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Starting an online store can be easy, when you have all the right steps in place.

πŸ“¦ 1. Store Information & Product Inventory

Store information

Product information

πŸ”— Product / service inventory sheet β€” make a copy or download as an excel sheet

πŸ’° 2. Online Payments

Shopify and WordPress enable Kenyan merchants to collect global payments automatically through Pesapal, when a customer places an order on an online store.

πŸ”— Online Payment Solutions – Kenya | Pesapal

About Pesapal

  • 100% compatible with Shopify for Kenyan sellers
  • Receive card & mpesa/airtel payments
  • Takes around 1 week to set up an account with Pesapal.
  • Pricing: 3.5% transaction fee (negotiable as you process higher revenue overtime)
πŸ”— Pricing – Kenya | Pesapal

How to start receiving payments through Pesapal

Once you open your business account, you need to send specific business documents to Pesapal on, so that Pesapal can verify your business and activate your merchant account.

If you are a Sole Proprietor

  1. Voided/Cancelled Cheque in the name of sole proprietor
  2. Copy of Business Registration
  3. Copy of National ID, Passport or Driver’s License
  4. Copy of KRA Pin Number or Tax Compliance Certificate
  5. Signed Pesapal Contract (contact for information on how to access & submit your contract)

If you are a Partnership or LLC

  1. ID/Passport copies of Chairman/Directors of the Company PIN Certificate of all Directors/Partners
  2. Copy of Certificate of Incorporation of Company
  3. Copy of KRA Pin Number / Tax Compliance Certificate of Business
  4. Passport photo of each of the Directors/Partners
  5. Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Company
  6. Copy of a voided Cheque
  7. Signed Pesapal Contract

Once Pesapal verifies them, they will automatically activate your full merchant account and raise your merchant account’s transaction limit from Ksh 1000 to one you are comfortable with.

πŸ“±3. Instagram Shop

It is highly recommended to set up your Instagram Shop once you’re ready to launch your website, so that your products can automatically sync between the website and Instagram shop for your followers.

Your Instagram Shop can run with or without a website. However, without a website, you’ll miss out on collecting online payments in your sleep & getting in-depth performance analytics about your store & MVP customers.

Sell on Facebook & Instagram 2022 | Shopify
πŸ”— Guide to Setting up Instagram Shopping on Your Website

πŸ”— From Likes to Dollars: Here’s How to Sell Your Products on Instagram in 2021

πŸ’Έ 4. Recurring Fees (FYI)

These are costs that will come back as you run the store:

  • Website domain purchase (one-time) and renewals (annual) β€” this varies depending on the domain name & hosting provider you choose πŸ‘‡
πŸ”— Domain Name Search | Free Check Domain Availability Tool – Namecheap
  • Online transaction processing fees β€” charged per transaction (payment collected) e.g 3.5% by Pesapal
  • Shopify platform fees β€” $29 a month on the Basic plan πŸ‘‡
πŸ”— Shopify pricing plans

πŸ’β€β™€οΈ Steph’s personal tips for running an online store

  1. Automate as much as you can β€” payment collections, β€œIs this in stock?” questions, checkout reminder emails, stockout alerts …
  2. Build trust with first impressions β€” consistent store look, return policies, contact info, live chat, product info, product reviews …

Check out how ZIA Africa launched her online store on Shopify & Instagram Shop during the COVID19 lockdown πŸ‘‡

🀲 These are other common FAQs that my clients ask all the time about getting their online stores right:


πŸ’‘ If you’re wondering which platform between Shopify, Squarespace or WordPress is best for your website, check out this guide:

πŸ”— Which Ecommerce Platform is Best β€” Squarespace, Shopify or WordPress?


Image credit: Louis Vuitton online store on Behance

Stephanie Kabi

Author Stephanie Kabi

Design Mentor @ ADPList | Senior Product Designer @ Andela | DesignLab & UX Academy Ambassador | 3x UI/UX Certified

More posts by Stephanie Kabi

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E-commerce & Product Design for Long-Term Impact