How to start an ecommerce business? This is the first question for anyone looking to start an ecommerce business.
Ecommerce business is the most popular business among online business. This business is expanding all over the world due to its popularity. Statistics shows that this trend will be continued till 2023.
The Covid-19 pandemic also plays a vital role to grow this business. Most people are now accustomed to shopping at home. They don’t want to waste time and energy for shopping.
Starting an ecommerce business is not a difficult task. First of all, you need to select products that you want to sell. You have to decide in advance whether you will sell online, wholesale, or direct-to-consumer. Then create a professional eye-catching website where all your products will be displayed. After this you have go through some other important steps. I have discussed them in detail below.
7 Steps to Start an E-commerce Business
- Conducting a Market Analysis
- Choose Your Niche
- Define Your Target Market
- Select your business name and prepare documents
- Manage your ecommerce platform
- Launch your business
- Market Your Business through various means
1. Conducting a Market Analysis
It is very important to analyze the market related to that business before outset any business. Because if you start a business without analyzing the market, that business is more likely to fail. Suppose you have started a restaurant business. If you launch this business without analyzing the market, will you be able to make a profit? Of course not. You set up a restaurant in such a place; there may be popular restaurant next to it. It is seen that most of the gluttonies in this area go to that restaurant for lunch or dinner. Then you may be forced to close your restaurant.
Similarly, before starting an ecommerce business, you need to have a very good knowledge of the ecommerce market. You must research the market size of the product you are going to start the business with or the demand among the customers. It is necessary to figure out real competitors and their market share. Try to find out your actual capacity. IF you can poach some of the market portion then moves forward.
Are you a manufacturer or supplier? If you are a manufacturer, evaluate your production capacity. Suppose you started ecommerce business and you are getting a lot of orders from your customers. If you can’t deliver the product as per the demand of the customers then you will lose customers. And if you are a supplier, you have to make sure that the source of the product is uninterrupted. So that the products can be supplied as per the demand of the customers.
Defining cost structure is another essential factor in market analysis. After adding product cost and shipping cost can you make a profit? Think about this.
Find out how much capital is needed to commence a business. Is it enough to conduct your business? If answer is yes, then go ahead.
At last crate a business plan that will work as a roadmap of your business.
2. Choose Your Niche
Niche selection is very important for any business. If you are a blogger and making money from blog then you know how important niche is.
This is even more important for you if you are not a big investor. Because small businesses have less ability to invest. So if small traders start ecommerce business without choosing the right niche then they may face loss.
What kind of product do you have a very good idea about? You can only succeed if you start a business with a product that you are very familiar.
Suppose you want to do business with garments products. Then you need to have good knowledge about where garments products are produced, who are the suppliers of these products, how they deal with customers, what is the market size of this product etc.
Choosing the right niche will keep you one step ahead in ecommerce business.
3. Define Your Target Market
It is a very important step in commencing an ecommerce business. Because you can’t be successful in business if you don’t find out who your real customers are.
After analyzing the market and selecting niche you need to identify the target market. Identifying target market is not a tough task. You can easily find out with a little research.
To define the target market you need to find the ideal customer. Segment your customer on the basis of their age, location, gender and character. You need to know what kind of product they like and what kind of product they dislike.
There are many dormant customers who can be your target customers. You have to figure out these customers and induce them to buy your products. They may not respond directly but gradually the can be converted into your loyal customers.
4. Select Your Business Name and Prepare Documents
Now you need to select a name for the ecommerce business. Choosing a name that is relevant to the business will take you one step further in ecommerce business. The Name must be unique. Select a relevant name so that people can get an idea about the business by looking at the names. Customers will also get an initial idea of what kind of product you supply.
You need a domain for your business. The Domain name has a relationship with the business name. So prior choosing your business name, you must check if the domain of that name is available. If you see that the domain of your proposed business name is already registered, you need to consider another name.
After selecting the name, you need to prepare the necessary documents to start the ecommerce business. What kind of documentation you need will depend on whether your business is a sole proprietorship, partnership business or Corporation. You must have a business license to conduct ecommerce business.
5. Manage Your Ecommerce Platform
Once you get a license to start an ecommerce business, one of your main tasks is to manage ecommerce platform. To start an ecommerce business, you must have a website. All your products will be displayed on the website in such a way that customers can easily find their desired product.
If you are a big investor then build a warehouse and stock upfront more inventories. This allows you to deliver the product faster after receiving the customer’s order. And if you are a small investor, there is no need to stock, collect and deliver the product when you receive the order.
Choosing the right ecommerce platform is very important for ecommerce traders. The eCommerce platform will help you create online stores without hassle and run a business smoothly. Using these ecommerce platforms you can easily create an ecommerce store. There are tons of themes available for creating stores. You should use a theme that is compatible with your business.
However, before choosing an ecommerce platform, you need to consider a few things such as – their features, payment gateways, the structure of your business, terms and conditions of these platforms, store facilities, etc.
Today I will introduce you to some of the most popular ecommerce platforms. Millions of users are successfully managing their ecommerce business using these platforms.
Shopify is the most popular and most well-known ecommerce software. They offer an all-inclusive, user-friendly solution with a variety of add-ons. You can use this platform to build your store both online and offline. Shopify lets you to sell your products both online with your own website and/or in person with Shopify POS.
There are five Shopify plans available:
- Shopify Lite — $9/mo
- Basic Shopify — $29/mo
- Shopify — $79/mo
- Advanced Shopify — $299/mo
- Shopify Plus — negotiable, starting at $2000/mo
BigCommerce is another popular self hosted ecommerce solution where you can set up online store to conduct your ecommerce business. BigCommerce offer huge number of built-in sales features which helps you to boost your sales. They don’t charge any transaction fees for plan subscription. They also offer 15 days free trial.
There are four BigCommerce plans available –
- Standard – $29.95/mo
- Plus – 79.95/mo
- Pro – 299.95/mo
- Enterprise – Negotiable
WooCommerce is a open-source plugin that you can use on your wordpress site to start your ecommerce business. You can easily download this plugin. It has full range of ecommerce features.
Since WooCommerce is an open source plugin you will need some technical skills to take advantage of its various features. The cost of WooCommerce is customizable; you can control the cost if you wish.
6. Launch Your Business
At this stage you need to start your ecommerce business after managing the ecommerce platform.
To start your business, you have to source products. So you have to make an effort for product collection. How much you need to source depends on whether you sell wholesale or retail. If you want to do wholesale business, you will need a lot of inventory, and if you want to do retail business you will need a small amount of inventories.
You have already decided what kind of product you want to start a business with. You also decide whether you want to sell your own products or others. SO tries to follow your business plan.
Launching a business is the most complicated stage. Because at this stage investors face the real circumstances. Sometimes they are forced to change their plan for unforeseen incident. So at this point, traders should be very careful. They have to apply different strategies to drive their sales. They have to display products such a way that attract customers.
Product description is a very important matter for driving sales. Because through it customers get a full idea about products. So when you write your product description you should remember some factors.
- Write the details thinking about the target customer of the product you are going to sell.
- All the benefits of the product should be highlighted.
- Inform the customers about the source of the product.
- Production date and expiration date should be mentioned. (For perishable goods)
- Use natural language. Don’t exaggerate.
- Use some strong words to force customers to be attracted.
- Use multiple transparent images of the product.
7. Market Your Business Through Various Means
You already know how to start an ecommerce business. After completing all the process, your main job is to promote your business. In my opinion this step is the most important. Because I have seen that many businesses are not doing well due to lack of publicity. On the other hand, many traders are making a lot of money just because of ballyhoo. This should not be a problem for you to understand. You may be selling high quality products but your sales are not going as expected because the customer does not know about your quality products. So to boost your sales you have to market your products using different means.
First of all you should focus on the SEO of the website. Because with search Engine Optimization you will get a lot of organic traffic without advertising costs. But without using a SEO tool it is very difficult to track your performance. I always recommend Semrush because according to most marketers it is the best SEO tool in the world. So you can use this powerful SEO tool to increase website rank on search engine and drive more customers to your platform. Take a Trial and Get More Out of Semrush
Google ads are certainly a very effective marketing strategy. Because it is very difficult to get a place on the first page of search engine results without advertising. Google ads help to generate huge traffic.
Since Facebook is the largest social media in the world, the importance of Facebook marketing is immense. Through Facebook pages and groups you can easily promote your product to a huge customer.
There is no substitute for email marketing to communicate regularly with customers. This allows you to maintain regular contact with the customer at a very low cost. It also helps to get customer feedback about the service.
Here is a great solution! ShareASale is the largest affiliate network that has been doing business successfully for over 20 years. Your job is to open a merchant account and display your products and the rest is their responsibility. How will they promote your product? There are thousands of affiliate marketers who are promoting ShareASale’s merchant products through their blogs, social media, email marketing and paid advertising. So you don’t have to worry too much about selling your products.
Frequently Asked Questions About E-commerce
1. How much does it cost to start an ecommerce business?
I discussed above how to start an ecommerce business. Now the question that may come to your mind is how much does it cost to start an ecommerce business? The cost will depend on your needs. There are several factors that can increase your cost. If you want to create a high quality professional website and add multiple dynamic features then you have to spend more.
A Professionally-built eCommerce website can cost $5,000 to $10,000. But if you want to create a very simple website, it is possible to create with just $1000. This website may not be customer friendly. So I would say create a professional website with a good web developer so that customers are satisfied with your service. Thinking of a first class web developer? Hire a talented web developer from the freelance marketplace. Fiverr is the most popular freelance marketplace from which you can find talented freelancers. You can hire a skilled freelancer at a reasonable cost. They offer 24/7 customer support.
You need a domain for your website. Domains can cost $10-$20. If you use Namecheap you can get a domain with cheap rate. And how much you will spend on hosting will depend on the number of your traffic. In the beginning, since there are less customers, hosting at $5-$10 is enough. If you create your website on WordPress then I recommend using Bluehost hosting. It is the best hosting provider for WordPress site.
License is mandatory to inaugurate an ecommerce business. Its cost varies to territory.
If you want to open online stores on Shopify and BigCommerce platforms, check out the cost mentioned above.
In addition, you need to spend as much as you need for payment processing and marketing.
2. Can you start an ecommerce business with no money?
Many people ask this question. In answer to this question I would say yes you can. But there are many factors here. You must be a website developer. If you want to use a free domain you can get a free Blogspot domain from Blogger. You will also get free hosting from Blogger. Then you can start an ecommerce business informally on a small scale. It is also possible to start an ecommerce business by opening a page and group on Facebook.
3. Is E-Commerce business profitable?
Yes, ecommerce business is a profitable business. But there is no guarantee that everyone will be able to make a profit by running ecommerce business. If a trader cannot market his business properly and satisfy the customer with the service, then he will not be able to make a profit as his expectation. On the other hand, if a trader can market his products to the target customer in the right way and satisfy the customers with good service, then he will definitely make a profit.
The issue of income actually depends on the amount of your investment. You can’t expect to earn $3,000 a month by investing $5,000. The more you invest, the more you earn. If you are a small businessman and start a business with a small investment, your profit margin will be less.
4. How do I succeed in ecommerce?
To be successful in ecommerce business, you must first research the ecommerce market. How big is the market for the category of product you want to start a business with? Are those who are currently running business in this market able to meet the needs of customers? Can you survive in this market with the capabilities you have? You have to find the answers to these questions.
You need to find out your target customers. Formulate a plan that makes your service convenient to the customers.
A business plan is a very important factor to run a business properly.
So create a contemplative business plan that drives your business at the peak and make your business successful. You should always Follow this roadmap.
choose a name that is relevant to your business. Try to purchase a website domain that matches your ecommerce business name.
Promote your business through various means. You should Continue to promote your products on social media. Give appropriate answers to various questions of customers. Keep in touch with them regularly through email or phone.
5. Is it hard to start an ecommerce business?
No, starting an ecommerce business is not a difficult task. If you have business and technical skills, you can easily start an ecommerce business. In this case I recommend you to use Shopify or BigCommerce platform. Using these platforms you can open an online store and start ecommerce business in a few days. You do not need any technical skills for creating a online store.
6. What are the different types of ecommerce?
There are four types of ecommerce –
- B2C (Business-to-Consumer)
- B2B (Business-to-Business)
- C2B (Consumer-to-Business)
- C2C (Consumer-to-Consumer)
7. What is the most profitable ecommerce business in 2021?
E-commerce business is expanding rapidly in different countries of the world. The big reason for this is that the number of online buyers is increasing swiftly. At present 1.92 billion people are shopping online and the number is increasing. So ecommerce business has become a profitable business.
Most profitable ecommerce business in 2021
- Beauty and Health Products
- Online Grocery and Foods
- Smart Home Products and Accessories
- Mobile Apps and PC Software
- Kids Toys and Games
- Online Educational Courses
- Selling digital products
- Electronics products