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.

Show us some Love:

Mobile App Reviews: A Review of the Glovo App in Kenya

Entrepreneurs in Kenya have now mastered the art of online selling. Buyers have gained a significant level of trust in some online sellers. Kenyans are more willing than before to take risks and order for products online. The greater challenge now is delivering products in good condition to customers at the right time.

Apps like Glovo meet this need. Sacha Michaud and Oscar Pierre co-founded the Glovo Company in 2015 in Barcelona. The Spanish start-up has managed to build a competitive brand and penetrate the international market.

The concept from the start was to provide on-demand courier services to customers for all types of product. However, food delivery has overtaken other types of delivery via the app. Glovo is available in 20 countries around the world including Kenya.

Features

Glovo launched its operations in Nairobi in the first quarter of 2019. Here are the top features that users enjoy on the app:

1. Speed

You can order for anything from a supermarket, store, or restaurant and have it within minutes. Glovo emphasises on delivering anything that customers order “within minutes.” When you order for a product, the nearest courier receives the order and considers the nearest seller. The courier will buy and deliver it within the shortest time possible.

The promise to deliver within minutes has proved true in some cities and for some clients in Nairobi. While the app owners do their best to keep this promise, sometimes a delay may occur when a product is unavailable.

Sometimes the courier has to try several stores and probably wait in line to serve some orders. However, for some products that are readily available or already packed, the couriers deliver within minutes.

2. Low cost

Buying products online makes sense to customers if the delivery cost is reasonable. Otherwise, they might as well walk or drive to a store and get the products at a reasonable price. Glovo understands this concept and offers affordable courier services.

The delivery charge within Nairobi is likely to range from Ksh.50 to 100. The charge may be higher depending on your location and order. Imagine escaping the long queues in supermarkets for a hundred shillings. Some items are delivered at no cost within Nairobi’s CBD.

The cost begins to make sense when you think of the time you spend getting a good seat in a restaurant, ordering for food and drinks and then eating. You know how restaurants keep you waiting for a “special order?” Well, you can save time, order the same dish, and keep working while the food is delivered to your doorstep.

3. A wide range of services

Most people think of food delivery but the Glovo app in Kenya offers more than food. Well, food delivery is a big part of the business but you can order anything on the app. For instance, you can order for any item from a registered supermarket like Naivas.

The app is not only an opportunity for buyers to get products delivered easily and at a reasonable rate. Glovo has opened opportunities for couriers to earn from the app. Stores have an opportunity to maximise sales without worrying about deliveries.


4. Easy Ordering Process

The process of ordering an item is simple. After downloading the app, you create an account and proceed to order. You can use your Facebook account to log in. The app requests you to select your location.

You will then proceed to the next interface that shows the categories of registered partners. The best of restaurants in Nairobi’s CBD are listed on the app. Go through the menu of the items offered by each partner.

An alternative ordering process is clicking on “anything” and specifying the product you need. The app has restriction on the size and weight of the items you can order. With this option, you need to specify if the courier will pay for the item or not.

5. Tracking Orders

You can track your purchased item in real-time. In other words, you can tell the exact time when the courier will arrive at your location. Tracking is much easier than calling a delivery person every 5 minutes to find out when they will arrive.

As you track you can also tell if the courier got the directions right. You will not sit and wait for an item while the courier is moving in the opposite direction. If you have ever tried to track items with a phone call or text messages, you will appreciate the tracking feature in Glovo app in Kenya.

6. Favorite items

Let us say you like a certain dish from a specific restaurant. When you order it the first time, you can add it to your list of favourite items. The next time you log into the app to order, the app suggests your favourite items first. The list saves you minutes of scrolling through unwanted items and stores.

Also Read: Top 10 Mobile App Categories as Analysed by Android App Designers in Kenya

Customer Feedback

As app developers, we can look at the functionality of an app and recommend it based on its features. The truth is that the developers have done a great with the simplicity of design and great user experience. However, we need to consider the actual experience of customers who have ordered products via the app.

Happy users

The app has a 3.7 rating on Google Playstore. The majority of about 130,000 users that left a review after using it gave a 5-star rating. The experience is different depending on the item that a customer ordered.

Users seem to have a great experience with the interface and ordering process. The partners registered on the app offer quality products, which is important when ordering for items online. Most customers got the items they ordered for as described.

Unhappy users

The app is relatively new in the market. Although the developers say that you can order from any part of Nairobi, couriers do not deliver to some parts of the city. In addition, some customers complained that the estimated time of delivery was inaccurate.

Some customers had to wait for more than an hour to get their items. A few customers have also complained about bugs when trying to order for any item. Based on the reviews, the customer support team is slow in responding to complaints from customers.

Conclusion

Glovo App in Kenya is a game-changer in the country’s online business and logistics. The app is easy to use in terms of ordering and tracking items. The delivery time may not always be accurate. However, based on customer reviews, the couriers are doing a great job of delivering products within the shortest time possible. App developers in Kenya take the challenge to keep up with such competitive apps from international developers.

Show us some Love:

Google Maps Integration: Benefits of Using Maps on your Website

Have you considered Google maps integration for your business website? Embedding maps on your site does more than giving directions. Try to search for your top competitors online. Alternatively, search for the most competitive keyword in your niche on the search engines.

The first result you are likely to get on Google is a map with the location of different competitors. When you follow them to their website, you will find a location pin on their home page and contact page. Compare the results with your own website. Which business are customers likely to choose?

Sometimes business owners miss opportunities to grow their businesses because of a lack of knowledge. If you are still unsure about this, let us look at the benefits that your business is missing for operating without maps.

Marketing your business

By embedding Google maps on your website, you increase the visibility of your business. As mentioned in the introduction, search engine results often start with maps depending on the search query. If your business is within the location of the client, it will pop up among the results.

Do not allow your competitors to outdo your business on this. Seek Google maps integration services if you do not know how to use the API. The advantage of using developers is that the integration will be done within a short time. Your team continues with other operations while developers handle the technical bit.

Building trust

Sometimes it helps to think as a client while trying to get into the mind of your target audience. In a world on online businesses, many clients still trust companies with a physical store. You have an advantage over online businesses that have no physical location.

It is now time to use that advantage well. This does not mean that you ignore of online transactions. Most of your customers will still search for more information about your business online. However, they will gain trust in your brand since they know where to find you. Some will complete their orders online but a good number will visit your store.

One of the reasons why clients trust businesses with a physical location is handling complaints. If you have your ears on the ground, you will notice that many online shoppers are disappointed because of unmet expectations. With an embedded map, clients know where to return products or ask for a replacement when disappointed.

Connecting with your target audience

Your target audience includes potential clients in your neighbourhood. If not, you need to rethink your marketing goals and approach. Consequently, your marketing strategies should include local search engine optimization. Search engines sometimes recommend service providers based on the user’s IP address. Your business will rank high by location to clients in your area.

After the aggressive marketing campaigns to drive internet users to your website, let them know where to find you. Your target clients will easily connect with you by following the map on your site. Ensure that the pin is correct and visible.

Google maps integration goes hand in hand with other contacts. For instance, clients need a phone number to call in case they get lost while following the maps. Some will want to chat or send an email before visiting your store. Ensure that the working hours are clearly displayed as well.

Google maps integration

Suggesting transportation modes

Google Maps gives users all the transportation modes available to their destination. In some cities, it is possible to view bus and train schedule directly on the maps. For those using public transport, the drop off points or bus terminus are critical.

The routes for private vehicles and nearby buildings are visible as well. In other words, your clients can pin point the location of your business and have a clear path of their way to that location. The maps help them determine the best mode of transport to use.

On the flip side, the location of your business on Google maps can help you make some decisions. For instance, if you are in area that is not visible on maps, it might help to move to a new location. You do not need to change cities but find a more visible building within the same area.

User-oriented service
Google maps integration for WordPress websites and other sites gives users a personalised experience. The service presents your business as an easy and available service. Clients are looking for the easiest and fastest way to get a product or service.

Maps integration gives clients that impression. Your business appears as an easy way of meeting their need.  In other words, you are making life easier for your clients. You might not be the best in your industry but the ease of access will give you a cutting edge.

Google has made it so easy for users to use maps. Your clients do not need any advanced skills to use the plugin on their devices. Your part is to include the right pin on your website and make it visible. Have you not received enough calls from clients asking for directions?

Cost effective

Do we need to mention the cost of maps integration? It might be the cheapest marketing strategy you have invested in since your business began. In other words, you have no reason for leaving out Google maps. The cost of integration is low.

Developers will help you integrate maps on your website at an affordable rate. Do not shy away from asking for help even if your business is old. Knowledge is only useful if you apply it. You do not need the technical skills to embed maps. Let developers do it while you keep growing your business.

Final remarks

It is evident from the discussion that your business is missing growth opportunities without maps. Do not wait until your business grows to implement market strategies. Right now while you are trying to build your client base, use all means to attract customers. Google maps integration in Kenya is for both large and small businesses. The returns are incomparable to the cost of investing in this service.

Show us some Love:

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

Metropol CRB is top of the list of credit reference bureaus in Kenya. A financial institution can limit your chances of getting a loan by submitting your name to this bureau. Some employers have also been using credit reports to narrow their list of candidates.

The consequences of a CRB listing are supposed to push defaulters to fulfil their obligations. Some financial institutions use them as a way of reminding borrowers to pay their dues on time. However, many Kenyans seem unbothered with CRB listings.

The demand for unsecured loans has been increasing over the years. Banks have been very aggressive in selling these loans to their clients. The target for such loans is, in most cases, salaried customers. It is easy to deduct instalments directly from their paycheck.

The introduction of loan apps has increased the popularity of instant loans. You can hardly scroll your phone without interruption of an ad for a loan app. Thousands of Kenyans are downloading these apps to get quick cash.

The repayment period for most mobile loans is stretched over a month. The possibility of repaying and getting a new loan immediately keeps many borrowers hooked. The new loan may be a higher amount depending on the app.

Read Also: The Top 5 Instant Loan Apps in Kenya

For most loan apps, repaying on time means that you can grow your credit limit. Hence, borrowers strive to repay on the due date and then borrow almost immediately. The sad part is that most borrowers have several loans from different apps.

Having several loans at the same time means that the borrower is borrowing from one to pay the other. In addition, Kenyans are losing lots of money in terms of interest rates. The game ends when one is unable to keep up with the interest rates and defaults.

Lenders follow the legal procedure to demand repayment. Eventually, defaulters end up at Metropol CRB Kenya or Transunion CRB. However, the effects of defaulting do not seem to deter Kenyans from seeking new loans.

Metropol CRB Kenya

Do lenders still check the credit score of borrowers? While are instant loans still popular even with credit reference bureaus in place?

1. Ease of access

Many Kenyans borrow simply because they can. The ads for instant loans are so enticing and convincing. As the competition among lenders rise, creative ads have flooded the television stations. You come across several billboards as you drive around reminding you of an easy loan.

The convenience of applying on a mobile device is also inviting. The processing is simple, private, and fast. In fact, loan apps process requests within minutes. The process is even faster for borrowers with a clean financial record.

Banks have also improved the process of issuing unsecured loans. Partnerships with mobile money services such as M-pesa and Airtel Money have simplified lending. The highest percentage of Mpesa customers has tried the Mshwari services.

Safaricom’s partnership with Equity Bank and KCB has made it easy for Kenyans to access unsecured loans. Most lenders target business owners but end up with individuals. The trend will continue as other banks and SACCOs explore such partnership.

2. Harsh economic times

Kenyans are not just borrowing for the fun of it. The tough economic times have made instant loans an easy option for many families. The high unemployment rate among young people has turned them into borrowers.

As Kenyans continue to raise alarm concerning the huge government loans, the effects are trickling down to household. High taxation rates and high lending rates have slowed the growth of businesses.

Have you noticed the timing of advertisement for instant loans? They seem to pop up when you really need cash. Well, the ads are meant to do just that, entice you to apply for a quick loan. You are not alone. Thousands make the same decision every month.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Mobile App Categories as Analysed by Android App Designers in Kenya

3. No collateral required

Many defaulters whose names appear on Transunion CRB or Metropol CRB owe small amounts. Banks and other lenders do not require any security when issuing instant loans. A good credit score is the most important requirement.

If you dream of owning a loan app, CRB integration is necessary. You cannot rely on a client’s income alone to determine creditworthiness. Some app owners ignore bad credit but compensate the convenience with high interest rates.

Security is necessary for large amounts of money. However, most borrowers seeking instant loans need less than Ksh.50,000. Most loan apps limit the loanable amount at this level. It takes a while to qualify for the maximum amount.

4. Flexible repayment periods

Borrowers have a month to repay instant loans. The promise of a higher loan limit encourages borrowers to repay on time. Some mobile apps offer loans payable within 3 weeks. As long as the loan is paid on time, the borrower does not incur any penalties.

A month is a long time for small amounts. However, as the loan amount increases, repaying within a month with the interest becomes a challenge. Sometimes lenders reduce the loan amount drastically without informing the borrowers.

For the borrowers who repay to borrow again, such changes affect their ability to repay other loans. The result is several months of constant reminders to repay. When lenders exhaust all means of recovering their money, they list the default with a credit reference bureau.

5. Data security

When mobile loans were fast introduced, many borrowers were concerned about their personal information. The concern is still there but lenders have managed to convince borrowers of data security. Most app owners guarantee the same level of security as banks.

While security remains a concern, the pressing needs sometimes overshadow the concern. Borrowers are on many occasioned concerned about the quickest solution. Nevertheless, financial institutions play their part in securing personal data.

Our final thoughts

Instant loans will continue to trend as long as the competition in the financial markets remains. Every bank wants a big share while many SACCOs have transformed into banks. You too can be part of the big players. We help institutions and individuals develop agile loan apps.

Muva offers Metropol CRB integration and other bureaus as well. However, you need to educate your borrowers on the right reasons for applying for loans. It is easy to share financial tips when lending through a loan app.

Show us some Love:

Safaricom Results in the Eyes of Software Developers in Kenya

Why would software developers in Kenya be interested in Safaricom’s financial results? Well, there are enough reasons to keep up with the performance of top companies. Investors anticipate such results for the dividend payout. Software developers see beyond the numbers.

One of the questions that arise every time Safaricom PLC announces its results is the low financial status of its clients. The company has maintained the largest share of the market since it was established 18 years ago. Other mobile services are still trying to catch up with the company’s strategies and increase their market share.

For software developers, the interest is in the products and their contribution to the company’s profits. Developers are also interested in the company’s technology and business strategy, given that many of them are entrepreneurs. Let us first look at the numbers that interest developers.

Safaricom financial year (2019) results at a glance

The telecommunication company gained 63.1b in revenues in the financial year ending 31 March 2019. One of the notable figures in the results is the contribution of Mpesa to the revenue. The platform now contributes 31.2% of the revenue.

Related: The Success Story of Mpesa in Kenya

Safaricom has been improving the Mpesa service. Today, the platform can handle about 1,200 transactions in a second. Think about this level of efficiency and processing capacity. Kenyans are still signing up for Mpesa services include new merchants.

In the reported financial year, the company registered 2.1m new customers. The total number of active Mpesa users is now 22.6m. Safaricom also introduced the Fuliza service that allows customers to overdraw their Mpesa account.

About 8.8m customers had already opted into the services within 3 months of its introduction. The transactions for the Fuliza service in the 3 months were estimated at 29 billion. Safaricom has also been building its global partnership.

Based on the results, more than 11,000 customers transact on the Mpesa-PayPal service per month. Mpesa customers are also using the service to purchase apps. The customers have purchased more than 5,200 app from Google PlayStore and paid via Mpesa.

The recently launched partnership with AliExpress is also taking shape. Money transfer via Western Union is possible to more than 500 agents and over 3 billion bank accounts around the world. Safaricom customers can transfer and receive money from any part of the globe.

Lessons for software developers

Reading the number is interesting, especially if you are a Safaricom customer or shareholder. However, we will go for the lessons and not the numbers for now. What can lessons can software developers in Kenya take home from these results?

1. The contribution of software developers

Safaricom’s largest service to its clients is voice calls. However, the Mpesa platform has grown to become one of its largest contributors to its revenues. In the reported financial year, the service contributed 31.2% of the revenues.

Mpesa is of interest to developer for several reasons. The service started as a software development project in school. Safaricom bought the idea and developed it to a popular means of mobile payments around the globe. How much more would developers achieve if their engaged their creativity right from college?

Software developers in Kenya can create similar solutions that can revolutionize business or any other field. The question is, are developers thinking beyond the current trends? Kenyan developers have the capacity to set new trends instead of copying global trends.

The increasing popularity of Mpesa is of interest to developers. The current demand in the market is for software development and Mpesa integration services in one package. As more clients sign up for Mpesa payments for local and global transactions, the demand for the integration services increases.

2. The rising demand for loans

Developers have introduced many loan apps in the Kenyan market. However, Kenyans are still looking for alternatives. In less than 3 months, more than 8 million Mpesa customers had already tried the Fuliza service.

The tough economic times are pushing mobile phone users to look for quick soft loans. The reality is that most loan app users are subscribed to more than one service. One is never enough because of the low limit at the beginning.

The market for loan apps is still ripe. With the right information on how the financial market works, new entrants will make money through loan apps. Another requirement is choosing the right developers.

Safaricom is already revolutionising the loan market with Fuliza. The company has also signed partnerships with financial institution to enable clients to access soft loans from their accounts. Hence, new entrants must think beyond the available services in the market.

We cannot emphasize the need for differentiating solutions enough. The tendency to copy ideas has moved to the software market as well. Differentiation sets a solution apart in the market, which translates to a higher number of active users.

3. Providing high-capacity solutions

Software developers in Kenya need to learn the art of introducing functional solutions from Safaricom. The Mpesa processes more than a thousand transactions in a second. The challenge here is for developers to create such efficient solutions to their clients.

Phone users have no time to wait for minutes for a page to load. If an app is slow or unreliable in delivering a service, users look for the next best alternative. Such moves are bad news to appreneurs.

If you want to get referrals from your clients, create outstanding solutions. Push every solution to the best performance level possible. Give the right advice to your clients to improve the performance and speed of their solutions.

Software engineering is not a walk in the park. It takes months to create an outstanding solution. However, developers can improve their speed of delivering their services. In addition, developers can learn some business development strategies from Safaricom such as product diversification.

Final thoughts

Software developers in Kenya have a lot to learn from one of the leading companies in Kenya. Safaricom has set the pace in the telecommunication industry. Modern technology including software engineering technology has contributed to its outstanding results over the years. The consistency in offering reliable services in a turbulent economy is a challenge to all entrepreneurs including developers.

Show us some Love: