential employers online, like Brighter Monday, Career Point, and My Jobs in Kenya.

17. Airbnb business

Rent out extra space on Airbnb to start receiving rental income

18. Social media group monetization

Start a group on WhatsApp or Facebook and charge sellers who wish to advertise there.

19. Forex trading

Make a profit buying and selling currencies through forex trading in Kenya.

20. Online photography 

As a photographer in Kenya, you can upload creative photos on stock image sites such as Shutterstock, Alamy, and Getty Images and earn royalties/commissions from sales.

Concluding Thought On How to Start an Online Business in Kenya:

Generally, you must do a few things to start a legal online business in Kenya and succeed. That includes determining what to sell, registering your business and domain, branding the business, choosing the right supplier, setting up the online store, deliveries, and payments, marketing the business, and building a supportive team around you.

And as shared, there are at least 20 intelligent online business ideas to consider. If you need help getting started, contact the Cent Warrior family or visit our online store for fantastic resources that could help address your financial challenge.

Written by Alex

Written by Alex

I have passion in helping people Make, Manage, Multiply & Protect Wealth.Download my Free Guide to Financial Freedom >>[ GET IT HERE]<<