You have an idea for a great online store, but how to start an ecommerce business? How much does it cost to set up an ecommerce business? And what are some of the steps involved?
Let’s walk through every step of setting up your own successful ecommerce business so that you can work towards making your start-up a success.
In this guide, I will cover what you should do first, how to build a website and the best ecommerce platform to use.
1) Starting an ecommerce business
Before you start an ecommerce business, think about what type of online storefront your new venture will be and how the store would serve customers.
Each online seller has their own strategy in choosing how to sell their goods and services through the internet.
More and more people shop online each year, and for a good reason. But if you’re serious about starting your own ecommerce business, you’ll need to know how to select a market that best suits the needs of what you’re selling.
If you want your business to succeed, it needs to have a clear target audience.
The process of defining your customer base is to unearth your target audience’s needs and find out what they want.
To identify who you are selling to, not just in terms of demographics but also psychographic: their values; how much money or time people have available each day (or week); where do these customers live? What kind of work schedule does this customer follow.
2) What will your ecommerce business sell?
There are three main kinds of things ecommerce businesses sell:
By understanding your intended customer and having some idea of what they want, you can start identifying what your ecommerce business will sell.
Physical products – what kind of clothes do they like? Do you know what their favourite colour is, or how tall/short are these customers? If your product has a size limit (e.g. clothing), it’s essential to understand the range people will be buying from and which sizes sell best for this customer base. If there isn’t much variation in height, then maybe only offer one type.
This could also apply with other physical items such as home decor; does everyone want something similar looking on display at all times because most homes have limited space. So selling lots of smaller things might work better than selling fewer large items.
Subscription services can make your business an easy source of recurring revenue. For example, if you’re selling a monthly magazine, it’s important to know how many people will be subscribing for the next 12 months and what they’ll want in their package (e.g. do some customers only subscribe every other month).
Digital products allow you to sell globally across borders, which means more people can buy your items.
Before you start an ecommerce business, your success is dependent on understanding what your customers want and need.
3) Should you hold your own inventory?
As a small business owner, holding inventory can be challenging. Instead of physically stocking your product yourself, consider outsourcing the process with services like Fulfilment by Amazon.
If your business has an international audience, it may make more sense for the product manufacturer or distributor in that country rather than shipping from one location internationally which could incur high costs of freight charges as well customs duties on top.
This will also help ensure customers receive their orders promptly without delays due to delivery times between countries. Wherever they’re located in the world – some will take weeks while others only days, so there’s no point holding stock if customers don’t live nearby when ordering online anyway.
You may have heard of the term drop-shipping, this is where the retailer doesn’t keep any stock, but instead, they purchase items from a third-party supplier and then send them to customers.
Dropshipping is often used by retailers who want more control over their inventory or need an extra layer of protection against frauds in case something goes wrong with orders before delivery. It’s also popular for businesses that don’t have enough capital start-up costs as you can get started without needing much money.
Another popular form of drop-shipping is the print-on-demand model is a great way to sell merchandise online. Teespring is one of the best examples of this type of ecommerce setup.
Running a dropshipping store doesn’t always make sense, especially if you can’t find reliable suppliers for your niche or if you plan to handcraft all your products.
4) Your competition is important
If you are entering a popular niche, you will have competition. It is important to know your competition and what they are doing well so you can make sure that if someone comes across one of the stores, it will be easy for them to decide which store has better products or prices.
If you find that you don’t have a competition, you need to ask yourself why.
However, if you are entering an already saturated niche, it might be worth considering another one with less competition and more potential for growth in the future.
Analyse what your competition is doing and why their customers enjoy shopping with them. If you can deconstruct their business model, you will be far more likely to understand how your competition has been successful.
The best businesses often have competition; it is healthy to have competition.
But you don’t need to pay attention only to your competition. You should also note traffic to related sites in your niche, as this could indicate whether your interest has narrow or universal appeal.
There are several tools you can use to do this. Google Analytics is one example, but there’s also Alexa and Google Trends, which will give more detailed information about the demographics that visit your competitors’ sites and their traffic sources (social media or search engine).
This data could help decide whether it would make sense in investing time into building up an ecommerce site with narrow appeal rather than focusing on something broader.
5) Selecting popular items that will sell
The next step in exploring your niche is to find out what your customers want and put it on your list. It’s also a good idea to add similar items or services too.
Before you start selling products, it’s crucial to find out what your customers want.
The first step is to find the top-selling items on Amazon or eBay and then try them for yourself; if you can’t afford them just yet, don’t worry. There are plenty of free trials available online that will allow you a chance at trying before you buy.
It is also a good idea to research which products have been trending in recent years. These may be worth stocking – they could even become popular again after falling off-trend, so it’s best not to overlook any potential opportunities here either.
The next thing to do when researching products to sell is to find similar services/products offered by other companies who are competing in similar niches where people might also consider buying your products.
This will help broaden your potential market and give you a better idea of what people are looking for in your niche.
6) Your own ecommerce business website
To create an ecommerce website that sells your products, you’ll need a WordPress WooCommerce web design company like Sanders Design to help set up your site from scratch. The cost of a professionally designed website for your starts from £2500. This includes the design, setup and training.
While you may be tempted to just put up a basic site with some text and links, this is not the best idea to build a professional, trustworthy image for your new business.
The first thing you need for your website is high-quality images of all products on offer so that potential customers can see what they’re getting before making any purchases. Its important people know exactly how much products cost, feel confident about purchasing from your website and enjoy a positive experience with your new business through the entire process.
This means taking photos or using stock photography if necessary. You’ll also want product descriptions that should include details about size/colour etc. Other information covering such things as delivery costs and timeframes. Make sure there aren’t too many unanswered questions left by visitors who may then go elsewhere instead because something wasn’t clear on your website.
7) Ecommerce website SEO
Having an attractive brand image and website will get you started on the right footing, but it’s crucial to think about your SEO strategy too.
A good place for beginners is Google Adwords, which allows you to set a budget and then bid on keywords relevant to how much they cost per click (CPC).
You can also use this platform as an effective way to find out what people search the most when looking at ecommerce websites like yours. So if there aren’t any other competitors bidding or advertising around these terms yet, then now might be worth considering doing some research into them.
Having a long-term SEO plan alongside your PPC campaigns will help you to build a robust online presence and make sure that your website is easy for potential customers to find.
Search engine optimisation should be considered core to your online marketing strategy.
The key to a successful ecommerce business is having the right balance of SEO, PPC and social media marketing campaigns alongside your content-driven strategies like blogging or video production for you to get found by potential customers when they search online. So it’s important that these are all considered as part of an integrated digital campaign plan from day one.
8) Customer reviews
Building customer loyalty and showcasing your reviews is a great way to increase your conversion rate.
Reviews are an excellent opportunity for you and the customer, as they can help build trust in what it is that you’re selling by giving potential customers an insight into how other people feel about your products. Make sure this section of content on every page for maximum impact.
It’s also worth noting here just some tips when asking for reviews: always ask politely; never offer incentives like discounts unless asked first (and even then only if appropriate), and don’t be pushy with follow-up emails.
Try not to bombard reviewers after submitting review requests either because these will come across poorly online, which may lead readers away rather than purchasing items through our site.
Starting your own ecommerce business is rewarding, but it also requires plenty of hard work and dedication. To ensure long-term success both for yourself personally and professionally, you need to make time for self-care in addition to work.
In today’s digital world, entrepreneurs have more options than ever to start their own ecommerce business. The best news is that it’s never been easier to start your own ecommerce business.
The first step is deciding on a product or service that you want to sell online and then finding the right platforms from which to do so – this could be an existing website like eBay or taking complete control of your online brand with WordPress WooCommerce.
Whether you are new to the world of ecommerce and wondering how to make online sales a reality; or have an established business and looking for ways to expand sales and increase your reach.