Tips To Start An E-commerce Business In Uganda

Start An E-commerce Business
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E-commerce business is one of the most trending online businesses in Uganda as of late. A lot of entrepreneurs are starting to recognize that they can sell their stuff online.

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A recent report by Jumia, one of the leading E-commerce business in Uganda shows that the industry is rapidly growing each and every year that passes.

The report indicates that at least 70% of Ugandans have got mobile phones which is a key determinant in the E-commerce industry.

Meanwhile, if you’re curious about how to start up an E-Commerce business in Uganda then we have got you covered in this guide.

What is an E-Commerce business?

E-commerce business also Electronic commerce or EC – is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over an electronic network, primarily the internet. These business transactions occur either as business-to-business, business-to-consumer,consumer-to-consumer or consumer-to-business

However, in this guide, we shall dwell a lot on how to start an E-commerce business in Uganda.

How to start an E-commerce business in Uganda

Start An E-commerce Business

Choose a niche

It’s important to identify a special niche for your E-Commerce store. For example, will your online store sell fashionable items such as clothes, bags, perfumes or gadgets like phones, TVs and others?

Identifying your E-commerce niche will save you a lot of time and money. This step also helps you identify your potential customers and their personal.

With a genuine niche, you should be in a position to tell what your customers like or is trending and where can you find them. You can brand yourself as the king in that niche.

Below are some of the niches you can select for your E-commerce store

  • Fashion
  • Technology
  • Gadgets
  • Home appliances
  • Music
  • Software
  • Furniture
  • Agriculture
  • Among others

Suppliers

For any prosperous e-commerce business, you need to get reliable suppliers. These suppliers have to be in line with your niche and willing to sell on your ecommerce website.

You may need to go downtown and register these suppliers yourself. This may be hectic but worth it. You need to know where to run to once orders have accumulated in your store. Registering and having potential suppliers onboard is one of the biggest investments for any E-commerce business.

Transportation

You may now need to hire a boda-boda guy, someone who can help you deliver items to your customers. This shouldn’t be hard but you need someone you can trust. If possible,you can buy a motorcycle and hire your delivery guy.

There are also a number of online delivery services that can be worth your investments. At the end of this all, customers prefer instant or timely delivery. So if you’re to thrive in this business, you need to find away.

Domain & Web hosting

Now you have identified your niche, supplier and the transportation chain. The next thing is to go digital. A domain name is your address online for example Jumia is found on www.jumia.ug.

You can buy a cheaper domain name & web hosting on either Namecheap or Bluehost accordingly. The following should be put into consideration while getting a good domain.

  • A good domain name should be short, easy to say, type and remember
  • Having a domain name that also includes keywords you want to target can be advantageous
  • A domain that is several years old is seen as more trustworthy than a newly registered domain and with all other things, equal will rank more highly in the search results. (This doesn’t mean you need to buy old domains)
  • If your intended name has more than one word you may consider separating the words with hyphens for readability, such as www.my-website.com. Though most times these domains may be considered for spammers so be a bit careful.
  • Your first choice of domain extension should be a .com or if youspecifically serve one country then the local domain extension is also good. (forexample .us or .ug)

Choosing the right domain name is very important for your eCommercebusiness.

Building an eCommerce website

Building an e-commerce website doesn’t need to be hard nowadays. There are a lot of website builders and open source platforms online. For example, WordPress, Magenta, OpenCart, and PrestaShop are some of the best platforms to build your online store.

If you have worked with WordPress before or any other CMS, then working with any of the above won’t be difficult. Otherwise, I would recommend you hire a developer who can help set up everything for you.

You can build an e-commerce store on WordPress using WooCommerce software (plugin) in just a matter of hours.

PrestaShop and OpenCart are also good but may be difficult to setup for local payment methods. In the same sense adding functionalities on such platforms is expensive in the long run.

Sites such as Jumia have been built on Magenta,Magenta is good but requires some technical abilities to customize fully.

Promotion & Marketing

There are two ways you can market your online store, the offline and online way.

With the online way, you’ll be required to run campaigns on either social media or sponsored ads using Google Ad program. This is one of the easiest ways to get customers visiting your online store.

The offline way requires you to print banners or reach out to places you think your target customers hangout from.This method is effective if properly done.

Besides getting customers to shop on your e-commerce website, your online store will grow faster if you have a good customer retention strategy.

How much do I need to start an ecommerce business in Uganda?

This depends, you can start an e-commerce business with just UGx.100,000 (assuming you have the technical expertise) but a good eCommerce store business may require at least UGx.1,000,000.

A domain name and web hosting for 3 months on Bluehost is approximately UGx.150,000 which is good for the start.

Remember as the business grows so do the expenses. For example, an E-commerce getting at least 10,000 visitors a day may need a Virtual Private Server (VPS) which is slightly expensive (approximately $20 per month)

However, if you’re starting out, a shared hosting plan on Bluehost is good enough before you can think of scaling.

The rest of the costs may be incurred during delivery and marketing.

Conclusion

As technology advances so do the costs of leaving online become cheaper. Today you can setup your online store in just a week and begin selling your goods online without a lot of hustle.