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 SamBoad, Jumia Ghana, SKB News Magazine, Blvck Tick etc. 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.
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 can’t 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 or click on wa.me/233242011394 to WhatsApp SamBoad on get your company registered
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. SamBoad Business Group Limited Team can also assist with that.
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.