Mobile Commerce Fast Becoming Key Driver Of Africa’s Digital Economy

E-commerce has; up until fairly recently, represented the latest iteration of digital-enabled shopping, revolutionizing the way customers shop and interact with retail brands.

However, most recently, more widespread and rapidly expanding mobile penetration has led to the rise of mobile commerce – browsing and buying goods and services online using a mobile device.

Mobile commerce puts buying power in the hands of consumers, serving the increased demand for absolute convenience and ease of access.

Kenya is a key example of how this trend is taking shape within African territories, with data provided by Statista indicating that in 2021, mobile commerce took the lead, accounting for 55% of all online purchases in Kenya.

In light of this rise and to meet evolving consumer demands, Beko, one of the top 3 large home appliance brands in Europe* with a strong footprint in Africa, is pleased to announce its entry into the mobile commerce space with the rollout of a WhatsApp-powered service.

Through the innovative use of instant messaging, it aims to diversify its communication strategy to better serve the needs of its increasingly mobile customer base in Kenya.

Using WhatsApp, consumers across Kenya will be able to shop a wide range of electronic products via their mobiles and communicate directly with local dealers as well as current and potential Beko customers.

Mustafa Soylu, CEO of Beko Appliances in Sub Sahara, says that they are incredibly excited to be able to offer the new commerce platform to customers in Kenya as the first of its kind in Beko stores across the African continent.

“Owing to a fast-growing digitisation, Kenya is considered a regional leader in this space, creating enormous opportunities for both public and private sectors to tap into. Through this initiative, Beko will leverage the rapid expansion of e-commerce and the parallel growth of mobile penetration, driven by improved connectivity throughout the country. These formative advancements are materialisations of rapid digitisation and the growing desire among consumers to have quicker, more streamlined access to products and information,”.

“WhatsApp is the most widely adopted form of communication in Kenya and an intuitive move for the Beko brand. Our development teams have worked hard behind the scenes to create a seamless user experience that includes a product catalogue and additional, useful information. We have also ‘closed the loop’ by enabling direct purchases through WhatsApp. The result is an end-to-end digital experience that meets the needs and buying preferences of our Kenyan customer base.”

Expanding on how the platform will work, Soylu explains that customers can select products they are interested in purchasing and then opt into one-on-one communication with any of the Beko partner stores in the country. Digital assistants will stand by to answer the questions of customers, attend to any queries that come through via WhatsApp and facilitate the sales process which will occur in-app, without requiring a physical visit to a Beko store.

As Soylu adds, the launch of this service offering is perfectly timed as consumers head into the holiday season. “We’re putting the functionality back into the festive season by embracing the capabilities of digital tools to make our customers’ lives and shopping experiences simpler.

Consumers will have access to a quick view of the full range of Beko products through an automated catalogue on WhatsApp as well as additional information on the products. They can make purchases through the available agents and pay for them using the mobile money platform: M-Pesa. Our plan is to incorporate credit card facilities through the app in the future. The service also allows users to register warranties, request user manuals and log service calls.”

Currently, Beko has listed three partners on the channel, recording at least 300 daily transactions and looking at expanding this to over 100,000 interactions in 2023.

“We expect a significant rise in usage of the channel this festive season as Kenyans reward themselves or buy electronic gifts for friends, families and loved ones,” concludes Soylu.

Beko has been operating in Kenya since 2012, and its belief that healthy living is only possible on a healthy planet informs every aspect of the business, from product development to business decisions and its desire to engage hard-to-reach communities across the globe. Through its two branded partner stores, Beko focuses on providing a tailored experience for Kenyan consumers.

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Luis Robinson

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