How to start an online retail shop in Uganda [Part 1]
In Uganda, starting an online retail shop can be a rewarding experience to allow you to express yourself and your entrepreneurial spirit. More importantly, it can be a way to start a new business or grow an existing one. In this part of starting an online retail shop in Uganda i lay down the requirements that anyone will need to consider before kick start.
1. Decide what products to sell.
Before you do anything, it’s important to decide what types of goods you will sell online. Whatever you choose, it’s important to work with products that you are passionate about. Chances are, you will be working with these products day in and day out, so make sure it’s something that won’t easily bore you in the future. If you don’t have products on hand, you can take a look at existing stores that sell products of your interest, you can conveniently choose from their product list and sell them on your own site. In this way you need to get wholesalers that you can buy from and resell that product after your clients orders for it.
2. Choose the best eCommerce solution.
There are hundreds of eCommerce solutions available in the market, and each offers something unique. However, you don’t need everything that every other business is using. Every business is unique in terms of goals, products, business model, and payment methods, I will be discussing this topic in depth in the next episodes to help you make the right decision . You must know what kind of solution would work best for your unique requirements.
Depending on your budget and level of expertise, you will be required to pick from these e-commerce solution for your online shop:
Open source solutions: Open source solutions are typically free downloads that are plugged into your website to help you setup your store. A popular example is WooCommerce. This is a full featured plugin with a lot of features to help you get started. The plugin can be fully customized to your brand identity and allows other selling tools and payment gateways. This plugin is FREE.
Hosted solutions: If you don’t want to go through a lot of technical steps involved in the first step, you can opt to have a hosted solutions to house your website. In a hosted solutions it means your shop is on another web-based software but you have access to add features, have your own domain, and customize your website to your needs based on a theme/layout of your choice to build and power your online store, a popular example is shopify.
The shopify model lets you have your own shop in your brand, however there are other solutions that will help you create an account and sell your product in a pool of other products from other retailers. Examples of this kind are the Ugandan Afri-Deal Mart in Mbarara and Jumia Uganda.
This type is best-suited for beginners who have no knowledge about website designing. However in my episodes, i will cover even the design part of an online shop. Keep following.
3. Choose a domain name.
Your domain name is the web address where customers find your online store. This is a big business decision, so don’t take it lightly. I recommend that you pick a domain name that is short, simple and describes your business. After that, decide on your extension (.com, .biz, .net) and register it with a domain name provider. Usually your web hosting service provider can help you have your domain registered and hosted. I will still dig deep on this topic in my next topics guiding you in choosing the best web hosting company in Uganda.
4. Choose how you want to get paid.
We are all in business to make money, right? The next step before launching your online shop is to decide how you will receive payment from your customers. The popular online stores like eBay and amazon accept PayPal or Google Checkout, but for the Ugandan market you have the option to accept mobile money and credit cards directly on your site, which are the preferred and more convenient methods. If this is the case, you will need knowledge about mobile money and credit card processing, and particularly i will make a comprehensive blog about this topic in my next episodes.
5. Market you business.
Once your website is ready for the world to see, you need to start driving customers to it. This can be through social media and by SEO or other forms of online marketing, it is important that you always share your online shop address with the masses. I mean, even if you have the most amazing site, if no one can find your store, you will struggle paying the website hosting bills every year.
Am sure you really need enough information before starting up your own online shop in Uganda. I hope this post has helped you understand the steps that you need to undergo. In my next posts am going to discuss each particular step until we you have your online shop setup. In some posts i will be making video tutorials to help you have things setup.