Before we look into e-commerce in Nigeria, it is vital to understand its origin. The term refers to the electronic version of commerce. Exactly, the traditional method of buying and selling goods and services became known as ecommerce, otherwise called electronic commerce.
For surety, Nigeria has been in business and commercial activities since time immemorial. There have been business transactions across the country and with other countries using traditional channels of communication, including land, sea, and air.
The advent of the digital economy and improvement in electronic communication technologies add a new channel to ways of doing business. It facilitates local and global commercial and business transactions on a massive scale.
Understanding Ecommerce In Nigeria
At this time, e-commerce in Nigeria was restrictive due to lack of access to the majority of people as access to the internet was for the privileged few who can afford internet services.
What Facilitates E-commerce In Nigeria?
For successful ecommerce activities, there is a need for high-speed internet to drive these ecommerce components:
- Suppliers and supply chain management
- Warehouse operations
- Shipping and returns
- Client Relationship Management (CRM) – software and policies
- Ecommerce catalogue and product display
- Marketing and loyalty programs
- Showroom and offline purchases
From the late 1990s and the early 2000s, the components of ecommerce were gradually built to full operation that we see today. Digitization grew steadily in the 90s, and this was followed by access to data communication services in the early 2000s.
A large number of people could access data, and the internet and the ecommerce industry in Nigeria took off with growing opportunities for everyone.
Early birds of ecommerce in Nigeria
Nigerians had to make use of ecommerce stores from around the world before some companies started localizing ecommerce services in the country.
There were eBay and Amazon and pretty many other online stores. The year 2000s saw the coming of some ecommerce websites in Nigeria; these include Jumia, Konga, Kara, and Wakanow, to mention just a few.
Opportunities For Ecommerce In Nigeria
There are about 5 billion internet users in the world. Nigeria currently boasts over 100 million internet users and projected to hit 187.8 million by 2023. Such a vast internet user base sets the right stage for a thriving ecommerce industry for Nigeria and Nigerians to harness.
Ecommerce is a knowledge-driven, and Nigeria needs more hands in this area to educate and serve the industry.
Ecommerce can provide millions of jobs both in white and blue collars. It is a multi-billion dollar industry capable of ending unemployment in the country if well harnessed.
How To Start An Ecommerce Business In Nigeria
Today, Nigerians are not just surfing the internet; they are doing so to market and transact in commerce. People considering starting an e-business in Nigeria, you need the following:
- An ecommerce business idea
- Plan and register your business
- Build a website for online presence
- Payment system integration for transactions
- Get a small physical space
- Equip your office with relevant tools
- Get delivery bikes or logistics services
- Market your offerings
- Make sales and deliver
- Collect reviews from customers to earn credibility
As Nigeria searches for alternatives to oil as the mainstay of the economy, ecommerce is a significant potential to consider.
In this regard, the government needs to open up the economy and be more transparent. There is a need for high-speed and affordable data services, security and a credible financial system.
With these in place, Nigeria is ready to do business with the rest of the world and more Nigerians will have jobs and be productive.