Maybe you have been thinking of how to start an online store in Ghana, we sure have got you covered. Looking at the top ranking websites in Ghana in terms of traffic, you’ll find sites like Jumia Ghana. This is an indication that Ghanaians are getting more comfortable with buying goods and services online. The e-commerce industry in Ghana is growing, and it’s important you take advantage of this opportunity.
Starting up an e-commerce website in Ghana is not a difficult task. You just need to follow our comprehensive guide on how to start an online store in Ghana to get started.
If you have products and services to sell to Ghanaians, one of the smartest ways to reach your target audience is to set up your own online store that is uniques to your business.
Starting and setting up an online store in Ghana isn’t that difficult as most people think. In this post, you’ll get comprehensive information on how to start and set up your own online store in Ghana and hit the grown running.
A Comprehensive Guide On How to Start An Online Store In Ghana
Below is a step by step guide on how to start a profitable online store in Ghana. Read through the information how this page to set up your e-commerce website.
1. Choose Your Product
You cant set up a store without a product to sell. So the first step towards setting up a successful online store in Ghana is to decide on the products you want to sell. Now, you can’t just choose to sell any random product that comes to your mind. Before making your final decision on what product to sell, you need to consider three things.
1. What is the demand for the products?
Your product must be in good demand for it to sell very well. If it’s a new product that isn’t popular yet, it must fill a need that is constantly felt by many people and for which there are very few or no reliable solutions yet. Now, how do you know if a product is in high demand? Just look around you and answer the following questions for every product idea that comes to your mind.
For already well-known products:
- Are there many people buying this product?
- Are there lots of online ads for this product?
- Check if the products have a lot of sales on Jumia Ghana, and other popular online stores?
For products that are new to the Ghanaian market:
- Are there many people who would be interested in this product because it fills a significant need?
It makes no sense selling something that no one would be interested in buying.
Your answers to these questions will help you figure out whether there is — or will be — enough demand for the product here in Ghana. If you cannot get convincing answers in the affirmative, it’s better to find another idea.
2. The product must be one that people are really comfortable buying online.
For some reasons, certain products don’t really sell online. For example, grocery will not sell well online because grocery stores are available everywhere, and most people would prefer to do their grocery shopping locally rather than online. Moreover, some grocery items are bought for immediate consumption, so it’s unrealistic to buy them online since they would take days to deliver.
So that you run a successful and profitable online store, you must avoid products that people are likely not going to buy.
2. Decide How You’ll Source the Product
The next step to take after deciding on what you will be selling online is to figure out how you’ll get a constant supply of your products at wholesale or cheaper prices. The essence of opening an e-commerce website is to make a profit. So, it is to make a profit from your online store, you need to buy at lower prices and sell at higher prices. And the higher the margin, the more money you’ll make. So, your best bet is to find suppliers with the lowest prices (for the same good quality).
Depending on the kind of products you intend selling, you can either source locally or from foreign markets. For example, products like cell phone accessories can be ridiculously cheap when you buy them directly from Chinese manufacturers on platforms like AliExpress. Products like hand-made sandals, on the other hand, tend to be cheaper when bought directly from local makers.
3. Register your Business
In Ghana, the authorized agency for business registration is the Registrar General. According to the Registrar General Department’s website, fees for limited liability companies attract a charge of GH$175, a company limited by guarantee is GH$155, while commencement of operations attracts 0.5% of stated capital.
On the other hand, a business name registered by a sole proprietorship attracts a charge of GH$35, partnerships are expected to pay GH$75, subsidiaries GH$35, while external companies are expected to pay $1000 or its cedi equivalent. Look at our comprehensive guide on how to register a business in Ghana for more information.
4. Choose and Secure a Domain Name
Your domain name is your unique name that represents your business. Your ideal ideal choice is one that is short, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. If it reflects what your online store is all about, that’s an added advantage. But be careful though; names like ghanabags.com (for an online bag store) can cause issues in the future if you decide to start selling additional products on your online store.
If you’re already running an offline store and would like to sell the same products online, you can go with the name of your offline store, if it’s still available. But in any case, pen down at least three names, so you can have alternatives if your main choice isn’t available.
In addition, it’s best to go with a .com domain name, since that’s what most people are familiar with. But if the .com extension is no longer available for your chosen domain name, you can consider .net or .org extensions. For a .com domain name, you can register with Bluehost.
5. Set up Your Online Store
If you have little idea about this stage, chances are that you’ll need to hire a seasoned website developer. This stage involves a lot of technicalities, but I’d rather keep everything simple and short.
There are varieties of options to choose from, the best and most straightforward ones available to online store owners are Shopify and WordPress. While Shopify is an all-in-one solution for setting up online stores, WordPress is a versatile open-source software package that can be used to create different types of websites.
Using Shopify for Online Store
Using Shopify means you won’t have to worry about domain name registration, hosting, and store set-up, as everything has been included in a single package. All you have to do is visit Shopify’s website and start setting up your store right away.
Using WordPress for Online Store
On the other hand, going for WordPress means you’ll have to register your domain name and purchase a hosting plan, design your store using a good template, and integrate product pages and payment system using a good e-commerce plugin such as WooCommerce. This option requires more technical know-how than Shopify, but can be far cheaper. For Shopify, you pay more for the convenience of having everything in one place. If you are opting for WordPress, I recommend you use Self-hosted WordPress platform.
Payment Options for Online Store
Another important factor you need to consider while at this step is your choice of payment gateway service. You’ll need one to be able to receive payments from customers, who would order from your store using their Credit or ATM cards. For Shopify, you can use BitPay a Ghanaian payment gateway provider that integrates seamlessly with the platform. For WordPress, you can also go with Shopify or any other reliable service in Ghana.
6. Upload Product Images
One way of attracting customers attention to your products online is by displaying high-quality, clear, and beautiful pictures. Poor quality pictures will send the wrong signals about any product no matter how awesome that product might be. And good quality pictures, on the other hand, can help sell even the crappiest of products. (I’m not saying you should use quality pictures to deceive people into buying mediocre products; I’m only explaining the effectiveness of good quality pictures).
So, when creating product images to upload to your online store, you shouldn’t use your mobile phone. I know there are smartphones with good cameras, but what you’ll get from those can’t be compared to what you’ll get from a seasoned photographer who would use a hi-tech digital camera and photo editing tools. Alternatively, you can get some high quality images of your product from the manufacturer’s website — if they have one.
Once you have the images, upload them to your store, so potential buyers can see what your product really looks like.
7. Create Content for Your Online Store
As with any other type of website, your online store will need some content for individual product pages as well as other pages such as the “Home”, “About us”, “Contact us”, and FAQ pages. You can handle this aspect yourself if you’re a very good writer. But if you’re in doubt over the quality of your writing, hire a seasoned writer to craft all the content you need. Poorly written content will create bad impressions about your online store. So, don’t ever compromise on the quality of your content.
Your home page should display some basic information about your store, products, contact details, and links to other pages on your website. Your about page should tell a brief story of your business, and yourself — if you wish. And your FAQ page will answer questions that potential customers are likely to ask about your online store, such as your refund policy, how long it takes to deliver your products to buyers, and so on.
7. Make Arrangements for Delivery
Delivery is one of the most important aspects of your online store’s operations, so you need to plan it carefully. You can either create your own in-house delivery system or use a third-party delivery service.
If your store is targeted at customers within a small geographical location, such as a state or city, you can have your own in-house delivery system. This would involve delivering orders with your own personal car, a newly bought vehicle dedicated for deliveries, or a hired vehicle.
But if you’re targeting a larger geographical location or cannot afford to set up an in-house system, you’d need to go with a reputable third-party delivery service. Before you do this, you must have had a good business plan in place that covers this area.
9. Test Run Your Store
It makes zero sense when customers have issues with one or more aspects of your website. It creates a negative first impression, which will make you lose some customers forever. To avoid this, you need to test your website like crazy before launching your store. Ensure that all links redirect to the right pages. Check that all payments are perfectly processed. Check that your delivery system is ever-ready. And check that visitor flow and user experience on your website is flawlessly smooth.
Note that this step isn’t one you can cover on your own. You’ll have to involve your website developer. And you’ll have to ask as many people to possible to test out the store, and give you feedback. Be sure to fix all glitches discovered during the testing phase. And once you’re sure there are no glitches or issues, you can go ahead to launch your online store.
10. Launch and Promote Your Store
With everything all set, your website is ready to start getting orders from customers. But remember that no customer will come unless you actively promote your store. So, you need to promote your store on online platforms that are often used by your target customers.
For example, if you’re selling electric breast pumps for nursing mothers, your online promotion efforts should be concentrated on Facebook groups for nursing and expectant mothers in Ghana, relevant sections of online forums, Ghanaian motherhood and parenting blogs, and so on. While you can promote your store on some of these channels without paying a dime, you’ll need to pay to leverage more effective channels like Facebook ads and Google Adwords.
Starting an online store in Ghana is one of the quickest and smartest way of selling your products to a larger market. The e-commerce industry in Ghana is fast growing. Starting up an online store will fetch you a lot of money. If you are looking for ways of making money online, you can try blogging or affiliate marketing.