This is a complete guide on how to start an online store in Nigeria.
There are many ways to make money online in Nigeria, one of them is starting an online store.
You will agree with me that the era when Nigerians are scared of buying things online has gradually faded away.
Now, on a daily basis, Nigerians buy things online ranging from Wristwatches, Electronics, Laptops, and Phones, to shirts, shoes, and surprisingly food items too.
No wonder Jumia, Konga, and Jiji are among the top-visited websites in Nigeria today.
My point is, it is now very lucrative buying and selling things online in Nigeria; and the beautiful thing about it is that just anybody can get started with selling their products online.
Hence, whether you are a shop owner currently looking for ways to expand your reach to Nigerians, or you are looking to start your own online shop but don’t know how to go about it, then don’t worry, this complete guide on how to start an online store in Nigeria is designed just for you.
At the end of this guide, you would have learned the best way to start an online store in Nigeria, how to set up your online shop, how to source for products for your online store in Nigeria, and how to drive traffic and grow your online store in Nigeria.
Don’t worry, you don’t need much to get started. You can start with as little as 10 products.
Also, your online store doesn’t have to be as big as Jumia or Konga for the start. You only need to start from somewhere and grow it.
I feel I have said too much for an introduction already. Have I not?
Alright. If you are set, let’s get started, shall we?
What Is An Online Store
An online store is a platform or a website where you advertise your products, and customers see them and place an order for them via the internet.
Choosing Products for Your Online Store
The first step towards starting an online store in Nigeria is to decide which product or products you intend to sell in your online shop.
Important: Registering your online store with CAC will make it more legit. Here is a step by step guide on how to register your business with CAC in Nigeria.
For a start, you can’t just go about ordering and buying anything that comes to your mind for your online store.
No, it doesn’t work that way. If you wish to successfully build and grow your online shop, there are certain tips you must observe when choosing a product for your online store.
Tips for Choosing Products for Your Online Store in Nigeria.
There are basically 3 tips to observe when deciding which product to buy for your online shop.
Tip 1: The Product Should Not Be Too Rampant.
Don’t buy a product that is already too rampant in the market. People are already used to such products, as such, It will not convert into many sales for you.
Also, when you see a product, do proper research before buying it. Don’t assume the product is new just because it seems new to you.
As someone who is actively involved in mini importation, one of the things I have learned over time is to do proper research and not to be too anxious to order any product for my online store.
For instance, One of those days when I was still starting out with mini importation and selling products online, I ordered one kitchen electric device that is meant for baking.
I was very much convinced that it was going to sell here in Nigeria because I hadn’t seen it before.
But guess what? After I ordered the product from China and listed it on my online store, I discovered it wasn’t selling as I expected.
Then I reached out to a friend who was more experienced in the business than I was, and he told me the product already converted.
What he meant was that the product was no longer new. People had already sold to products online, made their money, and move to the next product.
How did I miss that? I hadn’t seen it before online. It just meant I didn’t do my homework well.
So, take it from a friend who has been there. You will see products that look new to you, and feel you are likely going to be among the first persons to sell the product in Nigeria.
Don’t quickly buy, and don’t be personal or too anxious about it. Relax, and do your homework well.
Please note that there are certain products that are already well known, but are still very much making sales.
In that case, feel free to buy for your online store.
Tip 2: The Product Should Have a High Demand
The next tip to observe when choosing a product for your online store is the demand for the product.
Is there a good demand for the product? Will people buy the product if they see it on your online store.
For a relatively new product, one of the ways to know if people will be interested in it, is to run a test.
Before doing that, ask your self this honest question, will I buy this product if someone was offering it for sale to me?
Next, show the product to your friends and see if they’d love to buy it also.
Finally, run a test for the product. Spare yourself the trouble of ordering for the product when you are low in cash, and not too certain it will make great sales.
Simply advertise the product online and see if people are interested. When you notice you are getting orders for it, you can then quickly order for the product, and fulfill the orders you have.
Sounds fair enough right?
Tip 3: The Product Should Be Sellable Online
Given how things are in Nigeria, not every product will sell online in Nigeria.
For Instance, grocery and food items are likely not going to sell online. Anybody that wants food or any other foodstuffs for that matter knows the nearest shop or market to buy them.
They’d prefer to buy it in a place where they can see it, touch it, and take it home immediately.
Similarly, some wear and clothes may not have a huge conversion rate since most people will prefer going to buy from a local boutique where they get to test and see that the clothing fits them perfectly.
Nonetheless, some clothes still sell very well online. Learn how to start an online clothing business in Nigeria.
How To Source For Products For Your Online Store
The next step to starting any successful online store in Nigeria is to know how and where to buy the products for your online shop.
I believe the ultimate goal of starting any business is to make a profit.
Hence, you will not be doing yourself much good if you buy and sell products in your online store and not make a profit.
The Nigeria market is a very competitive one, as such, you can’t just expect to sell your products at any amount and make a profit.
A lot of buyers will first check for popular online retail stores like Jumia and Konga, and see if they will find the product you are selling there.
If they do, they will then compare the prices there, and see if it’s more profitable for them to buy from you or buy from them.
Also, you can’t buy a product for N500 naira for instance and sell it the same amount you bought it all because you want to make sales and offer a competitive price. No, you can’t do that.
Hence, you need to make certain that you get these products at a very cheaper rate, so you can sell in Nigeria at a cheap rate and still make your profit.
When deciding where to get your product at a cheap rate, you sure know that you can’t rule out quality.
Even if other persons are buying and selling inferior goods online, you don’t want to be part of them.
Remember, this is your business we are talking about. It’s also going to be your brand.
What would you like people to know your online store for? Inferior or quality goods? You decide.
The question, therefore, would be where to get a good quality product at a very cheap rate.
Depending on the product, China has proven to be the best place to buy cheap and quality products.
Hence, whether it’s gadgets, electronics, or fashion items, you can buy them from China at a considerably cheap rate.
Top Sites To Buy Products for Your Online Store
Below are some of the top Chinese websites you can buy the products for your online retail store in Nigeria.
How to Set Up Your Online Store Platform
From my interactions with most online business owners, I realized that the major challenge would-be online retail store owners face in Nigeria is choosing the right platform for their online Store.
Fortunately for you, you found this article, as such, you will not face this challenge.
There are two major e-commerce platforms that you can use to set up your online store.
- WordPress + Woocommerce
These two eCommerce platforms are popular and recommended platforms for users who intend to start an online store, not only in Nigeria but all over the world.
Shopify is one of the best-hosted eCommerce platforms.
Shopify is already hosted and set up, hence, you don’t need much work, except to log in, upload your products and begin to make sales.
However, getting a Shopify platform for your online store in Nigeria is not free.
Shopify is a good platform to set up your online store, except that it is not recommended for anyone in Nigeria because it is way too expensive.
Shopify starts at $29 / month, and you get limited payment options except you pay more fees.
The cost of setting up a Shopify store is very much expensive, that’s why the majority of store owners all over the world prefer using WordPress + WooCommerce for their online store.
Hence, the best and recommended platform for your online store in Nigeria is WordPress + WooCommerce.
To set up your online store with WordPress, you will need to have 3 things:
- A Domain Name
- A Web Hosting
- An SSL certificate
A Domain Name
A domain name is your website address on the internet. It is what your visitors will type on their web browser to get to your website.
9Guiders.com is an example of a domain name. To get to our website, you have to type 9guiders.com in your browser, and you will be taken to this website.
In the same way, you will need a domain name that people can type and locate your online store (Jumia.com.ng for example).
Web hosting is where your website (online store) files will be saved on the internet.
See Web hosting as where your store will be housed on the net.
Every website or online store you see on the internet is hosted (has a web hosting).
SSL certificate gives your site the security that allows you to received sensitive information like credit card details, personal information, etc.
SSL certificate adds a special security layer on your website, so you can accept sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other personal information.
This is required for you to accept credit card payments on your website.
Now you have this, next would be to Install WordPress and set up Woocommerce.
Payment And Delivery
If you have ever sold a product before, you will notice that one very challenging thing is how to receive payment and get your product across to the buyer.
Hence, you will have to decide if you will use a Payment on Delivery, or Payment Before Delivery services.
Payment on Delivery (POD)
For pay on delivery, after a buyer declares interest in your product, you will have to send the product to the buyer, then the buyer will make payment after he receives the product.
There are some Korea services and freelance agents in Nigeria that handle pay on delivery for online shop owners.
For Korea services, all you do is to take the product to them when someone orders for it and pay their service fees.
They, in turn, will take the product to the buyer’s address and deliver it, and make the payment directly to your account.
While for freelance delivery agents, you contact the one in the location as the buyer, then waybill the product to him.
Related: Cheapest Courier Service in Nigeria
The agent will then pick up the product from the park, and take it to the buyer.
If the buyer is pleased with the product, he pays him the money, and he inturns transfer the money to you.
However, he will deduct his delivery fees and send you the balance. So be sure to negotiate well with him.
The advantage of Payment on Delivery is that you will have a lot of orders from buyers since the fear of being scammed is no more there.
Besides, they will have to see the product and be sure it is exactly what they order for, before paying for it.
As beautiful as this is, it has a downside. The disadvantage is that both serious and unserious buyers will order for your product.
If you are going to go for Payment on Delivery (POD), you will need to integrate a payment gateway on your online store.
The payment gateway is what will allow you to receive online payment from your customs on your website.
Check out the top 13 best online payment gateway in Nigeria.
Part-Payment Before Delivery
This is similar to payment on delivery. The only difference is that the buyer will be required to pay part-payment for the product before it will be shipped to them.
This is a very good method if you can pull it off very well.
Payment Before Delivery
This seems to be the common payment system for most online retail shops in Nigeria.
With this method, the buyer will have to pay for the product before it is sent down to him or her.
Because of some of the issues involved in a Payment On Delivery system, you might want to consider this method of payment.
However, If you are going to go with this method, ensure your business is registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
With that, customers will know they are dealing with a recognized company in Nigeria, and that might reduce the fear they might have of getting scammed.
Otherwise, you might want to stick to Payment On Delivery.
How to Promote Your Online Store
Setting up a good online store, and getting quality products for your online store will not make any difference if people are not aware of your online store.
Hence, the next important thing you must do is to promote your online store. There are many ways to promote your online store.
You can promote your business on Social media. You can also promote your products on Jiji, Nairaland, etc.
That’s all on how to start an online store in Nigeria.
If you followed this article, you would have learned how to start an online store in Nigeria.
You might also want to check the 12 best ways to make money online in Nigeria.
I hope this article on how to start an online store in Nigeria was helpful?