Will a Shopify model work for Nigerian SMEs?

I have seen major Fintech companies in the country (Nigeria) create products that will help small business owners track and receive funds from customers.

I have also done some research, speaking to various small business owners about these payment links.

One major feedback I get is, I can always confirm payment from my bank app. I can easily give my account number to a customer, why do I leave the conversation with my customer to create a link for payment?

I carried out a poll on Twitter recently, asking small business owners what they prefer.

  1. Keep selling on social media
  2. Sell via their business website
  3. A combination of both options.

Option 3 took the lead.

Now, Shopify fully covers option 3. Yet we do not have many business owners utilizing Shopify.

What could be the reason?

1. Will a Nigerian version of Shopify be the solution?

Right now, Sales Cabal by Whogohost and Payant offer the Shopify solution, but then very few persons are away of these products.

2. Why don’t we have Nigerian fintech companies launching this idea?

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Sometimes I ask myself this. Maybe the market isn’t ready for it yet or startups that are supposed to offer it aren’t interested yet

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Even though most eCommerce merchants want to be available on all platforms, that doesn’t mean that all customers want that.

A particular client I spoke with who was making huge sales on Instagram wanted to move to her own website and build her brand, but on further investigations, her customers were happy with just buying on Instagram, that is, see product they like, like :heart: it, dm seller for account details and get product. In this case, her customers are lazy to fill web forms and do not want to put in their card details on a website, but here we have the client wanting to move big time to her own website.

That said, the people you should be researching and trying to get feedback from should be the customers, I.e. the merchant’s current customers who are obviously on social media. The customer is still KING.

P.S. I guess, many of her customers will opt for option 1.


I think, it is a case of the market not yet ready for it.


Paystack just launched their e-commerce platform… it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

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What would a Nigerian version of Shopify look like ?
I think we are missing a lot of the underlying skills/conditions needed for a SME website to be successful, besides the tech.

The business owner needs to know how to sell their website (decent marketer),
attract traffic to the website ( skilled at redirecting social media traffic) constantly maintain and update the website (moderately tech savvy) and peoples mindset needs to be search online first before even going to the market (local market readiness)

Most SME owners lack these skills and don’t understand their market beyond
'so and so is doing this, they don’t have two heads so I should be able to do it aswell’.
Beyond that, if you are not tech inclined you wouldn’t be wowed / able to tap into its Gospel of accelerated business growth.

As a SME owner I want a platform where I can list my products and know there are willing customers, as a customer I want to go to a reliable platform where I know i will find what I am looking for at a decent price / with lots of related suggestions.

Although SM is a suboptimal solution, this solution works optimally in Nigerias current digital commerce climate…

Honestly this is not a problem Fintech companies should be solving.
Considering Jumia and Konga had millions of dollars and dedicated team to achieve and are yet to figure it out, I cannot see a scenario where a Fintech company would pivot, be able to sustainably solve and scale this, while still being a Fintech company.

Our introduction to digital commerce in Nigeria is buying on SM, and it’s easy to verify the players during SM transactions … why go out of your comfort zone as a retailer/customer when there’s no significantly better solution. Besides, payments is not really a problem, it’s just that it’s not seamless.

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@praizux what do you think ?