Businesses around the globe but especially in Africa and Nigeria in particular, struggle to have a strong presence on the internet.
A business owner in Lagos Nigeria recently asked me how he can get an e-commerce website so he can sell his products in Nigeria online 24/7. He wants to reach customers all over the world.
It’s true that whatever goods and services you are offering in Nigeria, the internet levels the playing field and lets you compete with the more prominent businesses, reaching customers all around the world who can buy goods and services from you 24/7.If you have any doubts about your business' ability to meet up with any of these things, then you aren't ready for an e-commerce website. Click To Tweet
Nigeria and Africa as a whole have also made giant strides with regards to e-commerce. There are several essential e-commerce websites, online stores and payment gateways operating today some of which we shall highlight later.
These e-commerce websites deal in everything from mobile phones and other types of mobile devices, fashion products, home appliances, consumer electronics, flight fares, hotel reservations, bulky gadgets from diverse industries and so on. They have also developed their localised shipping and payment methods such as cash on delivery.
However, this requires careful planning and taking the right steps. I hope this article and the accompanying Infographic, will help you make the right decision on getting an e-commerce website in Nigeria.
The most important things you will need to consider if you’re interested in getting an e-commerce website in Nigeria are:
The cost of having a functional and secure e-commerce website or online store in Nigeria varies depending on the features required.
Do you want a simple online store with an appealing user interface where your customers here in Nigeria can do their online shopping?
Or do you want a massive user-friendly online store like that of Amazon that has varying features that you can use to sell to customers across Africa and the globe? The more bells and whistles your e-commerce website requires the higher the cost implication.
Remember that as a Nigerian e-commerce business you are going to be under a lot of scrutiny by Nigerians both at home and abroad. The fact that yours is a Nigerian e-commerce business does not mean that it has to be mediocre.
Your customers deserve the very best and Nigerian online stores must be ready to deliver.
Be assured that if you don’t cut corners due to cost and you give your customers the very best Nigerian e-commerce business website they will patronise you and you will get a good return on your investment in no time regardless of whether you’re dealing in mobile phones, home appliances, consumer electronics or whatever.
Sadly Africa does not have a good reputation when it comes to online security, and this is especially so in Nigeria. Therefore, if you’re interested in getting an e-commerce website in Nigeria, then security must be your top priorities.
Regardless of whether you’re using WooCommerce or any other solution you still need to ensure that all other details on your e-commerce website are top notch.
Since your existing and potential customers will be sharing their debit cards and credit cards information via your website, you must ensure that you have a reliable payment processor and payment gateway in place.
Security of your site and your payment gateway must be thorough as neither you nor your clients would appreciate having their personal information stolen during online shopping.
An SSL certificate is vital if you intend collecting sensitive information like your customer’s credit card information regardless of whether your customers are in Lagos, Abuja, the UK or America.
Depending on the nature of the goods and services in your online store and your web hosting service provider, you can choose to have a free SSL Certificate like Let’s Encrypt, or you can go for a premium SSL Certificate from brands like Norton, etc.
As mentioned earlier the type of web hosting provider you select for your e-commerce website is very important.
Does your web host offer: domain name registration, shared, managed or dedicated web hosting solutions and so on?
Choosing a domain name for your online store is a strategic decision. When registering your domain be sure to select a memorable domain name. Don’t pick a domain name that is difficult for Nigerians to remember or pronounce. Since your domain name is going to be on all your essential stationery choose a domain name that Nigerians can identify.
Your domain name must be unique and memorable. It’s an integral part of your brand and corporate image.
If you intend for your business to be around for a long time to come, then be sure to register your domain name for at least the next ten years or more. Also, to protect yourself against cyber squatters be sure to register all the significant domain extension related to your chosen domain name and not just the .com extension alone.
Ideally, you should also consider registering various misspellings of your domain name. Registering misspellings of your domain will help to protect your customers from being scammed by criminals who create a phishing website with a similar domain name to lure unsuspecting persons into doing their online shopping on fake sites.
If you also notice that a lot of your customers and online traffic is coming from a particular country or region be sure to register the appropriate domain extension of that country or region too. All these will help to establish your Nigerian e-commerce business as a credible business regardless of whether you are dealing in mobile phones or any other goods and services.
Which of the content management system available is your web hosting provider proficient, e.g. WordPress, Joomla, and so on? What about your shopping cart? Are you going to go for a custom solution or an over-the-counter shopping cart solution?
Online shopping is a personal experience that your customers will not take lightly. It is essential that you use a web host that is knowledgable about the type of content management system you use in developing your website so that they can provide adequate tech support when required.
Please, whatever you do make sure that a robust website hosting solution is in place to ensure that your site is available 99.99% of the time. Web hosting is the foundation of your Nigerian e-commerce business.
So don’t even thinking about cutting corners when it comes to web hosting. You have to do thorough research on the type of web hosting solution that other global companies are using and try to adopt the same or even to do better.
Also, ensure that your web hosting provider has excellent customer support because there is nothing worse than someone trying to visit your website only to discover that it is not available.
Always go for a web hosting company that offers 24/7 customer support. So before signing up with a web hosting provider make sure you check out there customer support options. Do so at odd times of the day and not just at regular working hours. Thereby you will be able to tell whether the web hosting company is truly living up to their promise of providing 24/7 customer support.
Due to the weak power supply system in Nigeria and any other developing country, if I were you, I would avoid any local web hosting service provider. Instead, go for those based abroad. Their services are reliable. Also, avoid going for the cheapest web hosting provider. Instead, go for a premium web hosting (affiliate link) provider. Yes, they are more expensive, but at least you can be sure that you are getting value for money.
The fact that your Nigerian e-commerce business is in a developing country like Nigeria does not mean that your Nigerian e-commerce business must be on a sub-par web hosting solutions.
To be sure you’re on the right path with your e-commerce website in Nigeria strive to emulate other global giants like Amazon and so on. Using the likes of Amazon as your benchmark will help to ensure that you have set high standards for your e-commerce website in Nigeria.
What if your customers claim that you sold them damaged goods, how will you handle it?
For any e-commerce business to thrive especially a Nigerian e-commerce business, it is paramount that you have excellent customer service.
Do you have policies in place that takes into account possible scenarios such as chargebacks, refunds, and so on? Such things often happen when it comes to online shopping. If you don’t give these things the proper attention, they deserve they can ruin your business.
Are you capable of meeting the demand of your customers for your product or service on a long-term basis all year round in your online store?
If you intend to deal in physical products, then you need to give serious thought to this because there’s no point having an e-commerce website if you cannot meet the demand of customers for your product or service.
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Other Things to Consider
In addition to the above, if you want your online store to thrive, you will need to consider such things as search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media marketing (SMM). Online shopping is very competitive and if your website is not found on search engines like Google through your customers will likely flock to your competitors to do their online shopping.
What you must know about online shopping is that customers like to do their online shopping at e-commerce websites that are popular on Google and social media networks.
So if your online store is not ranking high on Google or it receives a lot of negative comments on social media, then your customers will go to your competitors to do their online shopping.
Google and social media are two essential tools that you will need to use daily. If you find search engine optimisation and social media too daunting, you can outsource these so that you can focus on your running your online store.
Top E-commerce Websites in Nigeria
Find below some of the top e-commerce websites in Nigeria. If you’re looking to have a Nigerian e-commerce website, then these are these websites mentioned below are probably going to be your main competitors. The site mentioned below are the ones that many Nigerians who love to shop online talk are talking about on social media.
- Jumia Nigeria
- Mall for Africa
- SME MarketHub
These are some of the essential things you’ll need to consider if you’re interested in getting an e-commerce website in Nigeria or Africa for that matter.
If you have any doubts about your online store’s ability to meet up with any of the above, then you aren’t ready for an e-commerce website.
If you want more information on this, let’s chat. I’ll be glad to guide you on how to use digital marketing to ensure that your e-commerce website in Nigeria thrives.
Disclaimer: The Top E-commerce Websites in Nigeria list above is in no particular order and is not intended to be an exhaustive list. The mention and listing of any E-commerce websites in Nigeria in this post do not in any way constitute my endorsement of same.
Updated March 2019