Are Delivery Apps The New Frontier in App Development in Kenya?

The discussion around app development in Kenya before Covid-19 was about loan apps. Everyone was concerned about the interest rates and the need to regulate digital lenders.

Kenyans were complaining about the recovery process and threats for defaulting on small amounts. Then came Covid-19 and the discussion changed.

The restriction of movement has led to creative ideas and innovation.

Increase in demand for courier services

Staying at home or working from home has been on top of the list of precautionary measures. This means that firms had to figure out a way of delivering their products to their clients to stay in business.

Unfortunately, the crisis was unexpected and its effects on businesses unpredictable.

The wait and see approach does not work for a business that sells perishable products. At the same time, most of the businesses did not have their own courier services before the crisis.

The result has been a sudden increase in the demand for courier services.

Glovo and Uber are among the tech firms that have benefited from the demand for services.

The challenge has been keeping up with the demand from individuals and companies while protecting the drivers from Covid-19.

Luckily, the Ministry of Health provided sufficient guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the disease.

Restaurants and fast foods

Restaurants and fast food joints have experienced perhaps the worst effects of the health crisis.

The government was quick to shut down social places because of the crowds they attract.

How do such firms stay afloat without allowing customers into their premises? Courier services have been the answer.

Customers can order food online. The restaurants then organize the delivery process.

Many such businesses have been operating without a mobile or online store. The much they do is advertise their business on social media.

Covid-19 has pushed business owners to start thinking about app development in Kenya.

The discussion now is not just about a business app but a delivery app as well.

Kenyans are quick to spot such opportunities in the market.

App Development in Kenya

Jumia and Twiga foods

We have known Jumia to sell all types of household products but not groceries. However, the pandemic has made shopping for even basic items like groceries a risk.

The recent partnership between Jumia and Twiga foods has solved the equation for Kenyans.

Shoppers can buy groceries on the e-commerce platform alongside other items.

The groceries are pre-packaged and include items that every home needs such as potatoes, tomatoes, milk, and fruits among other items.

In addition, customers save on the cost of these items. The partners promise up to 50% savings based on the prices of the products in local supermarkets

Another benefit is the same-day delivery within Nairobi and its suburbs at no extra cost.

Although Covid-19 has fuelled such partnerships and innovation, the deals are likely to continue even after the crisis.

Similar deals among other firms are likely to come up as Kenyan shoppers have already adapted to online shopping.

Uber

You mention Uber and taxis come to mind immediately. Uber Eats is still growing in Kenya but it has come in handy during the crisis.

Taxi apps have formed a huge part of app development in Kenya, after Uber, Taxify, and Bolt hit the market.

However, with the instructions to stay at home, the demand for taxi services has reduced.

Uber introduced two apps in response to the Covid-19 crisis. The move was unimaginable to many business owners who have been forced to downscale their operations.

The first app was Uber Connect, which enables families and friends to send packages to different cities.

With social distancing, delivering simple packages like documents, clothes, gifts, or house items is impossible.

Uber Connect deliveries packages without endangering the lives of senders, couriers, and recipients.

The second app that the tech company released is Uber Direct, which is an extension of its food app, Uber Eats.

Uber Direct poses competition to Jumia because it delivers household items and groceries from supermarkets.

The edge that Jumia and Twiga have over Uber Direct is competitive prices.

The two companies have also built a strong brand in the delivery of products in the Kenyan market.

Sendy couriers

Dominating the logistics market

Many developers and innovators have been responding to the crisis by creating apps around it.

Most Coronavirus or Covid-19 apps focus on notifying users of their distance from an infected person. Other apps help health care workers to handle the disease efficiently through accurate and timely data.

What happens after the crisis? Will we still need the apps?

Some innovators are seeing the light! There is a new frontier in the field of logistics.

It may take some time before the coronavirus threat is eliminated. The arguments against its vaccines and possible treatment may delay the process further.

As mentioned, Kenyans have already adapted to the new reality. In fact, the crisis has proved to many shoppers that they can survive for weeks without going out.

With an e-commerce platform or app, businesses can serve a significant percentage of their clients online.

The challenge now remains in providing affordable, efficient, and timely delivery services.

Some companies like Kobo360 and Sendy have already identified the gap in the logistics market in Kenya and Africa.

Business owners have suffered for years in the hands of rogue truck drivers and logistics companies.

Kenyans need to wake up to the opportunities in the market instead of leaving everything to foreign companies.

The companies that started earlier have reaped extra benefits with the Covid-19 crisis. The extra income will continue until new entrants interrupt with better or differentiated courier services.

Final remarks

The worst of situations can present business opportunities for those who are keen to identify them. We have given you a hint for app development in Kenya. The big question now is if you will take action or wait for another foreign investor to take the opportunity.

A simple delivery app that all types of businesses can use is likely to attract thousands of users. Entrepreneurs have learnt from the crisis the need for current technologies and reliable logistics to cushion their enterprises.

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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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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.

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Android App Development Trends: The Rising Popularity of the Dark Mode

Have you noticed that most of the popular apps are recommending the dark mode? What difference does it make when using an app on the dark mode?  Is there a downside to it? As we discuss this new trend, bear in mind that app developers have user experience in mind at all times.

Every trend in iOS or Android app development is in most cases meant to improve the experience of end users. Hence, when a new trend comes, app developers will try to implement it across all platforms. The dark mode started with Android apps and then expanded to iOS devices.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and Microsoft Outlook already have the dark mode option. An app does not switch automatically to this mode. You have the choice as an app user to stick the old black and white background or turn the dark mode on.

The traditional mode has a white background with black text. Some developers experiment with text colors to highlight certain features. When you turn the dark mode on, the background becomes black, gray or dark blue. The text turns from black to white.

 What are benefits of this app development trend?

1. Less strain on your eyes

The first reason that app developers give for introducing the new screen settings is their users’ health. Eyestrain is not new to phone users who spend hours staring at their screens. Let us be honest here. Smartphones have become addictive, especially with cheap data bundles.

It only makes sense to do everything you can to stay healthy while enjoying the beauty of connectivity. Browsers like Chrome are also considering the same trend for this reason. For internet lovers, if you are not on an app, you are browsing websites or watching videos.

Continuous strain on your eyes can lead to conditions such as myopia. You are at a high risk of nearsightedness if you work on a bright screen all day.  The risk is higher now that virtual reality has been introduced to the world of Android app development.

Using the dark mode on apps does not mean that you are completely safe from the mentioned risks. You still need to reduce the number of hours spent on your mobile devices. However, the dark mode reduces the fatigue on your eyes.

2. Easier reading

Mobile apps are designed with the assumption that users have normal vision. The reality is that our vision is different. Some people have low vision while others struggle with color blindness. The new trend favors such phone users.

Texts become more visible on the black or grey background. You will come across different settings for the dark mode. It is not always a reverse of the black and white combination. Some app developers prefer a grey background with black text. An alternative is a black background with grey text.

Blocks of text are easier to read with the dark mode. The settings activate all the sensors on the eyes even with low vision. If you have been struggling with reading online, try the dark mode where available. You are likely to keep it on.

Android app development

3. Longer battery life

Ever since smart phones were introduced, the greatest challenge has been the battery life. The situation has been improved but you can do with an extra hour or two of battery life. Dark mode gets you just that, longer battery life.

It takes more power to keep your screen illuminated than a black or gray screen. You will have to sacrifice something to keep your phone running for long. First, you are accustomed to the white back background. It will take some time and adjusting to appreciate the dark mode.

The white or bright mode is easy to navigate. Scrolling and switching from one feature to another, or one app to another is easy. The dark theme is a bit slow in terms of a smooth flow but you are guaranteed of using your phone longer.

4. Better sleep

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because of a notification on your phone? Forget about the alarm. You know those automated messages from service providers or notifications from apps. Switching data off does not always help.

Falling back to sleep is a challenge after staring at a bright screen. If you have problems falling asleep, try using the dark mode in the hours preceding your usual bedtime. Bright light inhibits the function of sleep-inducing neurons, especially artificial light.

The light interferes with the natural cycle of sleep. This partly explains why you stay awake longer after using your phone. The worst happens when you wake up to bright light and cannot fall back asleep. With the dark mode on, you will easily fall back to sleep and maintain your sleep cycle.

5. Better experience in low-light environment

Using a mobile device in a low-light room is strenuous. The obvious temptation in such situations is to increase the brightness on your screen. That just makes things worse. You will strain your eyes more even when the text size is large enough.

Try the dark mode when you get into such an environment. You will not even realise the difference in lighting if the mode is always. Reducing the brightness on your device helps for apps or programs that do not have the dark mode yet.

6. Improving sensitivity to light

For many phone users, the bright light disturbs when the screen is on. The discomfort is over as soon as the phone goes off. For some, sensitivity to light is a medical condition. Even the sun is too bright for such people.

Doctors call the condition photophobia. The dark theme makes it more comfortable for people with this condition to work and use apps. In addition, the theme helps those who suffer migraines. Prolonged eyestrain often leads to headaches and migraines.

Final thoughts

Before they discover the cure for phone or internet addiction, protect your eyes. Take advantage of this Android app development trend. Activate it for apps and programs that have it in their settings. You can switch to the bright screen at times but if you suffer migraines or photophobia, it is safe to use it always.

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How to Maximise App Downloads Through Social Media (Updated Guide)

As the leading software developers in Kenya, we took you through the process of generating a new app idea. You got an outstanding idea, built an app and made it available on all major stores. The big question now is, how do you maximize downloads?

You probably know that social media is an effective marketing tool. You could be using it for your business but, have you thought of the app? Many app owners miss on potential users by ignoring social media.

In this guide, we will show you how you can use different social media platforms to leverage the usage of your app. Remember that the more social platforms you engage the wider the audience you reach.

Let us know look specific platforms.

Facebook

Do you get tired of scrolling your Facebook timely? Yes? Well, social media users still think Facebook is the best way to connect. Look at the statistics on the figure below.

Figure: Active Social Media Users as of April (2019) in millions

Source: Statista

Facebook has maintained its top position as the most popular social platform. It has over 2 billion users worldwide. Facebook Messenger has over 1 billion users already.

The statistics show the potential reach when using Facebook as a marketing tool. If you target users beyond Kenya, you could reach millions or even billions of users with your app. How do you get there?

Creating an account on the social platform is just the first step. You need to keep your followers engage with relevant content. Choose high-quality images and video content with catchy captions.

Explore Facebook groups in your niche. You can start a group if none exists or engage those in relevant groups. You need not talk about your app all the time. Participating in discussions keeps your business visible.

Even with the best content and activity on the platform, you can only get so many pages likes. Facebook offers opportunities to promote your content and page. The good thing about the ads is that you can customise the audience to reach your target users only.

Instagram

Visual content sells faster than textual content on social media. Instagram is the perfect platform for pictures and images. From the statistics shared above, the platform has more than 1 billion users already.

About 70% of Instagram users are below 35 years. Hence, as you plan your Instagram marketing campaigns, think about this age group. About 60% of all Instagram users check their accounts daily.

For this platform, you need to share catchy images with a short description daily. The story feature gives you an additional platform to market your app. Most users spend time checking recent stories.

The advantage of Instagram is that you can posts several images, videos or a combination of both as your story. The story will disappear after 24 hours but your app will remain visible to users for as long.

You can also promote your content on Instagram to reach a wider audience. Target the younger audience when defining your target market. If your app targets young phone users, you have one strategy to explore.

Encourage your followers on Instagram to post their content for a prize. Contests will always attract new users to your business or brand. For instance, users can share their experience with your app through photos or videos.

You can also request screenshots of your downloaded app for a prize. Remember that users want to increase their followers as well. Hence, posting their content on your account makes them visible to a wider audience as well.

Twitter

Twitter has a relatively lower number of users compared to Facebook and Instagram. However, you cannot ignore the 300 million plus users on the platform. Look at the growth in the number of users since the first quarter of 2010:

Source: Statista

You have less characters and a limited number of pictures to share on Twitter. However, if you can keep up with daily trends, you will keep your app visible all day. Use the relevant hashtags for the day to make your tweets visible.

You can also search Twitter and discover the most relevant conversations in your niche. The conversations may not be trending at the time. However, your participation increases your visibility.

Here is another visibility strategy on Twitter. Follow influencers and participate in their conversations. Reply to their tweets and tag them in new tweets as well. One mention by an influencer with millions of followers makes your brand visible to all the followers.

Twitter has an advertising platform as well where you can promote your brand or tweets. The ads will show in all major hashtags of the day. Choose the content of your ads carefully to attract new followers.

YouTube

The demand for video content has been increasing over time. More than 87% of all marketing professional user video content and so should you. Software developers in Kenya will tell you that social media users cannot get enough of viral videos.

Consider the following statistics:

Consumers prefer YouTube videos to all other types of videos. Hence, you cannot run a social media campaign for your app without a YouTube channel. You have a potential audience of1.9 billion YouTube users.

Keep your video clips short, enticing, and relevant. The first few seconds should entice viewers to keep watching the video. Give tutorials on how to use your app in the videos.

You can also create slideshows of different features on the app. The videos are not limited to the app or your business. Think about interesting topics that are relevant to your target users.

WhatsApp

In the past, WhatsApp was an alternative way of texting and sharing files. Today, WhatsApp has become a major business tool. About 1.6 billion people have downloaded the app.

One way that businesses have been using the app for marketing is creating groups. You can invite new users to join your group and share content. Keep the content relevant and useful to retain your group members.

WhatsApp is also an excellent way of answering questions from consumers. Many would rather type in a question and get a prompt response rather than call or visit a website. In addition, the channel gives you a platform to collect feedback from actual users.

Additional tips for marketing an app on social media

1. Start marketing your app on all platforms during the development process. Do not wait until the app is launched to talk about it.

2. Gain as many followers as you can on all platforms including less popular platforms such as Snapchat or Pinterest

3. Leverage influencers on all platforms to make your app visible to their followers

4. Share live videos on Facebook, YouTube or IG TV before, during, and after the app launch

5. Use your target keywords on social media to make it easier for target users to find information about your app

Conclusion

Social media is a cost-effective method of promoting any product include a new mobile app. While still working with software developers in Kenya, get the word out about the upcoming app. You already know the features of the app. Hence, you have more than enough information to start social media campaigns before the launch. Sustain the social media campaigns even after the launch to retain acquired users and get new downloads.

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