Whether a small business or a big brand, you cannot miss out on the opportunities the digital platform offers. An eCommerce store is more flexible for customers and an excellent way to get loyal customers. However, starting an eCommerce website can be complex and highly challenging. This guide will explain how you can get your eCommerce store running in no time.
Step 1: Research Different Ecommerce Models
Researching the models and eCommerce trends is one of the first steps you must take. Take your time to understand the different aspects involved in the process. Depending on your target market, there can be different business models and structures. For instance, B2B eCommerce, B2C eCommerce, or Government/ Public administration eCommerce. Before you decide on the products you wish to sell, you must understand the business models. Here are the five types of business revenue models:
- Dropshipping – It is the easiest way to start an eCommerce website and generate profits without investing heavily. You will not have to maintain the stock and inventory in this retail method. Everything is on the supplier. You can generate profits by directly selling it to your customers.
- Wholesaling or warehousing – You will require a lot of initial investment for this eCommerce model. If you can maintain a warehouse full of goodies and have initial funding, you should check this out. Another option could be to push products to big eCommerce stores and earn profits.
- Private labeling and Manufacturing – You can get your original products manufactured or produced by renowned companies. Different companies work on a contract basis and may provide you with the required facilities.
- White Labeling – Multiple service-based companies offer white-labeling solutions and allow clients to rebrand their products. With this model, you may be able to sell a product under your brand name.
- Subscription – In this model, the customers can subscribe to avail of specific products or services on a recurring basis. It is an effective way to increase your loyal customer base.
Step 2: Look for a Niche
There are eCommerce websites that have dozens of categories and no clear focus. Remember, you cannot be the next Amazon or marketplace. You will require a lot of budget and capital to reach that point. Therefore, you should research well and narrow down the categories and types of products you will cater to. Choosing your products and niche is one of the most significant steps when it comes to starting a business. The more specific and focused you are, the less competition you will face.
Step 3: Find your Ideal Target Audience
Think about your potential clients and customers. It is necessary to focus and determine your target audience to help you design the marketing campaign. You will also understand the demographics and psychographics of your target audience, which will help you make your product more focused. If you are not sure of any business idea, you can start with affiliate marketing. It will give you a boost and help you identify the potential of your industry.
Step 4: Register your Business Name and Get the Required Licenses
If you want to start a successful business, you will have to select a name that resonates with your target audience. Get your name registered and ensure that the name is unique. There are legal protections and tax benefits associated with getting your business name registered. Make sure you do not skip this step. You should also apply for the required licenses depending on the state, county, city, and industry. Individuals dealing with alcoholic beverages, salons, restaurants, firearms, and other such departments will require special permits. You must note that these permits can take time to get approved. You may consult a reputed professional for assistance related to these permits.
Step 5: Choose the Right Legal Structure
You can choose to start on your own as a sole proprietor or can begin with a partner. The other two methods to start a business entity could be an LLC or a corporation. Make sure you choose the structure very carefully, as it could have an impact on the overall functioning of your business. Consult a business attorney to understand each structure's tax and drawbacks.
Step 6: Apply for EIN and Open a Business Account
The Employer Identification Number or EIN is a unique number assigned to businesses that help in tax reporting. You can apply for it via the IRS website. It will also be required for opening a business bank account. Therefore, you must apply for this at the earliest possible to keep track of all your finances.
Step 7: Find the Right Vendors
You will also be required to connect with vendors for packaging, distribution, and shipping. You will have to face a lot of competition online. Therefore, it would be best to communicate with different vendors. Make a list of suppliers and choose the one that fits your budget and needs. Do not go over the budget.
Step 8: Create a Business Plan
A business plan is the roadmap and will provide you with the right direction. Make sure you focus on writing a detailed business plan. Check the formats online to understand what is necessary for a business plan. You must have a clear understanding and goals related to finances, inventory, stock management, marketing, and employee management. You will have to present your business plan to get approval if you are seeking funding. The shareholders and stockholders will review the business plan to determine if your business meets the standards.
Step 9: Create your Website
Register your domain name and start working on your website. Make sure that your domain name has a relevant URL. There are several eCommerce website builders that you can choose from. Here are a few of them:
All these platforms provide a ton of features that will make it easier for you to create your online store. These platforms offer different plans. You can choose the one that fits your needs and budget. While choosing the website builder, you must also take a look at the speed it offers. Check whether it is mobile-friendly or can be used on another browser. All these factors play a significant role and can impact the customer experience.
Step 10: Focus on Branding
When building your website, you can never compromise on branding. From the right colors to schemes, and visual elements and images, make sure everything is in alignment. Focus on creating a memorable and relevant logo for your brand. Use the same texts and make your website easier to navigate. Make it visually appealing and convenient to use.
Step 11: List the Products
After you have created your website, start listing down the products. Focus on writing compelling product descriptions. Make sure you include all the necessary details related to the products. Include a FAQ section on the website to help customers understand your brand.
Step 12: Integrate the Right Payment Gateway
There are multiple payment gateway operators with different facilities. Check the reviews and integrate the right one into your platform. Besides this, you should try to offer various payment options so that your customers can choose conveniently.
Step 13: Attract Customers to Your Website
Create marketing campaigns and work on SEO to increase your reach. After working on all the desired changes, it is time to attract your first customer. Have a proper plan on how you will reach your first customer. Ask your friends and family members to help you create awareness. Use different platforms to increase your reach. Look for other ways through which you can drive traffic to your website and increase the customer base.
Step 14: Analyze and Evaluate Website Performance
Check if the visitors are buying from your site or not. If they are not buying, try to evaluate your site's performance. There could be multiple reasons why the visitors may be leaving your site. Look for speed, content, customer service, payment options, and other factors. See how your campaigns are performing and try to incorporate the necessary changes. Do A/B testing for your marketing campaigns to make them more relevant.
Step 15: Offer Excellent Customer Service
An online store does not mean that you do not have to look after your customers. Try to include a live chat option or answer all the common questions in the FAQ section. You may even consider sending emails and reminders to customers who left the cart empty. Use social media channels to connect with your audience and offer excellent customer service.
Ready to Start Your Ecommerce Store?
We hope our comprehensive guide answers all your concerns and helps you start your eCommerce store. Take your time and go through each step carefully. Do not try to rush the process. We have provided all the necessary information that you must keep in mind to set the foundation and launch a profitable eCommerce business.