Drop Shipping For Kenyans

“Drop shipping is a supply chain management technique in which the retailer does not keep goods in stock, but instead transfers customer orders and shipment details to either the manufacturer or a wholesaler, who then ships the goods directly to the customer. As in all retail businesses, the retailers make their profit on the difference between the wholesale and retail price.” (Wikipedia)

What this usually means is that one can start an online shop without actually having any physical inventory – whenever you make a sale, you give the delivery details to the wholesaler or manufacturer who then does the shipping and delivery. The customers are usually clueless as to who actually shipped the goods. If your customers can live with a small delay between when they place an order and when they receive the goods, then drop shipping will probably be of great benefit to you. You will greatly reduce all inventory-related costs.

Can it work in Kenya?
Drop shipping probably can work in Kenya especially for online shops. Theoretically, all one has to do is locate a reputable drop shipper, and they are in business! However, one has to take into account that online shopping is still not big in Kenya.

In the pure form of drop shipping, the manufacturer/wholesaler ships the goods directly to the buyers. This is the defining feature and main advantage of drop shipping. But what if you are selling flash disks in Nairobi from a Chinese manufacturer? Letting the manufacturer handle the shipping of individual flash disks may turn out to be quite a hassle. Because of this, some retailers opt to have the goods shipped to them so that they can distribute them more easier to customers. But if you do this, you start incurring inventory-related costs.

It seems that the best type of goods to deal with are those in which it is usual for the customer to place an order and then wait a while for delivery. This would give the retailer time to place an order with the wholesaler/manufacturer who then sends the goods to the retailer/customer. What types of goods are these? Furniture, maybe?

Selling Outside Kenya
Things get easier if you are selling to people not in Kenya and, preferably, in the West. Such people are more used to buying online. As a testament to this, did you know that a good number of people who sell on eBay use drop shipping? Why can’t you be one of them? You can start today!

The thing to remember is that you are dealing with people living in far off countries and so you have to make sure that you understand the market. For instance, if you are in Kenya selling to Americans, an American shop will probably find it much easier to understand, access and serve the American market. You have to try do something about this fact.

In conclusion, drop shipping can work, even in Kenya. But, as with everything else, it is not easy.

Additional Resources


  1. nice article 😀

  2. moneyboy says:

    Anyone done ebay here?

  3. Hey peter here, I just wanted to ask about the paying methods en about the taxes involved…..

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