Always Present, Kenya’s online retailer, positioned at the cutting-edge of next shopper revolution

Those living in Kenya or planning to visit the country should not worry, online shopping is now much easier, interesting and convenient courtesy of Always Present, Kenya’s leading online retailer, says the firm’s managing director Annabel Dugdale.

Always Present is an online shopping site offering range of products including Home and Garden category, where all essentials needed to make or furnish a house — from kitchen, sitting room, bedroom, children’s room and office — are offered.

The gifts for children, youth, and adults for different occasions including birthdays, Christmas, weddings are also on offer. The firm also offers corporate hampers, sandstorms, mat bronze, kitengela glass, which Dugdale says are on high demand. Other categories comprise Books, Kids, Beauty and Fashion.

Dugdale explained to HumanIPO that the firm provides an efficient means to make shopping for international and local people as it has delivery points.

“Potential customers should not worry on how they will evade traffic jam in Nairobi since all is now possible on the click of the button,” she said.

The prices at the site on all products are what the company charges, she says. Online secure payment services available and include M-pesa, MasterCard’s, cash and cheque.

Dugdale said her main reason for coming up with the idea of online services was to offer door to door delivery services to all customers irrespective of geographical location.
The company was launched two years ago but started online operation in October last year. It currently has more than 200 Kenyan products. The firm’s turnover sales since last year, according to Dugdale, is at KSh1 Million (US$11,840).

In Kenya, the evolution of retailing has witnessed a number of significant changes over generations from grocery stores, specialized shops in major urban centres, extensive department stores to even larger shopping malls in the suburbs.

Analysts see many complex and economic social forces underpinning the dramatic shifts. Each phase however represents the triumph of successive retail innovation all focused on ensuring convenience.

Always Present becomes part of the latest retailing innovations. It is among the first companies in the Kenya to unveil the first ever-online retailing services. Others include Kenya Interactive Online Shopping Kiosk (KIOSK) and Kenya’s Online Shopping Bay (KBAY), Maduga and Kalahari.co.ke among other sites offers online services in the country.

Not long ago, people shopped in their local stores. Even when online shopping was available, people felt uncomfortable using their credit cards and giving their personal information to cyber-shops. That has all changed as online buying has increased significantly worldwide. IBIS World research projects an 8.6 percent per year increase in online revenues in the next five years.

Studies indicate that the money spent by Australian shoppers, for example, is projected to increase by about US$10 billion within the next five years.

Kenya’s shoppers, like the rest of the world, have been reluctant to make their online shopping citing security of online shopping. More of them are however now prepared to buy on the Net because of faster delivery, easier return policies, and many sites offering free shipping have also increased the desirability of online buying.

In other African countries including Nigeria,, South Africa and Ghana, fast-paced online technology has prompted online technology.

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) however, the number of online users are still far below the world average of around 30 percent, although the number is increasing as Africans become more familiar and proficient with online shopping.

E-commerce activities have expanded in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya both due to the increase in the number of mobile phone use and availability of faster Internets.

In South Africa, 51 percent of individuals with internet access shop online. In Kenya, 18 to 24 percent make online purchases. In Nigeria approximately 28% of the population has internet access according to ITU figures.

The number of mobile mobile subscriptions has topped 87 million. A new generation of Internet developers are eager to increase buying options by providing discounted deals on a wide range of products and services. Analysts indicate that a lack of convenient and reliable electronic payment services for online shoppers is a major problem confronted throughout Africa.

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