Ready to launch your first eCommerce business but still figuring out where to start? Don’t worry, I have got your back.
Nowadays, the number of online stores is increasing daily, and the market cap of this industry has reached almost 5 billion dollars. So everyone is diving into this business to provide the best quality products & services. But starting an eCommerce business can be difficult for some. That’s why I have created an in-depth guide on how to start an eCommerce business to help you start yours.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- How to Start An Ecommerce Business?
- Tips to Become a Successful Online Seller
- Conclusion: How To Start An Ecommerce Business (2023)
How to Start An Ecommerce Business?
Here I have given a complete breakdown of all the steps you need to follow to start your eCommerce business.
- Decide Your Niche
- Do the Research
- Finalize Your Product
- Target Your Audience
- Validate Your Product
- Source Your Product
- Set Your Business Plans and Goals
- Give Your Business a Name and Logo
- Create Your eCommerce Store
- Market Your Products
1. Decide Your Niche
Before you lay the foundation of your first online business, you must decide your niche. If you aren’t aware of your niche, you can ask a few questions yourself to figure it out.
- What is your area of expertise?
- What kind of skills do you possess?
- How good is your market knowledge?
- How can you use your skills in the market?
- What type of items do you want to sell?
It is easier to decide your niche if you are already running a physical business. However, before coming to any conclusion, do appropriate market research about the business you are running. Even if you are not doing any business, you can research other merchants’ businesses in your sector. This way, you can find out their business model, how they reach their audience, and what’s right or wrong they are doing.
2. Do the Research
Before starting an eCommerce store, competitor research must be your top priority. You can search for trending products in your niche where you can find the top sellers. You can research their business model and other best-selling products. This method allows you to find the best product for selling.
You must identify the economic barriers you may face while selling a particular product. Here are some common obstacles you might encounter at the start of your first eCommerce store.
- Do you need any eCommerce software?
- Will you invest in PPC campaigns?
- Do you need design software or photographic equipment?
If your answer is yes, you will need a decent budget. If you don’t have the budget, you can still start with whatever you have. It is not bad to set up a small business. You can go for the big investments once you have established enough.
If you are going to sell a product that already exists or someone has been selling it for a long time, don’t be disappointed or discouraged. You can sell the same product in a unique way that nobody thought of. Before bringing your product to the market, you just need to do the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). The analysis helps you identify future strategies and obstacles.
You can get control over the strengths and weaknesses of your business. On the other hand, opportunities and threats can’t be controlled casually. You need to have a proper plan to get control over them.
3. Finalize Your Product
You can try the old-school method to find a profitable product to sell in which you can do the research manually by yourself. Or you can try the best available eCommerce tools to find profitable products and keywords for your business. If you’re going to start your online store on Amazon, you can try the eCommerce tools of Helium 10 or Jungle Scout. It saves you a lot of time finding the best profitable product according to your niche, and you don’t have to roam around doing the hefty manual work.
However, finalizing a product to sell is an essential part of your eCommerce business. You can think of a personal experience like working in a certain industry where you have gained several insights about a specific product.
You can also find profitable products to sell by spotting trends. Do enough research in the market to determine the trending products people are searching for. You can find trending using a couple of popular methods.
- Social Listening: Social media platforms are the best way to find trending products and even an existing consumer base. All you have to do is find the specific parts of social media platforms for trending topics using hashtags or social listening software.
- Google Trends is a great place to find the trending topics and products people are searching for. With this tool, you can also recognize keywords for PPC campaigns and product listings.
- Browse eCommerce websites: If you browse popular eCommerce websites, you will find top-selling products on their landing pages. Or you can use Trend Hunter tools to search for trending products within your niche.
4. Target Your Audience
While finalizing your potential profitable product, you must gather information about your target audience and market. You can practice by creating a customer persona to sell your products. Creating a persona refers to a fictional version of your potential customers, which allows you to make a predicted blueprint for future sales. In this method, you can test your service and product on yourself or a real person to figure out how they will behave or what purpose your product serves.
Finding a better customer base for your products also depends on factors like age, area, budget, and need. If you are selling a baby product, your target audience should be parents between 25 to 35 years old. Nowadays, first-time parents like to order the best products for their little ones. And If you’re targeting college students, your product should be budget-friendly. Students often face an economic crunch during their college days, and they search for low-priced products to fulfill their needs.
5. Validate Your Product
Product validation is the most critical aspect of selling a product online. Nothing is more discouraging than finding out people are not taking an interest in your products even after spending your hard-earned money and precious time on research. However, it takes a lot of trial and error to validate a product. But you can try a few proven methods to validate your products.
Make Real Sales: The best way to validate your products is by making some physical sales. There’s nothing more important than customers finding the value in your product after exchanging money. When a stranger buys your product, which provides value to them or fulfils their genuine needs, you can start with that particular product in your online store.
Ensure That There’s a Demand: While searching for a product for your business, you can explore the market thoroughly to reduce the risk, and it also kind of helps you validate your product. If you find out there are existing competitors that have been selling the same product for a long time, then you can confirm there’s demand for that specific product.
Analyze Search Volumes: Analysing the search volume of a particular product helps you find out how much demand there is for that product on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Helium 10’s Magnet and Google Trends help you explore the search volumes.
Conduct a Survey: You can also conduct a survey or start a crowdfunding program to see the validation of your product. The survey helps you get the consumers’ insights into your product so you can understand whether there is demand.
Once you are sure there’s demand for your product and it is profitable to sell, you can move on to the next step.
6. Source Your Product
Now, this is the first solid step you make toward your eCommerce business. If you are going to sell a physical item, you must figure out a way to source the products for your inventory. There are several ways you can try to source physical products.
Manufacture the Products: If you have enough budget, you can buy tools to manufacture the products by yourself. Or you can partner with bigger manufacturing facilities to order specific units for production.
Make it Yourself: Several creators and artists sell their products handcrafted. If you belong to an artistic community, you can create products to sell to your preferences.
Purchase Wholesale Products: In this method, you can purchase products in bulk at a discounted price. You can find physical and online discount stores to source your products. However, this method doesn’t guarantee quality or control over the prices while purchasing. So, this is an old-school method that is ceasing to exist.
Dropship Products: Dropshipping is one of the best options if you don’t want to manufacture a product or carry an inventory. You can find a dropshipping or print-on-demand partner where you can upload your designs and artworks. And then, you can upload the digitally-designed product to your store, and when there’s a demand, you can order the number of units to be manufactured by your POD partner. After that, they will also take care of the delivery process.
Sell it Digitally: If you’re selling a digital product or online content, you don’t need to worry about sourcing the products. This is the most profitable and less risky way to sell products. You usually avoid paying inventory and overhead costs, which saves you extra money every month.
7. Set Your Business Plans and Goals
After getting everything ready for your first eCommerce business, you need to set your plans and goals for your business. Writing a proper plan for your business will help you keep it on track. And your main goal should be to create a solid customer base. Even if you are going to get a loan, the investors will demand a business plan. So ensure you make your business as professional as possible.
A proper business plan includes the type of business, product details, monthly profit, operational methods, number of staff, etc. If you’re writing plans according to the investors, ensure they will see how you can generate revenue. And if you hire staff for your business, ensure that they will see a possible future and what values and treatment you will provide them.
From the beginning to the end, your business will look something like this:
- Overview of company
- Executive summary
- Market analysis
- Offered services and products
- A marketing plan
- Operational methods
- Logistics plan
- Financial plan
You can make your business plans and goals to the point and short. Make sure it is long enough to convince the relevant contributors without wasting their time.
8. Give Your Business a Name and Logo
Finding a proper name for your brand is a challenging step besides finding products to sell. After registering an available domain name, you must give an appropriate name. You can check out GoDaddy or Namecheap for a domain name to buy it at an affordable price.
Coming to the business logo, you can create a simple business logo according to the business name. Or you can look for an expert to create an aesthetic business logo for you.
9. Apply for Permit and License
Several businesses must apply for EIN (employee identification number) and permits to operate in the state. This is usually required when you run both physical and online stores. However, If you entirely run your business online from your home, you don’t need any business license or permit.
If you need to apply for a license, permit, and EIN, you can apply for free through the IRS. You might need to check out your government’s official website to know what permit and license you will need to operate the store in your state.
10. Create Your eCommerce Store
Now that you have followed all the necessary aspects, it is time to create your online store. You can find a suitable eCommerce website builder to build your online store. Many good options are available such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, Amazon, Walmart, and many more. Every platform’s requirements are almost the same. Let’s have a look at them.
- Email address and a strong password
- Website name and domain name
- Type of website (according to your niche)
- Business address and region
- Website customization
- Product details, description, images, and price
- Payment gateways
After creating your online store and adding products, you will finally be able to launch your eCommerce store. You can make a purchase from your store as a customer to check if everything is working fine or not.
11. Market Your Products
Marketing your product is a post-launch effort you make to attract customers to your eCommerce website. Keywords play an essential role in marketing your product. That’s why finding the right keyword to bid on is crucial. There are several ways to market your products, and SEO is one of them.
With proper SEO, you can make your eCommerce website more visible, which helps drive more traffic and increases your website’s conversion rate. Product keywords used stuff within the content to drive traffic to your website, but it was an old method. Nowadays, keywords are used in URLs and ad campaigns more effectively in search terms. It is also used to improve optimal ranking.
There are some proven ways to market your products.
- Social Media Marketing: It is the most efficient marketing strategy that merchants use. People love to surf social media, making promoting your products easier on different social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
- Content Marketing: This is SEO-based marketing and one of the most sustainable strategies you can find on the internet. In this method, you can promote your products through blogs, articles, social media posts, newsletters, etc.
- Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Marketing is related to content marketing. You can contact affiliate marketers and offer them a fixed commission for each made through your link.
- Email Marketing: Email marketing is a clever marketing technique to connect with your audience. You can use free or paid email marketing tools that collect visitors’ cookies to send them personalized emails regarding the recent page or product they visited with exciting offers.
- Influencer Marketing: This is a trending marketing method where you can get in touch with a vast customer base within a short period of time. You can collaborate with social media influencers to promote your products.
Tips to Become a Successful Online Seller
When you open your first online store, you will face a lot of challenging obstacles. However, most of them are avoidable if you are strategic enough. Here are a few proven tips for becoming a successful online merchant.
- Create an SEO Strategy: Selling online doesn’t give you luxury like a brick-and-mortar business that people will find out just by walking on the market. But if you do SEO right, customers will organically find your website.
- Select the Right E-commerce Platform: An eCommerce platform is the backbone of an online retail store. An ideal hosting platform offers you every eCommerce feature that you need to handle the front and back end efficiently. It also provides you with opportunities to scale your business and increase your revenue.
- Do Competitor Research: The eCommerce business is full of competition. You are entering a territory where many sellers have already secured a solid place. But don’t be discouraged by this situation. You can use advanced tools to monitor your competitors’ products so you can make necessary adjustments to drive visitors’ attention.
- Find Unique Selling Point: It is possible that whatever you are selling, thousands of sellers might be selling already. So don’t just start like others. Do proper research and find your unique selling proposition. This way, you will have more control over your business and sales.
- Customer Satisfaction is Everything: A solid customer base leads to a strong brand reputation and revenue stream. You have to gain a higher customer satisfaction score for greater customer retention to achieve this feat.
- Thrive for Feedback: Always ask for ratings and reviews once consumers try your product. Because 73% of shoppers instantly look for ratings and reviews before clicking on a particular item on a product page.
Conclusion: How To Start An Ecommerce Business (2023)
The eCommerce business is thriving all over the world nowadays. So it can be a good time to think big and start your own eCommerce store. However, creating your own online store can be as thrilling as challenging, but you can learn about everything at your pace. Even if you have done everything right, sometimes it takes weeks, even months, before your first sale. So don’t stop trying and hope for the best.
If you’re pretty serious about your business, we are more than happy to help you. We hope this post helped you start your eCommerce business with ease. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section.
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