How to start a successful e-commerce business

Do you want to start a successful and profitable ecommerce business, but you simply do no t know how?
Cheer up! I got you.
Recently, many ecommerce stores have been rising in Nigeria and it seems the trend is not stopping anytime soon.
The emergence and success of ecommerce stores in Nigeria like Jumia and Konga has given many entrepreneurs and business owners the hope to venture into it.
Just like any other business, starting an ecommerce business is not an easy task. It is not as simple as setting up a blog or mere website.
There are lots of work that must go into for it to
become successful. You’ll need to choose your software platform, payment gateway, marketing plan, merchants/manufacturers to buy products from, and a lot of other things in between.
This is not to scare you. Although, starting an ecommerce business is difficult, it is not impossible.
If you can’t handle all the technicalities in starting an ecommerce business, you can register as a merchant in any other established ecommerce store and sell your products from there. You should however, consider this option if you don’t mind giving up the total control of your store to a company.
Many people prefer this method because all the hard work is done for them and all they need do is place their products and the ecommerce company handles every other thing for them.
But, if you would like to set up your own ecommerce business and be your own manager, here are the steps:
1.  Define your niche
Finding a profitable niche is the first step to starting a successful ecommerce business. Knowing what to sell is very important in any business. Many would say you should follow your passion while others would
advise you sell what is in demand in the market.
Well, whatever it is you want to sell, let it be what people are willing and ready to buy. You have to be specific in your choice of product so as to get the right kind of customers and avoid strong competition.
There are many categories of products to consider when defining your niche, they are, books, clothing, electronics, office equipments, household goods, sporting equipments, mobile phones, etc.
You can also check out the top selling products on other established ecommerce stores and take advantage of them.

2.  Know your target customers.
Accept the fact that you can’t sell to everybody. You must have the right product for the right people. Your focus should be on people who need your product. Not on people who will tell you how awesome your product is and will never buy from you.
Most people create buyer personas (sometimes called ICP: Ideal Customer Profile) to know their
target customers. This is simply a fictional/imaginative illustration of your ideal customer.
It allows you to narrow down and know exactly who to sell your products to.
3.  Hire a professional web developer
Like I said earlier, starting an ecommerce business is difficult and comes with lots of intricacies. A major factor in your success will be a functional and responsive website.
You need a professional web developer who probably has an extensive experience in creating ecommerce
websites.  The website should not only be about the flashy design but more about the user experience.
You’d be losing lots of customers if people find it
difficult to navigate your website.
4.  Source for products
Source for products for your ecommerce store from
only reputable manufacturers. Most people go to china to source for products. That’s fine if you have the knowledge about buying goods from China. No matter where you choose to source for products, let quality be your first priority. That’s what will keep you in business for a long time and will also determine the
success of your business.
The market to source products from also depends on
the type of products you decide to sell. We have Ebay, Amazon, Alibaba, Aliexpress etc.
5. Advertise your ecommerce business
Nobody will hear about your business until you tell people about it. There are many marketing strategy to use to get the word out about your business.
Use the most affordable and effective strategy. You can advertise your business via word of mouth, Social media (Facebook ad), sponsored posts on blogs,  Google Adwords, etc.
6. Ask for feedback
Ask for feedback from your customers about your business. This feedback will help you improve your product and customer’s experience.
Also welcome negative reviews and address it appropriately. They are necessary for business growth and improvement.

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