How to Start an Online Store in Nigeria
The online store business is one of the fastest growing businesses in Nigeria. If you take a survey of the sites with the highest amount of traffic in Nigeria, you will notice that the e-commerce sites top the list. By e-commerce sites I mean sites where goods and services are sold, examples are Konga, Jumia, Jiji, Olx, etc. What one can deduce from this is that Nigerians are becoming more aware of the online market and their acceptance for it is growing by the day.
Now, this is my candid advice to you, if you ever think of selling a product or service to Nigerians, your first point of distribution or advertisement should be the internet. Let me share a few facts with you. Taking a review of 2018, Nigeria generated the highest traffic online the world over. Nigeria is the largest black nation by population, one which is almost clocking 200 million. It is forecasted that by 2050, Nigeria will have an estimated population of 250 million. A major fraction of this population will be made up of youth, the largest the world over.
Now let me ask you a few questions. What age group uses the internet more? How many times do you pick your phone to go online in a day? How many people are updating their status online daily? Without being beside you I can guess your answers. After this little survey, you will agree with me that the easiest and most intelligent way to sell anything to Nigerians is doing it online.
I am sure you must be wondering how your online store will compete against the big boys like Jumia and Konga. No need to worry about that. You don’t need to start a very big online store, you can simply focus on one product or a few products and grow from there. Let me make it easy on you, did you know there are so many online stores in Nigeria that are small and specialize on just one product? I am sure you probably didn’t, they seem so small that don’t even attract your attention but they are making lots of profit monthly.
Now that your fears about starting an online store have been alleviated I can guess all that is on your mind is how you can start your own online store. That is not a big deal at all, in this article we shall be discussing extensively on how you can start your own online store that will generate a huge income on a monthly basis. Join me on this interesting journey through the next few paragraphs.
Decide on your product
Most people will call this the first step to starting your online store in Nigeria, I say it is the second and here is why. The first step for me is the decision to start the business altogether, after all, if you didn’t think of starting the business, how can you decide what product to sell? A simple but hard truth you must grasp at this point is, you cannot just pick any product because it appeals to you. Your product must satisfy certain conditions before you can make it your primary product of sale.
The first condition to be met is that the product must command high demand. However, if your product falls into the category of new products to the market, then you must check if the product will meet a certain need that makes it almost indispensable. You should also be sure the product has no close substitute. If you are finding it difficult to figure this out here are a few questions you can answer to help you out.
- For a product already on the market
- Is the number of people purchasing this product high?
- Have you seen many ads online for this product?
- Do top online stores in the country record high number of sales for the product?
- For a product just entering the Nigerian market
- Does the product satisfy a significant need?
- Are there any close substitutes?
Providing sincere answers to these questions will guide you as to whether the product will be high in demand or not.
The second factor to look out for is, people must be comfortable in purchasing such a product online. There are a couple of products that hardly sell online, a very good example is grocery. Grocery products are perishable in nature and so when people buy them it is usually for immediate consumption. Asides this, there are grocery shops on almost every street in Nigerian cities so you can be sure people will not leave those street sellers to buy grocery online.
Once you can frisk your product using these methods and it passes your test, it is safe to say you have a money maker on your hands.
Write a business plan
A lot of individuals wonder whether every business requires a business plan. If you ask me, I’d tell you YES. It is very important to develop a business plan for any business you venture into. It acts as a guide, a measure of success, and a source of capital, especially when you need it from a bank or some investor. You can either write it yourself or find a professional to do it on your behalf. Most people choose the second option because it is easier, faster, and more reliable. You can contact us to help you with your business plan for starting an online store in Nigeria at an affordable fee.
Consider the best source for your product
Figuring out what product to sell is one nut to crack, finding the best supplier for your purposes is another. When finding a supplier for your product you should consider a seller that will give you top quality for the best prices. If you buy from a seller who gives you high prices you end up reducing your profit. This is the secret, the high the margin between cost and selling price, the more profit for your online store. Depending on the kind of product you are focusing on, it might be advisable to buy within or outside the country. Phone accessories and certain clothing and wares are ridiculously cheap outside the country so you can consider getting from such sources when making an order for your business.
Making a choice of domain name and securing it
Just like having a name for your physical store, your domain name for your online store is its identity. This means you need to choose one that is easy to memorize, catchy, and unique. You should also be careful not to be too specific when choosing a name so that when you expand, you don’t hinder your progress with your own hands. An example is beautysandals.ng, if you expand into selling other wares the name becomes misleading and you need to get a new one.
If you are running a physical store, you can use the same name online as long as it is not taken by someone else. The best extension to use online is .com, it is easy to remember and very popular.
Set up your store
After figuring out the above the next step is setting up your online store. For most people they just hire the services of a seasoned web developer, it is less time-consuming and you are sure of an excellent job. If you are however good with new stuff, then you may decide to do the set up yourself. You can choose either WordPress or Shopify to do this. Regardless of whichever you choose, ensure that you add flexible payment features to make it easy for your customers to pay for products or services gotten from your website.
Affix cool images of your product online
95% of the time purchasing a product is influenced by the image that the prospective customer sees. Sometimes people are only compelled to buy a product because of the image they saw and not because they need it. This explains the power of putting up clear and attractive images for your products. My advice to you is never to try uploading a picture taken with your phone. It is advisable to get a professional photographer to take pictures of your products and properly edit them before posting them.
This is not to say that you put up beautiful products and end up selling substandard products to your clients. If you don’t have access to a photographer you may opt for getting clear pictures from the website of the product manufacturer. Whichever method you choose, just ensure that you are affixing images that will attract your customers to your products.
Writing relevant content for your products
Every website needs top quality content to rank high or even attract the right kind of traffic. This is why you cannot afford to leave your website empty with just pictures and prices. You need to generate quality content for your website to describe your products properly. There are two ways to do this. You can write yourself that is if you trust your writing abilities. If you don’t, simply employ a copywriter to do the honors. We could help you generate content for your website at a subsidized fee. Make sure you never compromise the quality of content you put on your website, content is everything.
Plan how you will deliver products
This is a key aspect of your business and it must be planned for before you even start out at all. You may decide to run deliveries yourself, but carrying out door-to-door delivery can be cumbersome and time-consuming. You can simply opt for a third-party delivery service. There are so many in Nigeria today that will help transport your products within and beyond cities at a little charge. Make sure you weigh your options very well before choosing any of the above options.
Run multiple tests on your website
If a potential customer comes to your site for the first time and there is a glitch which makes the person not get optimal service, it is almost guaranteed the person is not coming back. This is the reason why you must test and test and test again. It is very important to success of your business. Ensure every parameter and feature is properly tested before advertising the site to the general public. Now you should note that you cannot test the site alone, you need so many hands to help out. The more people the better. As you test make sure every glitch is fixed and every observation is duly noted.
Promote your site
This is a very important aspect of setting up an online store in Nigeria. Without promotion, your store will lack the traffic you need to get you substantial income. You need to work hard to ensure that the right people see your store. Make sure you figure out the specific audience for your product and target them. There are several ways to publicize your website, the most popular being the use of social media accounts. You can also put up sponsored ads for your website, this way you increase your reach and can easily target a specific set of people.
In conclusion, the online store business is a very lucrative one which does not require much stress or expertise. It also does not require huge capital to start up and in no time you could be making huge income monthly.
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