Learning how to start an eCommerce business can be overwhelming at first. But with a little insight into how the industry works, launching your business doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. In fact, with today’s technology-driven world eCommerce is the perfect place for first-time business owners to get their foot in the door.
Online retail sales in 2016 increased by 15.1% and totaled an estimated $394.9 billion. The industry is only going to grow as more and more people are making purchases via the internet and smartphone apps. Who needs to drive to a store anymore when you can order whatever you need from the comfort of your couch?
With millions of online shoppers at your fingertips, starting an eCommerce business is a great way to take advantage of an evolving retail market. Whether you create your own products or have a passion for business, selling products online has never been easier. Follow our five simple steps to learn how to start an eCommerce business today.
Learn How to Start an ECommerce Business and Turn Your Passion into a Reality
Decide on an Industry and Product
Deciding on an industry and product can be the most difficult part of getting your eCommerce business off the ground, but it’s also the most essential.
There are millions of products available that you could be selling—picking the right one for you can make or break your business. Here are three things to consider when deciding what Ecommerce industry is right for you.
- Passion: You should pick an industry that you have a passion or interest in. This is vital to the success of your eCommerce business because without a true interest in what you’re doing it’s easy to lose motivation and let frustrations get the best of you. If you have a house full of cats you adore, then why not look into selling pet products? Choosing an industry that you’re familiar with will help you in the long run when obstacles and challenges arise.
- Availability: If the products you’re selling are going to succeed, there needs to be some kind of demand for them. Whether they are handmade products or something you can’t get anywhere else, creating a niche that will peak customer interest is a great way to help your business succeed. Selling something generic or that can easily be found in a supermarket is not the best strategy when it comes to starting an eCommerce business.
- Price: You may have found the perfect product that is unique and fuels your passion, but how much does it cost? When considering a product for Ecommerce you have to think about costs like margins, shipping and handling, and customer service, that all go into running an eCommerce business. If a product’s cost is too high, then it’s not going to make you a lot of money and it’s probably not worth going through all the effort of selling it in the first place.
Figure Out the Logistics of Stocking Your Product
Now that you’ve decided on a niche industry and product you are passionate about, it’s time to think about where you’re going to get your supply. When it comes to suppliers, you generally have three options:
- Finding a manufacturer who can create your product from scratch.
- Purchasing already existing products from a supplier, wholesaler or distributor.
- Using a drop shipper who will supply your products and fill your orders with brands and products that already exist.
Do your research when looking for a supplier and consider things like domestic versus overseas manufacturers. Are you more interested in cost-efficiency and variety, or quality and fast shipping time? Figuring out stocking logistics is an essential part of how to start an eCommerce business and make take some time, so be patient.
Get a Headstart on Your Competition
In the eCommerce world, there are a lot of other budding entrepreneurs just like yourself trying to do exactly what you’re doing. That’s why it’s important to research your competition before you start your business. Look for businesses that are in your industry and make note of the things they’re doing well, and what they could improve on.
Things to look out for include: What are their product and shipping prices? What is their marketing strategy? Do they have a newsletter or an email list? How is their website design? Is their site user-friendly and optimized for mobile? Using this information from your competitors, you can build your own business plan and marketing strategy.
Create Your Brand Identity
You’ve found a product, picked a supplier, and done the research on your competition, is it time to start the business yet? Almost. The next step is coming up with an effective brand identity. This is a crucial step in how to start an eCommerce business process because it’s what will help you stand out in a crowded market.
You want to choose a business name that works well for the web.
This means that it looks good in an URL and the right domain name is available. Your name is how customers are going to identify and talk about you, so it needs to be memorable, creative, and relevant. There are several tools available online to help you choose an effective and optimized domain name.
Once you’ve got your business and domain name, it’s time to start thinking about a logo. Hiring a graphic designer for this may be a good idea because you need a logo that’s professional and eye-catching to use for marketing your business.
Build Your Store & Start Selling
The final step in the process of how to start an eCommerce business is to build your store! When building your store, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
- SEO optimize all of your content. Optimizing your website pages, product descriptions, images, and social media makes it easier for customers to find you and is a great way to increase your sales.
- Create a blog for your business. A blog will not only keep the interest of your current customers, but help new customers find you and learn more about your products.
- Take product photos. Unlike a physical store, customers are unable to hold your product in their hands. This means that the product photos you put up on your site are the only way your customers can see what they’re buying. A lot of people will make snap judgments on the quality and value of a product based on its photo. High-quality professional photos that use good lighting and are taken from multiple angles are the way to go.
- Write amazing product descriptions. Without someone there in person to talk to your customers, the product description is all there is to sell them on the product. Make sure it’s error-free, well-written, and convincing. Here’s a great video by Small Revolution that includes helpful tips on how to write great product descriptions.
Now that you’ve uploaded all your products onto your website, it’s time to officially open your eCommerce store for business! Share your new business with friends, family, and on social media.
A little marketing can go a long way when it comes to getting your first customers through the virtual door, so be sure to use our resource on creating a successful marketing strategy.
With these easy tips on how to start an eCommerce business, turning your passion into a reality is an attainable goal for anyone. If you’re thinking about starting your own eCommerce business, contact Genius eCommerce today to get the ball rolling.
Sources: US Department of Commerce