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How To Start An Ecommerce Business In Nigeria


Ecommerce is the act of buying and selling goods and services using the internet. In a nutshell, eCommerce or electronic commerce is a business transaction that transpires online.

Before venturing into the eCommerce business in Nigeria, you must brainstorm hot products to sell and line of what people need to survive so that you will always be in business, this will involve you doing marketing research

Currently, the eCommerce business is now witnessing tremendous growth in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. The business began far back as 1960 when businesses began to embrace electronic data. Thereafter, Amazon and eBay contributed immensely to the wide acceptance of eCommerce.

Types of Ecommerce Business

1. Business-To-Consumer (B2C)

This business transaction is conducted directly between businesses and consumers who are the end-users of the products or services. Hence, companies that sell directly to consumers are called B2C companies. B2C is a typically practiced type of eCommerce business. Business-to-consumer eCommerce companies are companies that you and I visit online every day to purchase things like clothing, books, makeup, etc. It’s also critical to remember that B2C companies don’t have to exist entirely online like Amazon and eBay.

Top B2C eCommerce companies include giants like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Jumia, Konga, kara.


2. Business-To-Business (B2B)

B2B refers to the type where business transacts with other businesses instead of individual consumers, anything that enhances another business strategy.

One of the best examples of a B2B business is a software company. Think Salesforce, HubSpot, or SurveyMonkey. All of these products are for the benefit of a business, and it wouldn’t make sense for the typical mom-and-pop consumer to invest in enterprise software.

3. Consumer-To-Consumer (C2C)

Here is another type of eCommerce business model whereby customers trade directly with each other. This is how it works: A customer purchases goods from another consumer using a third-party platform online. An example of such is eBay, Etsy, Jiji, etc.

4. Consumer-To-Business (C2B)

This is the opposite of the popular B2C business model. C2B model is where consumers sell their products or offer their services to businesses online. A good example of such is a business consultant, a freelance graphic designer, a social media influencer with a large audience.

5. Business-To-Administration (B2A)

This is referred to as B2G (Business to Government). B2A is an eCommerce business where a business provides an online service to the government through a website.

6. Customer-To-Administration (C2A)

C2A is relatively similar to the B2A explained above. This is where a consumer provides a service to the government or public administration.

No matter the ECommerce model you choose, they all have one thing in common, ‘Internet’ which means you need a website.

Let’s look at different websites:


1. Single brand website when starting an eCommerce business

This type of website is an individual brand that only sells the product or services of one person or a business.  It’s the most popular type of website for people starting an eCommerce store. It doesn’t matter what eCommerce business model you have. If you only plan on selling your products, you’ll want to build a vendor-specific website. For example, if someone navigates to the B2B Salesforce website, they will only see Salesforce products. It is easy to reach your audience online than offline of course it cost an advertising fee, unlike offline selling.

2. Online retailers.

This type of website is common to online retailers. Online retailers are bigger stores that typically wholesale other brands’ products. For example, Dick’s Sporting Goods. Online retailing include business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) sales of products and services. (AMZN) is by far the largest online retailer providing consumer products and subscriptions through its website. Successful retailing requires strong branding. Websites must be engaging, easily navigable, and regularly updated to meet consumers’ changing demands. Products and services need to stand out from competitors’ offerings and add value to consumers’ lives.

Also, retailers need distribution networks that are prompt and efficient. Consumers cannot wait for long periods for the delivery of products or services. Transparency in business practices is also significant for consumers to trust and stay loyal to a company.

3. Affiliate website

An affiliate website is where someone sells other brands’ products on their website in exchange for a commission. It is also a third-party publisher to generate traffic or leads to the company’s products and services.

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Examples of affiliate marketing:

  • Amazon Associates

    is one of the world’s largest affiliate marketing programs. Creators, publishers, and bloggers sign up to have Amazon products and services shared on their websites or apps, and in return, receive compensation for the sales their sites generate.

Amazon sets strict criteria for the types of sites and apps that host their ads. For example, sites must not contain replicated content from another site or creator and be available to the public. Websites must be active with fresh content and suitable according to Amazon’s standards. For example, they must not contain obscene or offensive content, promote violence or illegal acts, or contain any content deemed harmful to others.

Amazon Associates can earn up to 10% in commissions for qualified sales. Rates are fixed and based on product and program categories. As a bonus, Amazon offers special commissions on certain events.

  • Etsy Affiliate Marketing

Etsy (ETSY)  a global, online marketplace for vintage goods and other unique items promotes its products through various channels, including affiliate marketing partners.  Etsy pays a commission to the affiliate for sales they procure sales resulting from their site’s promotion of the product. Commission rates vary and are paid on the order price. Etsy sellers can be affiliates, but they cannot earn commissions on their products without special permission. Etsy affirms that it has the right to terminate an agreement at any time for any reason and that it can withhold compensation for any legitimate reason.

  • eBay

eBay’s Partner Network is eBay’s affiliate marketing program that pays partners for sharing their listings outside of eBay Inc. (EBAY). The affiliate earns a commission and may earn credit towards their final merchant fees. The affiliate earns a commission and may earn credit towards their final merchant fees. eBay partners can also earn commissions on other sellers’ items. Commissions are earned when a buyer bids on or immediately purchases an item within 24 hours of clicking the eBay purchase link on the affiliate’s site. For submitted bids, the commission is paid if the buyer wins the auction within 10 days of the bid. Commission rates depend on the category of items sold and range from 1%-4%.

  1. Marketplaces

A marketplace is a website where individual entrepreneurs can list their products for sale. Is a type of eCommerce website where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties.

In an online marketplace, consumer transactions are processed by the marketplace operator and then delivered and fulfilled by the participating retailers or wholesalers. These types of websites allow users to register and sell single items to many items for a “post-selling” fee. Some online marketplaces have a wide variety of general interest products that cater to almost all the needs of the consumers, others are consumer specific and cater to a particular segment.

Some of the earliest online marketplaces were for business-to-business (B2B) trading. Early examples of online platforms that enabled eCommerce between businesses include VerticalNet, Commerce One, and Covisint.

Statistics of eCommerce Business:

Ecommerce statistics states that 40% of worldwide internet users have bought products or goods online on a desktop, mobile, tablet, or other online devices. This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and the growth has been constant. On average, millennials now make 54% of purchases online versus 49% of non-millennial

List of Businesses That Can Be Done As Ecommerce Business

  1. Social Media Manager,
  2. Catering, makeup,
  3. Advertising,
  4. Fashion designing,
  5. business consulting,
  6. Event planning,
  7. Food business,
  8. Public speaking,
  9. Freelancing,
  10. Mobile accessories,
  11. Online stores,
  12. Beauty skincare business,
  13. Ebook publishing,
  14. Course training,
  15. Human resources services, and many others.

Subsequently, the digital world has made us realize that there are no limitations to any business that can be done online. The world is moving to a digital state where virtually every business will be carried out online except of course you are not internet savvy.

Reasons You Should Start An eCommerce Business

  1. ECommerce helps you overcome geographical limitations. With eCommerce business, your products or services can be enjoyed at locations you’ve never visited. You have access to a large market across Nigeria and beyond. Interestingly, you don’t need to incur travel time or cost to achieve that.
  2. It is cost-effective. With a low capital budget, you can set up an eCommerce business and grow it into an international brand.
  3. You can run an eCommerce business as a side hustle while maintaining your full-time job.
  4. With eCommerce business, you can save money on rent, utilities, and other running costs associated with a physical store
  5. Communication is easy because you can keep a tab on your customers when running an eCommerce business.

Steps To Starting An ECommerce Business In Nigeria

Step 1: Register Your Business Name

In selecting a name, it is always good to choose a name that expressly explains what your business is about. With just a glance, your prospective clients can tell the product you sell or the services you offer.  Registering your business makes your business credible and trusted before your customers and the only way to confirm your business name is not already in use is by running a search on CAC’s portal.

Step 2: Develop A Detailed Business Plan

A business plan is a document stating your business’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them. The mistake most people make is that they think an online business does not need a business plan. Every business needs a business plan, including an eCommerce business. A business plan will give you direction on what to do at every stage of your business.

A business plan will help in directing your business affairs so you wouldn’t deviate from your long-term objectives. There is so much distraction online that can make you forget your vision.

Thus, a business plan will always help you redirect your focus, help you raise funds from investors, or apply for grants. You can draft one yourself or pay someone to do it for you.

Here is the basic information that your business plan should contain:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company description
  3. Market Analysis
  4. Organization and Management
  5. Service or Product line
  6. Marketing and Sales
  7. Financial Projections
  8. Appendix

 Step 3: Create Your Online Store

An online store is a major requirement if you want to start an eCommerce business. You need an online space where customers can transact with you. If you cannot afford the price of a web developer, you could begin with a WordPress free site, with time, you can upgrade to a paid version.

Furthermore, establishing an eCommerce marketplace like Konga, Jumia, Kara are good places to start your store. These platforms give you access to everything you need to get started including marketing and other logistics.

Your domain is another thing to put into consideration while opening an online store. is a good place to search for available domain names. There are several extensions to pick from, they range from,,, etc. When you want to build a website for your business, you either build it yourself or hire someone to build it for you.

Step 4: Payment Integration

You must choose a secured platform that will keep your customer’s details safe. Some of the popular and reliable ones include Paypal, Paystack, and Paga. Aside from the platforms listed here, you could check out other payment gateways that are still secured.

Step 5: Make Your Products Available

If you are selling physical goods, your items need to be displayed on your online store with perfect descriptions and prices.

Prospective customers can click on the items of their choice, and make payment through the payment gateway. Nevertheless, if you are offering a service, you can put up graphic designs stating the various services you offer. That way, it will be easy for clients to select the service of their choice.

Presently, one major challenge confronting online sellers is that customers want to be sure they have a physical address before committing their money to them. Hence, your product should be within the reach of your customers whenever they need it.

Step 6: Set Up Means Of Delivery

One advantage of the eCommerce business is that you can sell to different people at different locations at the same time. Your delivery system goes a long way to determining the credibility of your business. The speed of delivery will encourage clients to give you good reviews which will, in turn, draw more customers to you. You could get your own or partner with an established logistics company. This method is more cost-effective as it will help you deliver the product and receive payment on your behalf if you are running a payment on delivery system.

Here are some of the popular logistics companies in Nigeria you should consider:

  1. FedEx Nigeria
  2. DHL
  3. AGS movers logistics Lagos
  4. GIG logistics
  5. ABC cargo express
  6. Confidence cargo limited
  7. Derron group

Step 7: Market Your ECommerce Business

Marketing a business is lifelong of every business, no one will know about your business until you advertise it. Have in mind that there is nothing like too much advertising. No matter how large your business is, it needs to be advertised to remind top of mind.

There are ways to promote your business, some of the ways are:

  1. Run Instagram ads
  2. Facebook
  3. Google Ads
  4. Word of mouth
  5. Referral
  6. Share Handbill, flyers, posters
  7. Use social media influencers.
  8. Offer freebies.
  9. Attend important network
  10. Run newspaper, TV, and radio ads.

Challenges of an eCommerce business:

1. It is highly competitive:

As an eCommerce business owner, you need to be up and doing to meet the target of your customers, research the best niche market to be on the trend. The more competitive a niche is, the more expensive ads for that niche are. However, when starting, you must research your competition very well to develop a good strategy to get your product across to your target audience. If you discover the ads are expensive, you can employ other marketing tactics like content marketing through your blog.

2. Being consistent:

Consistency is the most critical element while building a successful niche. Analyzing and understanding customer interactions across all touchpoints and using it to build a consistent and seamless customer experience is one of the major eCommerce challenges. You should not be off and on, you need to be steady on your business 24/7.

3. Data security:

The uptake of ECommerce raises concerns about security threats. This is one of the most critical ECommerce challenges. There is a looming threat of hackers and fraudsters attacking the host server and not just stealing confidential data but also introducing viruses. Infringement of credit and debit card details is no longer new, and such lapses directly affect the trust of a customer.

4. Technology partnership:

There are obvious risks to this approach. Many businesses gravitate towards choosing a partner based on costs without setting the right expectations or understanding their work scope. These gaps lead to a disastrous collaboration and eventually, a disastrous end product. Outsourcing in itself can prove to be extremely beneficial if done right.

5. Customer retention:

Having your customers always want to do business with you is a lot of work. You need to keep your customers on track from switching to another competitor. Maintain a good relationship with your customers to always have you in mind when they need a product that you have, provide personalized quality service, communicate effectively, reward loyal customers, and offer innovative products and services.


In this highly competitive world, you need to ensure accuracy and consistency, build a good relationship with your customers to keep them wanting to do business with you. Be creative by employing new tactics every day. ECommerce needs to use smart digital practices to address the ECommerce challenges facing online businesses with the right set of tools. Finally, all of this must be backed up by strong digital leadership, providing clarity and support with the right resources to help a business become a market leader.

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