How to Start Ecommerce Business in Nigeria (7 Steps)

With over 12 million eCommerce websites and more than 200 million people in Nigeria, you already know that starting an eCommerce business in Nigeria can be a game-changer. Again, with 4.66 billion active internet users, the limit to the number of businesses you can do online is only limited to your ideas and imagination.

How to start Ecommerce business in Nigeria

eCommerce business

What is Ecommerce Business?

Ecommerce business is the buying and selling of goods over the internet. It is a business you can do online and make money. And you can run it from comfort zone of your home without having to bear the huge cost of renting office and even having a factory for producing the goods you might be selling.

Many people running eCommerce business in Nigeria struggle to make good return on their investment simply because they fail to follow the right step. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to start an eCommerce business that puts good sums of money into your pocket, you’re in the right place. By the time you’re done reading this article, you’ll know how eCommerce business works, plus the strategy you need to succeed in eCommerce business in Nigeria.

Steps to Start Ecommerce Business in Nigeria

Choose product line

The first step towards starting a profitable eCommerce business in Nigeria is to choose a product line.  It is good to start with a product line as a brand so that you can be known to sell such related products. You can expand on what your offerings by adding to your existing product line as time goes on. Because consumers will likely want to buy products from brands with which they are already familiar with.

While choosing a product line, you need to choose products with high demand and high profit margin. After all, you are going into eCommerce because you want to make money. Aren’t you?

The different variety of related products you can choose to start from fall into two categories:

  • Physical products – this includes Shoes, Phones and  phone accessories, Ladies clothing, Men’s wears, Baby clothing, food, electronics, cars, and lots more.
  • Digital products – these include ebooks, mp3s, videos, tools,

Carryout Market Research

Once you’ve you choose a product line, the next step is to carryout market research. Some people run into trouble after a few months or years of starting an eCommerce business because they fail to carryout proper market research. These people neglect the major prerequisite and often see their investment plummet after a very short period.

If you’re going to run a successful eCommerce business in Nigeria, you’ll definitely need to carry out a proper market research and check the necessities. In your market research, you’ll discover pressing needs and a way to solve it.

Now, I can almost hear you say… How am I supposed to approach an eCommerce business market research? Simple, answer the following questions and you’re good to go:

  • Is there a buying market for my intended product(s)?

The reason why so many digital entrepreneurs get frustrated in business is because they create products that no one is ever going to buy.  Don’t ever try approaching eCommerce this way – it’s fatal, erroneous, and ultimately leads to loss of investments.

So what should you do instead? You have to simply research for your product ideas.

If you plan to sell Men’s slides, for instance, you need to visit the famous online marketplace in Nigeria such as Jumia, Konga, Olist, Jiji  and komback. Next, find out how many people are currently buying the product, the type of slides they are buying, and the brand that is getting the highest sale. If from your search, you discover Nike slides are popular, you might want to consider selling them.

Note: I don’t recommend going to Amazon for your research as most buyers are from other countries. You’re selling to Nigerians, not to Americans.

  • Who are my customers?

Defining your market, and knowing the people you sell to helps you to create (or source) for products that look like it’s specially packaged for them. It also helps you to create highly targeted marketing campaigns that massage their egos and resonate with their pains. On that basis, you should know your target customers’ Age, Occupation, Interest, Location, Challenges and more.

  • Who are my competitors?

Don’t pretend as if your competitors don’t even exist. In fact, with that mindset, you’re almost certainly likely to struggle to make sales in eCommerce business.

In our newly connected world, many people now understand the importance of leveraging the online world, so you’re most likely going to find people who are in this same business with you.

That said, you should find out about your competitor’s product, marketing strategy, and lapses. It doesn’t hurt to buy your competitor’s product – figure out what they’re lacking (or not doing) and how you create or sell something even better.  It’s also helpful to find out their marketing strategies, so you see ways to craft your own.

Source for Your Products

Having carryout a proper market research on product(s) to sell, the next step is to source for your products. While you might have probably come up with high demand and profitable products during your marketing research, sourcing the product is the only guarantee that the business will come to life.

In this regard, two options should come to your mind: either source for your products locally or internationally. But if you plan to reap huge profit from your eCommerce product (and who doesn’t), it’s great to go with international sources.

Some places where you find inspiration for your products include:

While these are great websites that have worked for tons of eCommerce folks, it’s important to look for products that are shippable and not breakable.

If you’re going to sell bulky or fragile products, you should consider other alternatives – possibly the closest countries – or try local suppliers, comparing the delivery cost with the overall profits.

However, if you do decide to go with international companies, prioritize communication over the cost.  I’m saying you should do business with companies with good and fast communication, not those who don’t reply to your messages until after a few days.

Build Store or Sell on Existing Ecommerce Stores

After getting the products you want to sell, the next step is to build an eCommerce store. Think of an eCommerce store as a replacement for the traditional brick-and-mortar store.  If you’re going to ever get your prospective customers to find you, you’ll need to create a store where they can meet and transact with you.

These days, you don’t need to have hundreds of thousands dollars to set up an ecommerce store. With WordPress and a good web developer, plus a domain name, you’re all set. To help you set your eCommerce website, we have a step by step guide for setting up online store using WooCommerce, a popular WordPress plugin . And even if you can’t afford a paid WordPress website, you can begin with the free version, then upgrade later.

Moreover, Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution that charges $29 / month for starters, you can also try the platform.

Another way to get started quickly is to sell on existing eCommerce platforms. They already have tons of customers, and visitors landing on their website, so you can quickly make enough sales to set up your own website. In addition, they provide great positioning and logistics, to help you run a successful business. Popular websites you can reach out to include, Jumia, Olist, Konga, komback and Jiji

Marketing Your Products

Marketing your product is an important step in starting a successful eCommerce business in Nigeria. Many people jumped on eCommerce since it’s a very lucrative business and people spend around 7 hours online per day.

But, far too often, these people don’t pay attention to the most important part: marketing.  Needless to say, your eCommerce success is hugely tied to your marketing strategy. Even if your product is ridiculously exceptional, you need to create awesome marketing campaigns to attract potential clients.

Fortunately, certain strategies have worked awesomely for eCommerce products over time. One popular strategy for ecommerce business is social media marketing. Research shows that 53% of the world’s population uses social media with average daily usage of around 2 hours and 25 minutes. So you’re sure your potential buyers are using social media.

Speaking of social media, some popular social media platform that has worked for many eCommerce entrepreneurs include Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp  and Tik Tok.

While social media is perfect for selling eCommerce products, you want to be careful not to come across as being salesy or you leave your potential buyers racing for the “unfriend” or “unfollow” button.

People are not looking for sales pitches on social media, so promoting your product day in, day out is a fast recipe for another level of frustration in business.

Instead, you want to focus on helping them solve their problems, and engaging with them. Some other strategies for success in social media marketing include:

  • Post regularly
  • Create funny, fun, engaging posts
  • Create posts that based on their pressing needs
  • Connect with influencers
  • Use hashtags and mentions
  • Use images and videos
  • Answer their questions in the comment box, and so on.

To learn more about social media marketing, check out this guide .

Set up Delivery System

Finally, eCommerce business is lucrative but if you fail to set up proper delivery systems in place, you’re sure you’ll be losing out on a ton of customers.

Customers want to get their product within a very short period, and if you aren’t doing that, they will turn to your competitors.

So, it’s important to set up appropriate systems that help you deliver your product on time.

In this case, you have two options:  it is you have your delivery systems, employing drivers that help you deliver your products to specific locations or you partner with an established logistics company. The latter is cost-effective and faster as they help you deliver your product and as well receive payment on your behalf (if you do payment-on-delivery). Popular logistics companies in Nigeria you can reach out include FedEx Nigeria, GIG Logistics, and DHL.

Read: How to Start Digital Marketing Agency in Nigeria – 7 steps

In conclusion, starting an eCommerce business in Nigeria is simple if you have a good product and know how to market them effectively. You don’t need a lot of capital to find a good product, with proper marketing research you can quickly discover highly profitable products to sell.

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