how to start a profitable ecommerce business in nigeria


In this article, we will have a detailed look at 5 important steps (Checklist) on how to start a profitable e-commerce business in Nigeria.


With so many information on the internet today, one can easily get confuse and frustrated searching and looking for a simple guide (Checklist) that covers all major and important areas on how to start a profitable ecommerce business in Nigeria .

A little advice before we dive into the main discussion: It is always good to dream big and have a big/winner mindset. It is equally a good thing to always start small, not focusing on the big competitions (Jumia, Konga, etc.), but focusing more on customers satisfaction. Else, you will get frustrated and probably give up before you start cashing out.

It is no doubt that now, more than ever you feel is the best time to start a business for oneself, and you can feel it deep down that having an ecommerce business in Nigeria is the best for you, due to its flexibility, low risk and high returns.

What is ecommerce business (what it means to Nigerians)?

E-commerce (Electronic Commerce for full) is the act of buying and selling of goods and service over the internet. Some people also call it online business.

If you check the definition again you will notice that “Services” is there. But most people mainly think that ecommerce business only involves selling of products (shoes, bags, clothes, etc.

Right here, I will believe that you have already figure out what you will be selling on your ecommerce website anywhere in Nigeria. But if you have no clue, move on to the categories.

Categories of ecommerce business in Nigeria:

  1. Business – to – business (B2B): this refers to the exchange of products and services between businesses rather than between a business and consumer.
  2. Business – to – consumer (B2C): this is the most popular one, and it involves the selling of products and services by a business to its consumer.
  3. Consumer – to – consumer (C2C): this is the type of e-commerce business in which consumers exchange products and services directly to each other online. This is usually done through a third party platform online such as the way Ebay or Jiji operates.
  4. Consumer – to – Business (C2B): this kind refers to the process whereby individuals make their products and service to be sold to companies. Or an individual that’s rendering service for a company over the internet. E.g. logo artist or a freelancer.
  5. Business – to – Administration (B2A): business to administration is the business transaction between companies and governments. This could be private companies providing services for the public administration.
  6. Consumer – to – Administration (C2A): finally, consumer to administration is the transaction between individual and public administration. A good example is an electronic tax filing. With the following categories, I believe it will be easier for you now to have an idea of what area to go into.

These categories will help you understand the need of not putting pressure on yourself by comparing your early and little beginning with other big ecommerce companies in Nigeria. Depending on what category you want to build your profitable ecommerce business in Nigeria.

Below are some of ecommerce business trend in Nigeria. You have my permission to borrow from any idea.

  1. Cake Baking
  2. Wedding Planner
  3. Makeup Artist
  4. Corporate Event planner
  5. Mini Importation
  6. Social Media Manager
  7. Investment Advisor
  8. Relationship Coach
  9. Business Consultant
  10. Natural & Organic Beauty Shop etc.

Step 1: Setting up the legal framework for you e-commerce business in Nigeria:

Now that you’ve settled on what kind of ecommerce business you are setting up in Nigeria, be it in major cities (like Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Portharcourt, Asaba, etc) or less major places in nigeria, it is good that you put yourself first in the good books of the government.

Proceed to register your company with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, so that you can get a bank account opened in the name of the business and obtain other legal documents that will be required in running the business.

You’ll need to choose a nice and memorable business name for it that no one is using. Once you’ve done that, conduct a corporate affairs commission (CAC) search for the name to see if it’s available. If it is, proceed to register it. TIP: Register as a business name with CAC and as your business grows, you can register as a limited company.

Step 2: Establishing your online presence for your new ecommerce business:

Step number two on our check list is to establish a good online/web presence. And there are a good number of ways this can be done depending on what you hope to achieve with your ecommerce website/store.

Some ways which you can establish an online presence is through:

  1. Creating a website for your business
  2. Creating social media pages for your ecommerce business
  3. Registering your ecommerce business on Nigerian local directories.

Let’s get some few things right below; Why do you need a website? If you don’t know why or the importance, I will suggest you go back and have a rethink before getting one.

If you have successfully convinced yourself why you need one, then proceed to get one. We recommend using popular tools like WordPress Woocommerce, Shopify, Squarespace etc. These tools allow users to easily set up an online store without any prior knowledge of coding or website development.

You can also contact a professional website designing company to get this done so that you keep good focus on building your new online business.

Social Media Pages: Having a social media page for your new online business / ecommerce business is also as important as setting up a website. The benefit is also very much profitable as you can get to advertise for free and easily share your products to many people over there.

Local Directories: Listing your new ecommerce business on where other ecommerce company list theirs is equally important to create value and increase invisibility for your business likewise.

Step 3: Stocking up for your ecommerce website in Nigeria:

After knowing what you will like to sell in your newly built ecommerce website, it is time to stock it up with products or services, depending on what ecommerce category you are entering.

There are three ways of which you can go about this stocking your new ecommerce store;

• Through Mini Importation • Selling of digital products • Local sourcing

Mini Importation: this has become one of the most popular and very lucrative ecommerce business in Nigeria in recent times, and the good news is that you have my permission to use this ecommerce business strategy also. How it works is that you will search, buy, and import goods from a less expensive country into Nigeria to sell. And the most preferred country is China using websites like

Selling of Digital products: this ecommerce business strategy in Nigeria has gain some weight as products such as Ebooks, Online Courses, Softwares, Reports, Video and Audio Programs are now being sold.

Local Sourcing: this online business / ecommerce business strategy will simple have you going through Nigeria’s local manufacturer, buying from them and selling on your newly built ecommerce website.

PS: if the ecommerce business strategy you want to implement in Nigeria is mini importation, be ready to get a place to stock up your goods.

Step 4: Partnering with a Logistics (Delivery) company in Nigeria:

By now, I want you believe that you have been implementing what is on this ecommerce checklist? Good, good. Another misconception here is that you will have to buy your own bike, of course you will as you progress, but right now is the time to put stress on your new ecommerce business because the universe has come to your aid through ecommerce Logistics Companies.

Ecommerce Logistics Companies have their focus on patterning with ecommerce businesses in Nigeria to help deliver their products anywhere across the nation. So, you can partner with anyone fine reputable ecommerce logistics company in Nigeria as you look forward to buying your own delivery bikes.

PS: One of the great advantages of e-commerce business is that you’re not restricted to any particular location like the traditional store, and partnering with a good ecommerce logistics company is a sure way to help you sell your product in any part of Nigeria.

Below are a few recommended logistics company to start with.

• Courier plus service limited • Gig Logistic • SkyNet • Austin Dispatch (Lagos only)

Step 5: Advertise! Advertise!! Advertise!!!

What is the purpose of your business if you are not making profit? Will you like to be in business, ecommerce business in Nigeria, to lose money? No! And No!! that will be your answers, right? Don’t panic when you hear “Advertisement”, it is not as complex as you think it to be.

Before you start running an advert for your business I’ll suggest you do learn about how to run ads or simply contracting an ads running agency to help you run very effective ads to protect you against wasting money on ads that don’t convert. Below are a few examples of ad platform you can use to promote your business:

Social media ads: You can use your social media pages which you must have created in step 2 (Establishing your online presence) to advertise your new ecommerce business. Try and take good advantage of both paid advertisement as well as unpaid advertisement.

Google ads: this will majorly work with the help of your ecommerce business website to advertise so people can come to your online business store.

Local Newspaper: depending on who you think your customers are and where to find them, using local newspaper is also a good way to advertise your business, but you will spend. So I will not recommend this option for your new ecommerce business. Rather, use the social media strategy Social media influencers: this is where you pay social media celebrities to advertise your business to their large followers.

Word of Mouth: is the most effective and less expensive way to advertise your new ecommerce business. It works like magic and will increase sales on your ecommerce business if you provide superior products or service.

Try and remember the last time you bought something from an online or ecommerce website company just because someone told you they offer the best.

If you can effectively use at least two of these four strategies, you will sure increase sales on your new ecommerce business here in Nigeria. Start advertising today and watch how people will roll in and advertise them for you when you grow stronger and powerful.

Benefits of ecommerce business in Nigeria.

Let’s talk about a few of the benefits of e-commerce business in Nigeria and how you can benefit from it:

  1. Global Target Audience: The ability for you to target a wide range of people across several location is one of the great benefit of ecommerce business. The only limit here will be the one that you have choose to place on yourself You have my permission to not limit yourself, ok?
  2. Better Customer Service: This will come from your interaction with many customers and it will help you to understand how to manage and still serve the different needs of many people, ultimately offering all one service or products.
  3. Reduced Cost of Operation: This will drastically save you more money compared to when running the business physically.
  4. Ease Of Information Dissemination: Ecommerce business will give you the opportunity of talking to your customers, as many as they can be in a less expensive and easy way through services such as email marketing.

Also, if your ecommerce business is having a mobile app, it will be easier to send notification to your customers who have downloaded your ecommerce store app.

Challenges of ecommerce business in Nigeria:

Trying to think that everything will work smoothly, with some hiccups as your start and run your new ecommerce business is naïve at best. As much as you pray for the corn, be ready to pick up the hope. This means that you will have to do some work and face some challenges.

Some of which includes;

  1. Customers returning goods they ordered from your ecommerce store in protest that they are different from what they have seen.
  2. Lack of trust when it comes to paying online. You won’t blame them much as we are all exposed to how people are been duped.
  3. Inability to access some location by ecommerce logistics company due to bad road network. This is something you cannot control, don’t panic much
  4. No much Capital and Backup plans: You really need capital and involve yourself on Partnership business.


Now you have these checklist at hand proceed to action. And always remember to take small steps first. There will be bumps and challenges along the way. However, following these five (5) step by step guide should provide you with a clear roadmap to help you build a profitable e-commerce business in Nigeria.

There you have it on how to build a profitable eCommerce business in Nigeria! Let me know what you think about this in the comment section.


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