Starting on online business or taking your business online is a sure way of businesses surviving in this trial time. All thanks to the internet technology and digital space.
An eCommerce (electronic commerce) business is one of such businesses you can start or take online. It involves buying and selling of goods over the internet. This means you can run the business without having to bear the full cost of office expenses and even having a factory for producing the goods that you may be selling.
Businesses like Amazon, Jumia, Konga, and the likes are typical eCommerce businesses making it big time online . There is no other time to start making money from eCommerce business other than now that the brick-and-mortar businesses had been badly hit by COVID-19 and COVID-20 virus pandemic.
Again, it is now a lot easier to access tools and resources that would help you set up eCommerce business with little investment and technical knowledge than before. You also have the opportunity to reach a wider audience and your target market.
So, if your interest is to venture into eCommerce business, we’ve covered detailed step by step guide on how to start an eCommerce business in Nigeria. So, read on!
- 1 What You Need to Start an E-commerce Business
- 2 How to Start an eCommerce Business in Nigeria
What You Need to Start an E-commerce Business
A Solid Business Idea – Every successful business started from a rock-solid idea that meets the need of people. The good side of running an eCommerce business is the ease that your customers get when they buy your products. Your idea must be solid and real, a lot of business ideas fail to succeed because they do not solve a real problem. Do not create an imaginary problem that people don’t care about.
You should remember that you don’t need to have a novel business idea. You are free to pick from the idea of an existing business and add your innovation to it.
Unique Web Address – Your web address is your online business identity when it comes to running an eCommerce business. You should pick a unique web address that your customers would not easily forget. One good thing is that your business name could still be your web address.
Product to Sell – What to sell is at the heart of every business. Your product should come out of your business idea because it is the solution that your customer would pay money to get. There are so many products that you can sell online. Currently, you can practically sell anything online from food, clothes, electronics, phones, laptops. When you hit Google with a product, you may discover that someone somewhere is already selling it online.
You should note that for you to succeed in your eCommerce business when all you have is a physical product, you need to make sure you can deliver those products within the stipulated time. Customer convenience is the backbone of eCommerce businesses
Services to Offer – E-Commerce business can also be offered if you have a good service that people can use. A lot of applications online today are running as an eCommerce business because they are offering services to their customers.
A Good Hosting – For any eCommerce business to thrive, it needs a good hosting package that is reliable and easy to upgrade. Today, you have a lot of good web hosting companies to pick from. Just do your research and choose from the hosting companies available within your budget.
Registration of Your Business – You need a registered business because it boosts trust between you and your customer. Plus, most payment gateway would request your certificate of business registration for them to remove the limits that may be placed on your eCommerce business. Do yourself a great favor, register your business.
Accepted Payment Method – Your customers need to know how they can pay for your products or services. This was a big challenge for many eCommerce businesses in time past. But today, we have a good number of payment gateways that you choose from.
The easier and comfortable it is for your customer to pay for the products they would buy from you the more money you will be making from your eCommerce business.
Platform – You can develop your eCommerce platform like Jumia, Konga, or leverage on platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Wix, and others to quickly start your eCommerce business. If you don’t have technical knowledge in web development or don’t even have the money to develop your platform. Our advice is for you to use the WordPress platform because it is easy and quick to set up, plus there are tons of information that are free for you to access when needs arise.
Staff (Optional) – For your eCommerce business to thrive, you need to provide good customer support service. Which I believe is free for the customers to use. For ease of operation, you can get someone who can help you to run the customer service section of your eCommerce business. This is essential because there would always be complaints from customers who need more information about your business.
Now that you know some of the things you need to start your own eCommerce business in Nigeria. Let us get down to how you can start the eCommerce business in Nigeria.
How to Start an eCommerce Business in Nigeria
Here are steps to follow to start an eCommerce business:
Get Your Product/Services Ready
You can upgrade your existing business to an eCommerce business or start a new eCommerce business. Make sure your products are ready for customers to start buying. If you are not making the products as the case in dropshipping, then ensure your suppliers should be up to the demands of your customers.
There are types of products that can be offered through your eCommerce business
- Physical products – this includes clothes, food, electronics, cars, and lots more. Anything that can be touched falls in line with this category.
- Digital products – these include ebooks, mp3s, videos, tools, etc
2. Register Your Business with CAC
It is easier to get your business name registered and incorporate your business in Nigeria today. You should go to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with all the necessary documents to get your business registered. You can check here to know if your intended business name has been taken of available. You can equally apply for registration of business name online.
3. Host your eCommerce website
There are cheap hosting services that you can use for your eCommerce business. Take note of the following as regards your would-be hosting company. These includes:
- Uptime – How often do they keep your site active.
- Bandwidth – This will show you how many customers can use your eCommerce site per time
- Disk Space – This contains all the data on your eCommerce site
- Security – How good is the company in keeping the security of your eCommerce site.
Make sure you do diligence to check reviews before you make your final selection. However, there are excellent hosting companies I recommend for you. They include;
- Bluehost – Bluehost is an excellent hosting company and one of the oldest web hosting companies, started in 1996 (that’s before Google started). They can comfortable host your eCommerce website.
- Siteground is one of the best brands when it comes to WordPress WooCommerce hosting with 99.99% uptime and 24 hours technically support. They host millions of websites including my own website.
4. Set Up Your Platform
As mentioned in the requirement, you can use WordPress to set up your eCommerce business. We have a step by step guide that will help you to set up your eCommerce business using WooCommerce. There are so many WooCommerce tailored themes that would give your eCommerce site a great look.
You can equally set up your eCommerce business on a platform like Shopify. Shopify is a fully hosted eCommerce solution that charges $29 / month for starters. So, instead of you paying for hosting and eCommerce theme separately, you can just sign up with Shopify and get business fully hosted on eCommerce platform.
5. Integrate Payment Gateway
It is easier to integrate your eCommerce business platform with some reliable payment gateways in Nigeria. Payment gateways like Paystack, Flutter wave, Quickteller, etc are easier ways to receive payment from your customers. Ensure you integrate a good payment system on your eCommerce website to avoid losing your potential customers. Check out our comprehensive list of payment gateways in Nigeria.
Taking inventory of your business is one of the most important business activities that you will get yourself engaged in doing because it will finally tell if you are making a profit or not. Since this is an eCommerce business, you need to set your inventory record properly when starting. This will help you keep check and update your stocks timely.
7. Test-Run the Purchase Process
Make sure you test-run the purchase process of your business before launching it. This will help you to understand the steps that customers would follow from start to final purchase. The shorter the steps, the better for your eCommerce business. Do all diligence to reduce the purchase steps.
8. Market Your Business
Customers may get to hear or read about your business from different sources. It is your business to keep your business awareness in the minds of returning customers and potential customers. You can use the following to market your business
- Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and popular blogs are places that you can market your eCommerce business.
- Set up affiliate programs: It is now easier to get your business across the globe by sharing revenue with affiliates. There are easy tools for you to get started with your affiliate programs.
- Add blogging to your eCommerce business. Occasional blogging can boost your sales and your readers would get first-hand information from your blog. If you don’t have the time to run the blog for your business, you can hire the services of freelance bloggers to do it for you.
9. Offer Stellar Customer Service
Customers are king. Customers makes a successful business. So, you need to handle and treat your customers like king. Your customers would always need more information from you. Always provide excess of it to them. This is one of the easiest ways to get more customers to your online business.
If you have a business in Nigeria, you can give your customers more options by adding an eCommerce section to your existing business. If you are just starting, then you can use the tips above to start and run your eCommerce business in Nigeria.
You should also note that you can run your eCommerce business on established eCommerce sites like Jumia, Konga, etc.