How To Start A Dropshipping Business in Nigeria

by Temiloluwa Alagbe
530 views 7 minutes read

The dropshipping business in Nigeria is becoming increasingly popular and understandably so. Dropshipping is a way of marketing products without having to produce them or keep them in stock, and it has proven to be a very lucrative business. Dropshipping has given many people their success stories and if you are in Nigeria looking to have your dropshipping success story, you are in the right place. This article has all the information you need to have before you launch your dropshipping business so you should stick around!

What We Covered In This Article

What is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is an online retail business where the seller advertises products for sale without keeping them in stock. Dropshipping involves serving as a middleman between a customer and the supplier. Payment for your middleman services is included in the cost of the product advertised on your website.

How Does The Dropshipping Business Work?

Dropshipping involves reaching an agreement with a supplier and obtaining permission to sell their products on your website at a higher price. A customer visits your website and places an order. In response, you forward the order to the supplier who packages the product and sends it directly to the customer.

For example, a dropshipping business named Books ‘N’ Stuff strikes a deal with Lulu Express to put up their books for sale on their website. Books ‘N’ Stuff has carried out proper product and market research and has discovered that a book titled “Verity”, priced at $14, is in demand. Books ‘N’ Stuff then proceeds to put up that book on their website for $30. A customer sees the book and places an order for it on the dropshipper’s website (booksnstuff.com). Books ‘N’ Stuff then forwards the order details to Lulu Express and a payment of $14 for the book, keeping the $16 profit for themselves. Lulu Express receives the order and the payment and sends the book directly to the customer.

Notice that in the illustration above, Books ‘N’ Stuff never handled the book, Verity. They simply served as a communication channel between Lulu Express and the customer and made a profit from that. That is essentially what dropshipping is about.

Benefits of Starting a Dropshipping Business in Nigeria

  • Easy to start
  • Low start-up and operating cost
  • Reduced risk
  • Reduced stress

Does Dropshipping Work in Nigeria?

After understanding how dropshipping works, the question on your mind: Would dropshipping work out for me in Nigeria? The answer is, yes, dropshipping does work in Nigeria. Dropshipping works anywhere really, as long as it is legal in your country, and it’s legal pretty much anywhere too. The best part is, you can dropship from Nigeria to anywhere in the world.

Cost of Starting a Dropshipping Business in Nigeria

Because of the nature of the dropshipping business, the cost of starting one is relatively low, hence, it is easy to start. It is even possible to start a dropshipping business with no capital. You could start a profitable dropshipping business with as little as NGN30,000. The money is mostly needed to pay the supplier for their services and to open a website. Although some suppliers might request a down payment, most suppliers only collect payment when an order is fulfilled. There are also sites, like Shopify and Amazon, that let you open your online store for free.

How Profitable is The Dropshipping Business in Nigeria?

Dropshipping in Nigeria can be a very profitable business and it could generate up to 200% Return On Investment (ROI). Because the supplier handles the bulk of the operation, you can make a substantial amount while incurring little to no risk.

How Long Does It Take To Make Money From Dropshipping?

If you are looking for fast cash, then dropshipping might not be the best option for you. As dropshipping doesn’t have a special rulebook, there is no stipulated time to make a substantial profit from the business. The amount of time it would take to make money from dropshipping is dependent on many different factors. Although there is no specific number of days or months it would take to make money from your dropshipping business, we can say that, on average, it could take up to six months before you make any real profit.

How To Start a Dropshipping Business in Nigeria

1. Choose a dropshipping niche

Choosing the right dropshipping niche could have a major impact on the success of your business. You must select niches that are in high demand. Picking a niche and sticking with it would make it easier to monitor product performance and give you a focused customer base. These are some popular niches you can choose from:

i)Personal care and beauty products

The personal care and beauty products are one of the fastest products to sell in the dropshipping business. If you are looking for a quick-selling dropshipping niche, this is the niche for you. Some popular product ideas include exfoliating face masks, hydrogel eye patches, perfumes and deodorants, sunscreen, makeup brushes, face serums and hair extensions.

ii)Health and wellness products

An image of some healthcare products.
Photo credit: Codie Zofia Creative - Product Photography on Pinterest.

The demand for health and wellness is constantly increasing as more people have become aware of the importance of staying healthy. Some health and wellness products that are in high demand include fitness trackers, vitamin supplements, air purifiers and humidifiers, food supplements, and sleep masks.

iii) Clothing and fashion accessories

Stylish hair accessories that are excellent dropshipping products
Photo credit: Shopping links on Pinterest

The clothing niche is a very popular one around the globe. Everyone wants to look good and for this reason, the clothing industry is certainly one you want to tap into. Some product ideas include lingerie, crop tops, pyjamas, earrings, necklaces, tattoo sleeves, knuckle rings, the list goes on and on.

iv) Office supplies

Office supplies
Photo credit: poppin on Pinterest

Office supplies are constantly used everywhere. Because of the growth of the online business world, more people require office supplies at home too. Popular dropshipping products in the office supplies niche include sticky notes, highlighters, printer ink cartridges, and anti-blue light glasses.

v)Gadgets and cellphone accessories

Gadget ideas to dropship

With the growth and technology in today’s world, gadgets and phone accessories have experienced a spike in demand, making them the perfect dropshipping niche for you. Some product ideas are headphones, live wallpaper phone cases, power banks, earbuds, phone chargers, earbud cases, portable speakers, thermostats, and many more.

2. Properly research products in your selected niche

It is imperative that you carry out product research before picking out products to sell on your site. If you don’t conduct product research or you aren’t thorough with it, you might end up filling your website with products that people hardly buy and this would cause you to operate a fluctuating business. You can use SEO tools like SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner, and ahrefs to find products that are frequently searched for by users. This would help you determine what products are in demand. There are also dropshipping product research tools you use like Dropship Spy, Niche Scraper, Allfactor, and Asify. These tools can help you keep up with market trends and estimate the profit a product will make.

3. Find suppliers

After picking a niche and selecting products to sell, the next step is to find suppliers. Before you choose a supplier, here are a few questions you should have answers to:

  • Do you trust the supplier?
  • Are the supplier’s prices affordable?
  • Do they have good customer service reviews?
  • And most importantly, are their products up to standard?

When you have done your research and obtained your answers, you can reduce the risk by testing your theories. If you are impressed with the supplier’s services and products, you can strike a dropshipping business deal with them. Listed below are some recommended suppliers;

i) CJDropshipping

CJDropshipping is a multifaceted dropshipping website with multiple products in various niches. They can be both dropshipping suppliers and e-commerce store hosts.

ii) Spocket

Spocket is an online platform that connects you with reliable dropshipping suppliers, giving you access to a variety of products. It is the perfect dropshipping platform for new and old dropshippers.

iii) SaleHoo

SaleHoo is a dropshipping platform that provides various services. They offer high-quality products, dropshipping suppliers, product research tools, and market research tools too.

iv)Doba

Doba is a dropshipping site that offers various products and links dropshippers to reliable suppliers. Although their prices are a bit higher than others, the products they offer and the variety of vetted suppliers make the prices worth it.

v) Wholesale2B

Whole2B offers tools that help optimize your e-commerce store for better sales and a higher profit margin. In addition to this, they can also set up an e-commerce store for you, providing you with supplier service and ecommerce services.

4. Create a business and marketing strategy

The key to a successful business is to have a business plan with all your business goals and a business strategy with plans on how to reach your goals. Your business strategy should also have effective customer acquisition strategies that help you grow your customer base. A thriving dropshipping business doesn’t just fall in your lap, you have to plan for it.

5. Build your online store

You have chosen a niche, selected products, and even found an excellent supplier. Now, all that’s left is to open your online store and begin sales! There are e-commerce platforms out there; some expensive, some cheap, some free, and some even scams. When choosing a store host, be sure that their terms are not unreasonable. For example, you should be sure that they permit rebranding of their products, and that their profit margin is reasonable. We’ll discuss why later on. For now, here are some e-commerce platforms we think you should try:

6. Open a business bank account

A common mistake most dropshipping business owners in Nigeria make, especially beginners, make is to keep their personal finances and their business finances together. Doing this would cause disorganization and indiscipline as keeping records would be much harder. For record and control purposes, open a business bank account to help you separate your business dealings from your personal ones.

7. Implement promotional and marketing strategies

Everything is in place now but your business is still missing one important thing. Customers. You should have already begun some sort of promotion for your business from the moment you realised you were serious about starting a dropshipping business but you need to double the effort once your business is live. You can adopt various promotional strategies, be it online or offline. However, it would be best to focus on digital marketing strategies because most of your target market is online. Video content creation is the most common way of promoting dropshipping in Nigeria.

8. Keep records

There’s no such thing as an irrelevant transaction. Every transaction is worth recording to avoid complications further down the line. From order placements to supplier payments to product shipments, everything must be documented for your business’ safety.

How To Drive Traffic To Your Dropshipping Store

You must put in effort to increase traffic to your site because increased traffic means increased chances of sales. Here are a few tips on how to boost traffic to your store:

1. Video content creation

Video content creation has proven to be a very effective advertisement strategy in the dropshipping world as thousands of dropshippers use it to market their products. Posting videos of the products you have on your website builds customer trust. In some cases, your promotional video could even double as a tutorial on how to use the product. For these reasons, creating video content for your e-commerce store is a surefire way of increasing traffic to your store thus, increasing profit.

2. Blogging

Blogging is another way of increasing website traffic. Posting high-quality articles about your products piques the interest of your readers, causing them to click on your store link. Your written content should not be painfully obvious that you are trying to market a product. Rather, post engaging and relatable content that conveniently promotes your product. In other words, be subtle. Don’t post stuff like, “Do you find yourself constantly losing money? Are you always searching for where to put your stuff? If yes, then this handbag is for you,” and then you write paragraph after paragraph about how the handbag could end poverty and revolutionize the world. Notice how this looks like a scripted TV ad?

Instead of this, you could narrate an experience, be it fake or real, that leads up to the same handbag saving the day or you could go in a completely different direction and write a blog post on current fashion trends and the handbag you want to advertise would conveniently be among them alongside a link to your store.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Optimizing your posts for search engines is important when trying to increase visits to your store. Doing this would help your content rank on the search result pages and traffic to your posts is potential traffic to your store.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is another effective way of promoting your dropshipping business. Creating intriguing short ads with eye-catching graphics and sending them to a well-curated email list would boost your store visits significantly.

5. Customer’s review

Studies carried out by Spiegel Research Centre have shown that a customer’s likelihood of patronage increases by 270% when the customer reads reviews. This implies that adding a review section to your e-commerce store increases the customer’s trust in the product, therefore, boosting the chances of purchase. Because of this, adding a review section is a highly effective way of boosting sales, and asking customers to leave a review simultaneously increases store traffic too. However, there are two sides to every coin. The efficacy of a review section also means that one bad review has the power to turn your business around for the worse. This means you need to double the effort to ensure maximum consumer satisfaction, no pressure or anything lol.

How To Lead Your Dropshipping Business To Success

1. Thorough product and supplier Research

The success of your dropshipping business is heavily dependent on the product in your store. If your store displays products that your target market has little to no demand for, chances are your dropshipping business will flop. Leave no stones unturned when carrying out your product research because a shabby job would cost you. While we have provided a list of high-demand dropshipping products, some of them might not be as popular in your target location. For this reason, you still need to do your own research

Supplier research is just as important as product research because a dropping business is just as good as its supplier. Your supplier’s service and product quality greatly influences your store’s reputation. Because of this, it is imperative that you thoroughly screen suppliers before settling with one. We have already curated a list of reliable dropshipping suppliers to get you started.

2. Sample products before sale

It could never hurt to test-run your store before officially launching it. Sampling your products is the best way to accomplish this. To do this, set up a demo e-commerce store and put a few products up for sale. The performance of these products will help you determine what products to sell on the real dropshipping store.

3. Online promotion is important

A key part of running a successful dropshipping store is a strong online campaign program. Offline advertisement also helps grow your customer base but you want to focus your energy on online promotions. It is much easier for potential customers to access your store when your ad pops up on their X (Twitter) timeline than when they read your ad on a billboard. If you already have a strong online presence and a large follower count, then you basically have a cheat code. However, if you’re not very active online, then you should consider paying for sponsored ads on popular social media platforms like X (Twitter), TikTok, and Facebook, or paying influencers to promote your products. The social media platforms then promote your posts by putting them on the timelines of their user. Whether users stay or not becomes dependent on the quality of your ad which is a better option than staking your ad’s success on the subtlety of an influencer.

4. Branding

Branding is an excellent way of building customer trust. The reason is that it gives your customers the sense that they are directly relating to you. Selling branded products also set you apart from other dropshippers. Because you don’t actually produce the stuff you sell, branding your products takes on a different approach in dropshipping. You would have to choose a supplier that offers custom packaging services. Once you have selected a supplier, form your brand identity (logo, name, and an advertising slogan), and send it to the supplier. The supplier would handle the rest.

5. Patience is a virtue

Dropshipping is not a get-rich-quick scheme. On the contrary, it is a business that requires consistency to reach great heights. Good things take time so don’t be disappointed if you haven’t made your first million within the first month of dropshipping. All-round consistency is paramount in owning a successful dropshipping business.

What To Avoid When Starting a Dropshipping Business In Nigeria

1. Influencer marketing

When most people think of promotions, their minds immediately go to social media influencers but before you pay that influencer, picture this. You are watching a skit on YouTube and then the skitmaker introduces a very obvious ad campaign. It ruins the vibe doesn’t it and you are very likely to skip the ad, right? Well, that’s how other people are likely to react to your influencer promotion too and you wouldn’t get the value for your money. Rather, create your own engaging ad and pay social media platforms to promote it.

2. Unrealistic goals

Though Ben Carson said to “Think Big” he never said to be unreasonable about it. Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t aim high but those big dreams need time to materialize. We have made it clear from the start of this article that success in dropshipping takes time, determination, and consistency.

3. Excessive Variety

Have you ever heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none”? You don’t want your business to be that way. When people think of a particular niche (like clothes, furniture, electronics), you want them to think of your store. Having a good reputation in a specific niche is an easier and faster way of leading your dropshipping business to success. However, learn to explore new options in your niche or even in niches similar to yours. After all, variety is the spice of life, just don’t overdo it.

4. Excessive Research Time

We know that we have stressed the importance of research but don’t go overboard with it. A long research period will delay your store launch unnecessarily. It is also likely to cause indecision which is particularly unhealthy in dropshipping. Be thorough but don’t get to the point where you start freaking yourself out. Moderation is key.

Dropshipping In Nigeria FAQs

How much money do I need to start a dropshipping business in Nigeria?

The amount you need is totally dependent on how much you are willing to invest in the business. In other words, your dropshipping capital is dependent on your budget.

Can I start dropshipping with no money?

Absolutely. The nature of the dropshipping business allows you to start yours with no money. There are various free dropshipping suppliers and e-commerce store host as well.

What is the minimum number of products I need to have before I can start dropshipping?

Well, there’s no stipulated limit to the number of products you can start with. However, because you are likely a beginner, we would suggest you start with a small number of products like 15 – 40 products.

How do I get products for dropshipping?

The process varies. If your supplier also hosts your e-commerce store, you can simply search for products and upload them to your store with a few clicks.

However, if your supplier and e-commerce store hosts are different, you would need to search your supplier’s store for products, obtain product names and images that match the products of your choice, and upload them to your store. For your own convenience, we suggest that you choose your supplier as your e-commerce store host too.

What dropshipping niche is in demand in Nigeria?

Clothing and Fashion Accessories.

What is the easiest product to sell in Nigeria?

Male and female clothes.

Conclusion

The dropshipping business in Nigeria is a very lucrative one and it is easy to start. For this reason, it is highly competitive. Worry not nonetheless! As long as you have taken the time to complete this article, you are fully prepared to take the top spot in the dropshipping industry. All that’s left now is to put everything you have learned to good use.

Image Credits: All images on this website are sources from Getty Images, Pexels and Unsplash.

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