E-commerce is truly on an upward trajectory, today, and there are many businesses and individuals hoping to jump on the bandwagon. Unfortunately, not everyone knows the right way to go about this since e-commerce can get tricky pretty quickly.
To start an online store, you need to have a plan and go about the process step-by-step. Establishing your business isn’t just about choosing a product to sell or choosing a brand name. It’s a comprehensive process that involves tackling each step effectively.
So, here’s how you start your own e-commerce business from scratch:
Research The Basics
Researching before starting something is a vital step. Starting and growing an e-commerce business is a huge investment, and you should know all the ins and outs before you dive into it.
For starters, you should know about the different business models available to you. Contrary to what most people think, e-commerce doesn’t just involve physical products but selling digital products, such as software and music, fall under the same category.
Your business model, undoubtedly, has an impact on your business structure. If you’re opting for a business model that involves physical products, such as clothes or shoes, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll source your products or manage your inventory.
You can choose a dropshipping business model where products will reach your customers directly from your suppliers or a wholesale model that requires stocking inventory in a warehouse. Additionally, you can always choose to be a manufacturer to create products under your own label. Lastly, a subscription-based model would deliver a product, or set of products, to your customers regularly.
The fact of the matter is that there are many business models out there for you to explore. Knowing the pros and cons of each model will help you make an informed decision.
Start Niche Research
Once you’ve figured out what business model to go for, it’s time to choose your product category. Many brands make the mistake of spreading themselves thin by targeting too many niches. This only confuses your customers and relays mixed messages to your target audience.
While it’s good to dream big, not every business can become the next Amazon or Best Buy. To be successful, you should target a specific niche. This step is perhaps the most crucial stage in the entire process.
For starters, you should narrow down a few niches to consider. List down the most successful companies in the niche you’re looking into. You need to determine whether there’s enough competition to indicate market demand. However, too many competitors might make the market difficult to penetrate, and too little competitors might mean there’s no demand at all. Additionally, you should also avoid a niche that has too many significant players.
Choosing a main niche also gives you the possibility of expanding to other related niches further down the line, providing an opportunity to grow. You can collaborate with other business and work on affiliate marketing, cross-promote their products, and expand your target audience.
Choose a product category that has at least a thousand buzzing keywords and select a niche that’s popular on social media.
Focus On Personas And Product Selection
Once you’ve nailed down your business model and niche, you need to define the message you’re trying to convey to your target audience. Moreover, you also need to identify the buyer persona you’ll be targeting.
Having a fixed brand personality will help you understand the personality of your ideal customer. Once you know the image and communication you’re trying to convey, you can move on to the products you want to sell. It’s always better to start with one product to avoid having too much tied up in terms of investment.
Just like everything else, you need to know your product inside out to test it out and know of any potential problems beforehand.
Establish Your Brand and Business
Once the groundwork has been done, it’s time to start putting things in motion. Before you move onto building a brand, you need to create a business. Here’s what you should do:
- Register your business
- Select a name for your business
- Apply for any permits and business licenses
- Get your employer identification number
- Find your suppliers
Once the technicalities are out of the way, you can start building a brand. Firstly, you need to develop a logo that’s not too similar to any other business. Additionally, choose a color palette and set of fonts that can be incorporated into your logo, as well as your website and other branding material. Create a design brief for your brand that should be kept in mind when any marketing material is created in the future.
Create Your Online Store
Once your business has been registered, you need to register your domain and any related URLs. The design brief you finalized should be used to design your e-commerce store.
There are many e-commerce hosting companies available to build your e-commerce store, and you need to consider several aspects, such as features, loading speed, compatibility with business structure and payment methods, and SEO-friendliness before you settle on one.
After finalizing an e-commerce platform, you need to select a theme. Luckily, there are many free and paid themes available for your e-commerce website.
Attracting Customers To Your Store
Once the infrastructure is laid out, it’s time to start attracting customers to your website and driving traffic.
One of the best ways to drive traffic is through SEO. Use Google Adwords to determine which keywords and phrases are buzzing in your niche and incorporate those in various areas of your site, including the URL, meta description, content, image alt tags, and your ad campaigns.
Additionally, you should also focus on email marketing and focus on building your subscriber list to help drive conversions. Your focus isn’t just to drive traffic to your website; it’s to market your products. Creating an email list and offering giveaways and freebies will not only help you build a list, but it’ll increase product visibility and brand presence, too.
Moreover, you can offer your target audience content and coupons on your social media pages, and build a relationship with your customers by asking them for their reviews and opinions, increasing customer loyalty in the process.
Whether you’re looking to sell your e-commerce business or build it for yourself, it’s essential to go about it the right way. This guide will help you lay the groundwork and get started in no time!
Do you have any tips on how to build an e-commerce website? Sound off in the comments below!