Do you want to start your own online store? Building an online store can be a daunting task, especially in Nigeria, and if you’re not web inclined. This post should guide you through. Let’s begin.
With free tools and good web hosting, there’s no reason you can’t have your own catalog and shopping cart on the web if you’ve got something worth selling.
Why Host Your Own Online Store?
There are plenty of places you can sell online without stress, Amazon and eBay included. We also have marketplaces like Jumia and Payporte, where you don’t need your own store. Hosting your own online store gives you more control over the shop and its presentation, is better for business branding, makes moving to another web host easier, and can be more cost-effective.
The Stats of Success
Nigerian consumers are increasingly comfortable with online shopping, both from local retailers and foreign online stores and are some of the world’s most prolific users of mobile devices to do shopping. This is according to a new study conducted in Nigeria by Ipsos, a global market research company, on behalf of electronic payment provider, PayPal.
“Overall, online shopping in Nigeria is growing rapidly with six out of ten Internet users in Nigeria shopping online in the 12-month period the survey covered. Total online spend is predicted to increase from N128.1 billion in 2015 to N172 billion in 2016, up by 34 per cent from the previous year. This growth continues to N217.7 billion in 2017, about 27 per cent more than in 2016.” – IPSOS
What You’ll need:
A Web Host.
We recommend InMotion Hosting for about $5/month.
A dedicated IP address (about $2/month) for your website and private SSL certificate ($25/year). If your customers pay for your goods would they lose their money? Can hackers access your database? Will their transactions be secure?
SSL is the Secure Sockets Layer protocol that encrypts the data between the browser and the website server; it’s essential for protecting customer data.
See how to set up your SSL
Do I need SSL for my Website?
A shopping cart script (free). Free shopping cart scripts like osCommerce and Zen Cart are the favs of many online stores. If you’re building on WordPress, use WooCommerce or Shopify.
A payment gateway. You’ll need an online payment processor so you can accept credit cards. Payment gateways validate the credit card information and process the transactions in real time.
We use Paystack or Interswitch for our clients.
See the top 6 payment gateways in Nigeria
Note: PayPal, which accepts all major credit cards, is not accepted in Nigeria, so no go there.
Once you have the above sorted out, and your hosting account has been set up, all you have to do is:
- Set up WordPress for your website. See why WordPress is the best option. It’s not enough to have a website, ensure you have one that not only ranks well for google searches but is also designed in a user friendly way. Customers shouldn’t waste their time whenever they visit your website.
- Run the Woocommerce plugin,
- Select or build a store theme/look for your website, and
- Start uploading products for your store.
Start-up Summary for building an online store
- Domain, good Hosting, SSL — N50,000 – N100,000. Buy here
- Payment Gateway – Interswitch (150k setup), others, free. See this guide
- Website (self install/code) – Free with host. Hours of watching YouTube DIY Videos
- Website (Professional) – Depending on how professional you want your store to be, your best bet might be hiring one. Our designs for ecommerce start from $700 – $2000. You might want to request a quote here.
- Inventory – Check ya pocket. How much to stock up on your goods?
- Smart Phone (to monitor sales, social media & respond to customer enquiries) – Any phone smart enough.
What’s your total? Then you’re good to go! Hope this helps. 🙂