A step-by-step guide to learn everything you need to know about successfully starting an online business from home to find the flexibility, and freedom you desire.
Meta Description: Are you looking to start an online store but don’t know where to start? This guide will teach you everything you need to get your business off the ground.
ECommerce has become an integral part of our lives. The ability to browse through countless products without leaving the comfort of your home or office, or while waiting in line or on a bus, makes eCommerce a truly convenient way to shop for modern consumers.
The world of e-commerce holds big potential for small firms. In 2020, online sales in the United States increased 44 percent and accounted for 21.3% of overall retail sales that year. Of course, the coronavirus epidemic played a role, but these numbers had been steadily growing for some time beforehand. This may be your chance if you have a brick and mortar business that you want to bring online or if you’re planning on releasing a product for the first time ever.
Before you can start selling products online, there’s a little research that needs to be conducted first. You need to identify what kinds of goods you want to sell, who your potential buyers could be, and how you’re going ship the items so that it’s convenient for customers. By taking the time to do this prep work, you’ll set yourself up for e-commerce success.
Congratulations on taking the plunge and starting your very own ecommerce website! You may be feeling a mix of excitement and trepidation at the moment, which is perfectly normal. But don’t worry—we’re here to help you every step of the way. In this blog post, we’ll give you a few simple tips to jump start your ecommerce website and set you up for success.
What is an Ecommerce Business
Ecommerce is the practice of doing business over the internet, in which people buy and sell items or services. Ecommerce companies use digital technology to move money and data during these online transactions. Global retail ecommerce sales are expected to reach nearly $5 trillion by 2021, making it an excellent time to start an online business.
If you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or artisan, you’ve probably fantasized about starting your own ecommerce store and establishing a company that provides you with fulfillment and liberty. You’ll learn how to do each step in this process. We’ve gathered all of Shopify’s most popular content into one comprehensive plan for creating a business.
Table of contents
- Learn Why to start an ecommerce business
- Learn how to get started with an ecommerce business.
- How many ways you can build an e-commerce website
- Calculate the costs of starting an ecommerce business.
- Understand how to evaluate profits, audiences, and products.
Entrepreneurship is a common dream for many people, but before the internet, creating a business was quite difficult. Now, with the help of an eCommerce website and selling items online, anyone can start their own company. n Developing a business is never easy; coming up with an idea for your product and sourcing or producing it are two major early steps you’ll have to take. Website development itself might be completed in one day or two, depending on how fast you work.
Even if you’ve never created a website before, the tools available now make it simple for anybody to set up their own online shop. By the end of this article, you’ll know how to discover a suitable product and niche for your business, how to develop your site, and what kinds of marketing strategies you may use.
Let’s start with the why before we go into how.
Why You Should Sell Products On a Website
Customers must be able to discover your brand and the things you offer before they can buy anything from you. Customers sheltering in place have switched almost all of their consumption to online, which was already true before the coronavirus outbreak. If you don’t start an eCommerce website, you’re missing out on a huge market.
If you’ve been hesitant to start an online store, here are a few compelling reasons why it’s a smart idea.
People frequently purchase things online.
Americans racked up $602 billion in online spending in 2019- and that was pre-pandemic. In the month following the outbreak of Coronavirus, eCommerce sales jumped 49%. Businesses who don’t have an online presence are losing out on a huge opportunity for profit. Although some shoppers still like to buy things in person, many people prefer to shop from their devices at home.
Without an online presence, you’re losing out on potential customers to your competition.
No significant upfront investments
One of the finest things about setting up an e-commerce site is that it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Hosting and e-commerce solutions costs have dropped dramatically over time, allowing you to launch your online store without breaking the bank.
An eCommerce website costs less than a storefront.
To keep a store running, you have to pay:
- Rent for the space
- The paychecks of staff that man the store during business hours
- Proper licensing and permits
- Utility bills
- Furniture and decorations
- Building maintenance
- Cleaning supplies
- Supplies like point-of-sale (POS) systems and cash registers.
In other words, you will have more predictable expenses when selling online. With a brick and mortar store, there are many costs that can quickly add up, such as employees, inventory storage and so on. Of course with an eCommerce business, you still need to pay for web hosting and marketing efforts. But compared to a traditional storefront business model*, the costs of running an online store are much easier to manage and predict long-term.
*optional: depending on the size of your staff
Contrary to popular belief, building an online store is relatively easy and can be done in a short amount of time. For instance, adding new products, adjusting prices, or uploading new product images are all simple processes that only take a few minutes each.
Online shopping trends
An increasing number of consumers are choosing online stores over physical ones, and this trend is only expected to grow. In 2021, ecommerce sales were close to $5 trillion; by 2040, it’s estimated that over 90% of all recorded purchases will be made online. So not only is the market there for you—it’s growing—but consumer buying behavior is also shifting in your direction.
Finding a way to produce more output without breaking the bank is required in order to scale your business. Let’s assume you own a physical retail shop that sells apparel. One option for scaling is to open up a second location, which entails locating desirable real estate, renting or purchasing it, recruiting staff, stocking inventory, and paying general running costs (such as payroll and utilities). Because of the significant initial investment and long payback period, this alternative might frighten small company owners away.
If your store was strictly online, you could expand without having to spend as much money. For example, you could carry a wider range of products by dropshipping them instead of paying for inventory all at once. You could also grow your social media following organically and invest in advertising to bring people to your website little by little as opposed to all at once. Though scaling an online business does require some investment, it’s nothing compared to what brick-and-mortar businesses need.
High-profit margins and low overhead
Low overhead is the key to scaling an online business. You can start one with minimal expenses and low costs, such as a computer or internet connection that’s necessary for setting up your service-based company offering social media marketing services free of charge–and building websites at only $100 each! In fact there are many ways you could go about making this work: if selling products isn’t what interests us but rather just providing assistance through virtual means (exome), we’ll need less equipment than someone who wants both profit margin on their sales and provide a service.
Working from anywhere in the world is possible with an online business. This freedom can lead you to a life without limitations or defined hours, as long as there’s access to WiFi and email! You’ll find yourself working on your computer only when it suits YOU—whether that means taking advantage of flexible work schedules like telecommuting options at home (or even using one those fancy smart boards) so that family time doesn’t get lost during busy seasons; spending more meaningful leisurely moments away…in tropical tropical island with their toes in the sand.
Limitless market reach
coffee addicts will be able to enjoy their favorite drink at any time or place thanks in part, because of the rise online purchases and shipping capabilities. Coffee shops that are not local can now compete with worldwide brands for business by selling items through global markets without limits on size/where it’s sold – just like how many popular cafes do now! businesses don’t face the limited markets that hold offline businesses back. You can target any market in the world using search engine optimization, social media marketing, and paid media strategies as long as you can coordinate shipping.
Lots of products you can sell
One of the best things about having an e-commerce website is that you can sell a variety of products. This gives you the flexibility to quickly change your product offerings to match the latest trends in your target market. Some popular product categories include:
- Tech products
- Fashion items
- Hobby items
Online shopping provides convenience and safety.
Online shopping is not 100% effortless – but it’s pretty close. With the benefit of being able to browse at your leisure, and make selections without having go anywhere or interact directly with anyone in person (versus driving there yourself), you’ll find that people are more likely than ever before spending their money when doing so doesn’t feel like work!
An online presence gets your products found in search.
When customers start looking for products to buy, they turn first on Google. With no eCommerce website and only an online store through which you sell your goods or services – all of them will be index by the search engine’s algorithm without any chance at showing up in SERPs (search results).
(This is important because) If a customer wants information about buying something specific from us then chances are high that this person has Googled it beforehand! That means having accurate product listings along with SEO-friendly content helps make sure people find what they’re
The growth in mobile means people can buy from anywhere.
Mobile purchasing trends show that over a quarter of all eCommerce purchases now occur on mobile devices. With this in mind, it is more important than ever for businesses to consider how they can build an online store with efficient and convenient features which will allow them offer their product or service through different channels such as smartphones & tablets so customers are able make instant transactions from wherever at any given time without having hassle finding themselves stuck trying other websites.
There are several methods to create an e-commerce website.
You can start your online store in two ways:.
1. Building a site from scratch
Tips for finding reliable e-commerce developers
If you decide to build a website from scratch, you need to work with e-commerce developers. eCommerce developers can create custom site elements and code functions like automating e-commerce processes. They’re essential to any project, but how do you find reliable ones? Here’s our list of tips!
- Check their previous experience. To evaluate a developers’ skills and experience, review their portfolios to see if they have built similar websites using eCommerce software that meets your needs.
- Give them a test problem to solve. To gauge a developer’s problem-solving skills, pick a feature of an ecommerce site and ask them how they would use it.
- Look for reviews and testimonials. When looking for an e-commerce developer or company, always check for reviews and testimonials online. Sites like Yelp! and Google Reviews can help you sift through the noise to find what you’re really looking for.
- Ask for cost estimation. A cost analysis for your e-commerce website project should be provided by any experienced developer, based on factors such as functionality and other parameters specified in your project requirements.
- More control over your site.
- Get the functionality you want.
- Custom hosting options.
- Better performance.
- Higher costs
- More work involved
- Post-launch maintenance
2. Building a store using an e-commerce platform/website builder
If you want to build an e-commerce website quickly, you can use a platform like Shopify or WordPress. These platforms give you everything you need to create and launch your online store. Plus, they’re usually easier than building a website from scratch.
When choosing a platform for your e-commerce website, there are some things to consider. Here are some pros and cons of using Shopify:
- Easy to use
- Lots of features
- No coding skills required
- Drag-and-drop editors for ease of use
- Ready-made features
- Access to professionally designed templates
- Good customer support
- Limited design customization
- Not enough features
- Website ownership
What are your interests and skills?
Find your passion and turn it into a business! One example of this would be Steve Gadlin – the man who started IWanttoDrawaCatForYou.com . He was already working as website development manager by day, but he also pursued other things (including comedy) on the side; including drawing cats for fun at home when not at work.
He used his creativity and sense of humour to start IWanttoDrawaCatForYou, a website that allowed people to order custom cat drawings from Steve. It might have started off as an experiment, but it eventually grew into a full-fledged ecommerce business.
Steve’s creativity led him to success when he appeared on Shark Tank and caught the eye of Mark Cuban. His ecommerce business earned $200,000 after being featured on the show. Steve has since closed down that particular business, but IWanttoDrawaCatForYou.com stands as a testament to what following your passions can bring you.
*** VIDEO about – “How To Start an Ecommerce Business” ***
How to start an ecommerce business
- Find product opportunities and choose what to sell
- Trends, clients, and competition
- Investigate your competitors thoroughly and create a business plan.
- What’s your marketing strategy?
- Choose a business model
- Choose a logo and name and set up your online store
- Customize your e-commerce website
- Choose your shipping strategy and set sales and marketing goals
- Launch your business
1. Find product opportunities and choose what to sell
Finding a product to sell
Knowing what items you want to sell direct-to-consumer is the first step toward establishing an e-commerce shop. This is typically the most difficult stage in launching a new online business. We’ll highlight approaches for finding product possibilities, looking at the greatest places to seek for product ideas, and lastly, examining popular e-commerce goods to consider in this part.
Evaluating your idea
If you have an innovative product idea, how can you be sure people will want to buy it? In this section, we’ll explore a few methods that entrepreneurs have used to validate their products and target market.
Obtaining your product
After you come up with an idea for a product, the next thing to do is see where and how you can source it. The four articles below go into detail about different sourcing models and their advantages and disadvantages.
Sell your retail products online
Many small, independent retailers are in for a tough time. However, by selling your products online using an ecommerce solution like Shopify can help you weather the storm and generate income to keep your business afloat.
Align With Your Passion
The resources above should help you find a few products or potential niches to think about. To make your list smaller, do some self-reflection. You’ll be able to keep going with your store better if you’re actually passionate about what you’re selling.
The following questions will help you decide if your chosen niche is feasible for you:
- Does the market you’ve chosen matter to you?
- Do you have any prior experience that you can count on??
- Is this the area you see yourself working in for 5 years or more?
- Do you have a passion for those you’re assisting??
Test your product concept with friends and family
It’s critical to be distinctive when selling a one-of-a-kind product. But how can you tell whether your potential customers actually require or desire your product? Here are some questions to ask while obtaining insights from people you know:
- Do they like your idea? If so, find out what features would be most enticing to them?
- Is there anything they’d want to change about your product concept?
- What would your ideal customer service experience entail?
- What is your product’s worth to them? Would they be willing to pay full price for it?
- Have they purchased similar items from other stores? If so, what did they like or dislike about both the product and experience?
- This kind of consumer feedback is an excellent approach to fine-tune your product before selling it online.
- You can either speak with people you know to gain in-depth insights, or set up an online survey to quickly collect data.
- To better comprehend who would or is presently buying your items, SurveyMonkey has a monthly subscription service that allows you to survey friends and family as well as people who visit your website. You may use Google Docs to create survey forms.
2. Trends, clients, and competition
With a specialized focus in mind, you can now start thinking about trends within your niche, as well clients and competition. The following things are important to keep in mind:
- What product(s) are currently in-demand within your market?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who are your rivals in this market?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand what customers want and why some businesses do better than others.
Know the current market trends
It’s important to keep an eye peeled on what other companies are selling and how they’re performing. You should always strive for the best product, so take note when your customers mention things that might be improved in future versions or models of yours – like lower prices!
On top products from different fields there will likely come up some similarities between them; however it is wise not just focus solely off popularity but also analyze which search keywords people utilize (keyword research) as well because this can give valuable insight into fulfilling their needs accordingly with seasonal items such was recent purchases during winter seasonality ____
Know your target customer
Once you have an idea of who your ideal customer is, it’s time to profile them. By understanding your target audience, you can start by asking yourself questions like:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- Which gender are they?
- What kind of jobs do they do?
- Do they have a family?
- What’s their annual income?
- What are some of the major challenges they face?
At this stage, you can make some assumptions, but use product reviews and search trends to get more accurate information.
In order to create a well-rounded product that meets the needs of your target audience, you should first identify what they look like. Next get in touch with some real life representatives from this group and find out how we can make their lives better by providing more goods or services at an affordable price point!
Know your competition
To understand your place in the market, you need to research your competition. By having a niche, you can identify a few other online stores that are similar to yours. Next, assess their strengths and weaknesses by:
- In order to understand your competitor’s shopping flow and order process, you should know what they are selling and how their entire operation functions. Reviewing this information will not only give you ideas for new products to sell online but also refund policies and improvements to the current shopping flow.
- Learn What they do well. Read reviews and make a list of what your rivals accomplish particularly well. It might be great marketing campaigns, an easy-to-navigate store layout, or outstanding customer service. Take what you’ve learnt here and improve it even more at your own eCommerce business.
- Getting an understanding of where they went wrong. Because the internet can be harsh, get a sense of your competitors’ flaws as well. If a client gave your shopping experience three out of five stars because of delivery delays, make sure that your goods are delivered on time, all the time.
3. Investigate your competitors thoroughly and create a business plan.
Research your competition
Before you move forward with your product and supplier, take some time to study your competition. Knowing what they’re doing right (and wrong) will help you shape your own business strategies moving forward.
Writing a business plan
It’s time to finish up your competitive research and write your company plan once you’ve finished. A business plan is a road map that allows you to connect your ideas and thoughts together. It’s important in determining which aspects to prioritize and how to contact potential consumers. The company mission statement is also exhibited in a business plan, demonstrating investors and staff the fundamental values of your brand.
4: What’s your marketing strategy?
Wait, why aren’t we already building an eCommerce website? You’ve identified your topic, know what you’re selling, and who you’ll be selling to. Isn’t marketing something that comes to mind when you’re ready to start selling? No, it would be too late by then.
In other words, if you want your business to succeed, you need to have a plan for marketing.
Since choosing a business plan is the next step in launching an online store, you need to know what marketing channels will be most beneficial to you. It’s possible that your meticulous keyword research would be meaningless if you build your online shop on a platform that doesn’t support SEO-driven marketing, for example. Having a clear objective in mind for how you’ll market your firm from the start can also assist you select the best eCommerce platform. Let’s go through the two most common methods for promoting your company online so that you don’t make any mistakes.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Anyone can easily set up a search engine marketing optimization strategy by taking these few steps.
To start, uncover the appropriate keywords for your products that people frequently type into Google’s search bar. Afterwards, optimize your website pages to revolve around those same keywords. To do this correctly, make sure you have high-quality content on your site as well as using the right keyword placements in headings throughout your page. By doing all of this, you improve your chances significantly of ranking at the top of SERP results–the best position to be in if you want increase overall traffic and welcomes new customers!
People who are seeking for the goods you have will discover you more quickly if your SEO strategy is effective.
Only target relevant traffic to come your eCommerce business; people who are searching for what you have to offer. You can do this by focusing on an SEO growth strategy, which is great for eCommerce companies because:
It’s dependable. If you have undertaken keyword research, the traffic on your site from search engines should ideally improve or stay steady- especially if you manage to rank on the first result page. Consequently, increased clientele should provide a reliable source of income.
You get relevant visitors. Your website’s target audience is more likely to make a purchase from your site because they are already interested in the products you sell.
It’s profitable. Because you aren’t paying anyone to be listed at the top of search results, SEO traffic is a relatively low-cost way to communicate with your target market.
There are some downsides to choosing SEO as one of your main marketing strategies, including:
It takes a while. We’re sorry to tell you this, but you won’t make it to the top page of search results in a day. It might take weeks or even months for your material to get to the first or second page. It’s not impossible, but you must be prepared to put in enough effort to see results.
It takes a lot of effort. Content that best answers the searcher’s intent is how you’ll ranked on Google. It sounds complicated but it’s really not. You just need to use product keywords on your site pages and also create interesting content for other non-product keyword topics (like blog posts, for example). If your content is good enough, people will see it as a valuable resource and link back to your page which in turn boosts your ranking on Google searches.
So, an SEO marketing approach is fantastic if you have time, don’t have a huge budget, and don’t mind waiting. It’s particularly beneficial for niches where you can create a lot of comparable material. For example, if you run eCommerce stores for arts and crafts supplies, you’ll probably find a plethora of subjects to write about. You may publish blogs about seasonal activities for children, alternative methods of doing things, or the newest trends.
You understand the concept.
Buying ad space on websites is a common and effective small business strategy, though it’s not free.
Essentially, you create an advertisement and then pay for the website space where you want it to be displayed.
The most popular websites for advertising are social media platforms.
Social Media Marketing is a powerful form of advertising for brands, as social media channels reach millions across Facebook and Instagram. Businesses can use this to their advantage by strategically targeting users with ads that they’re likely going want or need!
Targeting the right market and audience on social media can lead to a 31% increase in sales for brands. Social media marketing works especially well for products and services that are:
- Aimed at consumers. Google, Facebook, and Instagram are three of the most well-known sites where you may purchase advertising. Individual consumers, not businesses, are the main target market on each website. If you wish to be included in a sponsored advertisements campaign, your product should be appealing and targeted toward the consumer demographic.
- Visually appealing. Think of social media as a shopping mall. People don’t just go there to buy things, but also to stroll around, hang out with their friends and look at the store windows. The same principle applies to social media pages. People are there first and foremost to interact with their friends and family. A product that’s highly visual will grab the consumer’s attention.
- Not too expensive. To ensure your product attracts buyers, price it so that people can act impulsively. If it’s too expensive, fewer people will clicking on your ad. Don’t waste money on an ad campaign that doesn’t produce results.
- Not too complicated. Consumers should be able to grasp your product in a matter of seconds. People will scroll past an advertisement that is too complicated, vague, or unclear.
There are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to run your paid online marketing campaign successfully.
Although there is no guarantee of success, you need to be willing to spend money on ads for your eCommerce website.
Keep in mind that it also takes time to create, launch, and adjust your paid ad campaigns. If you’re hoping for a fast solution–unfortunately, you’ll be let down.
If you’re offering a product that can be sold at a mall, opting for paid advertisements as your primary approach generally works.
Another avenue you could explore is combining a paid ad or two with your current SEO strategy to vie for particular keywords. Ads shown at the top of the page provide excellent exposure to visitors who are already interested in products that you just so happen to sell.
5: Choose a business model
With a good idea of what you want to sell, how much space will be needed for your inventory and an understanding that there are two main models used in eCommerce businesses – manufacturers or suppliers – it’s now time to start thinking about day-to trade.
The first decision should always involve contacting those who make the goods being sold on line as they may offer different rates depending upon whether products sit stocked at their facility ready-to go until orders come through ( Dropshipers )or if someone else takes care of all demands by storing them locally then getting allocated material accordingly once received which important thing to remember is that each type of eCommerce business has its own individual needs and there’s no one-size-fits all solution.
There are two key methods for handling inventory and supply chain management. The supplier ships orders directly to the customer, or the store owner manages physical inventory themselves. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration before deciding which is best for your online store.
Pros and cons of keeping inventory
If you’re old school or just love to see your product in person, you might prefer keeping a real inventory and shipping the products yourself.
Buying stock for your firm might be beneficial if you:
- Are building a brand. If you’re not simply looking for a side business, but also want to build a self-sustaining brand, you’ll need complete control over the customer experience. That includes packing orders (you may add a personalized thank you note) and monitoring deliveries.
- Want to have a higher profit margin. Dropshipping is convenient, but you may as well cut out the middleman. You make a greater profit per product sold when you buy things in bigger quantities.
- Want to be able to react faster. There could be a shipping issue or an unhappy client. Having your own inventory allows you to address any challenges faster since you do not have to wait for another retailer’s goods.
- Think product quality is a top priority. It’s possible that by looking at your product and its packaging, you can modify it. Perhaps the tape you’re using to seal off the box is extremely difficult to slice through, or the structure of the box makes it difficult to recycle.
Although self- stocking has some advantages, there are also a few disadvantages:
- It’s expensive. Unless you have the money to buy products in bulk, starting this type of business could be impossible.
- It takes up space. Though one thousand postcards take up less space than an equal number of boots, you should still consider carefully where you want to keep your inventory so that you don’t have to pay for extra storage.
- It’s time-consuming. It’s all enjoyable and games sending your grandmother a package through the post. However, if you’re not prepared to leave your house to pack and send a large order that comes in on the weekend, inventory management may not be for you.
Therefore, if you’re fixated on 100% control of your brand and the sales process, it might make sense to keep inventory in-house for your e-commerce store.
Pros and cons of dropshipping
Many people have turned to dropshipping as a way to start their own online store.
proponents of dropshipping claim that it:
- Saves time. If the thought of packing orders and dealing with manufacturers give you hives, starting a dropshipping business is the perfect solution.
- Saves space. While you may manage to store a few boxes of keyrings in your hallway, storing 1,000 pairs of shoes is a bit more difficult. You don’t need to worry about inventory because you just communicate orders to a supplier.
- Saves money. You can save a lot of money by not having to invest in stock up front, and you won’t be stuck with the unwanted 1,000 phone covers.
Dropshipping first originated in the 1960s but experienced a ten-year boom starting around 2010 and continues to grow at an alarming rate. It has made internet entrepreneurship more accessible to anyone wanting to establish an online store.
However, dropshipping might not be ideal for everyone since:
- Lack of control. Even if you can’t control the manufacturing or shipping process, your customers will turn to you with any issues they have.
- Lengthy or no returns. Returns for dropshipped products are a lengthy process, and if your partner company allows returns at all, the customer has to wait weeks before you even receive the product back.
- Lack of branding. While drop shipping gives novice eCommerce businesses a chance to get started quickly, you have to be willing to put in the extra effort to make your customers happy. Drop ship manufacturers often don’t allow for packaging customization and might even include their own promotional literature in customer orders. This can reflect negatively on your brand if you’re trying to build a serious reputation.
For those looking wanting to create something big, drop shipping might not be the best solution.
6. Choose a logo and name and set up your online store
Choose a business name
Not only do you have to find the right product for your online store, but choosing an appropriate and available domain name is quite challenging. There are many things that need consideration when picking out a catchy E-Commerce Store Name: Make it easy to remember so people will buy from them over others; avoid using numbers or hyphens because these can be confusing when searching through websites looking at various stores on one page . Your ecommerce site’s web Page Title should summarize what exactly comes under this heading–“Shop Here!”
Creating a logo
After you have chosen an unforgettable name and registered the related domain, it is time to design a straightforward logo
Choosing your sales channels
You can expand your customer base by utilizing sales channels they already use. The correct compilation of sales channels depends on your products and target market, but there are many great complementary options for self-hosted stores.
Choose your business structure and register your business.
The reason why you’re reading this right now is because it has to do with every aspect of your business, from the legal obligations and taxes that you must address to day-to-day operations. It’s an essential component of any successful internet company. In the United States, there are several types of businesses to select from, including:
- Sole proprietorship. You can start an online business quickly and easily as a sole proprietorship, but you’ll have less legal protection than with other business structures. You will also be held personally liable for debts and damages incurred by the business.
- Partnership. A business in which two or more people contribute money, labor, skills, etc. and share the profits earned is relatively simple to start but does have certain legal risks for the partners.
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). Having an LLC is quite flexible and can be done with either one owner or multiple partners. However, it provides more legal benefits and protection for the owners.
- Corporation. A corporation cuts off its owners from the company, providing the best form of security. Those people are now employees of the firm. It also involves a lot more paperwork and management responsibilities, as well as fees that must be paid on a regular basis.
Take some time to learn the differences between each company type and keep in mind that each nation’s laws are different. Don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance if necessary.
Get tax IDs and understand the tax framework.
Typically, the type of structure you choose has an impact on how you pay taxes. You’ll also have to think about whether or not you’re required to charge sales tax and how you’ll handle it. This is determined by things like your location, where you’re sending items, and what goods you’re selling – it can vary significantly from company to business.
We strongly suggest working with a tax professional, especially when you first start an online business, to ensure that everything is in order.
In a bit, we’ll discuss building your online store in more depth, but there are excellent tools available that will automatically calculate sales tax for you and make the process much simpler.
Obtain any necessary licenses.
Depending on the items you want to sell and your location, some businesses may require a license. For example, areas often regulate the sale of firearms, alcohol, or CBD.
The Small Business Association provides an in-depth guide if your business is based in America that covers all you need to know about this process.
Open a business bank account
Starting an online business may appear to be a simple task: just use your existing bank account. However, there are several compelling reasons for separating your business and personal accounts:
- Professionalism. Customers and vendors can’t pay your firm, but rather to it.
- Protection. Accounts may be split to minimize business responsibility.
- Simplicity. Combined accounts makes accounting and taxes much more complex.
- Extra benefits. Having a business account with a credit card attached to it builds your company’s credit history, making it easier to take out loans in the future.
When choosing a bank account, examine the interest rates, fees, and minimum account balances. You may also want to speak with other business owners and find out what they like about their bank.
Set up accounting
By organize your bookkeeping from the start, you can avoid future issues. It’s important to understand the basics of small business accounting and as your company expands, you may want to think about hiring an accountant. An experienced accountant could assist with making your business model more efficient in terms of profitability and cash flow.
Decide how you’ll charge for products
You should establish your billing procedures prior to starting work on your website. Will you charge hourly, per project, or in some other way? Some common possibilities are listed below:
- One-time payments. Always charge the customer for the product in full at the time of purchase.
- Subscriptions. Generate recurring income by charging on a monthly or yearly basis.
- Payment plans. Customers can pay for their purchases over time or in full upfront.
You may also want to offer some combination of these options. For example, you might offer one-off bags of cat treats while also allowing customers to subscribe and get a bag delivered every month.
When coming up with a price for your product, reflect on how much it costs to make each individual item. This entails more than the cost of merely materials and production. Be mindful of things such as marketing fees, permits, warehouse expenses, and labor. None of these will apply to every business –it all differs based on you!
Choose a Platform
which many players in this industry do because they can focus their resources on other aspects of business that are more important for small companies like yours!
If you’re looking to start an online store, you’ll need to choose between different eCommerce platforms. The best platform for your store depends on many factors, such as the size of your business. To help you make a decision, here is a quick overview of some popular options:
Option 1: Magento
We have a lot of Magento themes that can be customized to your preference. However, it is much less user-friendly than other sites and may require professional help to set up and customize.
For example, Porto is a contemporary Magento theme with 18 distinct homepage designs. It’s one of the most popular templates on Envato Market, with over 629 reviews and over 6,000 purchases.
Porto Magento eCommerce Theme
Option 2: WordPress (WooCommerce)
WordPress is a good option if you need something that is both customizable and user-friendly. WooCommerce powers most WordPress ecommerce sites, so be sure to check out our marketplace of WooCommerce themes. If you need help setting up or working with a new theme, we have a course that covers the basics.
Savoy is a sleek and modern WooCommerce storefront that features an AJAX-powered product search.
Savoy Minimalist WooCommerce Theme
Option 3: Shopify
The most user-friendly by far. Ideal for smaller or less complicated websites. Their stores are “pre-built” with a variety of useful options like Shopify Payments, so you don’t have to worry about setting up a third party option. Although Shopify usually has the fewest customizations of the three alternatives, you may still download one from our library or check out our finest themes below:
For example, Ella’s superpower is revamping standard Shopify sites into modern day powerhouses that look extremely costly, but in reality only costed a fraction of the create.
Ella Shopify Theme
The following are the three most popular eCommerce sites that accept all of the major payment methods: Payment gateways include:
Option 4: BigCommerce
The next best thing about Bigcommerce is that it has everything covered for you, from creating and managing your eCommerce store all the way to integrating with a 3pl provider. No need to look elsewhere! Its platform can handle surges in traffic coming towards websites as well as top notch security protecting them on every visit until they checkout – so what are ya waiting for? Get started today by signing up at bigcommerce.
Option 5: Volusion
Volusion is a good choice for home furniture, equipment, and outdoor stuff. It caters to more than 50,000 store owners, including Motorola and Disney. Volusion will help you from merchandising your product to designing your site , optimizing searches , marketing , processing orders , provide services for the domain name credit card processing fraud protection . Volusion also offers unique features such as mCommerce Social Store Builder loyalty rewards program affiliate marketing.
Building your store
If you want your store to convert, first learn how search engines work. After that, use a website builder to develop your site. Remember to include these essential reads as you create high-converting product pages, write engaging descriptions, take stunning product photographs, choose an ecommerce color palette, and much more: Experts are always available if you need help.
Let Us Handle The Heavy Lifting.
Red Stag is the expert in offering best-in-class big, bulky, heavy, and high-value eCommerce product fulfillment.
You’ve made it this far! Congratulations.
You can break out your sketchpad and begin to generate ideas for your business’s look. Even though the possibilities might seem endless, you most likely have an preconceived notion of what you want already:
- Make a list of businesses that you appreciate. Don’t get too caught up in your analysis. Simply write down the companies and names that spring to mind.
- Consider why you choose these brands. Make a list of the most memorable things about their logos, advertising, or overall brand. Perhaps it’s because their advertising jingle is an ear worm, or because you’ve had great customer service from them before.
- Put all of the memorable and positive things from your list together and implement them in your own eCommerce store.
After you figure out what qualities you want in a company, it’ll be easier to find places that reflect those values- and thus avoid any legal issue. Just make sure not to use anything that’s copyrighted without permission, including logos or certain words from business names.
What’s your mission?
Your brand values are something you should be proud of, so make sure they show up on your website and in all communication. Your customers will trust what’s important to them even more if it matches with the way things work for this company – which means that everything has got some sort-of meaning!
A checklist of branding essentials
When considering your branding, keep in mind the following items:
- Your logo is the first thing that prospective customers notice when they look at your business. You want to go for something timeless, simple, and memorable as the centerpiece of your brand.
- The color palette that your brand is known for. Colors create psychological association. For example, blue is often linked to the seaside or a sky free of clouds (travel companies use blue in branding material because of this). Green ties back to nature usually (like forests, Whole Foods, and Greenpeace come to mind). What does your brand stand for? And what associations do you want people making while they think of it?
- The fonts and typefaces. Fonts might appear like a minute detail, however if you want people to be able to read what you’ve printed, it’s essential to choose an easily readable font. Select one main font for headlines and a couple accent fonts- then you’re all set! Ensure that the chosen font is clear and easy to read, even from a distance.
- The tone and style of your brand’s voice. Who are you chatting with? You would probably speak differently to your main target audience, children, than to a group of business professionals. Tailor your voice and tone towards the people you want to attract as paying customers. Make sure your message isn’t difficult or annoying for them.
Get product samples
One way to see how your brand actually works in practice is by getting a sample product. If you handle your own stock, then talk with manufacturers but they might be happy provide it for free if there’s something specific about their packaging or branding that needs fixing before going live on shelves – just make sure this doesn’t come at the expense of quality control because seeing what will happen when things go wrong can only help identify any potential complaints ahead! Meanwhile as dropshippers try asking suppliers whether they have any sample.
8. Customize your e-commerce website
If you want to have a successful online store, it is essential that you create a custom look. This will set your business apart from the competition, provide an excellent customer experience, and make shopping easier for your customers. Here are some key areas where you should consider customization:
If you want your website to succeed, easy navigation is key. This means helping visitors find what they need with clear labels and signposting. One way Waterstones does this well is by including a search bar on their site.
Deliver exceptional checkout experience
The checkout pages for your ecommerce store’s shopping carts should be simple, clear, and quick. You may establish a comprehensive product description, give only essential information, include trust seals, and provide information about accessible assistance, as Best Buy does in its shop.
Opt for a simple design
Online consumers want a clean design rather than a cluttered one when it comes to user experience. They don’t want to go through hoops to find what they’re looking for. Otherwise, they’ll jump ship and look somewhere else. White space should be used to draw attention to key parts of the page, as well as user-friendly color schemes that Allbirds executes flawlessly on their website.
Leverage text and images to communicate essential information
While you may change the text and pictures on your online store, keep in mind that consumers are there to buy or research products. Provide only relevant information and keep it clean. Chubbies’ use of distracting background images is a bad example since it interferes with customers’ attention on the goods.
Only present information that is relevant, and keep your website clean. For example, Chubbies follows the best industry practices on this. Do not use unnecessary background images as they run the risk of drawing visitors’ attention away from products.
Provide links to your business policies
On all pages, your website should provide useful content. The website footer should include information on your terms and conditions, return policy, shipping practices, and essential documents.
Brand your online store
Color codes may be quickly modified to add branding to your internet business. You can modify a variety of professionally created themes to reflect the colors and logo of your company. TOMS does an excellent job balancing its slogan with the color scheme and wise product selections, for example.
Streamlined Check-Out Process
An eCommerce website’s check-out process is crucial as it changes visitors into customers. The entire process should be quick and easy so users can finish their purchase without any problems. To make this happen, you should get rid of extra steps and ensure that all forms are labeled properly so people will know what info they need to provide.
It’s critical to add products to your online store. By adding products, you’re include all the information that will be on a product page. If you’re using an e-commerce platform or website builder, they likely have a button labeled “Add New Product” which launches a wizard to guide you through each step.
To ensure success, here are some essential steps to follow when adding items for sale into your virtual shop:
- Create effective product descriptions and titles. Product names and features should not be the only thing you communicate in your product descriptions and titles. They have the ability to convert, and if you make frequent copywriting blunders, you risk losing conversions and sales.
- Create product categories. Product inclusion in categories is critical to your success. It improves your site’s user experience and aids consumers in finding and researching comparable items fast.
- Product data such as brochures, instructions, and images not only help customers make informed decisions but also improve the product page.
- • Add product pictures to your blog. It’s insufficient to just include product photos from various angles and those that demonstrate real-world usage.
Images you should use:
- Large, high-quality images are key (minimum 1000 pixels wide)
- JPEG, GIF, and PNG images
- Adobe’s color modes are RGB and CMYK.
- Images without any accompanying details can be confusing.
- Each product attribute’s picture will be displayed.
Consider payment methods
You may make shopping in your store more convenient for a wider audience by allowing for numerous payment choices. The plugins are the most effective method to handle them correctly. With just a few clicks, you can add twelve different payment options to your shop using these plugins. The following are the most common payment methods:
- Credit and debit cards
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
9. Choose your shipping strategy and set sales and marketing goals
As you approach the opening of your new business, there are a several shipping and fulfillment factors to consider. In this part, we’ve gathered a list of comprehensive guides on how to choose your delivery strategy. It’s also a good idea to establish your key performance indicators ahead of time so you know what success measures to look for when you launch.
Shipping and Fulfillment 101
One of the challenges you’ll face as you build your eCommerce business is managing shipping and fulfillment for your products. But don’t worry, we’re here to help! As you begin to understand how shipping and fulfillment work, you can adjust your options and choose the best one for your business.
Once you have orders rolling in, take a look at the different shipping models available and choose the one that best matches the demand for your eCommerce site:
- Self-Shipping Service: This is the most labor-intensive shipping method as you will be packing and labeling all products yourself before bringing it to your local carrier. Once they have shipped your packages, tracking information will become available until it arrives at its destination. You can upgrade your shipping services once you have expanded your customer base and established a partnership with a courier who can pick up shipments from your location.
- Third Party fulfillment and shipping: Orders are received immediately and are then sent from a third-party fulfillment facility of your choice. Picking, packing, shipping, storage, and product return services are all handled by the fulfillment center, but you still own the goods.
- Dropshipping: You can set up your dropshipping business in a way that will make it easier than ever to manage orders,fulfillments and inventory.The right software solutions from Ordoro allow you do get rid of all the stress involved with running an online store while giving customers exactly what they want – nothing more nor less!
Charging your Customers for Shipping
You know that feeling when you’re almost finished buying something online, and then you realize there’s a shipping fee? And then you abandon your cart because who wants to pay for shipping? Yeah, turns out a lot of people have that same reaction. In fact, over half of shoppers abandon their carts when they see shipping fees!
There are a few ways to reduce or eliminate shipping costs on your end as a business owner, but here are three main ways to deal with abandoned shopping carts due to Shipping charges:
Free Shipping: Offer free shipping to your customers so they keep spending more. The Walker Sands Future of Retail 2016 study found that nine out ten participants said the No. 1 reason why people shop often is because you offer this service! There are many ways on how businesses can provide express delivery:
– Adding extra items or specific promo codes for fast track treatment at checkout – A win-win situation when consumers get what they want plus an incentive from companies like yourself who need their products sold as well….
Charge customers for exact shipping costs: To be transparent with your shipping costs, you can charge them for the exact amount it cost you. By providing a shipping calculator on your website, customers can decide which shipping option works best for them. If Red Stag sounds like a great option for your website, visit our Dimensional Weight Calculator. Remember, clients receive massive discounts off the FedEx and UPS Base Rates!
Offer Flat Rate Shipping: If you offer a free delivery option, but your consumers want to check out their purchase without incurring additional expenses just to take advantage of it, this is the option for you. Take into account your cart abandonment rates and come up with ways to prevent purchasers from visiting your site. Give your customers the best of both worlds: free shipping for an X amount or flat fees for other types of purchases.
Packaging your Products for Shipping
The following aspects are important to consider if you plan package your products for distribution:
Check the type of product you’re shipping: The weight, cost, fragility, and other restrictions of the best packaging for your product should all be taken into account when making a selection. Some shipping firms forbid batteries from being transported, while others have unique limits or requirements related to such shipments.
Select the greatest packaging material for your products: Always use high-quality, new corrugated cardboard boxes for your parcels. If you have any doubts about your packaging–such as its recommended weight or shipping size–double check with your box supplier for more information.
Use a decent seal to keep your package safe: Use pressure-sensitive tape to seal your shipments. Make sure each seam is secured with H-taping.
Put a label on it: This is where you’ll find out more information about your shipment. Attach the label to the top surface of the box so that it remains upright while being transported.
Scaling your Shipping Strategy
When an order comes in, your fulfillment warehouse will pick the right items from stocked products and ship them to a customer.
On one side of things there’s eCommerce shipping which can be done by either dropshipping or self-shipping with physical inventory; on another end this process offers more flexibility than traditional brick-and mortar stores because it doesn’t require you to buy expensive real estate needed for retail space rental fees as well as store maintenance costs such employee wages etcetera – All these factors make Online shopping safer & cheaper.
“You’re essentially functioning as a middleman, with consumers coming to your store, catalog, or website and placing an order. After the purchase is completed, you pay a third-party (your drop ship fulfillment or manufacturing firm) to send the product straight to your consumer. Your profit is the difference between the price you sell it for and what you paid for it wholesale plus shipping.”
In order to bring your products to life, you’ll need an order fulfillment method that Drop-shipping is one example of.
10. Launch your business
Acquiring your first customer
Now that you’ve launched, the hard work of marketing your products begins. While many new store owners should consider selling their physical goods in person (and this can be an effective strategy), there are other digital tactics for those who don’t want to deal with managing inventory or shipping hassle- just know that they’ll need targeted traffic before anything else! Next up: how best practices will help early months go by faster -and more profitably–without any effort at all.
Marketing Your eCommerce Website
You’ve already established yourself as an expert, and you’re well on your way to a few sales. Now is the time to get serious about marketing your business. The internet has a lot of room, and you’re up against some tough competition. You won’t be able to reach people if you don’t make an effort to put your website in front of them. To be successful, you must invest in building awareness for your eCommerce store throughout the world.
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a popular method for boosting the search engine optimization (SEO) authority of your website, obtaining more relevant visitors, and establishing trust with your target audience. Content marketing needs a significant investment of time and money, but it’s an effective approach to increase your company’s online reputation.
Content marketing covers a variety of topics and forms, which include:
- Blog posts – A blog is a fantastic way to start your content marketing journey. By posting frequently and talking about topics that are essential to those you want to reach, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an authority figure.
- Longform content – By publishing longform content to your website, you can improve your SEO or use it as a lead generation tool. If your audience thinks what you’ve made is valuable enough that they’re willing to trade their contact information for it, that’s an excellent way increase the size of your email list and identify potential customers.
- Videos – In today’s age, people frequently get their information from YouTube videos. If you want to appeal to this type of consumer, create video tutorials or educational videos on topics they’re interested in.
- Audio content – Although podcasts have become increasingly popular in recent years, they are still underused by many brands. Consider whether your target audience is likely to listen to podcasts and how you could provide value to them through this medium.
- Visual content – Infographics and high-resolution pictures can be used to either augment or stand alone as standalone content.
It may take weeks or months for content marketing to pay off, but if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s a fantastic method to develop an audience of followers who are passionate about your brand. And over time, it will help to improve how visible you are in your field and in search engines.
2. Social Media Marketing
Using social media to promote your business may help you increase brand recognition while also directing traffic back to your eCommerce site. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest are some of the greatest platforms for growing your audience and advertising your items if you’re an eCommerce company. Instagram will allow you to show off your goods while also explaining how they’re used. And Pinterest allows you to create and share content relevant to your niche that can be used to send targeted visitors back to your store.
Facebook and Twitter are better for developing your community and promoting your material. You can utilize them to connect with industry leaders, interact with members of the community that is talking about your field, and directly reach out to your audience. Facebook groups and Twitter chats may also help you build a better community. Negative tweets are useful for learning how to make your items better. Positive tweets have a lot of social proof behind them.
How to market your ecommerce store on Facebook
Facebook is a highly adaptable network that allows you to contact and engage your target audiences in a variety of ways. You may also develop a Facebook Business page to advertise company information, evaluations, photographs, news, and more. On Tory Burch’s Page, for example, there is a “Shop Now” call to action.
You may also interact with your customers on Facebook in the real world. Many businesses are leveraging Facebook Messenger and chatbots to engage consumers via instant messaging. For example, Sephora has a chatbot that may book consultations as well as handle customer service complaints.
Facebook also has a great ad platform that allows you to target specific demographics so you can reach and acquire new customers. The platform offers several advertising products, such as:
- Carousel (Lets you show up to 10 images or videos in a single ad)
- Facebook Pixel (Allows you to measure ad activity and conversions)
- Custom Audiences (For reaching your customers and contacts on Facebook)
- Lookalike Audiences (For finding people similar to your customers and contacts)
- Website Conversion (To Get people to take action on your site)
- Canvas (Lets you use the full screen to showcase your messaging)
- Collection (Lets you display products and get shoppers to purchase)
If you have a large budget, look into these ad products and see whether they can be used in your advertising strategy.
How to market your ecommerce store on Instagram
With its wealth of visuals, Instagram is the perfect place to share snaps and footage related to your business and products. By using Instagram, you can:
- show off your products
- tell (visual) stories
- communicate with customers
For example, Kip&Co based in Melbourne says that social media networks play a pivotal role in their marketing scheme. The company specializes in bedding and homeware for kids and adults.
“Instagram is a vital part of our online business,” the founders told Instagram. “It’s how we promote new products and sales, reach new audiences, collaborate with other artists, and communicate with customers. We love using Instagram insights to learn what content performs best and what prints resonate most with our customers.”
Another excellent approach to make the most of Instagram is to post Stories. You won’t have the same opportunity to meet your consumers in person as an ecommerce-only shop, so you’ll want to utilize technology that allows you connect with your audience beyond photos or words on a page. Instagram Stories can assist you with this. Stories allow you to give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your company and operations, which helps build stronger connections between you and your target customers.
Demeter Ceramicas, a Brazilian ceramics firm led by Ana Franco Demeter, is another company that does this well. Ana says that businesses should take advantage of Stories to display “the public your creative process.” According to Ana, 80 percent of her sales come from her Instagram account, and she achieves those results through strong photographs and appealing Stories.
How to market your ecommerce store on Pinterest
Pinterest, when utilized correctly, may generate a large amount of traffic to your site. In fact, Shopify claims that Pinterest is the second most important source of social media traffic to Shopify stores overall. So, how can you make good use of this network? The first step is to pin attractive photos of your items. You’ll be able to show off your goods on your Pinterest account and offer followers an opportunity to re-pin them.
The “Pin It” button allows your website visitors to pin your products, which could lead to sales. In addition, you should use Pinterest for inspiration and ideas. If you are in the business of selling apparel items, post images that would give people outfit ideas. Are you selling furniture? Post pins of beautiful spaces that inspire home redesign projects.
On its Pinterest account, for example, Lowe’s exhibits that it understands what customers want. The homeware store has Pinterest Boards such as “Bathroom Inspiration” and “A Kitchen to Dine For,” which are chock-full of stunning pictures that individuals may use in their own home renovations.
How to market your ecommerce store on Twitter
Despite the fact that it is not as visually appealing as the aforementioned social networks, when utilized correctly, it may still provide a lot of value. nnTwitter allows you to quickly engage with consumers and industry peers. Many e-tailers are using it to respond to consumer issues online (or at least point them in the proper direction.) nnSeveral companies have begun utilizing Twitter to get fast answers from their followers. Amazon used Twitter Polls to determine what topics their customers would like them to discuss during CES, as seen here.
3. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing can be a great way to build an eCommerce store. You reach out to influencers (usually on social media) and ask them to promote your brand or product to their audience.
You can do paid shoutouts, but you might also be able to find accounts who will mention you for free in exchange for your product. Influencer marketing is based on the idea that these people have already built a loyal following, so your product gains exposure and trustworthiness by association.
There are many ways to increase your website’s ranking on search engines, but it can be boiled down to one main goal: making sure the algorithms that control these rankings see your site as an authority. In other words, SEO is all about improving your chances of appearing on the first page of Google – and other popular search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
The following are the most important steps in terms of SEO:
- Keyword research – This is a vital stage to start with because it’s the foundation of all SEO. All of SEO is built on identifying the keywords you want to rank for, so this is an essential first step. Use SEO tools to discover what terms your target audience uses when looking for information online.
- On-site optimization – This stage entails checking to see whether your website functions properly on all important technical levels, such as being quick to load. It also means making sure that each page is optimized for the keyword you’ve chosen.
- Content marketing – By generating a lot of keyword-centric, helpful content, you can improve your website ranking on search engines.
- Link building – The link index is a metric that shows how valuable other people believe your website to be. As a result, they are an important ranking determinant. Link development entails encouraging others to link to your site.
5. Email marketing
Email marketing is a great way to keep in touch with your customer base and it can help you earn new customers. Plus, when they come back again there’s always something interesting on the site for them!
6. PPC advertising
If you want to start driving traffic immediately, adding paid advertising methods on top of all the other work we’ve described so far will help with that. With PPC (pay-per click) ad campaigns, your budget is set for success; target audiences and keywords relevant only in relation to what they’re seeking online–and design ads using copy or images most likely appeal directly at them! PPC campaigns, on the other hand, generate a lot of data that will help you figure out what your consumers respond to and improve your marketing efforts over time.
Analyzing Website Performance
Over time, you need to figure out how customers arrive at your store, such as via search engines, advertising campaigns, or links from other sites. It’s also useful to understand which search terms people use to find your site and the top pages they are most likely to visit.
There are plenty of website analytics tools you can use to collect data, both paid and free. Google Analytics is one of the most popular among small business owners, and you can learn how to make use of it to drive up website traffic. There are also tons of enhanced analytics tools available in Google Analytics that can help optimize your ecommerce sales. Watch this video for a breakdown of the basics.
Investing time and effort into marketing will pay off by helping you reach more people with the right message at just when they are looking for it. Be sure to carefully optimize every page, because even small changes can make a big difference in conversions! You should also use tools like Google Analytics so that we know which areas of our site might need some work – after all no one wants an leaky sales funnel full stop
You’ll need to install an ad pixel on your ecommerce website to track your ad campaigns in Google Analytics, Facebook, or Instagram Ads. It’s a tiny snippet of code that you add to your site to track consumer sales conversions, assist you optimize your advertising efforts, and enable you to re-target a customer after they’ve seen one of your ads on a specific site within an ad network or social media platform. Here’s a rundown from Facebook so you can do it yourself if necessary.
Customer ratings and reviews
Consumers place greater trust in the sentiments, feelings, and viewpoints of their peers than they do corporate advertising or promotional messaging. To put it another way, customer product reviews and genuinely favorable comments are like free promotional pixie dust for your online store’s marketing plan. Check out our comprehensive handbook, including case studies, to discover how you can use positive reviews and ratings to your ecommerce business’s full potential.
You can also give bloggers in your niche a complimentary sample of your product in return for reviews. If you’re selling products on Amazon, one simple way to get consumer respect and confidence (and reviews) is by asking for feedback. With each product, include a card that requests an honest review and has information on how the customer can contact your company (email should suffice, unless you have a separate customer service phone line).
How much does it cost to start an ecommerce business?
Start an Ecommerce Business For as little $100, you can create your own store and sell products. You will not need to pay for licenses or permits which saves money in the long run – plus there’s no rent!
Many small business owners and ecommerce entrepreneurs start their businesses on a shoestring budget. We conducted a survey of 150 entrepreneurs and 300 small company owners in the United States to get a better sense of upfront expenses. According to our study, first-year business expenditures for new ecommerce store owners might range from $40,000 to $60,000, which is paid back later through profit margins.
The expense categories are as follows:
- Product: raw materials, inventory, supplier, manufacturing, patents, etc.
- Operating: incorporation/legal fees, additional software, business insurance, accounting, etc.
- Online store: website/platform subscription, hosting/domain, contract developer/designer, etc.
- Shipping: packaging, labels, etc.
- Offline: stall/table fees, rent, gas, etc.
- Team/staff: salaries, benefits, perks, etc.
- Marketing: logo, branding, ads, printed materials, business cards, etc.
In the first year, business owners spent:
- 11% on operating costs
- 10.3% on marketing costs
- 9% on online costs
- 31.6% on product costs
- 8.7% on shipping costs
- 18.8% on team costs
- 10.5% on offline costs
This isn’t to say that you’ll spend $40,000 launching your ecommerce site. The cost of opening a firm in a certain sector and with particular ecommerce business model changed drastically throughout the first year, depending on whether it had employees and if it was a full-time job.
Many individuals think they need a large sum of money saved up to start their own ecommerce business, but that’s not the case. According to our recent survey, 66% of entrepreneurs use their personal savings as startup funding (respondents could choose more than one funding source). Other notable sources included financial support from friends and family (23%) and personal loans (21%).
Tips for starting an ecommerce store
Creating an ecommerce business is exciting. Whether you’re starting your first or fifth one, keep the following ideas in mind:
- Forget about year one profitability
- Know your target audience
- Sell an in-demand product
- Experiment with marketing and advertising
- Invest in outreach and link building
Forget about year one profitability
Keep in mind that ecommerce businesses take time to grow. You can’t expect your company to be profitable within the first year; instead, give yourself 1-2 years for your business to get going. During this initial period, use the budget guidelines provided above to test different strategies and reinvest sales back into your business.
Know your target audience
Outside of creating or acquiring items, you’ll spend the majority of your time attempting to attract consumers’ attention. What’s the issue? You want to get your goods in front of the right people: those who will make a purchase on your site. It’s possible to contact them faster and sell more by getting to know them, also known as your target audience.
Sell an in-demand product
Create or sell a fantastic product with demonstrated market demand. Take a look at today’s top retailers—Allbirds, Tushy, and Bombas—and you’ll notice that they all sell high-end goods. “Product quality is critical because a great product sells itself,” says Eric Even Haim, CEO of ReConvert, an upsell and cross-sell software. “Your marketing becomes 10 times easier when you combine a great product with an audience eager for it.”
“Look for growing trends and markets where customers are underserved,” says Eric. “Then step in with an excellent product and give them what they want!”
There are a few locations where you can look for market demand:
- Google Trends, is a tool where you can research popular topics people are searching for.
- Trends.co, which mines data to anticipate and identify industry trends before they become widespread.
Marketing becomes a walk in the park when you have a great product and an audience who is dying to get their hands on it.
Experiment with marketing and advertising
It’s beneficial to market your new business after its launch. You’ll want to employ different marketing strategies to comprehend where your target responds best to your content. Try out various online marketing techniques like:
- Affiliate marketing
- Instagram ads
- Website pop-ups
- Checkout upsells and cross-sells
- Organic search
- Content marketing
- Loyalty programs
“How successful you are depends on the ability to test, analyze, and experiment with your ad and marketing ideas,” says Stephen Light, CMO and co-owner of Nolah. “The easiest way to avoid falling into any preconceptions about your target audience that might backfire rather than help you is to Experimentation.”
“Especially when you’re just starting out,” advises Stephen. Make better campaigns that attract visitors and money by using the data you gather. “Plus, optimizing your ad campaigns and tracking how your consumer base responds to them may help you customize your website’s features.”
Assumptions are dangerous and can be easy to make when you think you know your audience well. However, the best way to avoid any negative consequences is through experimentation.
Invest in outreach and link building
One of the best ways to get into Google’s good books is by building quality links. “The sooner you have an approach in place for link-building, and driving authority into your site,” says James Taylor from UK based SEO consultants firm Prime Places.” Search engines see these incoming pages as a vote towards trusting our website with their rankings – so we should make sure there are plenty coming back!
James says that new ecommerce store owners and marketers should invest in digital PR campaigns early on. This sets the stage for long-term SEO success, so you can rank higher Google Search Results Page (SERP), earn more organic traffic from people who are looking specifically at your product or service offerings online; as well make sales right off of bat!
As exciting as it may be, building your own ecommerce business is also difficult. You’ll learn a lot about selecting a product, assessing its viability, figuring out how to get it produced, creating an ecommerce website, and marketing and selling to new consumers in a short period of time. It might feel like you’re trying to solve a head scratcher of a puzzle, but it’s still enjoyable.
Starting an ecommerce business FAQ :
How to Start an Ecommerce Business Without Money?
If you’re looking to start an ecommerce business, it’ll cost you a couple hundred dollars at the very least. This is because you have to build an online store, market your product, and grow your brand recognition. Granted, there are ways around this—such as dropshipping or funded programs like Shopify Capital—but they come with their own set of pros and cons that cheapen the whole experience.
How do I start an ecommerce business?
Finding out what items you want to sell or can get for free, registering a business name, submitting papers with the government, obtaining permits and licenses, selecting an ecommerce software and configuring your website, uploading products onto the site, launching it, and beginning to promote your company are all necessary tasks.
What are the 4 types of ecommerce businesses?
- Business to consumer (B2C): When you sell a product or service to a single customer (for example, you buy a coat from an online store).
- Business to business (B2B): When you sell a product or service to someone else (for example, a company sells wholesale items to another company that may use them).
- Consumer to consumer (C2C): When you sell a product or service to another person (for example, on Facebook Marketplace).
- Consumer to business (C2B): When you offer a business exposure to their target market in exchange for payment, this is called selling products or services.
Is ecommerce a profitable business?
Yes, the ecommerce industry is profitable. Successfully starting an e-tailer can take 18 to 24 months for your business’ profits become evident – that’s why we recommend not measuring success based on net income in year one!
Is it hard to start your own ecommerce business?
No, launching an ecommerce firm is simple; platforms like Shopify allow businesses to go online in a couple of days. To enhance your business, you must put out effort and conduct regular market study. Before you open a shop, please read all of our how-tos for starting a business.
What can I sell online to make money?
The best way to make money selling online is to focus on an item, service, or niche that you are knowledgeable about. This could be anything from jewelry to beauty products to apparel. By focusing on something you have personal expertise in, you will be able sell your products at a higher margin and make more profits. However, keep in mind that there will always be a lot of competition when selling items in popular categories such as these.
How Do I Source Products to Sell on My Online Store?
Starting a dropshipping business is easy because you don’t have to manage production, inventory, and shipping costs. If you’d rather create your own products, consider private labeling instead. You’ll be in charge of every detail from the beginning to end.
Can I start an online store without inventory?
You can start your own online store without having any inventory by using the dropshipping business model. Dropshipers are in between retailers and suppliers, so you don’t need to worry about stocked products or Overstock items that may be sold out elsewhere–you just take orders from customers through an intermediary like Amazon who will then ship them directly onto shelves at home! There’s also another possible way for new entrepreneurs; create a one-time “on demand” service where they advertise what people want before delivery.
What Is the Best eCommerce Platform?
If you need help finding the best eCommerce platform for your business, look no further! Our article outlines different sets of tools that each platform offers to streamline your website development process.
Is Starting an Ecommerce Business Worth It?
Starting an ecommerce business is difficult, but it’s also fascinating. It’s entirely possible to set up any sort of niche business if you are passionate about what you’re doing and have patience. You will need to take several risks and make a few adjustments along the way, but you must trust your instincts and create a strategy as soon as feasible.
Welcome to your future
The most successful online company to start is one that has been carefully planned and implemented.
You’ve been given the framework to help you move forward. It’s now up to you to decide what kind of eCommerce company you want to start. Whatever form your new eCommerce business takes, you’re about to join an elite group of successful and resilient businesses.