Nigeria is arguably a tough atmosphere for business with an only physical presence, yet foreigners barely give it a second thought to launch a new branch here or start from the bottom for 2 paramount reasons
The population: Nigeria is an abode of over 200 million residents, that is, the population of some 10 European countries or more
Your offer only needs to compel little fraction of these figures to break even
Innovation: According to a study, they recorded over 70 percent of internet accesses on mobile devices, where the share was even higher with online marketplace visits in the Nigerian eCommerce industry.
With the rapid increase of Smartphone and smart devices users, the eCommerce industry has witnessed sharp growth over the years, gradually transforming into a honeycomb for business aspirants
Ecommerce is not that complicated as people paint it, with few concisely explained concepts and little advertisement funds to create exposure for your intended product. You’re in business.
What is an e-commerce business and how it works?
The simplest definition of e-commerce is buying and selling of goods and services over the internet.
I’d like to start with what instigated the increase of online shopping in this very ecosphere, which was the likes of 2 renowned African e-commerce websites [Konga, Jumia]
The rapid increase of Smartphone and smart device users has also been a boon to the lucrative innovation, with internet marketers constantly working to tap into the industry day in day out
However, many have sized it up to discover there is more to it as it requires strategic planning alongside well-defined objectives
First on, people complicate this for themselves, as they sideline the simplicity aspects for the long and sophisticated process
However, innovations haven’t stopped breaking down seamless access to ownership over the years from easy-to-understand tools incorporated with popular e-commerce marketing systems [Shopify, WooCommerce] and social platforms [Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp] e-commerce storefronts
The 2 simple questions that will chiefly give you a grand head start are:
What are you selling: eCommerce parents subcategories and as far as online selling is concerned, mini importation is one.
As your mini importation success starts from selling what people want and not what you think they want, so as your e-commerce business
Indulge market research and carefully select or come online with what your targeted customers want, and you’d consistently hit the bottom of your inventory
How many sales do you want: There are 2 types of traffic to your offer or selling to potential customers, which are organic traffic and paid traffic.
Paid traffic will quickly contribute to your e-commerce success than organic traffic, as either paid traffic gets your offer massive exposure from the intended social platform system or from other sources like leveraging influencer’s audience closely related to your product or offer
4 reasons you should launch an e-commerce business?
Global Reach: The first essence of e-commerce business is access to the larger market of billions searching for a product or the other, scrolling the web
Aimlessly until your product catches their attention to learn more about it afterward.
Effectiveness: you should have known by now that you could use your room as a warehouse to handle your inventory, while your e-commerce website and social pages both serve as your physical and online storefront
Physical presence is not that bad with e-commerce business but not a necessity, thus saving you cash on utilities, rent, maintenance, and more
Scalability: with an e-commerce business, you can grow your brand from zero to millions within a short period with enough disposable funds for awareness and advert
Encourage feedback: it is easier to see what your customers and even passersby are fuming about with a review or comment under your brand page activities, is enough feedback to stimulate or rejuvenate your approach and offer at once
7 simple steps to start your E-commerce business
- You need a business plan
Regardless of the nature, model, or structure of your intended business development, you need a solid business plan that helps answer and tailor the below objectives to your goals:
- Capacity and potential of your investment
- How do you propose to establish the business?
- Liable challenges and how to counteract or make them favorable
- How to enhance your unique selling proposition
- Your weaknesses and how to create a moat around it while simultaneously coming up
- Revenue goals
You need these business plans for your establishment and more to keep you on the roadmap track
Also Read: How to Set your Brand Goals
- Register your e-commerce business with CAC
You can’t fight it. Some customers are just too skeptical about online payment or transacting online without keeping their security and privacy in check.
As of when we crafting this article, the Nigerian government will never come after your e-commerce business for no license, permit, or registration with the corporate affairs commission [CAC]
This is about the lifeblood of your e-commerce business, and you don’t want to clog the vessel by not getting your brand registered to break learned or informed customers’ objection
Besides, government registration boosts your business credibility and gives your brand more trust, which you don’t want to jeopardize or pass up or for procrastination
- Set aside a business bank account
I’d advise you to not take this close to heart, as I have someone constantly hurting his business growth mixing personal goals with business funds
Get a separate bank account for your business to discover when your revenue takes a plunge for a change and when your effort glows impressive figures for better optimization and reinvestment
- Set up your e-commerce online store
If you have no technical or web design experience, you could hire a designer to create your e-commerce store
Otherwise, consider setting this up yourself with one out of various e-commerce marketing systems [Squarespace, Shopify, WooCommerce] in the market, built-in mind to simplify the process with just drag-and-drop options or just go for WordPress, as it’s the cheapest with free e-commerce plugins that further removes the intricacies
There’s also another way to join the e-commerce movement without handling or owning a website, logistics, payment gateway, marketing except for signing up on already established eCommerce marketplace like Etsy, Amazon, Konga, Jumia, and more
All you need to do to leverage these established marketplace tools and potential audience of millions are sign up for an account, list perfect image and description of your product, and you’re ready, while they only take a minor cut from your sales for the gestures
Also, endeavor to make it easy for visitors to navigate your website seamlessly to avoid a poor conversion rate
- Embed reliable payment gateway
You need a payment gateway incorporated into your website to streamline your payment or checkout process. Few reputed ones within this boundary are [Paystack, Selar, Flutter wave]
You also want to enable an offline payment option for your e-commerce store to increase your conversion rate and chances to earn more
- Stock inventory
If you are not a manufacturer or your intended product could be found in China, I’d recommend learning importation, as china is the largest manufacturing hub with the cheapest products
Also, you want to source for what people need, human wants product model could be placed in cold storage
When sourcing for products, you also need to know quality should be your priority. This will either make or break your e-commerce business
These are a few genuine marketplaces where suppliers and manufacturers trade the perfect product for your e-commerce store
Ensure to do extra homework about them to avoid liable difficulties of fake suppliers, substandard goods, and pricey international delivery system
- Work with logistics
Logistics are beyond a cog in the wheel, they are inevitable in the e-commerce business as they’d be the one to deliver your goods to your customers, regardless of their location, and also help collect your payment if your e-commerce business is also cash on delivery enabled
There are many reliable logistics companies in Nigeria, Lagos is the home to the majority, so you won’t feel disappointed when you discover a popular one without a branch in your state, local government precisely
However, the likes of GIG logistics, Skynet, Courier plus service should get you covered, especially in your state capital
- Market your e-commerce business
I often see big and influential brands like coca-cola, Mc Donald, Red bull using various advertisement strategies not literally to gain more exposure for their brands but to keep etching their name to our subconscious
Advertisement is the fuel to every e-commerce business. A poor product with proper branding and reasonable fund for publicity will make a business a perfect product with zero exposure.
Create a business page for your e-commerce business on the below marketplaces with an already starving crowd, then throw befitting funds at your proposed products only after you have mastered the art of setting up an advert on them, otherwise hire a professional
- Facebook ads
- Google ads
- Social media influencers
Sidelining the listing of your e-commerce business for more exposure to business directories would render this section incomplete
At some point, you can’t phantom what people search for on search engines that will keep conveying them straight to your online store, and business directories have the potential to put your business in this organic traffic position with a glorious return on investment
If you’re a business owner or deal with any sort of exchanging products for money, then am happy to announce to you in a few years, over 60% of your competitors or businesses around you will consistently sell out then you can ever phantom, while you think a God of business is not on your side focusing solely on physical store sales
Meanwhile, they see this type of content [starting an e-commerce business in Nigeria] or heard about its potential and ruthlessly go all in leveraging billions of online shoppers they couldn’t have access to their physical store
You are already equipped with the knowledge, you only need to break liable barriers that might keep you after this moment
See you on the inside!!!