E-commerce business in Ghana
Don’t you love the way you can access anything on the Internet? The Internet has changed how we work, the way we socialize and the use of e-commerce also have transformed the way we shop. Thanks to technology, e-commerce has become the next big thing. The continuous success of companies like Alibaba, Jumia, eBay and Amazon has proven that you can use the Internet effectively to promote your business. Technology has therefore made it easy for people to conduct businesses from the comfort of their mobile devices. Look around you, how many e-commerce businesses do you see springing up? Quite a number, right?
Therefore if you are thinking of starting a business in buying and selling (without using the Kantamanto approach) but rather do it online, then you would be joining millions of entrepreneurs worldwide who have carved a niche for themselves in the world of E-commerce. The question, however, is how does one go about setting an e-commerce business in Ghana?
WHAT IS E-COMMERCE?
First of all, Electronic commerce or better still e-commerce refers to any type of business or transaction that involves the transfer of information across the Internet. This is further facilitated by payment systems such as Cash on Delivery, Wire Transfer and the use of Credit Cards. E-commerce also covers a wide range of businesses ranging from retail sites, music sites, auction sites to the exchange of goods and services between corporations.
CATEGORIES OF E-COMMERCE
Before setting up a business, you first need to know your target audience or market. This same principle goes for an e-commerce business. There are four categories of e-commerce namely- B2B, B2C, C2B and C2C.
B2B (Business to Business): Just as the name implies, this is a transaction between a business and another business entity. For example, mobile phone manufacturers selling to wholesalers and retailers.
B2C (Business to Consumer): This is also another form of e-commerce. It refers to businesses selling to the general public via e-commerce websites with the help of a shopping cart software. This is done without physical contact between the business and the consumer. A typical example is Amazon.
C2B (Consumer to Business): This refers to a business model where the consumer sells a product to businesses who are willing and ready to purchase them. In this category, consumers post projects, and proposals online together with budgets for businesses to bid. The consumer then reviews the bids and picks a winning company. For example, a consumer can place her requirements for companies to bid.
C2C (Consumer to Consumer): This kind of business takes place via online classifieds, forums and marketplaces. Individuals are then given the opportunity to showcase their goods and services for other consumers to purchase. A typical example of a C2C e-commerce is Ebay.
HOW TO GET STARTED
If you have any hopes of starting an e-commerce business for your product, there are a few tips you need to help set your e-commerce business rolling.
Choose a Product
First, you need to choose a product. This is the initial step towards setting up an e-commerce business and it is the most challenging of all. What’s the point of starting an e-commerce if you have nothing to sell? With the rise in online competition, e-commerce entrepreneurs often struggle especially when it feels like every idea has already been taken. There are, however, different ways to brainstorm products:
- Keyword research
- Consider your experience
- Identify customer passions
- Use your passion
- Identify customer pain points
- Look for an opportunity gap
Do you have an interest in jewellery? You can convert that into an e-commerce business. Are you a tech-savvy person? Why not turn that passion into a lucrative e-commerce business.
Research and Prepare
Most people after deciding what product to sell, delve right into setting up their business. However, it’s better to know what your competitors are doing first. That way you know exactly what you’re up against. Setting up an e-commerce business requires adequate planning and research. According to Shopify, gathering competitive intelligence is an often overlooked strategy for e-commerce merchants. If you don’t know what your competitors are doing, chances are that you will find it difficult to make decisions which will help keep your current customers and attract new ones.
As you conduct your research, it is also important to research on your competitor’s value proposition, pricing, product description, shipping options, call-to-actions, email listing, optimization for mobile and social media presence. Here is a list of five competitor analysis tools to help you:
- Google Advanced Search Operators
gathering competitive intelligence is an often overlooked strategy for e-commerce merchants Click To Tweet
Write your business plan
Once your competitive research is complete, it’s now time for you to write your business plan. This is a roadmap that outlines business goals and how they can be achieved. Key areas to be covered include:
- executive summary
- company description
- market analysis
- an operational plan
- organization and management
- product and services
- marketing and sales
- financial projections
- a funding request
Setting up your business
The first thing that goes into this stage is to choose a name for your business. Remember, first impression matters! If creating a viable business is war, having a great business name is half the battle. Always remember to:
- Keep it short and simple
- Be different
- Consider your web presence
- Google it
- Look at the domain name
Design a logo
Designing a logo is also an important step to setting up your e-commerce business. A logo is a symbol or emblem used to aid and also promote public recognition. When designing a logo for your e-commerce business, always remember to use images wisely, keep it simple and optimize for mobile. Sidekick Ghana is known for their red backwards ‘ɘ’.
You’re a step away from launching your e-commerce business. But first, you need to understand the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This helps you optimize your site for Google and also for other search engines too. Once you’ve fully understood the basics of SEO, you can then proceed to launch your e-commerce business.
You have a product and a name to go with it. There are also beautiful product pictures and a well-written product description that sells. Your shipping strategy and key performance strategies are also in place. You also have your e-commerce business all set and launched. But what do you do next? Do you then sit back and wait for the magic to happen? You might have to sit for an indefinite period of time. Rather, you should:
- get active on social media
- build an email list
- optimize conversations
- use Google Analytics
In addition, running a successful e-commerce business requires that you have a basic understanding of e-commerce law. This is because online sellers and buyers have different legal and financial considerations worldwide with regards to privacy, security, copyright and taxation. Therefore having firsthand information on such laws and legalities is very important.
IMPORTANCE OF E-COMMERCE
- IT SAVES TIME AND EFFORT
Consumers in modern times appreciate the value of time. Rather than drive or board a bus to the market or mall, they would prefer to spend less time buying online. This helps saves time and effort.
- IT IS VERY CONVENIENT.
People live a very hectic and busy life; doing household chores, picking the kids from school, working on documents in the office and a whole lot. E-commerce, therefore, helps fit shopping into their busy schedules by affording them the opportunity to get the products they want when and also how they want them. Also, they do this at their own convenience without having to rush through traffic to get them from a shop.
- THERE IS FREEDOM OF CHOICE.
E-commerce also offers multiple options for a consumer by giving consumers much information about the products they want to buy. This further helps the customer to make rationalized decisions about products and services. Customers can then compare products with their quality, price and method of payment. All these factors go a long way to also help customers make right choices before purchasing a product.
- IT ALLOWS FOR ELECTRONIC EXPERIENCE.
E-commerce also allows customers to exchange experiences and views among themselves online. E-commerce sites also help to establish forums for its members through which they can express their opinions about a particular product or service and how to use them. These reviews are then made available to other customers who want to purchase the product. Before customers buy a product, they become familiar with them before they buy and also can consult other customers who have tried the product.
- E-COMMERCE HELPS BROADEN YOUR PRODUCT OR BRAND
E-commerce can also offer opportunities that a physical shop cannot. The internet is a very big marketplace for business. Instead of selling to a few hundred people, why not rather sell to millions. Having an e-commerce business can help reach millions of customers worldwide. This will also go a long way to give your brand or business great recognition on the e-commerce market.
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E-commerce can be a very rewarding venture, but you cannot make money overnight. It is therefore important to do a lot of research, ask questions, work hard and make business decisions on facts learned from researching e-commerce. Don’t rely on “gut” feelings. We hope our e-commerce article will help your business make a better decision in choosing an online shopping cart for your e-commerce store.
EXAMPLES OF E-COMMERCE BUSINESSES
In conclusion, if you ever wanted to start an online store but didn’t know where to start, we hope this article will help you make an informed decision. Also, you can contact us for further consultation on setting up your online business or leave a comment about your experience with e-commerce.
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