The conversation about what method of digital goods works best for the Kenyan e-commerce scene goes on. There are quite many providers, local and international and there always seems to be a gap, particularly in consumption of international digital products. This situation arises mostly due to the low adoption of Credit cards in this region that makes walls where there should be bridges. An example is application stores like Google Play, Samsung App Store, Blackberry App Store, Apple Store and Nokia Store. Each has either credit card or a local payment method like Google wallet for Google Play.
Product sites operated by Kenyans have tried to bridge the gap by including mobile money payments. This has been working, but not as fluid a process as many others are. You have to wait for some time before the verification process allows you to proceed out of checkout. This is what makes the process of payments via mobile money an experience that might not be exciting, particularly where there are system delays.
In a conversation with Samsung East Africa COO Robert Ngeru late last week, I was made aware that Samsung is working on a payment model for apps, specifically for this market that will integrate local mobile money options. And they will be seamless. This will sure improve the way we consume applications. I know quite a few Android users who have actually purchased apps off the store. I would assume that when the process becomes easier, at-least for Samsung device users, we will have people making purchases of apps and other services.
We do have local developers pushing free and premium apps and Samsung has been working with them to have their content published and given exposure on the Samsung Apps store, and this could yet be another value add in growing the industry.