How to start an eCommerce business: a simple step by step guide to help you start an eCommerce business.
Ecommerce or electronic commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet. Electronic retailing (e-tailing) is a word that refers to the sale of goods conducted by business-to-consumer (B2C) and transactions that take place over the Internet.
According to statista, the revenue from Electronic retailing is projected to grow to 4.88 trillion US dollars in 2021 and over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online.
Ecommerce is a worldwide phenomenon. Below is the e-commerce regional markets rank (source Shopify )
Asia: $831.7 billion
North America: $552.6 billion
Europe: $346.5 billion
Australia: $18.6 billion
Africa and the Middle East: $18.6 billion
South America: $17.7 billion
how to start an ecommerce business online
follow the following simple guide to start your ecommerce business.
- Step 1: Find the best niche to start your eCommerce business.
- Step 2: Select your ecommerce business model
- Step 3: Personas and Product Selection
- Step 4: Launch your Ecommerce Business & build your Brand
- Step 5: always look for The Right Vendors and negotiate
- Step 6: Create Your Online ecommerce Store
- Step 7: marketing
Step 1: Find the best niche to start your eCommerce business.
Choosing your niche is the most important step in opening your online business. Unless you have a huge budget, you shouldn’t go after a broad niche. You can’t compete with ecommerce giants like amazon with a small budget.
Selecting a narrow niche is key to run a profitable ecommerce store. When you select your niche, you need to skip any niches dominated by big brand and don’t pick a very crowded niche.
If your ideal niche has this problem you can niche down further and do your research if the sub-niche is profitable.
Niches with no competition could mean there is no demand for that niche.it is less risky to go after niches with competition than no competition.
To pick your ideal niche you can use Google keyword research tools. List a number of your ideal product categories with a minimum of 1000 keywords search volume. Focus on niches that do well on social media, where most of the publishers are an affiliate on Amazon. This way you can use affiliate opportunities to make a profit.
If your ecommerce site target countries outside North America especially countries where ecommerce competition is not high, your niche selection process is totally different. you can go after more broad niches and target a broad segment of the population.
Step 2: Select your ecommerce business model
Before you launch your ecommerce business you have to understand the different business model available and determine which one fit for you.
Based on the inventory management and sourcing of the products, the ecommerce business model can be classified in to:
Dropshipping business model involves partnering with a wholesale supplier who stocks your inventory and delivers the goods on behalf of you. All you have to do is set up a platform listing the products for sale and take care of the marketing.
Wholesaling and Warehousing
Operating a wholesaling and warehousing ecommerce business model is relatively not complicated as dropshipping. However, it requires more investment and supervision.
This business model involves renting or owning a warehouse and shipping your products to the warehouse first then shipping to the customers .this business model work for products with guaranteed demand.
White-labeling and manufacturing
This business model involves outsourcing the manufacturing process but you put your name as a manufacturer on the label of the product. This model suits business who can’t afford to invest in manufacturing. This business model can be profitable since you are going to use the already established infrastructure and control aspect of the product. However, you need a product idea and you have to find a manufacturer that fit your interest.
If you are with a limited budget then the dropshipping business model is a better fit for you, than the wholesaling and warehousing ecommerce business model. Since you don’t have to invest at the start.in drop shipping business model there is no inventory and product management cost. Actually, you don’t even have to touch the product.
The white-labeling and manufacturing ecommerce business model are for people who are willing to invest upfront. Who may want to sell products under their own brand or who may want to white label products or manufacture.
If you go with wholesaling and warehousing business model you need to invest in renting a warehouse and inventory management. Most people interested in this business model are people who want to sell a single product category utilizing affiliate marketing and other marketing strategies.
Step 3: Personas and Product Selection
After selecting a niche and your business model. The next step is to think about your persona. You need a consistent brand image that starts with your brand name. You should answer the following question in a consistent way. Who are you? What does your store represent? Who is your ideal customer? The persona or identity of your store must match the expectation of your customer.
When it comes to product selection it is wise to test the products before you invest. You can use affiliate marketing to test if the product is hot. For example, if you are interested in selling toys you can create content targeting toys and use the amazon affiliate program to test the water before you jump.
Step 4: Launch your Ecommerce Business & build your Brand
After you select your product and identified your persona you should choose a unique business name and register your business.
You should also get your business license and employer identification number. The process may differ based on your country and state. Consulting a knowledgeable local lawyer may help you to set up everything right. But you don’t need that, reading local guides about registering a business in your locality could be enough.
Then you have to get your logo designed. The designer should keep the design consistent with your brand.
Step 5: always look for The Right Vendors and negotiate
Without a doubt, there will always be a competition.so it’s your duty to find the best quality and best prices for the product you sell or material that you use as a raw material to create your product. You are expected to negotiate with your venders to secure more profit.
Step 6: Create Your Online ecommerce Store
After registering your business you need a domain name and redirect URLs that might be relevant to you.
You don’t need to build your own ecommerce software to create your store. There are plenty of platforms that you can use. To select the one that fits your need you may consider loading speed, feature, compatibility with your business structure, compatibility with payment gateways, SEO friendly ness, and your developer skill.
To make things simple you may use one of the popular ecommerce software like bigcomerece, Shopify or woocommerce and this software have their own free and paid theme which you can use to build your store without coding skill.
Step 7: marketing
You can’t expect people to come and buy your product without you doing the marketing. Your first step when you think marketing should be to set up your email automation and start building an email list.
Place an opt-in and give away free stuff by running a competition to collect leads and build an email list. collect email from the first day you launch your business. Provide customers with coupon and content through your email.
Based on reports from Salesforce and Regalix email marketing has an average ROI of 3,800% for every dollar invested.which is for every $1 you spent you get $38. And, 89% of marketers prefer email marketing as their top automaton feature. this means email marketing should be one of your top ecommerce marketing strategy.
The other way to market your product is using affiliate marketers. You can use affiliate networks like jvzoo, Clickbank and etc.
To promote your products use a giveaway tactic to get traffic and subscribers quickly. Giveaways have the added benefit of increasing your brand presence and product visibility.
Optimize your store for search engine. Wolfgang Digital reported 43% of ecommerce traffic comes from organic google search and 26% comes from Google AdWords.this stat clearly shows SEO strategies that let your store stand out in google search are very important for successful marketing.
The other advantage of SEO is demonstrated by Omnicore Agency report.it says SEO has a 14.6% conversion rate compared to 1.7% for traditional outbound marketing methods like cold calling or direct mailing. however cold calling and cold-emailing might be necessary in some cases.
it could be tough to compete and win ecommerce giants like amazon but with the right strategy and good marketing tactics, there are still lots of opportunities to tap into the multibillion-dollar ecommerce world.