Which Online/E-commerce platform is best for Nigerians, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa?

If you you are a website developer or you want to build an online store for your startup or business, I bet you want a hassle free platform to build your e-commerce website. If you are in either Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya or South Africa, you also specifically want a best e-commerce platform that at least will accept payment from local country bank cards and transfers. Especially for Nigerians, this is very important because we live in an age where many payment gateways trust Nigerians as the owner of a yam barn trust goats. This is so unfortunate but in reality, we can’t effectively use payment gateways as Paypal with Nigerian IPs.

Ghana on the other hand seem to be struggling with building efficient payment gateway. Fiin Tech companies in Ghana are not as developed as in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.

Note that payment gateways take commission off each transaction.

And of course you don’t want to code an e-commerce website from scratch or better still you can’t code an e-commerce website from the scratch, you need to build on an existing platform. Even if you are a code guru, why reinvent the wheel completely?

There are many e-commerce platforms out there to choose from but this is not as easy as it appears. I have been building online stores since 2012 and I can guide you accordingly. Before we start, let me quickly make a list of some of the e-commerce platforms out there in no order. Some of them are Open source while others are Software as a service.

Popular E-commerce platforms:

  1. Big Cartel.
  2. BigCommerce.
  3. Magento.
  4. Shopify.
  5. Volusion.
  6. Demandware.
  7. WooCommerce.
  8. 3dcart.
  9. Kibo.
  10. Prestashop.
  11. Squarespace.

There may even be more but why should we go on listing them? For the best e-commerce platform for Nigerians, we can narrow them down to about 4 platforms or 3 platforms and we run a quick review of the pros and cons of each.

But why narrow it down to 3? Our 3 best e-commerce platforms suits Nigerians, Ghanaians, Kenyans and South Africans the most. I bet you don’t want the stress of having to recode a badly coded script or building your own custom theme and add-ons or plugins. Many of the other e-commerce platforms are great on their own but they unfortunately do not have a large ecosystem. By ecosystem I mean their user-base isn’t much and they have fewer developers building add-ons or plugins for the platform. So we stick to our 3 best e-commerce platforms.

Best E-Commerce platform for Nigerian, Ghana, Kenya and South African Websites:

After an extensive research and without wasting much of your time, the best 3 e-commerce platforms for many African websites in no particular order is:

  1. Magento
  2. Shopify
  3. Woocommerce/WordPress

All these three accept Nigerian Payment gateways and has hundreds if not now thousands of add-ons. This will save you the cost of building custom tools which is very expensive to do especially if you’re hiring a freelancer.

Now let’s look at the pros and cons of each of the platform. As you know, this article is written bearing the Nigerian website developer in mind. Let’s start with Magento.

Magento:

Magento is one of the oldest E-commerce platforms. Even the early version of Konga.com was built on Magento. Nigerian payment gateways accepted on Magento platform includes:

Interswitch Webpay
Remita
GTPay
VoguePay
SimplePay
2Checkout (2co)
Cashenvoy
Paystack
Flutterwave.

This is a lot and still counting.

Magento Pros:

1. It accept Nigerian payment gateways which means your Nigerian customers can pay with their local bank cards. You can of course accept payment from international cards but I bet your primary customers will be in Nigeria.

2. No Transaction fee. Magento is not subscription based. Its completely free once installed.

3. Open source: Magento is an open source platform. It has a user community that also builds hundreds of themes and add-ons. Many of these are free while the premium add-ons come at an affordable cost.

Magento Cons:

  1. 1. High cost of hosting and server management: This is really not a problem in the early stage of your e-commerce when you have low traffic and smaller content. But as your database increase in size and your traffic increase, you must know that e-commerce websites are not really designed to run on the cheapedst $3/month shared server. E-commerce websites take lots of hosting resources and you shoould be ready to go for a VPS of at least $29/month. This will be worth it if you are selling on your website or you have found a way to convert your traffic to earnings.
  2. No personal customer support. But you have active user forums and blog posts as this. A good web hosting companies can assist you too.
  3. Little technical to set up

Shopify:

The next on our list is Shopify. Shopify has become popular and famous especially since few years ago when they increased their ad budget targeting Nigerians. They even a hosted their website on a Nigerian TLD www.shopify.com.ng. Founded in 2006 and with an annual revenue of about $800 million, we can say for sure that Shopify has been successful.

Nigerian payment gateways accepted on Shopify platform are:

BitPay
CashEnvoy-ESL
Coinbase Commerce
GoCoin
PayGate
PayPal Express Checkout
Paystack

Ghana payment gateways accepted on Shopify:

BitPay
Coinbase Commerce
GoCoin

South Africa payment gateways accepted on Shopify:

BitPay
Coinbase Commerce
GoCoin
PayFast
PayGate
Payment Express PxPay
PayPal Express Checkout
PUT IT ON LAY-BUY

Kenya payment gateways accepted on Shopify:

BitPay
Coinbase Commerce
GoCoin
PayGate

Shopify Pros:

1. Very Easy to set up: Shopify works almost out of the box with free themes to choose from. Also paid themes are very easy to set up, very easy to upload your contents and get exactly what you see on the demo.

2. Excellent Web hosting: Shopify hosts all your site data on their server. You get unlimited bandwith, very fast CDNand fast website.

3. 24/7 customer service support: You can chat with the Shopify team or even send them an email, just wait for their extensive reply, this might take some time but it will come.

4. Hundreds of beautiful and fast theme and add-ons

Shopify Cons.

  1. Subscription base: This is the number 1 con, guess what? Shopify takes at least 2% commission on every sale you make by card or online payment!
  2. High template cost of $160 – $180 per one. Very few  free templates.
  3. Shopify is effectively in control of your website, sorry not you.
  4. Shopify tend to accept more of bit coin payment gateways than others. Paypal Express also doesn’t work.

Woocommerce

Woocommerce is the last but not in any way the least. As a matter of fact, Woocommerce is itself built on WordPress which itself is the most popular content management script for websites in the world right now. Woocommerce, although only first released in 2011 as a WordPress plugin also may be the most popular ecommerce plugin or platform out there but we can’t really say.

Payment gateways accepted by Woocommerce in Nigeria:

Paystack WooCommerce Payment Gateway
Voguepay WooCommerce Payment Gateway
Remita Woocommerce Payment Plugin
APLUS Interswitch Nigeria WebPAY
SimplePay Official WordPress Plugin
CashEnvoy WooCommerce Payment
Rave Easy Digital Downloads Payment Gateway

Payment gateways accepted by Woocommerce in Kenya:

TheBunch KE Pesapal Gateway for Woocommerce
Rave Woocommerce Payment Gatewayay
WooCommerce Rave Payment Gateway
Jambopay WooCommerce Payment Gateway
Woocommerce Mygate

Payment gateways accepted by Woocommerce in South Africa:

WeCashUp Payment
WooCommerce PayFast Gateway
WooCommerce Rave Payment Gateway
Woocommerce Mygate
WC Peach Payments Gateway

Woocommerce Pros:

  1. Integrates with WordPress 100%
  2. Thousands of WordPress themes and Plugins to choose from
  3. Affordable themes and plugins. Many of them are completely free and open source
  4. You are in Control of your data and database
  5. Completely free to use

Woocommerce Cons:

  1. High cost of hosting and server management: This is really not a problem in the early stage of your e-commerce when you have low traffic and smaller content. But as your database increase in size and your traffic increase, you must know that e-commerce websites are not really designed to run on the cheapedst $3/month shared server. E-commerce websites take lots of hosting resources and you shoould be ready to go for a VPS of at least $29/month. This will be worth it if you are selling on your website or you have found a way to convert your traffic to earnings.
  2. Security issues
  3. Set up not as easy as other platforms except you already have knowledge of WordPress.

 

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