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The Definitive Guide To Conversion Rate Optimization For Nigeria E-Commerce Sites (1)

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Two years ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Why Most Nigeria E-businesses Fail”. A lot has changed in the Nigeria e-commerce space since then.   For one, the Nigeria ecommerce space has experienced phenomenal growth with the influx of millions of foreign capital  into the sector. 

While this has deepen the industry in terms of scale, operational sophistication, visibility etc, one rarely talked about effect of this growth is the increasing cost of customer acquisition.

Getting customers to your e-commerce site is now a whole lot more difficult now than it was two years ago. For example, I ran several Adword campaigns in 2011 for a couple of Nigeria e-commerce sitesand my average CPC was never above 30 cent – even for competitive keywords. Now you pay almost a dollar for the same keywords. 

The case with organic search is even worse. In 2011, I remember that with just a little On-Page optimization, you could easily start ranking for your target keywords (and lots of long tailed keywords). Fast forward to 2013 and SEO result is a whole lot more difficult.

Now, with the relatively high cost of getting visitors to your site, it becomes imperative for you to get the most from your site visitors. And for e-commerce sites, that means getting more of your site visitors to buy from you.

The process of getting more result from your site visitor is called Conversion Rate Optimization, CRO. 

CRO is a complex subject that cannot be covered in one blog post. So, I have created  a series of blog posts on Conversion Rate Optimization Tips For Nigeria Ecommerce Sites. 

Below are areas of e-commerce touch point optimization that if implemented, will help your Nigeria e-commerce site eliminate the core conversion roadblocks of usability, friction or anxiety factors.


The first step in optimizing your ecommerce website for conversion is to first of all break the entire user experience into unique experiences delivered at several of the touch points on your websites. Here you will be asking questions like:

  • What is the impression that a user gets when he or she arrives at your online store?
  • What kind of result do users see when they type something in your  product search box?
  • What do you say in your communication to your users when they register, reset password, subscribe or place an order?
  • What happens if a user lands on an ‘out of stock’ product page?
  • Where a user searches for a product that doesn’t exist or out of stock, what happens?
  • What does a user see if he enters an invalid email address during registration?
  • How simple is your checkout process
  • What trust building elements are on your site to reduce cart abandonment ?


1) Promote Your Top-Selling Products On Your Home Page 

Use a blend of sales report and analytical tools like Google Analytics to determine your best performing products & categories. Once these are identified, give them more visibility by promoting them in banner sliders and recommended products.

2) Offer Multiple Payment Options

This has been one of the main reasons for high shopping cart abandonment in almost all the Nigeria ecommerce store I have worked on. The answer is simple, clearly show all the different ways in which a customer can pay for an order on your site. I will strongly recommend that you have “Pay On Delivery” and, to make it the most conspicuous payment option on your site. This is especially important at this stage of ecommerce in Nigeria when most customers are still sceptical about the credibility of online shopping.

3) Arrange Category Structure By Popularity

The category links in the navigation should be in the ascending order of their popularity. That is the most effective arrangement. The second option is to arrange them alphabetically. 

4) Ensure Site Search Accuracy

Nothing is as frustrating to your customer as searching for a product on your site and getting totally irrelevant result. To avoid this, below are some suggestions: 

  • Implement intelligent search to cover singular, plurals, mis-spells etc. For example, a search for ‘shoe’ & ‘shoes’ should return the same results associated with shoes(s).
  • Implement Auto-Suggestion to help user search for relevant keywords. This is one of the commonest search functionality wherein as the user types his search query in the search box, suggestions are shown. This feature makes it easier for them to find the desired product more quickly.
  • Enable category search option

7) Use High-Quality Product Images

Studies after studies have shown that image is always the first thing that a visitor will notice as soon as he lands on your site.  The quality product image will help your store convert better. Another side to this is that, apart from using quality product images on your site, you should also show as many as we can – from different angles.

8) Pay Attention To Product’s Description

This is one area almost all Nigeria eCommerce sites are guilty. It is wrong to just copy and paste the manufacturer’s description on your product page. The product description is a sales copy and it should be seen in that light. 

Let your description present the product in the most appealing (functional or emotional appeal) way to your site visitor and somehow, also anticipate and address their reservations/apprehensions. A few tips:

  • Use bulleted points to make the information easier for the visitors to digest.
  • Arrange the product features in order of importance.
  • Even though I said earlier that you should write see your product description copy as a sales copy, you should not oversell.
  • users will know if our claims aren’t genuine.

9) Clearly Show The Product’s Delivery TRUE Time

One of the main complaints about Nigeria’s eCommerce sites is the failure to deliver within the promised time. While I understand the temptation to over-promise, it is much wiser to under-promise and over-deliver. This is one of the best ways to build positive word of mouth and referrals about your eCommerce site. 

Not only should you give realistic delivery time, but users should also know when they can expect to receive the product if they order. 

10) Encourage users to leave reviews

You should do this for two reasons:

  • Good product reviews add a lot of content on a product page which is very good for SEO (post-Panda and Penguin updates)
  • Positive customer reviews also make your store more credible and thus improve your conversion rate. 

11) Checkout Page

A lot of cart abandonment happens during check-out. This should not be because, for a user to get to your check-out page, it means he or she is really interested in buying. To stem this, your check out page should:

Security: Make it clear to users that your site is secure and that their privacy will never be compromised.

Transparency: There should not be any hidden charges. VAT, shipping cost, etc should be stated clearly.

-Payment Methods:  I talked about this earlier. All payment methods users can use to make payment for goods bought on your site should be clearly stated (Mobile Money, Credit Cards, Bank deposit, Pay On Delivery, etc.).

12) Simply You Information Forms

Users want the buying process to be over as soon as possible. So, anything you can do to shorten the amount of work they need to do will increase your conversion. start by removing ALL fields that are not absolutely necessary on your forms. It’s not a good idea to make them enter the same information twice.

Also, if a customer has already provided some information in an earlier step, don’t ask for it again in the next step. Automatically pre-fill the fields so that the user doesn’t have to enter them again

It is important you do not confuse your site users. One way he can be frustrated is  if he is not able to proceed because he is missing out filling some information which has not been marked as a mandatory field.  It is important you use asterisk (*) to clearly mark optional fields.

13) Create An Impressive About Page

One of the lesser know factors for conversion rate improvement of e-commerce sites is the “About Us”. A surprisingly large number of users actually go to the About page before they make a purchase from an online store. This is especially so if they are visiting the store for the first time. 

It goes without saying then that you should have a rich About Us page. A few tips on how to do this: 

  • Give a bit of information about why your company was started. Please note that this is the place to showcase your “Mission, Vision” or whatever value. Take abstraction out of it 
  • Highlight people behind your company, preferably with pictures
  • Be Authentic

14) Conspicuous Support/Contact Page

It is very important that you have a phone number prominently displayed on your home page. And, your physical office address should be featured on your site as well.  your customers must know that real people are available to help if they’re lost or confused. It is also a trust builder, especially in Nigeria where there is still apathy about online shopping. 

15) Offer A Good Return Policy

If our store’s returns policy isn’t clear, visitors might get apprehensive when buying from our store. Your returns policy should be visible, clear, and buyer-friendly so that people feel safe while shopping with you.

In the second part of this series, I will try to go into the advanced stuff- Split testing, design, information architecture, colour science, etc

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