Complete Guide: How to Start an Online Business in Nigeria

Created: Feb 07, 2022

Updated: June 13, 2024

What is the cost of e-commerce web design in Nigeria? How much time it will take? - What are the factors that affect the cost of e-commerce web design and development in Nigeria? these questions that no web designer will be able to answer unless they know your goals – what you want to achieve with your website, the kind of products and services you offer, etc.

Recent developments have shown that a lot of profit can be made from online stores and this is why more Nigerians are becoming more open and responsive to the idea of buying and selling as well as carrying out other business transactions online

Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa and it has a rapidly expanding e-commerce market. The Nigerian economy is the largest in Africa and it has the highest GDP per capita in Africa.

Nigeria's e-commerce market is worth over $1 billion and is expected to grow by 20% annually. This growth rate is higher than other African markets such as Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with over 193 million people. The country's e-commerce market has grown exponentially in recent years, and it is expected to continue to grow by 20% annually. Nigeria's e-commerce market is worth more than $1 billion, which makes it the largest on the continent.

The e-commerce industry in Nigeria is still at an early stage, but it has been expected to grow rapidly over the next few years. In 2016, only 1% of Nigerians bought goods or services online from an African website, while 2% bought from an international site. This was mainly due to high shipping costs and poor infrastructure which made it difficult for Nigerians to buy online. But things are changing now with more people able to afford internet access and better infrastructure being built across

Nigeria's population of 190 about 75% of them are connected to the internet. which makes it a lucrative market for online businesses. This is a lot more than the population of South Africa, which is only 55 million people. In this article, we’ll be examining how to begin a business online in Nigeria.

How to Start an Online Business in Nigeria

Nigeria offers a unique market with many opportunities for businesses to thrive. Nigeria’s business environment is very attractive for international investors, one of the most favourable in Africa. The Nigerian government has made it easier for foreign investors to do business by reducing bureaucracy and simplifying regulations.

The Nigerian government has a relatively lax approach to business regulations and encourages entrepreneurs to take advantage of this by setting up an online business. also Nigerian government provides incentives and grants that can help entrepreneurs get started with their online business projects or expansion

Online business in Nigeria is booming. There are a number of online businesses that have been started in the country and are now turning into lucrative ventures.

Online business has been a lucrative venture in Nigeria, with people flocking online to start their own online business. There are different types of online businesses that have been started across the country such as personal training, affiliate marketing, and e-commerce.

Online Businesses in Nigeria:

- Online Fashion Store

- Online B2B Marketing Company

- Online Media Company

- Online Automotive Business


All kinds of products and services such as sales of clothes and clothing accessories, household gadgets and utensils, transport services, etc. can now be “hawked” online since there are numerous potential customers that are available to online businesses. Add this to the opportunity to even make money through web development and it becomes even easier to understand why e-commerce is attractive to Nigeria now more than ever before.

As advancements in technology have moved to buy and sell from brick-and-mortar stores to online stores. As more businesses continue to take their businesses online to reach the vast number of online consumers, the need for web designers continues to grow and that is why there are so many companies that provide services of web design in Nigeria. The online business opportunities in Nigeria are very lucrative. There are a lot of people who are looking for ways to start their own online businesses.



Why to start an online business?

Online business is not just the future of business. It is the present. Online businesses are becoming more and more popular as they are easier to run. They offer a lot of flexibility, cost savings, and convenience. E-commerce businesses have lower overhead costs compared to brick & mortar stores because they don't have to pay for rent or utilities. They also offer the convenience that online businesses do not have - customers can shop from home or on the GO.

Certain features of online business make it more appealing to likely entrepreneurs.  Some of these beneficial features include:

  • Quick to start: There’s no need for rigorous training or lengthy apprenticeship to start an online business in Nigeria. With a few things in place, you can begin an eCommerce business in Nigeria
  • Very affordable: E-commerce provides individuals with the chance to start up a business and run it with very little cost, saving up on expenses such as product design, business registration, physical structure for offices and stores, etc.
  • Easy to manage: Online business requires less decision-making and can even be automated via web designing and development tools and websites, thus making it less time and effort consuming, permitting online business owners to use their time for other things.
  • Does not necessarily require experience: Unlike most physical businesses, online business does not require much experience to establish or manage. It is also way easier to start out as a novice and still build a successful business that will generate good revenue.
  • No real-time presence needed: Online businesses can be conducted from any location at any time without physical contact with customers.

There are many other benefits that come with an entirely online business, including:

- A greater reach and potential customers that you can reach out to.

- The ability to offer a variety of services and products without the need for a physical location.

- The ability to scale your business faster than ever before because you don't have any overhead costs like rent, utilities, or employees.


Online Business Prototypes

There are basic categories to consider when venturing into e-commerce, it is advisable to choose which one best suits you although it is also possible to go into as many of these prototypes as possible. Either as separated enterprises or under a single umbrella of the same brand, online businesses can be modeled with the focus on:

  1. Sales of physical products or services through the market
  2. Provision of services online
  • Sale of digital information products.

Whichever you decide to pick should be influenced by your personal interest and strength.

Regardless of where you are, online business is basically done in the same way everywhere in the world. The most important aspect of any online business, however, is its ability to set up brilliant business ideas which are mostly done offline and applied online in a convenient manner for consumers or clients.

Are there any particular product or service people love and are eager to pay for but cannot easily get online? Can you find a way to make these products or services available to customers across different locations?

If yes, then you would need to consult the services of a web developer or designer. It just so happens that web development is largely becoming widespread in Nigeria today. As pointed out earlier, there are a lot of web design companies and freelance web designers that can provide you with a really great e-commerce web design in Nigeria.

Having a good e-commerce web design has a role to play in attracting customers to your online store. The user interface (UI) and other elements on your website pages must be user-friendly or chances are that those who visit your e-commerce site will not return again. However, if your website is user-friendly, your potential clients can move on to checking out the products and services you offer.

How Do I Start My Online Business?

Every business is set up for the purpose of making a profit – including online businesses. Some of the steps involved in starting an online business include choosing a business, identifying your target clients, creating an identity for your brand, and then moving on to creating a website.

The above-mentioned steps call for close work with companies that offer the service of web design in Nigeria. The steps to starting an online business include:

  1. Select a business
  2. Know your target audience
  3. Create a brand identity
  4. Acquire knowledge on how to run your business
  5. Make your business official
  6. Set up a business website

Let’s examine what each of these steps entails for a better understanding of starting a successful online business.

  1. Select a Business

The list of online businesses in Nigeria is growing and more people are getting into the industry every day. This is because it offers a lot of opportunities and benefits that cannot be found elsewhere in the world.

There are countless online business ventures that you can go into, but before picking one, consider if your business is passion-based or profit-based. Your passion might not bring profit, so to avoid disappointment choose a business that will be more likely to achieve your goals.

Also, consider the feasibility of implementing your idea and avoid choosing an online business simply because others have been successful with it as that does not guarantee your success. Moreover, while choosing a business, it is advisable to have specifics in the business to help streamline your efforts and maximize loans, thereby avoiding over-spreading of resources which rarely works.

The business you select is very important for the purpose of web development. It is the job of the web designer to portray your products and services in a way that customers will find appealing.

  1. Know your target audience

There are a few different ways you can approach audience targeting, but thanks to Facebook and Google, you're able to find your customers fast.

Nigeria leads the world in social media engagement, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The Nigerian people are some of the most active consumers in the world and their loyalty to those platforms shows it. The country's fast-growing middle class has been a key driver of this growth. Nigeria is one of the top five markets globally for Facebook users and is ranked as the world’s third largest social media market.

Facebook has a very helpful feature that lets you determine which sets of people are most likely to be your potential customers, and one of the ways this is done is by analytics of Google. When you are on the internet, there is no sure way of communicating with the right audience without targeting. You won't waste your marketing efforts on those who don't need your products.

So, your message needs to be the right one and delivered at the right time. No advertising campaign is worth a hoot without the perfect info. It's for this reason that it's important to collect and organize all the data you can about your audience before launching any ads.

  1. Create a brand identity

This technique will make your business easily recognizable to your target audience, saving you from the stress of constantly having to explain your business. Also, by creating a brand in line with the interest of your target customers, information on your brand will be easily accessible to those who are supposed to have it. The brand identity of your enterprise must be well reflected in your social media pages and your websites as well.

  1. Acquire knowledge on how to run your business

While you do not have to be an expert to do business online, it is quintessential that you continue to gather information and tidbits on what is required to sustain and develop your business. Also, ensure you are updated on trends that are relevant to your business.

  1. Make your business official

In order to bolster customer confidence in your business, it is important to register it with the appropriate units of government such as the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria (CAC). This will help to protect you from having your business brand hijacked from you. In addition, verify your social media account on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Doing these will also increase the credibility of your business.

  1. Set up your business website

This is probably the most important aspect of starting an online business as any online business requires the use of a website which may be a third-party or a personalized website. This is the major area where e-commerce web design in Nigeria goes into full effect. Enumerated below are the steps in web development through which websites are created from scratch:

  1. Create a unique domain name

  2. Register your domain name

  • Host your domain name

  1. Install a content manage merit system (CMS) on your host account. Examples of common suitable CMS are Word Press, Drupal etc.
  2. Install a Word Press theme
  3. Personalize your website
  • Add all necessary plugins
  • Create significant pages to ensure that the site is always engaged
  1. Create a link to social media

  2. Share your page on social media.


How to Develop Your Website

It is not just enough to design a website; certain web development steps must be taken to ensure that created websites remain high-performing sites and have a brilliant user experience. Some of these steps include:

  1. Map out a plan for your website to convert customers: Carefully plan each page to make sure that you properly highlight to customers their opportunity to benefit from your business. Each page should be designed to understand their needs and provide those needs through interactive tools like a ‘call to action’ – a prompt on a website that the client uses to take some specified action e.g., sign up “buy now” “log in” “add to,” and “contact us”.
  2. Remove distraction: Humans, on average, have an 8-second attention span. To keep the attention of users, simple, easy to understand and uncluttered colors, iconography, logo, fonts, styles, should be used in order to avoid visual confusion which can distract them from the message you are trying to pass across.
    Avoid too many on-page animations or interactions. You need to figure out where you want users’ attention to go when they arrive on the page in a natural manner. Avoid inconsistent spacing too.
  3. Add social proof: Try to obtain users’ trust by readily making available testimonials and positive reviews on your product/services. 58% of visitors are more likely to buy products with positive reviews. Testimonials could take the form of orders or option texts placed strategically on the pages of the site so as to build the trust of potential clients.
  4. Call to action (CTA): This makes it easier for your customers to know what they can do on your website and how to easily find whatever they are looking for using call-to-actions. Place these according to the anticipated needs of the readers and in positions where they can be easily noticed.
  5. Organized navigation: This serves essentially as a map to highlight to users the core aspects of your services and products such as process, range of available products, and different brands available. Avoid overstuffing navigation, using confusing hypertext, and poor organization of navigation hierarchy.
  6. Try lengthy homepages that contain a wide range of information such as:
    Value proposition
    Intro video
  7. Overview of your store products
  1. Product features
  2. Reviews/testimonials/success stories
  3. Contents
  4. - What are the different types of products in your store?
    - What is the best way to categorize your products?
    - What are the different ways to use your products?
    - How can you sell your products online?
    - How do you measure success for each of your product categories?
  • About the company of your e-commerce store:
    Most businesses have their own page of information that should be included on their website. The primary purpose of this is to provide people with an overview and understanding of the company, its operations, and objectives. There are other reasons why about us pages are necessary for business marketing as well.

This helps to properly educate users on the benefit available to learn on your websites

  1. Embrace the use of white/negative space: This is an essential design element that helps to break up the page and improve readability. It is the blank areas around the elements on a page. They are used for the separation of sections and equally, help to imply the relation of said sections enabling users to focus on each section apiece and also guide their focus to specified important information e.g., CTA
  2. Mobile optimization: Make sure your site is accessible and easy to use for mobile phones users. According to Google, over 60% of users do not return to a mobile site if they have problems accessing it, and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.
  3. Use sales funnel strategies: The process of starting an online business is incomplete without a sales funnel strategy. This involves having a plan to monitor visitors of your websites with the aim of gradually converting them from just passing visitors to loyal core customers of your brand over a period of time.

The information in the steps above is what web developers will need to create a website that turns visitors into conversions rather than just people who pass by after a few minutes.

Note: It is also important to have a corporate bank account with a reputable bank that can handle all sorts of payments that can be made on your site.


As for as running an online store is concerned, the importance of the services of web development companies cannot be overemphasized. Every day, more entrepreneurs are looking to venture into online business thus facilitating the need for e-commerce web design in Nigeria.

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