An eCommerce store is a store on the internet where products are bought and sold. Examples of eCommerce stores are eBay, Shopify, and Amazon.com. These businesses connect product-seekers with the items they need to improve lives, businesses, and organizations of all varieties.
Online shopping used to be a convenience but is quickly becoming a necessity. Billions of people shop their groceries, clothing, gadgets, and business essentials online. That’s why millions of businesses are quickly going the e-commerce way by starting online stores.
However, starting an online selling business or store isn’t an easy task. A lot of technical, strategic, and growth steps ought to be taken together at the right time if you really want to make money online by launching an e-commerce shop.
MartPro share detailed insights on setting up an online store along with industry insights. Reading this post carefully will give you a roadmap to getting from nothing to fully functional e-commerce business.
In this article, we will go through key aspects to consider when you are about to start an eCommerce store. Though the online or eCommerce store can be run by using a laptop, you need to keep certain points in mind to ensure its success. Here we include all factors ranging from extensive research and eCommerce web development to management of eCommerce business online.
Let’s start by understanding where the e-commerce industry is right now.
Start an eCommerce store by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your eCommerce store. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly, and legally compliant.
Check out the following guide to learn how to start an eCommerce store that’s sure to secure your future.
Find Your Niche and Do Your Research
Nailing Down Your Target Market
Build Your Brand and Register Your Business
Create Your Business Plan
Apply for Permits and Licenses
Selecting the Right Tools and Software
Create Your Website
Attracting Your Audience
Post Launch Analytics
Plan for the Future
1. Find Your Niche and Do Your Research
The first step in creating a successful eCommerce store is determining what you’re going to sell. Saying you want to sell exercise equipment likely won’t cut it.
Think about how many businesses already exist that sell exercise equipment—likely hundreds, if not thousands already hold that market. Trying to break into a near-saturated market is next to impossible. That’s why specialization is key.
Once you know the area you want to focus on, you need to do thorough research. How can you find a niche within your general market?
Find Your Calling
To continue with the exercise equipment example, you have to find a specific area of equipment that you can exploit. For instance, you could try to sell equipment manufactured from another local business, so you can market your equipment as supporting local businesses. Alternatively, you could find exercise equipment to sell that is made from recyclable materials.
2. Nailing Down Your Target Market
Target audience once you’ve done sufficient research, you should have a good understanding of the hole in the market you’re going to fill.
Now is the time when you need to nail down the audience you want to target.
Who will buy your products? Different age groups spend their money on different goods.
Genders typically spend their money differently. The more precise your initial audience is, the easier your marketing efforts will be. Your audience may be one or both genders, and it may encompass a specific type of people or a specific age group.
Take Your Time When Finding the Right Audience
Specifying your target audience may take time, and that’s okay. It’s not something to be rushed. You want to be precise and confident that your audience is the one who will buy your goods. This is another step that takes thorough research, just like finding your niche. You must understand your users; you need to learn what they like, dislike, need, and want.
Once your target audience is nailed down, you can begin to market to that target area. With time, you’ll build a following and gain customers. And eventually, you’ll be able to expand on that audience by adding new products that help you span genders, ages, and groups.
3. Build Your Brand and Register Your Business
One of the most important aspects of building your business is establishing your brand and thinking of an interesting name. A business’s brand is what sets them apart from its competitors.
The most successful businesses have brands that are known around the world within milliseconds of seeing a logo. Think about companies like Nike, Adidas, or Apple—the moment you see their logo the business and its name come to mind.
While establishing a business as widespread as the above example would likely take decades of work, and maybe some good fortune, they’re examples you can take inspiration from.
Choose and Register Your Name
First, you should create your business’ name and get it registered with the government. Choosing a name is a fun, creative process. Try to think of something unique, simple, and easily recognizable, such as Apple. The name doesn’t need to correlate with the products you sell.
Next, begin to work with designers and creatives to develop your brand identity. You can create company-specific logos, fonts for your website, graphics, color schemes, and more. Altogether, these aspects will be used to identify your business.
4. Create Your Business Plan
This is a crucial step that can make or break your venture. At the very least, your business plan can help in any fundraising efforts you participate in by providing to investors that you have a thorough plan of attack.
Making a business plan is difficult and time-consuming. If you have experience with making business plans, you should be fine to do this on your own. However, if you’ve never made a business plan before, and you don’t know where to start, consider hiring outside help.
With professional help, you can ensure your plan is thorough and that it will add value to your business as you move forward.
What Is a Business Plan
Business plans encompass the whole range of your functions, products, strategies, planning, and more. You’ll need to create a set of budgets for your inventory, shipping, warehousing, marketing, and more. Your business plan should be comprehensive and detailed. Here is a list of items that should be included in your plan.
Company goals— short term and long term
A list of products
5. Apply for Permits and Licenses
Depending on what your business sells or provides and where you live, you may need several licenses and permits to get up and running. You’ll have to establish rights to sell goods.
You must be aware of any goods and services taxes, sales taxes, import taxes, and other governmental policies to follow.
Additionally, the province you live in may have its own requirements for starting a business.
It’s best to contact your local government to inquire about all that you need. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to do this well before you plan on selling any products. That way, you can ensure your business will not run into any legal troubles.
6. Selecting the Right Tools and Software
No business is completely self-sufficient. Businesses rely on others to provide services and solutions to various functions like marketing and accounting.
In your business plan, you may have already included the solutions you’ll use to get your company up and running. If not, here is where you need to fill those gaps.
As an eCommerce startup owner, you’re going to need a lot of outside help for a smooth beginning. You’ll need a website, top competitive hosting, warehousing services, fulfillment services, and much more.
Don't Hesitate to Ask for Help
Depending on your business plan, you may need to hire outside help for marketing needs such as social media management, email marketing, copywriting, blog writing, and more.
This is another area where research can help. Take your time to find the best tools to meet the problems you face. If you need accounting software, look for the tools that tailor their services to startups and small businesses.
If you need a professionally built website, find another small business that can help you design and develop your website. They may be able to suggest platforms and tools used as well.
7. Create Your Website
This step picks off from finding the software and help you need.
Your website is another key piece to your eCommerce business, and choosing a proper website builder is very important. While you want your website to look good, you need to function perfectly.
The crucial piece in website design and development is the user experience.
Your website must offer an easy, enjoyable experience to your potential customers. The process of finding a specific item should be quick and easy. Selecting that item, adding it to a shopping cart, and making the purchase should also be smooth.
Optimize Your Website
When you’re building your website, you want to reduce the number of steps and clicks it takes for a shopper to find and purchase an item. If the process is difficult or too time-consuming, your potential customer will only ever be potential—they’ll leave without buying anything.
Think about your customers’ time and attention as a priority. While you want your customers to browse your site, you also don’t want them to lose attention. Create user flows as you design your website, so you know how many steps it takes to do various tasks.
The better the user experience, the more likely you are to retain customers. The more customers you can retain, the more your base will grow.
8. Attracting Your Audience
Assuming you’ve created a business plan with a marketing strategy, here’s where you put it in action.
If you haven’t established a marketing strategy up to now, it’s time you place your attention there.
Just because you’ve established your business and built your website doesn’t mean you’re going to have customers flocking to your eCommerce store.
Utilize All the Tools at Your Disposal
The online business world is competitive. You must utilize all the tools available to attract your customers. That likely means you’ll have to focus on SEO, social media marketing, ad campaigns, email campaigns, and potentially more.
If you have experience in SEO or any of the other fields, you may be good to go. However, if you’re new to advertising and marketing, you should consider hiring outside help. Successful eCommerce websites have high SEO scores, a strong social media presence, and a constantly growing emailing list.
Paid advertisements are a common way to gain new customers. You can take advantage of both Google Ads and Facebook Ads here. Ideally, you’ll have created a marketing budget that you can pull from for these advertising campaigns.
9. Post Launch Analytics
Once you’ve begun utilizing tools to attract customers, you should take advantage of analytics to see how your site is doing.
How often are customers coming to your site and leaving without buying something? What percentage of site visitors leave your website before looking at products?
With the help of analytics, you can make improvements to your website. You may notice trends in areas of your website that turn off your customers.
Alternatively, you may notice areas of your site that are doing much better than others. Use data to learn more about your customers and your website. This constant flux of information can help your eCommerce store grow and adapt.
10. Plan for the Future
While you should have had the future in mind long before you launched, once your site has gone live, you can adapt your predictions. There are several ways you can do so, and they all depend on what you want to achieve.
You can modify your long-term goals, so they’re more realistic or more ambitious. You may need to consider adding employees to help manage your business. Furthermore, you could even be ready to plan for product expansion.
Every eCommerce business is unique. They will all have different needs, paths, growth rates, and strategies for the future. However, no matter the business, it’s important to be adaptable.
Only the flexible businesses that are open to change will flourish in the future. As an eCommerce site owner, be at the forefront of innovation and change, and you’ll be sure to impress your customers and stay afloat, regardless of any global pandemic!
6 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Success
There’s a huge number of elements you need to consider when you start an eCommerce site, so it’s easy to make small mistakes that produce costly setbacks.
Taking an organized approach is always essential, so keep track of the tasks you need to complete and record the goals you achieve so you can review their impact later on.
Below, we’ll go over a few additional tips to help ensure that you’re on the right track and increase your chances of getting more customers from your online store.
Monitor Costs from the Beginning
How much does it cost to start an eCommerce business? There is no simple answer to this question because every company is different.
Rather than trying to determine an ideal spend, simply look at your budget, determine how that translates into resources, and work with what you have until your revenue allows you to expand your eCommerce business.
Consider Working with an Ecommerce Web Designer
Learning eCommerce for beginners is relatively simple, but knowing what design elements resonate with your audience takes a significant amount of experience.
If you don’t have experience in the eCommerce industry, your best bet may be to work with a web designer that has developed online stores before.
While it’s true that this may be a bit more expensive than choosing a pre-set theme, the enhanced user experience will likely result in higher profitability.
Avoid Certain Goods and Industries
Setting up an eCommerce business requires business knowledge, but you also have to know how to read your audience.
There are many products that, even though you could legally sell online, you may want to avoid in order to give your brand credibility.
Develop an Efficient Order Fulfillment Process
We’ve stressed the importance of developing an efficient order fulfillment process.
So, to learn how to run an eCommerce business, you need to think about logistics and figure out who will pack, label, and actually ship the product whenever an order comes in.
Depending on your setup, you may work with a warehouse that provides these services or you may have to appoint an internal team member or group to handle this part.
Choose a Reliable Payment System
If you’re developing a store on your site, you’ll have to implement a robust payment system that creates a safe environment for customers.
In addition to card information, you’ll also be collecting name, address, phone number, and other sensitive data, so make sure that everything is protected by a powerful payment and anti-fraud system.
Keep Your Online Store Legitimate
When starting an eCommerce business, it’s easy to find ways to reduce expenses, but not all of these are ethical or professional.
You should avoid implementing unethical practices, sourcing your goods from unreliable providers, and any other type of activity that may jeopardize the reputation of your store.
Starting your own eCommerce store is not easy. It involves a lot of hard work, including finding your niche, writing a business plan, building your own website, marketing your website, and maintaining your eCommerce store. Keep in mind that just like any other business, having a successful eCommerce business requires time and effort, and success comes to those who act!