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Starting an eCommerce Business in Nigeria: 5 Easy Steps

In this article, we will discuss 7 steps that will help you get started with an eCommerce website in Nigeria for your new business!

If you are considering starting a business in Nigeria, then there are a lot of things that you should consider first. 

One of the most important to think about is your product. Your product can be anything from handmade crafts to candles and everything in between. 

But first;

What is eCommerce?

eCommerce is the selling of products and services over the internet. This can be from your own website or through an online store using a platform such as Shopify, Big Commerce, etc.

Steps to Starting an eCommerce Business in Nigeria

Step 1). Find Ecommerce Products

There are many different products that you can sell. You may want to start off small and work your way up, or dive right in! 

Try looking at local shops for inspiration for what is already out there.

Steps: 

  • What kind of product would I like to create? (i.e., knitted scarves) 
  • Where could this be sold online? (Etsy shop, Shopify store in Nigeria, etc.) 
  • How much will the supplies cost me per item made? 
  • Will my time/labor need to increase as sales go up? If so; Is it worth it financially and mentally speaking? 

Finding the best product to sell online in Nigeria is the best and most critical step you can take when starting an eCommerce business in Nigeria.

Once you have identified the product, you need to identify the source.

The best way to source a product in Nigeria is through dropshipping.

Dropshipping is an increasingly popular business model among entrepreneurs in Nigeria because it has substantially lower upfront investment costs and is generally a lower risk alternative to more traditional eCommerce business models that require you to find suppliers and stock inventory yourself.

You can read more about dropshipping in Nigeria here.

Step 2). Researching Other Online Businesses

You might wonder how you can stand out from the crowd. 

One way is to take a look at other eCommerce businesses in Nigeria and see what they are doing right or wrong! 

You may get an idea of pricing, policies, etc that could be helpful for your business.

Steps: 

  • Search online for existing eCommerce shops in your niche in Nigeria (i.e., Etsy) 
  • What kind of product do people like? Why?
  • Do I think there is room for something different? If so; why would it work better than what’s already out there? 

See if their shipping prices fit within industry standards (relatively cheap when possible).

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You also need to identify how your competitors are driving sales. What marketing channels are they using?

For example;

If your niche is around sound systems, you may need to understand how your rivals attract their customers.

This way, you can chart an effective way on how you can acquire them, maybe even for cheap.

Step 3). Come up with Your Brand

This is the next step of starting an eCommerce business in Nigeria. 

See, when you have a product, the next thing is to get your brand out there!

Steps: 

  • What will my logo look like? Will it be something I create or purchase from a stock photo website? (i.e., iStockPhoto) 
  • Do I want an existing color scheme that runs through all of my branding? If so; what colors do those need to be and where can they be found online for free/cheaply if possible? 

Branding is everything when it comes to selling online in Nigeria, especially where the trust of your customers is vital to the success of your eCommerce business.

Additionally, you may want to start with one social media account such as Facebook & Instagram. 

And then build up followers organically by sharing photos of your products and other relevant posts! Spend some time looking at how larger eCommerce shops are using those networks to help grow their own businesses. 

Once you have an idea of your prices and branding, start thinking about how you’ll market yourself online (i.e., Facebook Ads). There are many different ways to do this such as Google AdWords or banner ads on websites through a platform like BuySellAds.

Customer Service & Shipping Your Products 

Having a great product is one thing but taking care of customers after they make their purchase can be what turns them into repeat buyers or not! 

Try reaching out to other eCommerce businesses who are selling similar products as yours; Ask questions about how certain aspects worked out for them (positively/negatively

What will my return/refund policy be if people aren’t happy with the product they receive? 

How long is the turnaround time for shipping and fulfillment?

If someone wants a refund; what is the process going to look like from beginning to end? 

These small details can make or break your business so it’s important that they’re carefully thought out ahead of starting an eCommerce business in Nigeria.

Step 4): Building Your Online Store

Now that you have your product and how it will be packaged, who is going to buy from you? 

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The next step is building an online store in Nigeria!

Steps: 

There are a lot of different platforms out there for eCommerce businesses in Nigeria. 

Shopify seems to be one of the more popular ones with its easy setup and built-in payment options.

Other options include OLITT Shop, Big Commerce, Wix, etc. Choose what works best for YOU! 

You will need a website or landing page where customers can find information about yourself/business as well as purchase products through your shop link (i.e., Google My Business).

Try looking at other websites including blogs such as this throughout the internet and see if their online store seems to follow any kind of “standard” that you could implement for yourself. 

A quick way to create an eCommerce website in Nigeria is by acquiring a domain name, getting hosting, and installing the Woocommerce plugin.

WooCommerce is a free plugin for wordpress that you can use to create an online store in under 10 minutes.

So, here is what you need to do now;

Once installed, upload your products, update settings including the prices and descriptions of the products.

Step 5): Promoting Your Ecommerce Business

This is the next step when starting an eCommerce business in Nigeria.

Now that you have a website set up, it is time to start promoting yourself. There are many different marketing platforms out there from e-mail campaigns to social media ads.

Ask yourself, which platform will be best for your business? (i.e., Facebook Ads) 

Here is an example of how Shopify uses its blog as a way to market itself and share helpful posts with customers who may be interested in starting their own store! 

Check them out here => Shopify Blog.

Also, take a look below where I’ve listed some other types of advertising/marketing options available online today! These can range anywhere from free or really cheap all the way to very expensive but high impact.

Strategies to market an eCommerce business in Nigeria

a). Making Connections

Meet bloggers in related industries and ask if they’d like a review copy for free and post it on your blog. 

Reach out to people with large followings online who might love what you have to offer! 

This can be done through email or working together on social media platforms such as Twitter. 

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b.) Incentives

As mentioned above, offering incentives is great when it comes to increasing sales. 

For example, you could offer free shipping or a percentage off certain products in exchange for people mentioning your business on their social media platforms! 

c.) Giveaways/Coupons

Give away coupons and discounts with the purchase of specific items so that customers can share them with their friends which will increase awareness about your eCommerce store in Nigeria! 

d.) Email Marketing Campaigns 

Create an email list through one of the many forms online (i.e., MailChimp) which allows you to reach out to previous contacts who might be interested in what you have created.

You can also send mailers informing these individuals about new product releases or special deals going on.

e). SEO/Social Media Marketing

SEO is another way to attract more customers through your eCommerce business in Nigeria. 

There are many different strategies for this but it’s recommended that you reach out to a professional who can help with the process! Social media marketing helps create brand awareness and allows potential customers to visit your website. 

f). Pay-Per-Click Advertising Platforms (i.e., Google AdSense)

This platform enables you to pay money when someone clicks on one of the ads displayed on your page which will then redirect them over to other websites or even specific content within the said website like blog posts, etc. 

This form of advertising has a very high impact since people tend not to skip past these types of advertisements while they’re browsing online! 

h). Influencers

Reach out to people with large followings such as “bloggers” online and ask if they’d like a review copy for free. 

This can be done through email or working together on social media platforms such as Twitter. 

i). Video Marketing Platforms (i.e., YouTube, Vimeo)

Video content is one of the best ways to reach new customers since it’s highly engaging! 

Create fun videos about your eCommerce business and post them across different forms of social media advertising your online store in order to increase brand awareness/purchase conversions throughout all stages of the funnel! 

Other video marketing options include Facebook Live, Instagram Video, etc. 

Final thoughts on starting an eCommerce business

An eCommerce business is a great way to make money online in Nigeria. 

You can sell anything you would like but it’s recommended that the items are relatively easy to ship/deliver since this will increase your conversion rates over time!

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