Step-By-Step Guide To Start A Successful eCommerce Store

The key to starting a successful eCommerce store is going into it with a plan or a proper guide. This step-by-step guide to starting a successful eCommerce business will see you through the nitty-gritty preparation required for building a solid foundation.

First Step: Determine Your Niche Market

Finding a niche that is going to give you a profit has to take several things into consideration. First of all, picking a product that you’re either passionate about or highly knowledgeable about from the get-go will help you out in the long run. This is because there is already a lot of information to take in about starting a successful eCommerce store, and if you already know a lot about your product then that’s half the battle. So, think about activities or areas of interest you have in which you often turn to online shopping to purchase. Maybe it’s something that you or most people couldn’t necessarily find within driving distance, which creates a need-based drive to online shopping. Compare what you find to products being sold on Amazon or eBay; this is one of the easiest ways to see who else is selling the product you’re thinking about selling.

If you are still trying to narrow down your niche, think about what people in your life generally complain about. Is there an avenue of opportunity for a product or an online store with a series of products that could help solve the problems they’re complaining about? If yes, that’s a great place to start. Do some online research and find out what other people are complaining about as well (there will be most likely no shortage of this over the internet).

Second Step: Analyze the Opportunities Present in the Market

If you are choosing a product that is only a current trend, that could be something you’re interested in capitalizing on, but a trend doesn’t guarantee a large market for the long term. During and also after you’ve chosen your product, for a successful eCommerce store it’s important to keep in mind what the projections are for your target market. Also, collect some research on how big the market is and what the profit margins are. If you have a product in mind and don’t do research on the market, and find out later that it’s a small, low-profit market, that can be a costly mistake. Industry reports and also the Google Trends tool are both great resources for finding out information on your potential market.

Third Step: Decide on Your Target Audience

Don’t try to sell to everybody – chances are very high that not everybody is going to want your product. What you need to figure out is your buyer persona or people who actually want or need your product. You should create an in-depth profile of all areas of their life: demographics, behavior, purchasing motivations, and what they will gain in their life from your product. Determining this will also help you figure out your pricing later on. If you are selling a product to a college-age customer, they may not have as much money to spare as a settled middle-aged adult.

Fourth Step: Idea Validation

Before you start selling your product, you should determine whether people will actually fork over money for your product. See if you can sell some of your product to people in your community, not necessarily online, and find out what they think of it. Make sure to have them be completely honest with you, because this is an important step to test out. If you find that the majority of people would pay money for it, then great. You may also find out information that could lead you to adapt your target audience.

Fifth Step: Find Out Where To Position Yourself and Your Product

Positioning yourself within an existing market requires some innovation and creativity. There are most likely already eCommerce stores that are producing similar products to what you have in mind. Try to avoid directly competing with other stores, instead try to find a further niche within that category that isn’t being occupied yet. Find out what isn’t being satisfied or met within the current market, and make it your goal to have that be part of your business. That’s true if it’s about convenience, policies, variety, or simply the speed of getting the product out.

Sixth Step: Pricing

To sell a product, you have to first price a product. First things first, figure out how much it’s going to cost you per product. This includes everything from shipping costs to production costs to salary for any staff members. You can’t sell a product for less than what it costs you to produce. Once you’ve determined your lowest possible price to still get a profit, start to check out the prices of your competition. This can help you figure out roughly where you should fit in with pricing, but often manufacturers or suppliers will give a suggested price for your product.

Seventh Step: Technical Basics

Avoid the temptation to start with the technical basics. Although it seems more entertaining and possibly easier to research eCommerce platforms and starts creating your own, what you eCommerce store needs should be heavily based on the previous steps. The first thing to do is acquire a domain name, which will most likely be based on what you are calling your company (which is another thing to figure out). Then, sign up with a type of eCommerce platform; there are several variations out there for an eCommerce business owner to choose from and it all depends on what you and your business needs. Once you have your domain name and have set up your online store, figure out how you want to manage payment options. At this point you should also purchase SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, to ensure that your customer’s payment information is properly protected.

At the beginning, starting a successful eCommerce store can feel like a monumental task. All you need to do is follow this step-by-step guide, and you will find yourself creating a solid foundation for your future in eCommerce entrepreneurship. Have any questions? Let us know in the comments and get an answer from a professional digital agency!