How to start an eCommerce Business
There are so many ways that one can make money online. The possibilities are infinite, from getting online gigs, investing in stocks, creating vlogs, and building your eCommerce brand. As the internet is continuously dominating our daily lives, more and more income capabilities are sprouting.
Starting an eCommerce business is one of the best ways that one can make money online. The pandemic even strengthened this since brick and mortar stores were forced to close down. But aside from the fact that the eCommerce industry is highly stable, there are tons of other reasons why this kind of business is a good investment.
eCommerce provides the consumers with the utmost flexibility and convenience to purchase their essentials and shopping goods, whenever and wherever. With eCommerce, they can just get whatever they want from their fingertips. The result? Better shopping experience. Aside from the fact that eCommerce changed the way consumers make their purchases, it also changed the way consumers choose or decide to purchase a product. Gone are the days when people solely rely on actual physical shopping, uninformed about the product they want to buy. ECommerce enables consumers to make more informed choices since making product comparisons from one brand to another is easy.
Essentially, eCommerce enables the consumers to be more informed and equips them with maximum flexibility resulting in an excellent customer experience.
On the part of the business owner, you also get maximum flexibility in the sense that you can be sure that your store is open 24/7 without you even managing it at all times. You get all the time in the world to do whatever you need, anytime you want it. Here, you’re not locked in the typical 9 to 5 job; you have full control over how you spend your time.
In terms of practicality, eCommerce allows you to start with as little investment as possible. This is because you don’t need to have your store or space to sell your products, you only need to invest in a few technology tools and apps, but overall, it won’t cost you a fortune to launch your eCommerce brand.
These are just some of the main benefits that come with running an eCommerce store. Now, the main question here is, how do you start your eCommerce business?
How to Launch your eCommerce business?
So, to get you started in no time, here are the steps that you should follow in building an eCommerce store:
Pick a Good Niche – The first step is to brainstorm and decide what product or service you want to sell. In deciding which niche to choose, you must consider its marketability, demand, competition, pricing, and market status. You’d also want to consider knowing the available suppliers since your profitability will highly rely on the available suppliers within your area or market. Plus, you must ensure that it should be something with continuous customer demand. To get started, here's a list on the 99 best niches for eCommerce.
Check the Competition
Before you start in eCommerce, you must scout the market for the competition. Here, you must verify if there’s an existing player that’s monopolizing the market. If that’s the case, it might be wise to look for another niche since it might be challenging to penetrate the market. The key here is to look for a market gap and check if you can fill the gap by addressing the areas not served by the other players; that way, you can easily penetrate the market.
Select your Business Model
Once you already have a clear picture of which product or service you want to sell, the next step is figuring out the best business model that will go with it. If it’s a digital product, you might want to adopt a subscription model, and for heavy equipment and bulky products, perhaps a dropshipping business is perfect. Essentially, the lesson here is to choose a business model that fits well with your products or services. Choosing the right business model will significantly affect your business’s profitability, so you should make an informed decision in this aspect by doing ample research.
Scout for Suppliers
If you’re not building your products from scratch, then you should start looking for potential suppliers. Remember that in finding suppliers, there are several conditions that you need to consider, including margins, reliability, customer service and support, payment terms, and even location. You don’t want to have a supplier located too far from your target market’s location since it will significantly affect the delivery period. Overall, you must ensure that you look for a reliable supplier since an irresponsible supplier will negatively affect your business.
Name and Business Registration
Once you have set up all the basics, the next step is to formalize your business. This is where you will be registering your business and choosing the right business structure. The most common structure for eCommerce businesses is LLC. Suppose you have no idea how to go about this. In that case, it’s best to initially check the available tools online to avoid paying expensive consulting fees from a business consultant or lawyer. Here’s a list of the best LLC business formation services that you should consider to get started.
Design your Branding Elements – Once you have all the back end covered, now is the time to put some personality into your brand. This is where the fun starts – here, you will be designing your business logo, the colors, elements, and all other aesthetics that you will incorporate with your brand.
Standardize your Customer Order Process – This is one of the critical elements of your storefront. Even if you offer a stunning product, your customers will be discouraged if they can’t even navigate through your website easily. Thus, you need to design your website in a way that makes it easy for your customers to complete a purchase. Remember that the simpler your store is, the better chances of selling.
Create your Store Policies – The problem with many businesses is that they only focus on selling. Hence, they tend to neglect the store policies and only attend to it once it happens. The problem here is that miscommunication breeds from this practice. The result? Bad customer experience. For instance, it’s better to inform your customers of your refund and return policies before purchasing to be fully aware of their purchase. This is also a way for customers to avoid dealing with a stubborn customer. Having a standard protocol, which can be seen by your customers upon purchase, will save you from future headaches.
Build your Webstore – So now that you already have the essential contents of. Your website, it’s the best time to create your storefront. If you’re not tech-savvy, you might be overwhelmed with this process. The good news is that there are tons of eCommerce platforms that allow you to set up your store quickly so that you can launch in no time. Check out our list of the best eCommerce platforms that you must consider.
Design a Marketing Strategy – Once your storefront and back-end system are all set up, the next thing that needs to be done is designing your marketing strategy. Since you’ve already studied the competition in the early stage, you should know how they are doing their marketing. Hence, you can use this to leverage and improve on what they are doing. If you offer something that fills in the market gap, you must highlight it across your marketing communications. This is so you can quickly get the word out to attract customers.
Create Social Media Accounts
For your business, you need to use all applicable platforms that resonate with your brand. The reason is that you want to tap potential customers who are active in different social media platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. It’s also worthy to note that while you’re managing the same business or brand across these social platforms, the messaging must be different since each platform differs. Some examples of brands with great social media strategies are MVMT watches and Kyle cosmetics.
Develop Boxed Promotions
This phase is optional yet beneficial in many ways. If you want to boost your sales by launching a campaign, having a predefined promotion can be handy for your business. Aside from preparing the launch promotions, it’s also helpful to design different discount tiers, which you can just grab and redesign every time you plan to offer a discount.
For instance, you can opt to prepare several discount schemes like Buy 1 Take 1, Buy 2 get 1 for FREE, and 50% Off with a predetermined fine print. When you have these ready, you won’t have to develop a different strategy every single time. Instead, you’ll just have to redesign the banners depending on the season or occasion, eliminating redundant tasks.
Launch your eCommerce Store
Once you have all the elements above, you should be good to go!
eCommerce is a lucrative business. That is precisely why more and more people are shifting to this kind of business. However, before jumping into eCommerce, you also need to do your fair share of research and work to have a strong foundation. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of just launching their businesses that are half-cooked and not equipped with all these essentials, which results in unfavorable consequences.
I hope that this guide gave you an idea of how to build your eCommerce business from the ground up effectively. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed about the idea of starting your eCommerce brand, this guide will surely help you take it step by step.
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