WhatsApp is the most preferred sales and marketing channel for small and medium-sized businesses. According to a survey by SME Consultancy firm Viffa Consult, the messaging platform has proven effective in business growth.
The survey which assesses the utility of e-commerce among small businesses in Kenya also featured other third party platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Jumia as well as walk-in customers as top acquisition channels for consumers.
Social media ranked as the second most popular sales and marketing channel after referrals. The report showed that businesses on WhatsApp and Facebook often sell through open and closed groups.
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Government backed trade-fairs, private sector lobbies, walk-in customers and third party websites were also featured in the survey. Individuals account for 59% of SMEs’ customers, with private companies and the government each accounting for 12% of the small businesses’ customers.
Despite the increasing influence and use of e-commerce channels for buying and selling, lack of cost-effective delivery, a lack of finance, and a lack of fit with target customers have been identified as barriers to adoption.
Other barriers identified include lack of technical skills and IT knowledge, as well as an inability to weigh the costs and benefits of implementing e-commerce.