How to Shop on Ali Express and pay via Mpesa

The Mpesa success story continues to attract attention around the world. The payment method has made it easy, safe, and convenient for buyers and sellers to complete transactions.  Mpesa API integration in Kenya enables business owners to receive quick payments on online stores. The service has also promoted businesses that sell products or services via mobile apps.

Safaricom has never settled at any milestone. Despite the popularity and profits from Mpesa in the Kenyan market, the company continues to extend the service to new global markets. The MPesa Global initiative led to new partnerships to global leaders that facilitate funds transfer across countries.

Safaricom’s Partnership with Ali Express

Safaricom recently announced the collaboration with Ali Express, a global market place, which was great news to many Kenyan traders. The greatest pain for most entrepreneurs that import goods is paying for the products. Many have been borrowing cards from friends to complete online transactions. The Mpesa- Ali Express partnership has come to the rescue of these traders.

The initiative targets more than 21 million customers that regularly use Mpesa for local transactions. One of the major benefits of the service is that buyers do not need to convert the Kenyan shilling into other currencies. Choosing the Mpesa payment option automatically gives the cost of goods in Kenyan shillings.

How to pay for products on Ali Express via Mpesa

1. Download the Ali Express app

The new service is accessible via the Ali Express app. It is no surprise to the Kenyan buyers since all major companies have been pushing for business via mobile apps. Developers have been offering Mpesa API integration in Kenya services for both e-commerce platforms and mobile apps. However, shopping via mobile apps is becoming more popular because of the deals that sellers offer.

Ali Express sets the pace for e-commerce platforms around the world. Buyers can get almost any product from China on the platform. The same experience and convenience is now available via the company’s app. Hence, the first step for any buyer that wants to enjoy the new service is to download and install the app.

2. Shop for what you need

The good thing about Ali Express is that all the products on the online store are available via the app. You will access the product description with clear images of the products that you need. Add all the items to your cart and proceed to check out.

3. Select the Mpesa payment option

Mpesa appears among the payment option on the Ali Express app. Click on the Mpesa icon and complete the process. The same process of Mpesa payments applies to this service. Provide your mobile number that is registered for the Mpesa service and complete the transaction with your secret PIN code.  The challenge now is for the manufacturer or supplier to deliver the products within the shortest time frame.

Who benefits from the Mpesa-Ali Express partnership?

Kenyans are a bit concerned about the real beneficiaries of the new service. While the launch and campaign around the initiative flag buyers as the major beneficiaries, some think that Chinese manufacturers will benefit most. The reality is that the Kenyan industrial sector is still behind the manufacturing sector in China.

The Chinese e-commerce platform offers a wider range of products at varying prices, which are unavailable in the Kenyan market. It is up to Kenyan manufacturers to expand their product range and quality to meet the needs in the local market. Chinese suppliers will earn higher profits as more Kenyans shop with the convenience of paying via Mpesa. Safaricom will also benefit from the increased Mpesa transactions.

The initiative should spur the interest of Kenyans to build such e-commerce platforms that attract global suppliers. Platforms such as Jumia, Kilimall, Cheki, and OLX have already set the pace for online shopping in Kenya. However, as Mpesa service expands to global markets, Kenyans need to think of e-commerce platforms that meet global standards.

In addition to offering Mpesa API integration in Kenya services, developers have a part to play in setting the standard of online shopping in the country. The choice of Ali Express to offer the Mpesa payment option on the app only points to the need for functional mobile apps for businesses. Shoppers should have the same or even better experience when using a mobile app to buy goods. Developers play a critical role in enabling business owners to give shoppers such an experience.

How to Migrate From One Domain to Another without Losing SEO and Traffic

Muva recently moved from muva.co.ke to muva.tech. Our greatest concern like most website owners was the possible effect on traffic and rankings. Hence, before making the move, we considered all the factors that could affect our SEO. Remember that we had built a strong brand around the old domain for 8 years but the change was necessary.

The fear of losing flowing traffic holds many website owners from making such a big move even when it is clearly necessary. You need to be certain that switching domains is necessary even before considering the effects. You could lose all the years of SEO and branding if you switch domains at the wrong time.

It is advisable to move during a slow period in your financial year. The reality is that even with the best planned migration, temporary traffic fluctuations are inevitable.  Search engines take some time to update the index of the new domain. If you are certain that it is the right time for the move, take the following steps:

1. Crawl your website

Prepare a list of all URls and meta descriptions of the old website. A tool like Screaming Frog can help you pick all the links and identify redirects and errors. Remove or replace any links that direct traffic to 404 pages. You also need to list all the pages in your old site from your database. Crawling tools may leave out important pages.

2. Use a test server

Even with a complete list of URLs and pages, you still need to test if everything works privately. Avoid going public before testing and confirming that all redirects are working properly. Fix any errors or broken links that you may find when running the tests. It never hurts to run several tests with different tools to be sure. Web developers can recommend the best tools for such tests.

3. Maintain the URL architecture

The recommended way to migrate to a new site is to keep the URL architecture identical. The reason is that when you change the architecture, Google may interpret the new site as a different site. Hence, you will lose your rankings in the new site. In addition, maintaining the URl architecture simplifies the process of redirecting old pages to the new pages. The redirect workload on the server is lesser when the architecture for both sites is identical.

4. Check duplicate content

The best way to solve issues of duplicate content is through self-canonization of all new pages. The process ensures that only one version of a URL is published. Self-canonization is also a way of telling the search engine that the new site is the new location of the old site. Check your folders to see if more than one folder leads to the same content. In addition, ensure that all IP addresses redirect to the new URLs.

5. Keep a copy of your Google Analytics

You will never know if you lost any traffic during the migration if you have no benchmark. A copy of the current analytics acts as your benchmark. Monitor the traffic to your top pages after the migration. You can run analytics on the new site and compare it page by page with the old site. Consequently, you can determine the specific pages that need special SEO attention. The reality is that if old pages with the highest number of inbound links go down in terms of SEO, the ranking of the new site will be low after the migration.

6. Update internal links

HTML links on the new site will automatically redirect to the new site if you migrate in the right way. However, depending on this automated process is risky. The redirect process takes longer and the slow loading time affects the page rank. Search and replace all internal links on the site’s database. Be careful with the updates to ensure that only the text with a HTML link is updated and that the folder structure remains the same.

7. Avoid removing pages

You might not need all the old pages on the new site. However, deleting many pages during a migration will hurt your SEO efforts. Google views the new site as a new website and you now have to work your way up again. The best strategy is to keep all the pages and remove the unnecessary pages later when the traffic is back to normal. However, if some pages must be removed, keep a list of the pages. Set the replacement links where necessary and remove all links to the old pages. Avoid redirecting the removed pages to the home page.

8. Keep the old domain

Many website owners sell their old domains after migrating to a new site. The general advice is to sell the old domain when Google stops indexing the domain. However, you can lose the redirects from the old site to the new site along the way. If you no longer have control over the old domain, you will lose all the inbound links from the old site. It is possible that the migration was to lead to the sale of the old domain, but if you can, keep the old site in your control.

9. Check the sites for errors and redirects

Every link on the new site should lead a functional page. Visitors should not get any 301, 404, 501, or any other errors. Find a replacement for all links with errors immediately. Internal links should point to a functional page directly and not through a redirect. Your goal when monitoring the new site is to eliminate redirects because it takes longer for such pages to load. The result is a lower ranking and poor performance of a site that was high ranking before the change.

10. Monitor the performance of the new site

Track the rankings and traffic to the new site after the migration. It is advisable to pull data daily, weekly, and monthly. Conduct the page-by-page comparison consistently as you monitor the performance. Tracking performance daily helps you make quick SEO decisions right after a migration. You can identify and fix errors early before you lose your best customers to redirects or slow loading times.

Final remarks

Migrating to a new site is a risky process but sometimes necessary to build a strong brand. All the steps outlined above happen in private. However, you must publicize the move even before making the major move. Talk to your current customers or audience on all social media platforms. Press release statement and offline advertisements will help maintain your audience as well.

The reality is that you will lose some traffic in the move. However, the magnitude of the loss depends on your migration approach. Much SEO work is required to keep the traffic flow but with the steps above, you are already in the right direction even without an SEO expert. Involving a good web developer is also advisable to avoid missing any step.

The Success Story of Mpesa in Kenya

The story of Mpesa is a great inspiration to many developers given that it all started as a software development project. The mobile money service has revolutionized the marketplace by providing an easy, fast, and secure method of payment. Consequently, M-pesa integration in Kenya is almost mandatory for all entrepreneurs considering online businesses.

You have many payment options to choose from when creating a payment gateway for your online store. However, the greatest consideration for any type of business is the experience and satisfaction of your clients. In Kenya, M-pesa is widely accepted as a secure mode of payment. While they are other mobile banking services, M-pesa remains the most popular method.

We can go on about the popularity of the service but where did all this start? The world today still marvels at the idea and convenience that the concept offers to users. Let us now look at the journey of the first mobile banking service in the country.

The History of Mpesa

The concept of transferring money via the phone started with research in 2002 at Gamos. The researchers were investigating the concept of sharing airtime among subscribers. The concept was popular in Botswana, Uganda, and Ghana. Kenya soon adopted the same concept where subscribers would share their airtime with their friends and relatives. The service is still available to mobile phone users to date.

The recipients would either use the airtime or resell it for a profit. Mozambique pioneered the official airtime sharing service. The concept of transferring money via mobile devices was born out of the airtime sharing service. The researchers at Gamos continued to investigate further on how financial institutions could improve their services through mobile services.

Related post: The Most Popular Payment Gateways in Kenya

The researchers extended their study to the Kenyan market while paying attention to creating a money transfer service. One of the major shareholders at Safaricom, Vodafone began its pilot study of the concept of money transfer in 2015. However, the story of Mpesa did not begin in Kenya until a student at Moi University presented a software development project.

The project represented the full process of transferring, receiving, and withdrawing money from a mobile phone. Safaricom was quick to approach the student and buy the idea. The student agreed to transfer ownership rights to Safaricom. The company developed the idea further and launched Mpesa in 2007.

Major milestones of the M-pesa platform

When Safaricom first introduced Mpesa, the service was meant to help users borrow and repay small amounts of cash easily. The service would help microfinance institutions to offer small loans at affordable rates. It would then be easy to follow up on payments and reduce default rates by reaching borrowers on phone. However, the outcome was not as expected. Microfinance institutions encountered challenges with the service.

The initial Mpesa users preferred to use the service to make payments and transfer money instead of borrowing money. Consequently, Safaricom relaunched the service to serve the preferences of users. Since then, Mpesa is known as a convenient was of sending and receiving money, paying bills, receiving payments from clients, and saving money. Safaricom has partnered with all major banks to create a platform for Mpesa users to transfer money from their bank accounts to their mobile phones and back. As online businesses take root in the country, M-pesa integration in Kenya has become a critical service to online entrepreneurs.

Mpesa was launched in March 2007 and by November of the same year; the service had more than 1 million users. By the first anniversary, the service was nearly hitting 2 million users. Safaricom started winning awards almost immediately for the service including the Stockholm Challenge Awards and the Annual GSMA Global Mobile Awards.  Mpesa has won several awards for being the best mobile transfer service among its competitors in the region.

By September 2008, the number of active Mpesa users had reached above 4 million. The number increased further to more than 10 million by the year 2010. The partnerships with banks and service providers such as KPLC, supermarkets, schools, and hospitals contributed to the rapid increase in the number of users. Mpesa has moved on to global partnerships with services such as Western Union and PayPal. Consequently, the number of active users had more than doubled to over 20 million by the end of 2018.

Mpesa has not only taken root in Kenya but expanded to other countries as well. Vodacom launched the service in Tanzania a year after it was launched in Kenya. Although the number of active users in the country is not as high as the number in Kenya, the service has been growing over the years. Mpesa has also entered other international market including India, South Africa, Egypt, Afghanistan, Lesotho, and Mozambique.

Mpesa Integration in Kenya

Despite the popularity of the mobile money service, some business owners are still reluctant to use it for online payments. Such entrepreneurs prefer card payments for online transactions. Why should you consider M-pesa integration for e-commerce? The benefits of this mode of payment will depend on your type of business. If you target the Kenyan market with your products or services, then Mpesa payments must be on top of your list of payment options.

One way to choose a payment method is to investigate its safety and convenience to clients. Mpesa users know the need to keep their PIN code secret. Cases of Mpesa are rare because the service provider has been improving security measures over the years. It is possible for clients to reverse transactions and report any mysterious activities on their Mpesa account. Hence, you will not spend much time and money convincing clients that the payment method is safe.

Completing transactions through Mpesa is easy and fast. In addition, M-pesa integration in Kenya is affordable and fast. If you pick the right developers, you can start receiving Mpesa payments within days. However, the duration of the integration process will depend on the features of your e-commerce platform. Integration services are readily available to entrepreneurs. Safaricom Limited has made it easy to integrate the PayBill platform on websites. However, you can also integrate Mpesa as one among several payment methods via a third party.

The Most Popular Payment Gateways in Kenya

The first idea that comes to mind when payment gateways are mentioned is Mpesa API integration in Kenya. The thought is expected given the popularity of Mpesa payments in the country for online and over the counter transactions. However, not all customers that visit your online store prefer Mpesa payments. You need to consider more than one payment option to capture all segments in your target market.

Before we talk about the specific payment gateways, let us look at the factors to consider when comparing the gateways. You have many choices in the market but not all will work for your e-commerce business. Choose a payment gateway based on the following factors:

1. Security

Clients provide their confidential information at checkout if they trust the payment gateway. Choose a reputable gateway with positive feedback from previous buyers in terms of security. The providers must care for the users’ security enough to include the best security technology in their payment gateway. The best gateways offer bank-level security and bear SSL certificates that meet industrial standards. Given the importance of safety to buyers, cross check the security measures beyond the promotional messages

2. Fees charged

How much will you spend every month or year for the payment gateway? The safest gateways often attract high integration and maintenance fees. Compare the fees charged for each transaction, report, and account fees among other cost items. The cost of the online payment gateway should be reasonable depending on your earnings from the e-commerce platform.

3. Compatibility

How well does the payment gateway integrate into your e-commerce platform? The integration process should be smooth and easy for developers. Compatibility also influences the users’ experience on your platform. The experience should give clients confidence in your brand from the start to the end of every transaction.

4. Location

We are looking at payment gateways in Kenya but as you will soon discover, some are located in other countries. Clients complete the transaction smoothly on your platform but the site directs them to a third-party site at checkout. Others allow clients to complete the transaction on the same website. The best choice depends on the type of experience you want to give your clients. Some clients shy away from payments when directed to a new website.

5. Acceptable payment methods

Some payment gateways allow a specific mode of payment while some incorporate several payment methods. The decision here depends on your target clients, their location, and preferences. The reality is that one payment option might not work for all clients at all times. It is safer to give several methods even if the majority of the clients settle for one payment method.

Payment gateways in Kenya

You can choose any of the following payment gateways based on the criteria discussed in the previous section.

Mpesa API

Mpesa comes first on the list because most of the payments you will receive from Kenyan clients will come through mobile money. While other mobile money services are available, Mpesa is the most popular. Many online entrepreneurs prefer Mpesa API integration in Kenya because clients trust the payment method. Safaricom Limited has done its best to ensure that the payment method is safe. The process of Mpesa integration is simple, fast, and compatible with most e-commerce platforms.

JamboPay

The gateway offers several payment options for over-the-counter and online purchases. The payment methods include Mpesa, MasterCard, Airtel Money, Visa cards, Elma, and Kenswitch. The advantage of integrating this payment gateway is that your clients will have more than one payment method to use at checkout. The payments are fast and secure. The gateway is approved by the Central Bank of Kenya and has the best SSL certificates in the industry for data encryption.

PesaPal

The payment gateway offers more than ten payment methods including Visa, MasterCard, Mpesa, Airtel Money, Equity Bank, Co-operative Bank, American Express, and PesaPal E-Wallet. The gateway guarantees its users of bank-level security. PesaPal is available for personal and business online transactions. The gateway has attracted top companies across all industries including banking, hotels, and telecommunication among others.

MasterCard

MasterCard is one of the most secure methods of payment for online businesses. The payment gateway will work best for businesses that target both local and international clients. The gateway is trusted around the world for its top security systems. It is easy to detect fraud when using MasterCard. The only challenge with the payment gateway is the fees charged for integration. Unlike other payment gateways, you need qualified developers to create a good e-commerce platform that is compatible with MasterCard.

Shopify

The gateway is becoming popular in Kenya and other countries in Africa. Shopify offers several payment methods including Pay Gate, Bit Pay, PayPal Express Checkout, PesaPal, and Go Coin. Although most of the payment methods suit international trade, the gateway enables users to pay in their local currencies.

Direct Pay Online (DPO)

Direct Pay Limited targets travel-related companies including hotels, airlines, tour guides, and travel agents. The platform is also available to other e-commerce merchants and to individuals for paying utility bills. The company has expanded its reach to other African countries including Ethiopia, Botswana, Mauritius, Ghana, and Namibia among others. The payment options via this gateway include Mpesa, Airtel, Tigo, Voda, MTN, Visa, MasterCard, PCI, American Express, and Pesa.

MobiCard Systems

The payment gateway enables merchants to accept card and mobile payments from online buyers. The system operates under a bank-grade security system and does not store the clients’ card information on its servers. Signing up for a MobiCard enables you to receive Visa and MasterCard payments. You can also receive Mpesa payments on the same system. The service provider has streamlined the payment options to the most popular payment methods in Kenya.

Mula

The payment gateway provides an easy, fast, and secure way for clients to make payments across Africa. Users can pay bills or buy airtime within seconds. Entrepreneurs can receive payments for their social commerce products or any other product offered online. The gateway customizes the payment methods to suit the location of the user.

Final Remarks

You can tell from this list that you have several payment gateways to consider apart from Mpesa Integration in Kenya. However, you must do your part and assess the security for each gateway before integrating it into your website. It is also important to test the flow of payments to give your clients the best experience on your platform. Check the availability of the support team in case technical issues arise after integration.

5 Proven Strategies For Mobile Application User Retention

What happens after the big launch? You chose the best mobile apps development company in Kenya and they did their part. The launch is a huge success and you have a significant number of users that download your app. Many appreneurs get it right up to this point.

A study by Statista between 2012 and 2018 revealed that 38% of app users visit an app at least 11 times or more after downloading the app. About 40% of the app downloads you get after a launch is likely to become active users. Since the study involved popular apps, it is likely that the respectively developers applied some retention strategies.

Before we can recommend any retention strategies, understand that phone users will only keep an app if it solves a problem. The user will visit the app several times if it delivers the expected value. Do not oversell your app because the impact will hit after the launch. Give users the right information about the features of the app. Redesign it if you must but avoid giving promises that the app will not deliver.

A good reputation is important from the start if you want to remain relevant in this field. If the app is successful, you will develop more apps and users need to know that you or your business delivers great value. If you are sure the app meets the users’ expectations, the following strategies will boost the user retention rate:

1. Define the best retention rate for the app

You can only measure the effectiveness of your retention strategy if you define user retention correctly for your app. The definition varies from one app to another. For instance, some apps require users to access just once or twice in a week. It is unlikely that users will use an app to make payments every day. Hence, any user that transacts with the app once in a week is part of the retained users.

For a social app, daily engagement is important when measuring user retention. You want users to log in or stay logged in, share photos and videos, chat, and meet new friends. Determine the kind of behavior that shows that a user is retained for your app. You can then estimate the percentage of retained users after a launch or marketing campaign.

2. Observe your users’ habits

Having defined the metrics for user retention for your app, observe how users behave after downloading the app. For instance, how often do users open the app? What features do they visit or use? How long do they take on your app? If users rarely open some features or take the action you need, you need to redesign your marketing strategies.

You need to prompt users to take certain actions and reward them for the same. For business app, you can introduce discounts for in-app purchases and notify all users after rolling out the discounts. Notifications of new updates may prompt users to revisit the app. Use a persuasive language to announce such updates.

3. Give a seamless experience

One of the reasons why you need to be careful when choosing a mobile apps development company in Kenya is the user experience. If the developer gets it wrong, it will be almost impossible to keep the target users engaged. You understand all the features of the app clearly but the users do not have that knowledge.

Users should start learning how to use the app right from the installation stage. The app should prompt their next action and give a seamless experience. The prompts should lead them to explore all the features of the app and highlight the problems that the app can solve.

If your retention rate is low, it may be time to test the user experience on your app. Constant updates are necessary to keep improving the user experience. Keep testing the app even if the number of downloads is high to ensure that users are satisfied. Always notify users of new updates and the benefits of the updates.

4. Be creative with notifications

Notifications can be either useful or disruptive depending on the strategy used. Some users will delete an app if notifications are annoying or irrelevant. The best strategy is to test the best pattern with current users. For instance, you can send notifications thrice in a week and measure the response. You will then retain the number or reduce depending on the reaction.

The content or purpose for sending notifications matters. Always ask, is this notification necessary? The right notifications should trigger a positive action in users. For instance, for a social app, a notification of a new update from a friend may prompt users to log into the app and check the app. Ensure that the update is worth their time and effort.

5. Ask for feedback

Avoid making assumptions of why users do not open your app or delete it after days after installing it. Keep your users engaged as soon as they install and start using the app. Ask users about their experience with the app. Expect and accept both positive and negative feedback. The users are likely to be brutally honest about the shortcomings of your app.

Collecting feedback is not enough. You need to act on the feedback as long as it is true and important to users. Could you be ignoring important tips from your previous users? Be willing to include or excludes some features that matter to users even if they do not necessarily seem important to you. Do not be obsessed with your original idea to the extent that you ignore or disregard useful feedback from users.

Final remarks

The next big step after coming up with a new app idea is to choose the right mobile apps development company in Kenya. With the right developers on board, you are assured of a functional app that will interest users. Do not be impressed by the number of downloads after the launch. Be prepared for some users to uninstall your app even if your idea is unique. Focus on delivering value to users, keeping them engaged, and acting on their feedback.