SETTING UP AN E-COMMERCE BUSINESS

WHAT IS E-COMMERCE?

E-commerce is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the Internet. These business transactions occur either business-to-business, business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business. E-commerce is conducted using a variety of applications, such as email, fax, online catalogs and shopping carts, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), File Transfer Protocol, and Web services.

EVOLUTION OF E-COMMERCE BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

E-commerce Business or Online Retailing could be traced to the likes of amazon.com, ebay.com, alibaba and the likes. In Nigeria, E-commerce Business was made popular through Dealfish now olx, Google Trader which is no longer in existence. Afterwards, the establishment of Jumia brought a lot of innovation into the industry and Konga joined the train swiftly after Jumia which brings an intense competition into the industry before other stores like Escapade Nigeria, jiji, payporte, etc. join the e-commerce emerging market.

HOW TO START AN E-COMMERCE BUSINESS

You can either start with the following options

Option 1 : Sell on other e-commerce merchant site such as amazon, kaymu, olx, Jumia, Escapade Nigeria, Jiji, Konga, GTBank SME now Habari, etc.

Option 2 : You can use an e-commerce site platform such as Shopify, Big Commerce, Yahoo Store, Volusion, 1shoppingcart, Wix, x-cart cloud, etc.

Option 3 : You can build your own site through Magento, Woocommerce, OpenCart, Joomla, etc.

HOW DOES E-COMMERCE BUSINESS WORK?

After taking a decision of which options you want to pick as highlighted above, all of these steps must be followed among others:

  • You need to upload the product or services on your platform paying special attention to the image quality, product description & specification and most importantly it must be SEO friendly.
  • Then ensure you create awareness to intending users of your product via social media, google ads, News Letters, SMS, etc. and you could also do offline marketing if need be through word of mouth, letter of introduction, news print publication on and on like that.
  • Also, your customer service personnel must be well trained and equipped with all the necessary information about what you sell and what the business stands for and they should be proactive enough in rendering necessary support to customers.
  • Talking about logistics, you should be flexible enough about this because it’s a key aspect of the business and is one of the major setback for e-commerce business in Nigeria.
  • Getting customer feedback is also important in an e-commerce business like every other business venture.
  • Allowing customers to place orders via phone calls, text messages, emails and walk-in-customers could also enhance your e-commerce business experience.

CHALLENGES OF E-COMMERCE BUSINESS IN NIGERIA

Every business what so ever have their own hurdles or challenges and e-commerce business is not in isolation to business challenges. Nigeria as a country is rich in culture which pose the major challenge to the emerging e-commerce business in Nigeria. Some of these challenges are however as follows:

The introduction of Cash on Delivery option in an attempt to blend with the culture of the country ‘seeing is believing’. Hence, customers make fake orders and they have the liberty to reject the goods on delivery.

Mis-representation of goods most especially the image of the product is also a setback to e-commerce business in Nigeria. Customers want to see exactly the product as it appears online.

Card Payment Frauds.

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