Much like starting any form of business, learning the ropes for an e-commerce business isn’t always easy. E-Commerce is a Trillion dollar market. Are you excited to grab even a very little percentage (say 0.000001%) of this market? This blog is all about it. So just go on and read through the full copy to start your own eCommerce business.
The goal of setting up, promoting, and maintaining sites where entrepreneurs, designers, and creators of all sorts can sell their wares is more attainable now than it has ever been.
Depending on your goals, it might make sense to start an e-commerce business. After all, e-commerce stores eliminate the need for a conventional brick-and-mortar location. Hence they offer greater flexibility, affordability, and opportunity for many budding entrepreneurs.
So, how exactly does one start an online business? We are here to help. We’ll break down how to start an eCommerce business in seven simple steps. By the end of the blog, you will have all the information you need to get your online business up and running in no time.
How to Start an E-commerce Business
Although there are significant differences in starting an e-commerce business compared to a brick-and-mortar business, there are also several similarities. For instance, many of the planning strategies and legal steps you will need to take will follow the same process (more or less) than any other business. Having said this, once it is time to actually start your operation, you’ll see how different starting an e-commerce business can be.</p>
Step 1: Research and find your niche to start your eCommerce business
The first step in learning about e-commerce business is doing as much research as possible. The research will let you know the ins and outs of the business, just as if you were starting a restaurant and looking into different locations, food options, and themes. You would want to explore the e-commerce domain you are interested in and make decisions based on your specific goals.
For example, you will need to decide upon what exactly is your e-commerce business going to sell. Will you be selling products or services? If you are selling products, are they physical or digital? Where will you source your products from? Hence, you will need to think along these lines.
Additionally, you’ll want to brainstorm on a broader scale. How will you get your products or services across to your customers? What will your startup costs be? Are there legal or other regulations on your products or services that you need to keep in mind?
Questioning yourself in such a way is integral for taking the necessary first steps and will help you to prepare your business plan. The process will give you a better understanding of your specific goals and how you’re going to get to them. That being said, it is crucial to find your niche.
The growth of the e-commerce industry offers innumerable opportunities to those looking to learn how to start an e-commerce business,. On the flip side, it also means more competition. Therefore, you’ll want to perform competitor research and find a spot where you think you can establish your brand and find success in selling your products and services.
Step 2: Choose your brand name and a legal structure wisely
Once you have prepared the plan for your e-commerce business, the next step is to choose a name. You need to choose a name that is catchy and has a nice ring to it. The name should also suggest what your business is about. Just make sure you are not choosing a business name that’s already claimed by another company. So, do your research!
The next step is to select your business’s legal structure. The business entity type you choose will have important legal and financial implications for your e-commerce operation. Generally, you will choose to operate either as a sole proprietorship, general partnership, LLC, or corporation. There are pros and cons to each of these entity types. Hence, you need to consult an attorney for sound legal advice on the best option for your business goal.
Step 3: Obtain business permits and licenses
You will need to enquire about the business licenses or permits that are applicable in your country. You need to operate legally within your city and state. Generally, most e-commerce businesses are home-based. Hence, they do not require as many business licenses and permits as brick-and-mortar stores.
However, you’ll want to determine what the specific requirements are in your area. You will usually find this information online via your state or local government website. For example, most locations require that home-based business owners receive a home occupation permit to conduct legal operations. This type of permit shows that by operating your business out of your home, you are not adding traffic, noise, or problematic conditions to your location.
Step 4: Select an eCommerce platform and create your website
After completion of paperwork, you will start creating your website and online store. Like a physical storefront, the website will be the face of your business. It is what your customers will see first and what they’ll use to browse and purchase your products or services. Hence, creating your website will be one of the most important parts of starting your e-commerce business.
First, you’ll want to think about your domain name. You want your domain name to match your business name as closely as possible. Over and above that, your most significant decision will be choosing an e-commerce platform. Do you want all-in-one software, like Shopify, or an open-source platform, like Magento, which is something you need to consider?
Most e-commerce platforms not only allow you to create and launch your online store but also customise your design, add a domain, manage inventory, take and ship orders, receive payment, etc.
So, there are many important considerations to make while choosing the right platform for your e-commerce business. You need to think about the cost, features, usability, etc.
The next step will be to work on customising and launching your site. You will need to think about how you want your online store organised, what you want the layout to look like, what font styles you want to use, etc.
Step 5: Source and list your products
After starting your website, you have almost reached the end of the process. All you need to do now is source the products you’re going to sell. It is something you must have done at the very beginning itself. You may manufacture your own products, source them from distributors, or simply have to describe and list if you are selling services on your business website.
You will also need to list your inventory on your online store. Consider the customer experience, SEO, and the way the process will work from when a customer purchases a product to when they actually receive that product.
Step 6: Promote your eCommerce business
The final step is to market your e-commerce business. You may have the best e-commerce site but what is the point if no one knows about it, right?
There are a variety of marketing strategies you might decide to leverage such as Google ads, social media ads, etc. At the most basic level, you will need to optimise your business website for SEO and take advantage of any online marketing tools that are included within your e-commerce platform.
Once your e-commerce business has been set up, you will start receiving orders. Do take note of which marketing tactics are working and which aren’t during this trial and error period. As time passes, you will be able to optimise your marketing strategy to find what works best for your business.
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