There has never been a better time to start an e-commerce business, with more and more people finding success in the field. This electronic form of sales is taking over the world and getting in on the action couldn’t be any more simple.

In Africa, e-Commerce is becoming so big that it is expected to reach profits of USD 35 billion by the year 2024!

There are a wealth of services that can help any budding entrepreneur start their e-Commerce store from the ground up, what’s more, this can be done with minimal financing.

Starting An E-Commerce Store On A Budget

It’s no secret that a lot of people simply don’t have a huge budget for starting an online business, and short of sourcing a business loan, you may think that your options are limited. However, this could not be further from the truth, the internet is home to some very reliable services which can prove invaluable to anyone starting an e-Commerce store on a budget. In modern-day Africa, there are opportunities for everyone!

Starting and running a brick and mortar business can be very limiting, however, selling your products online allows you to reach an unlimited audience. Your online store has the prospect of making sales all over the world, therefore bringing you a greater profit!

Two of the most reputable online services that can help massively with a new online store or e-commerce sales channel are Shopify and Mailchimp, both of which can provide you with a good footing and continued support in your endeavour.


A solid and secure payment system is vital for any e-commerce store, this can ensure that your customers feel safe when making a purchase with you. On top of this, a trusted website is much more likely to be recommended and have return visitors.

Shopify is a software solution which allows e-commerce store owners, like you the opportunity to create a secure, well-presented website with everything you need included. What’s more, Shopify is super simple to use, meaning that even if you have a less than tech-savvy background, you can get started today. Let’s take a look at the features:

  • An easy editor to create a professional-looking and easy to navigate store.
  • The admin panel allows you to manage your products in a few simple clicks.
  • The option to work alongside a Shopify expert to ensure your website gets up and running smoothly.
  • Create your own blog to engage your audience.
  • Custom domain name.
  • Customers will be able to access your store from any device, including smartphones and tablets, allowing you to reach a wider audience.
  • Full SSL certificate, showing customers that your website is trusted and secure.
  • Give your customers the option of over 100 payment choices from Paypal to credit card, Ideal to BitCoin.
  • Adjust shipping rates.
  • Taxes will be dealt with by Shopify.
  • Follow up abandoned carts, producing more sales.
  • Over 50 languages, enabling you to sell all over the world.
  • Allow customers to create an account.
  • Integrate with dropshipping.
  • Use the smartphone app to manage your store anywhere in the world.
  • SEO optimised, driving more traffic to your website.

If you are looking to get started with little or no funding, Shopify is an excellent choice. The platform offers a free trial spanning an impressive 90 days(as of this writing), giving you the freedom to get started and make a profit before having to part with any of your hard-earned cash. After this, your subscription will cost as little as $29USD per month or the equivalent of that in your local currency.

Read more on why we choose hosted websites for e-commerce.


The internet is a big place and competition is tough. But one way that you can make your e-commerce store stand out from the crowd is through the use of email marketing. This direct form of marketing gives you the chance to target your customers right in their email inbox. This means that you can personalise content, create a more personal relationship and offer special deals. All of this will make your website more appealing to potential clients. Mailchimp is one of the most reputable and easy to use email marketing platforms on the internet, and it’s not difficult to see why with its hefty range of features.

  • Shoppable landing pages.
  • Create sign up forms to attract a wider audience.
  • Create digital ads for platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
  • Develop mobile and web apps.
  • Detailed analytics allow you to see what campaigns have worked best, look at click rates and more. This will then allow you to amend your campaigns to fully optimise them.
  • Use surveys to get customer feedback.
  • Automate endless email marketing campaigns from welcome emails through to special offers and more.
  • Domain names.

Mailchimp is a great choice for those starting an online business on a budget and is completely free to use if you have less than 1000 contacts on your list. That being said, even after this, you can expect to pay as little as $9.99USD per month, making it very affordable.


For people living in Africa, there may be a misconception that starting an e-commerce business isn’t doable – but this is not the reality. With so many online services, starting your e-commerce store has never been more accessible.

Two great options are to use Shopify and Mailchimp, both of these services will provide you with everything you need to set up shop and market it to a worldwide audience!

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