e-Commerce is getting massive and changing the narrative. Now you can be your own boss and you don’t need a physical location to get started. All you have to do is to learn how to start an eCommerce Business.
According to Etailingsight.com, there are currently 7.9 Million Online Retailers in the world and 2.1 Million of them are in the United States.
Therefore, there’s still room for even more eCommerce businesses to thrive. What you must do, however, is to ensure you don’t make some of the mistakes these businesses before you did.
And what better way to ensure this than painstakingly learning how to start an eCommerce business.
It’s for this reason that we’re are writing this article. It will teach you how to start an eCommerce business. Things you must consider before starting one, and of course the best medium for your eCommerce business.
Remember that store where your parent would get toys for you as a kid? Are they still there? what about the old Chinese lady selling cosmetics with her daughters by the corner?
While some of these people that owned brick-and-mortar stores are still on the block, a lot of them are closing shops. And quite frankly, they might not be coming back.
Why you might ask? E-commerce!! Yes, it’s not just a thing anymore, it’s the “thing”. It’s growing faster than unattended weeds and a lot of people are queuing into the trend.
Why you might ask – well, why not? We’ve witnessed tremendous technological advancement and the birth of new technologies in the last decades.
And these milestones ushered in what we now know as E-commerce, and of course other numerous things.
However, as popular as Ecommerce has become not everyone knows how to start an eCommerce business.
But not to worry we’ve got you covered! Below are steps to starting an eCommerce business. But before that;
What Is An eCommerce Business?
According to Investopedia, Electronic commerce or e-commerce (sometimes written as eCommerce) is a business model that lets firms and individuals buy and sell things over the internet.
E-commerce can be a substitute for brick and mortar businesses, however, some businesses choose to maintain both.
E-commerce operates in all four of the following major market:
E-commerce businesses can be conducted over computers, tablets, or smartphones. It may be thought of like a digital version of mail-order catalog shopping.
Nearly every imaginable product and service is available through e-commerce transactions, including books, music, plane tickets, and financial services such as stock investing and online banking.
Why You Should Consider An e-Commerce Business
One of the reasons why some people might find it difficult to embrace e-Commerce businesses is because they don’t see the numerous advantages.
Therefore, we will be letting you in on a few and they are as follows;
e-Commerce businesses offer what most brick-and-mortar businesses won’t offer, and that is convenience. What this means is that you get buy any product of your choice from any e-Commerce business whenever you want, regardless of time.
It also means that location won’t be a barrier anymore. You can order any product of your choice from anywhere, and have it delivered to your doorsteps at any time.
For shops still maintaining their brick and mortar businesses, they get the opportunity to offer a wider array of products than they carry in their physical shops.
For other stores that solely exist online, they may offer consumers exclusive inventor that is unavailable elsewhere.
How To Start An eCommerce Business | A Guide
First things first – you have to decide what kind of product you want to sell. You have to consider the marketability of such products before choosing.
#1. Research The eCommerce Space And Find Your Niche.
To ensure that you stay away from things that might have been a limitation to existing eCommerce businesses in your niche, research!!
This is necessary if you are looking for something that will stand the test of time. This research will help you determine the kind of product or service you’d be rendering to your customers.
It is also through this research that you will determine if it’s going to be a B2B eCommerce business or otherwise.
For example, you’ll want to consider what exactly your eCommerce business is going to offer. Will you be selling products or services? If you’re selling products, are they physical or digital? Where will you source your products?
Along these lines, you’ll also want to think about the type of business model you want to employ. There are numerous business models, and you must choose one that best suits you and your business.
Additionally, think on a broader scale during this process.
Identify how you will get your products or services to your customers. What it will cost you to start up, and if there are regulations or laws in your line of business that must be duly followed.
It’s important that you ask these questions as they will form the structure of your business plan.
These questions when answered will give you a better sense of your specific goals and how you’re going to reach them.
No doubt, the growth of the e-commerce industry is a great benefit for those looking to learn how to start an eCommerce business, it also means more competition.
Therefore, you’ll want to perform competitor research and find a space where you think you can establish your brand and find success in selling your products and services.
#2. Find A Product To Sell
The first step to building an e-commerce business is knowing what products you want to sell online, wholesale, or direct-to-consumer.
This is also the most challenging part of starting a new online business.
Before commencing an eCommerce business, you must understand how you can find product opportunities, how to explore the best places to look for product ideas, and finally, look at trending products to consider.
Evaluate Your Product Idea
It’s not enough to decide on the product you might want to sell, it’s important that you evaluate your idea.
This will help you ascertain if there’s demand for the kind of product you’d want to sell.
It’s important that you do this, so you don’t end up creating product (s) only you love.
The goal of every business is to satisfy the needs of its target audience, in order to make a profit.
To effectively do this, you must do the following
- Ring The Cash Register
This means you should try selling off some of your products. Let people see value in the product you’re created and pay for it. If no one is willing to pay for any product no matter how good the product appears, the aim has been defeated.
2. Conduct Competitive Analysis
This includes looking into the market of your product to ensure there’s a demand for it. Keeping tabs on your competitors will also help to mitigate risks.
3. Research the existing demand
A third strategy you can use to validate your product and its market is to analyze demand and search volume. Now that you know more about your competitors, let’s take a closer look at interest from potential customers.
4. Crowdfund For The Product
This will also help to prove if there’s demand for your product.
5. Meet Customers In Person
Go to trade fairs and local markets, sign up for craft shows and meet your customers in person. Their feedback will help you make a final decision before launching your products.
#3. Set Up Your Business
Name Your Business
To say that you have successfully set up your business, you must have a name for it. While this might be a bit challenging, it’s important and even necessary your business gets a name, to distinguish it from your competitors.
Create A Logo
If you’ve done this, then you must create a logo for it. Your logo is like the “pictorial name” of your business.
It makes your business recognizable and distinguishable from your competitors.
Understand Search Engine Optimization
You need a basic knowledge of SEO. As an eCommerce business, owner understanding SEO will help you structure your website and pages for Google and other search engines.
If your pages are hidden, your customers will find it difficult to locate you.
Build Your Store
If you’ve been able to get a grasp of what SEO means, then you can now build your eCommerce store.
In building your store, you must write captivating product descriptions, shoot beautiful product photography, and choose a cool eCommerce color palette.
All these if properly done will put you in a better position ahead of your competitors.
Select A Sales Channel
This should be dependent on your target customers. You must figure out which channels they are likely to use more and utilize such channel.
Additionally, you can have a mixture of two or more channels – but this should be dependent on your product and target audience.
#4. Prepare To Launch
Before you launch your business, you must prepare for logistics and other stuff that will make it easier to run your business.
You must develop a shipping strategy, and learn how to price and implement a strategy to handle returns. Additionally, you must learn how to reduce the shipping cost to accommodate your small eCommerce store budget.
Beginner’s Guide To Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment
If all aspect of your business is ,moving as planned and your shipping strategy is messed up, you still have a job to do.
Shipping is like the last bridge between you and your customers, it’s the last step they (customers) take before they have a direct contact with your product.
Therefore you must put your shipping strategy in order so someone else doesn’t mess it all up for you.
To able to do this you must identify and work on the following shipping strategy.
#1. Your Shipping Rates and Methods
You must decide if your customers are going to pay all the shipping cost or if you will offer free shipping, or absorb some of the cost. You also need to sort out how your local customers are going to get their orders.
#2. Product Weights
You must at all times update the weight of your wares. This will help you know the best prices for your products and also help your customers know what it might cost them to get a product.
#3. Choose Your Preferred Packaging
Your style of packaging can influence the size of each product you’re shipping out. Whichever one you decide to use, however, add the information to Shopify or any other platform you’re using.
#4. Source Your Packaging
You can order free packaging from some carriers such as USPS, UPS, or DHL, or invest in branded packaging if that’s part of your strategy.
Set Your Shipping Rates and Methods
You will have to determine if you going to offer free shipping to your customers, or you will have them pay for it. If you’re choosing the former, what it means is that you’re paying for it, because there’s nothing like free shipping.
So to have your customer pay for shipping without actually paying for it, including the shipping cost in the product you’re selling.
You can either do this or just pay for the shipping from your margins. You could also increase the prices of your product slightly and share the cost of shipping with your customer, or you offer a discount code to certain customers for free shipping.
Additionally, you can also try offering free shipping on a minimum order amount. This strategy can help offset the costs of shipping by helping to increase your average order size, but you’re still the one paying for it out of your margins.
- How Do I Price and Implement a Strategy to Handle Returns?
- How to Reduce Shipping Costs as a Small Ecommerce Store
#5. Post Launch
Now you’ve launched your business, what next? Well, you start selling and to do this you must learn how to market your store. You can do this through;
These are various tactics you must employ to ensure you get the best and drive traffic to your website. All these tactics are unique and effective in their own ways, their effectiveness however depends on their usage.
To better understand these tactics, read through these links below.
For email marketing …
To Drive traffic from social media platforms …
Driving traffic and conversions from paid ads …
Optimizing for higher conversions …
Using Analytics to uncover insights
I’m sure you might have read about starting an eCommerce business somewhere else, or you intend to do so after now.
While some of the steps might not all chronologically be the same, they all point to one major goal been achieved. And that goal is getting your eCommerce business started.
Whatever you intend to sell however you intend to sell it, you have to get started. It doesn’t have to be perfect before you do. You can learn on the way as you continue the business and correct yourself from your mistakes.
You don’t need the perfect product or perfect website to start, you just need to start and get better.