Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Online Shopping: What is the Connection?

November comes with much hype about Black Friday and crazy discounts from major retailers. You can hardly use the internet without ads popping up about it.

The ads come to your phone, email, and social media timelines. Retailers go a step further and advertise Black Friday sales on billboards and through media houses.

Where did these holidays begin and what is their connection with shopping?

The History Black Friday

The term “Black Friday” was first used to refer to a financial crisis. On September 24, 1869, the US gold market crashed.

Two financiers in Wall Street, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould caused the crash after purchasing gold in large amounts. The day of the crash was a Friday, which was referred to as Black Friday after that.

The term has also been associated with profit and loss accounts. In the US, retailers recorded their profits in black while losses were marked in red.

The story goes that throughout the year, the accounting books for most businesses were in red. However, the situation changed on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Retailers would record a boost in sales on the Friday after such that their books changed from red to black.

People travel to be with their families on Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are partly associated with increased shopping.

Black Friday in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has a different story about Black Friday. In the 1950s, police officers throughout Philadelphia called the Friday after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.”

The city would host the Army-Navy football game, which attracted tourists from all over. It was hard to control the crowds and the chaos that came with it.

The officers had to deal with increased traffic jams. In addition, some people took advantage of the chaos and started shoplifting.

It was simply a chaotic Friday and police officers would hardly get time off. The term helped described their day after an exciting Thanksgiving evening.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the Monday after thanksgiving. The term was first introduced in 2005 and has slowly gained popularity.

Ellen Davis, a leader at the National Retail Federation (NRF) coined the term, which retailers and shoppers adopted quickly. The Federation had noted a trend in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Online retailers experienced a significant increase in traffic and revenues. Davis first thought of calling it Black Monday but the term sounded too sad.

The Federation settled on Cyber Monday and issued a press release statement on the same. True to their expectations, the world took on the term fast.

Association with Online Shopping

The travel and social habits around Thanksgiving lead to increased to shopping before and after the holiday. Every holiday is associated with shopping as people gather to celebrate.

However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday come with the best deals and discounts from retailers. Entrepreneurs have used the holidays over the years to encourage shoppers to buy even more from their stores.

Today, the world has better access to the internet than when the holidays were first introduced. Hence, online stores record almost the same amount of traffic as physical stores.

In fact, Cyber Monday was coined after increased online sales. One myth about the increase is that most shoppers were home for the holidays.

Buyers have access to fast and secure internet at home where they can easily shop online. In addition, shopping online helps family members to surprise their loved ones with random gifts.

E-commerce today comes with the option of delivering gifts to the recipients’ location. Shopping together in a physical store limits the fun on exchanging gifts.

In the US, retailers record billions of dollars in sales from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. The sales increase every year.

Tips for Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Kenyan businesses have been adopting the culture of offering crazy deals and discounts on Black Friday. Although the holidays are considered as “western” or white, retailers have made them popular locally with discounts.

The spread of e-commerce in Kenya has enabled entrepreneurs to increase online sales during these holidays. However, some stores are yet to catch up or maximise their sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If your store falls into this category, try these strategies in the coming year and taste the difference:

1. Prepare your online store

If you are reading this and operating without an online store, you are in the right place. Muva Technologies can design an amazing e-commerce website for your business. Your first step will be to create the website and promote it.

Gone are the days of relying on websites alone. Your business needs a mobile app as well. Many buyers are considering purchases via an app if the quality and pricing are consistent with the e-commerce website.

Again, we can help you develop an app that suits your business.

Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive and fast. Audit all pages to identify and clear any errors. Ensure that all listed items are in stock.

2. Start early

A new term has been coined after Black Friday, that is, Black November. Retailers are no longer waiting until the week of Thanksgiving to market their products and discounts.

The sales start at the beginning of November. Do the same. Prepare the deals and including the ads before November. Run the ads throughout the month on as many marketing platforms as you can.

3. Retarget

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities to drive traffic to your online store. The holidays are already associated with a shopping craze as described above.

However, you will have hundreds of visitors to your online store that will not purchase anything. Many will browse your deals and not place any order while some will abandon their carts halfway.

You may have the same experience in the physical store. Some buyers may contact you about the deals without any purchases.

Follow up on all new contacts that you get during this season. Have retargeting marketing strategies to sell to them even after the deals are over. The buyers already know about your business and are likely to buy from you in the future.

Final remarks

Your success in driving sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday depends on the state of your online store. Allow expert developers at Muva to optimize your e-commerce website or create an e-commerce app for your brand. It is not too early to plan for the next holiday!

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Samsung Galaxy Fold is finally in Kenya: Why Is Everyone Talking about it?

Do you remember the days of foldable phones? Well, they are back! Samsung broke the limits in manufacturing smartphones earlier this year with the folding design.

Samsung Galaxy Fold was released into the market in February 2019. It has taken several months for the device to reach the Kenyan market. However, the phone has been in use in other parts of the world since its launch with positive reviews.

The head of Samsung’s mobile division in East Africa, Charles Kimari was excited about the launch. At the event, Charles indicated that the device’s capabilities have never been seen in the history of smartphones.

The capabilities and price got everyone talking on social platforms. Here is what you need to know about the device.

Features and capabilities

The Infinity Flex Display of the smartphone is the first in the world. Of course, phone manufacturers will quickly replicate it but Samsung has set the pace.

You can expect cheaper brands with the same design in the coming years. It happens with every new trend in mobile technology. However, it will take the brands some time to catch up with the full capabilities and functions of the new phone.

Perhaps the ability to multi-task while using the folding smartphone will interest you. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is built with the capacity to support heavy tasks including video games.

Watching and sharing videos is fast because of its advanced performance. You know the frustration of waiting for a video to load and play? The new smartphone solves that for you!

In addition, you can run three apps at the same time with 12 GB RAM. It functions more like your PC. Samsung included a high powered AP chipset to help consumers do more.

Try opening 3 apps on your device and evaluate its performance. Most devices in the market stop functioning and prompt you to close all the apps.

The intelligence functionalities set the device apart from other Samsung innovations. Many phones are yet to come close to this level of production.

The Company added Bixby Routines, which enable the smartphone to anticipate your needs. In short, Samsung is enabling you to do more with your mobile device than call, text, and keep up with social media.

You can program your life with the smart device and use your time more efficiently.

The Routines streamlines your phone time to ensure that you do not forget important activities or spend too much time on one activity. Most phone users are guilty of spending too much time on social media chats.

A device with Bixby Routines reminds of specific actions based on the time, event or location. The smartphone adapts to your life and preferences.

The large 7.3-inch display is synonymous with the latest Samsung smartphones. It collapses when folded to a 4.6” display.

Folding the device reduces the resolution of the display as well. However, the resolution is still above many devices’ resolution in the market.

Get this, the Galaxy Fold has 6 cameras! Talk about pushing mobile phone technology to the next level! If you like keeping memories with photos, this phone is definitely worth your consideration.

Phone manufacturers have realised the importance of clear images and videos. In our world of selfies and social media, you need clear photos from all angles.

You are assured of clear shots with 6 cameras at your disposable.

Data Security

Data security has become such a big issue to the extent that Kenya introduced a new law for the same. The concern is not specific to the Kenyan market.

People around the world have become suspicious given the rise of malware that spy on smartphone users. You never know the information that an app accesses and shares from your smartphone.

Samsung thought of this concern among consumers. The Galaxy Fold is equipped with Samsung Knox to improve data performance and keep your information safe.

You can hardly avoid using your phone to shop with the popularity of mobile money transactions. Banking apps have us accessing our accounts from our smartphones.

Hackers target social apps as well through links that enable them to access data on your device.

Samsung Knox enables you to use your mobile device without worrying much about data security. Most of the latest Samsung smartphones come with the security platform.

However, manufacturers cannot give a 100% guarantee on data security. Even with such platforms as Samsung Knox, you still have to be careful of the data you share or upload on your device.

Price

We know you are looking for this part! Well, for most consumers, buying a smartphone boils down to its retail price.

The introductory price of the Samsung Galaxy Fold in Kenya was set above Ksh. 200,000! Too high?

While you are thinking about the price and your bank account balance, the phones sold out immediately after the launch!

The retail price overtook the folding design in most discussions after the launch. It seems some consumers have been waiting for the phone to hit the market since February.

Clearly, owning the folding Samsung is a luxury, just as it was with the first foldable phones back in the day.

The quick sales did not come easy. Samsung ran a campaign for about 2 weeks prior to the launch and it worked.

Samsung Galaxy Fold falls into the category of smartphones that require some consumers to take a loan to purchase. Charles did mention of a plan to provide financing in the future to enable consumers to purchase the device.

Such plans involve partnerships with local banks. Hence, you still have a chance to own the device if you cannot pay out of pocket. You just need to wait until Samsung keeps its promise of such partnerships.

Final thoughts

Samsung has set a new standard in the market that other brands will soon follow. The retail price may be high for many consumers but the quick sales show there is a demand for high-end smartphones in the Kenyan market. It also seems like the old saying is true. History repeats itself. The competition in the global market for smartphones is pushing manufacturers to break limits in design and capabilities.

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Sportpesa, Betin, and Little Shuttle Exit: Is Kenya Ready for Digital Disruption?

Kenyans have been following closely the battle between the government and betting companies since new taxation and licensing laws were introduced.

It is no secret that many young Kenyans are now addicted to gambling.

The announcement by Sportpesa and Betin was a blow to betting fans, not to mention their employees.

Both companies have had a rough journey since the government suspended their licences due to taxation issues.

Sportpesa termed the Kenyan market as a hostile environment to do business.

Kenyans have differing opinions on the exit. Some feel that the betting fever is out of control and so the exit is beneficial.

Another category is crying out for the thousands of jobs lost when the companies halt their operations in Kenya.

SWVL and Little Shuttle

Government regulation has hit the two hailing companies hard as well.

The National Transport and Safety Authority  (NTSA) says that the two companies have been operating without valid PSV licences.

Consequently, their operations were suspended starting October 1, 2019, until they acquire PSV licences.

SWVL and Little Shuttle have been offering relief to Nairobians from the chaotic matatu industry.

If you commute to and from work every day, you can attest to the madness on the roads.

If you are not stuck in traffic, you are struggling to get a ride home or to work.

Should we mention the occasional strikes that force Kenyans to walk miles to work?

Commonalities

One thing to note about the three companies that are exiting the Kenyan market is their investment in digital technology.

The giants embraced the advantages that mobile apps offer in different sectors.

Sportpesa and Betin have been among the largest players in the betting industry.

We recently featured the two as part of the betting companies with the best betting apps in the country and beyond.

Also Read: The List is here! Top betting apps in Kenya (2019)

Many players have joined the industry following their footsteps.

Kenyans have had multiple options for betting apps and websites because the two companies set a high standard in the industry.

Gambling is not a new trade. There are casinos all over the major cities in the country.

Betting websites have been there for decades. However, the introduction of betting apps has disrupted the betting industry.

Betting companies have developed apps with a simple interface and easy language.

In Kenya, integrating mobile payments such as Mpesa and Airtel Money into the apps made betting easier.

The bus sharing companies, Little Shuttle and SWVL enable commuters to book a comfortable shuttle via an app.

Instead of queuing at bus stops and crowded bus stations, commuters can book a ride when they are to move from point A to B.

The fares are slightly higher than the fares charged by ordinary matatus. However, the companies target travellers that own personal cars but need public transport occasionally.

With the new regulation that NTSA imposed, the hailing services may fall into the category of normal matatus.

Image: Pulse

Is Kenya ready for digital disruption?

The need to control the betting craze makes some sense. In fact, some Kenyans have welcomed the Sportpesa, Betin exit despite the job losses.

However, the move by the government on the taxi app companies raises some questions. Were we prepared for the effect of digital technologies?

Taxi apps have already disrupted the transport industry. In the past, Kenyans would negotiate for taxi services with drivers.

Today, you can use Uber, Taxify, Little Cab, inDriver and any other taxi app to book a cheap taxi ride.

Mobile apps such as Glovo have also disrupted logistics and delivery companies. You just need an app to order a meal, shop for groceries, or buy any item you need online and get it at your doorstep.

You do not need to call a delivery company for that.

Think about banking, which was a headache for such a long time.

You can access your bank account and transact using your bank’s mobile app.

Do we need to revisit the popularity of mobile loan apps that have taken over the lending space in Kenya?

Apps have replaced the long documentation process that was associated with a loan application.

Also Read: Why are Instant Loans Popular in Kenya Despite Metropol CRB Listings?

The impact of social apps on business and communication is phenomenon. Businesses now rely on social media to stay in touch with clients.

Social apps and bots have replaced emails and calls in most industries.

The big question is, were we ready for this disruption?

Is the move by the government to tax digital companies an indication of our unpreparedness to deal with the effects of digital technologies?

The reality is that imposing heavy taxation on such companies that embraced new technologies is a blow to innovation.

New players are now hesitant to join the industries until the tax rows and licensing issues are resolved.

Players in the real estate, housing, education, and agricultural sector have had to keep up with the latest technologies to stay relevant.

Were the arms of government prepared for such disruptive technological changes?

Moving forward

It is impossible to control the digital disruption across industries. Technological innovation cannot be stopped because of its benefits.

The good thing is that it is possible to observe trends and anticipate their impact on the economy.

Kenyans are innovative. However, most of the disruptive trends start from developed countries.

Betting and bus sharing apps were established in developed countries long before the players entered the Kenyan market.

The government has an obligation to control the business environment and ensure that players pay the taxes due according to Taxation laws.

However, it is prudent for the government to bring up such issues when issuing licenses.

The exiting companies cry foul because the taxation and licensing issues arose when they began to make huge profits.

The government has enough technical experts who can follow the trends and advice on the required changes in laws and policies.

Otherwise, we will continue to witness massive job losses in an economy where thousands of graduates are unemployed.

The call to anticipate changes also goes to business owners who are comfortable with the traditional business environment.

Taxi owners were hostile when new taxi apps were introduced in the market. Despite the strikes, the taxi companies started their operations.

Business owners should explore the opportunities that digital technologies offer instead of resisting change.

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21 Kenyan Statistics for Mobile and Web App Owners

Data analytics is a big word that some entrepreneurs are still struggling with today. The long and short of it is making decisions based on data.

The best time to apply analytics is before starting a business.

In our case, we want to give you key statistics that you should consider when thinking of a mobile or web app.

The big question when doing the initial market research is if there is demand for the product or service.

A good product or service should solve a problem.

Research also helps you identify new opportunities in the market.

As you read these statistics, think of the opportunities that exist in software engineering in Kenya.

Recent statistics on mobile usage, internet, population, and social media usage

1. About 8.2 million Kenyans are social media.

The most popular platforms are WhatsApp (74%), 70% on Facebook and 50% on Twitter.

2. Kenyans spend an average of 3 hours a day on social media

3. Mobile penetration stands at 91%, which is equivalent to 46.94m.

The overall penetration in Africa is estimated at 80%.

4. 43.3 million Kenyans have access to the internet (84%) of the total population.

The 3G network covers 85% of the population while 4G covers about a third of the population.

5. The Kenyan population is young with an average age of 18 years. About 26% of the total population (51.58m) lives in urban areas.

6. By 2018, Kenya had 47.6m mobile money accounts with an estimated transaction value of 3.6 billion US dollars.

7. There are more than 300 loan apps in the market.

8. In the first quarter of the financial year 2018/2019, Kenya surpassed the 100 per cent mark in mobile penetration.

The statistic indicates the total number of active SIM cards in the country as a percentage of the national population.

Kenya joined Tunisia, Morocco and Namibia in reaching this milestone in Africa.

9. Safaricom has the largest percentage of market share. However, the share reduced from 71.9% in June 2017, to 65.4% and 64.2% in June 2018 and September 2018 respectively.

10. In the same period, the Airtel Network Limited increased its market share from 14.9% to 21.4% and 22.4% respectively.

Telkom grew from 8.4% to 9.0 in the same period.

11. The total cyber threats increased from 3,462, 480 between April and June in 2018 to 3, 824, 068 between July and September of the same year.

Over 1.8m were malware attacks, 1m web application attacks, and over 900, 000 botnet attacks

The attacks increased to more than 11m by March 2019.

12. The number of domain names registered increased from 75,096 in June 2018 to 77, 671 in September 2018.

The numbers are limited to dot.KE domain names. The majority are company domains (co.ke).

13. Mobile subscriptions increased from 49.5m to 51.0m from the Oct-Dec 2018 quarter to Jan-Mar 2019 quarter.

14. At least 93% of Kenyans owns a mobile phone. About 43% use smartphones and 21% use laptops or personal computers.

Tablet usage is still low but significant at 7%.

15. Wearable tech devices are at 2% penetration in Kenya

18. 72% of Kenyans access the internet every day while 15% access the internet at least once a week.

19. News and betting sites dominate the top websites in Kenya.

20. An independent report rank Whatsapp (82%), Facebook (80%), YouTube (61%), Instagram (48%), FB Messenger (41%), and Twitter (33%) as the most active social platforms in the country.

21. Facebook has a total advertising audience of 7.9m while Instagram has 1.9m.

Facebook audience increases by 3.9% every quarter.

Notable lessons from the data

1. Social media is a great platform to advertise any product or service in Kenya.

The majority of Kenyans are social media and spend at least 3 hours on the platforms.

2. Kenyan Business owners should consider using WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger as channels of communicating with their clients.

3. The Kenyan market offers great opportunities for mobile apps and e-commerce platforms.

The country beats other African countries in internet connectivity and mobile penetration.

Any person who can identify a pain point that an app can solve has an opportunity to make money.

Even with the Kenyan apps in play stores, there are still opportunities for growth. Mobile app developers in Kenya can help new entrants in identifying such opportunities.

4. The Kenyan population is young (an average of 18 years).

Any mobile and web solutions should target young people even in design and functionality.

Young people value speed in transactions and operations. Social and dating apps should on top of the list of considerations for new entrants.

5. Cyber threats are on the rise including the reported cases.

Software developers must consider the security of users when creating new apps.

As more and more Kenyans turn to the internet for quick answers and transactions, hackers are busy looking for loopholes.

In addition to creating online platforms and solutions, developers need to educate users on security issues.

6. Although the government has been cracking down on betting companies, betting apps and sites are still a gold mine.

The young Kenyan population is looking for quick cash given the hard economic times.

Similar to other nations of the world, Kenya loves football. Hence, betting will always be part of it even with government regulations.

7. Nearly 100% of Kenyans have an active SIM card.

Notifications through SMS present a good opportunity to keep users or clients engaged.

The large mobile penetration and social media audience present marketing opportunities for new products.

Final Remarks

Assumptions in any type of business are costly. Entrepreneurs must always look for ways to measure their performance and follow market trends. Data should always guide decisions in every business. The data presented here shows great opportunities in the software business for new entrants.

Any mobile phone service that meets a pressing need in the Kenyan market is a gold mine. In addition, it is important to keep track of the latest trends. Some ideas become uneconomical over time. Government regulation is also an important consideration in software development in Kenya.

Data Sources

https://ca.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Sector-Statistics-Report-Q1-2018-2019.pdf

https://www.jumia.co.ke/mobile-report/

https://ca.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Sector-Statistics-Report-Q3-2018-19.pdf

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Bulk SMS Kenya: Should you Choose SMS or Push Notifications for your App?

Bulk SMS Kenya is a service that many app owners do not think about until the last minute. The greatest concern is always the number of downloads. When thousands of people download an app, the owner relaxes and assumes all is well.

The expectation is that the engagement rate will increase with each new download. Here is the reality. Downloads do not lead to engagement. You must give users reasons to open your app every day where possible.

Two ways to do that is through push notifications and SMS. The effectiveness of these methods of communication is the subject of this discussion. Let us start with the definitions.

Definitions of Push Notifications and SMS

Push notifications are messages that an app send from its server to the user’s interface. The user view notifications on the mobile device or desktop depending on the settings. Some apps allow users to choose the type of notifications that an app sends to their interface.

Apple was the first company to introduce the service in 2009 before Google introduced its service in the following year. Since then, companies have been adopting the form of communication for their solutions. The trend has been introduced in mobile apps development as well.

SMS stands for Short Message Service. Text messages have existed throughout the history of mobile phones. However, their popularity increased in the 1990s when companies adopted the service for commercial activities.

Bulk SMS Kenya is a popular service. It has attracted many providers because of the increasing demand. As mobile apps and e-commerce platforms become popular, entrepreneurs realise the need to invest in the service.

Mobile Engagement through Push Notifications

It is important to note that every method of user engagement has its pros and cons. Push notifications offer the option of combining both text and images. The notifications often play a sound and show an icon to alert the user.

You can play around with notifications to include interactive buttons that allow users to respond to the notification. Push notifications are associated with a higher level of user engagement. They do not just remind the user of the app but prompt a specific action.

By clicking on the notification, the user may go directly to the app when a link is provided. Another advantage is that users can opt or out of the notification. Users can either block all notifications from the settings or choose the type of notifications to receive.

The downside of push notifications is that is they can be disruptive and annoying. Think of apps that are highly interactive such as social apps. Notifications for every time a connection takes actions are too much for some users.

Users end up either blocking all notifications or logging out of an app. Such actions mean loss of opportunities to convert for app owners. Hence, the timing and content of notifications must be right.

One advantage of push notifications over SMS is that they are free and unlimited. As a mobile app owner, you can send as many notifications as necessary at no cost. Some companies that offer Bulk SMS Kenya charge after a specific number of messages.

Push notifications are suitable for apps whose functions require constant reminders. For instance, fitness apps need to send constant reminders to users to work out. Users sign up for social apps for engagement with other users and so push notifications are less disruptive.

Bulk SMS Kenya

Travel apps such as airline apps need to send notifications to users to remind them of scheduled flights. In short, if you need to remind users of important activities or actions, push notifications are recommended.

For push notifications to work as intended, avoid sending them in the morning. Nobody wants to wake up to the sound of a notification.  Avoid sticky notifications and ensure that the message is relevant.

You do not need to send a notification every day unless your app requires that. For instance, working out or adopting a new diet requires daily reminders. Make the messages relevant, useful, and engaging at all times.

Engagement through SMS

The alternative to push notifications is SMS. Some apps require that you use both bulk SMS and push notifications. Why send text messages while you can send notifications? One, you may need to confirm the identity of users.

Consider finance apps or delivery services that require user authentication. The mobile phone number is often part of the verification process. You need to send a message to confirm registration or provide a verification code.

Delivery and transport services require SMS services. Think of users that book a service online and then switch off their data. How do you deliver their orders without an alternative communication channel?

Transport companies will often send a message to both the client and courier to confirm an order and delivery time. You can also send alerts or warnings to clients via SMS. For instance, you will find banks sending SMS alters to all clients of new fraudulent activities.

Healthcare services use SMS to reach a wider market with warning or alerts of outbreaks or new services. Text messages are a great way of introducing discounts or offers to clients. Clients are prompted to log into the apps and view the products or services on offer.

The downside of SMS is that they may attract an additional cost.  Bulk SMS Kenya is free to a limited number of messages. Sometimes you may need users to reply to a message, which attracts a cost for them as well.

Another downside of using SMS is that some users consider them as spam. It is difficult to personalise every SMS. Hence, companies end up sending the same message to all clients. Sometimes the same message will appear in a day and users dismiss them as spam.

Conclusion

Choosing the right engagement tool is now easy with this information. The first question to ask before contacting any service provider or developer is, does my app need this service? Will it improve communication with clients or annoy them? Consider the type of app you have developed and the kind of alerts that the user needs. Think about the frequency and timing of both SMS and push notifications to maximise on open rates. Remember that Bulk SMS Kenya services may attract a cost. There is no harm in exploring both tools at the same time to optimise user engagement.

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