We are living in a digital era. If you do not have an online business up and running already, you’re missing out on massive profits. Starting an ecommerce business takes a lot of time and effort. It demands various procedures and decisions to come together in order to generate a satisfying income. This ecommerce startup guide will assist you to tie those loose knots.
By the time you’re done reading this blog post, you will be able to launch ecommerce startup without any trouble. Furthermore, there are plenty of tips and tricks mentioned below that will allow you to cash in on one of the largest online sales seasons. Let’s begin!
Starting an ecommerce business requires an outline, a plan. You must know exactly what product or service you want to deal with. Also, you have to understand your buyer personas in order to sell your product or service effectively. The question “How to start an ecommerce business?” pops up frequently, therefore we decided to provide this step-by-step guide so that you can start your own ecommerce business today.
#1 Choose Your Niche
When you’re starting ecommerce business, it’s better to go niche-specific. You cannot expect to sell everything and gain massive profits. Many ecommerce websites offer hundreds of products and dozens of categories but no real focus. You can not become the next Amazon or Best Buy overnight unless you have a massive investment. Until then, it would be best if you niche down your idea in order to run a successful ecommerce startup.
You can begin by identifying other successful ecommerce businesses that are already working in your preferred industry. To ensure you have a healthy competition. An absence of competitors usually indicates that there is no market for your product or service. More importantly, do not pick an overly crowded niche either. Skip anything that is dominated by giant brands.
#2 Select a Business Model
Now that you know your products and services, you need to come up with an appropriate business model to start ecommerce business. Bear in mind, there isn’t a single business structure that works best for everyone.
If you desire to earn profits without seeing or touching your product or investing heavily, dropshipping is your answer. It is a smart cost-effective choice.
If you desire to have your own warehouse, you will be investing more up-front while working on a wholesaling or warehousing business model.
If you’re interested in selling a unique product that only you can offer, you can sell it under your brand. To do so, you will have to become a part of the white labeling and manufacturing business model.
And lastly, there are subscriptions. This is when you curate a set of products or services to be delivered at regular intervals to your customers.
#3 Setting Up Your Ecommerce Business
Now that you know your products and business model, here’s how to start ecommerce busness. To do so, you need to identify your brand’s persona. You want to become a brand that connects with their customers personas. Çlassification of customer personas makes launching an ecommerce business easier.
For instance, if your product is for professional business women, you might want to avoid girlie colors as you’re catering to a mature audience. Understanding your buyer persona is important. It is what will lead your brand to greater success.
Before getting into the details, take a look at the following steps you need to take for starting a ecommerce business.
Step 1: Selecting A Name
The name of your ecommerce business and your website do not have to be identical. But keeping them consistent has its own benefits. Ensure your name fits your niche.
Step 2: Register Your Business.
Once you have a name for your business, it is time to register it. There are many legal protections and benefits for doing so. Make sure you don’t skip it!
Step 3: Apply for Licenses and Permits
Running an ecommerce business does not exclude you from business licenses and permits. Check with your country to see what sorts of sales tax licenses or business licenses you need. Get them all before you start operating.
Step 4: Find the Right Vendors
There is a lot of competition when it comes to selling products online. It’s in your best interest to find reliable vendors who offer quality products at reasonable prices. Shop around until you find a reliable vendor you want to do business with.
Step 5: Get a Logo
You don’t need to fret over it too much. But ensure that it is not similar to the logo of your competitors. As long as you have a simple yet attractive logo, you’re good to go.
Step 6: Time for Visuals
Build your brand persona. Consider the colors you want your brand to represent, the types of content you’ll use to promote your products or the fonts you’ll use throughout your website. Hire a professional if your budget allows you to. It creates a strong impact. If not, feel free to run things manually. Just keep it consistent.
Apart from the aforementioned steps, you also need to understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) so that you can structure your business and website in order to rank on search engines.
A few things to keep in focus:
- Create attractive landing pages.
- Sell high converting products.
- Write captivating product descriptions.
- Always showcase your products in HD.
#4 Attracting The Right Audience
There’s no guarantee that your right audience will find you as soon as you go live. You need to market your ecommerce business. To do so, begin by optimizing your website as per the latest SEO standards.
The keyword stuffing days are long gone, but SEO is still alive and doing well. You need to keep keywords or search terms in focus for each landing page of your ecommerce website. You must put your keywords in your URLs as well as ad campaigns. All you need to think about is driving traffic to your website.
Ecommerce websites should invest wisely when it comes to online marketing. If you don’t have the budget, you better have the elbow grease. Subscribe to various marketing newsletters. Listen to different digital marketing podcasts and keep a pulse on the industry. It is essential to get your fill of marketing tips as soon as possible.
There are a number of things you can consider in order to attract the right audience. You can use sponsored content, social media which works like a charm, PPC ad campaigns, or a blend of strategies. You also need to monitor which campaigns are driving traffic to your ecommerce website. If marketing your website seems overwhelming, you can always hire a professional team.
#5 Scaling Your Ecommerce Business
Starting an ecommerce business is not an easy task. Scaling an ecommerce business becomes a hassle for many online entrepreneurs. Once your brand is growing while you’re marketing your products, you’ll probably see an increase in sales. But don’t consider that as a success just yet.
You don’t want to end up with a high demand for your products with little to no way to meet it. To meet your customers’ demands that come with an expanded brand presence, you must be ready to scale, in order to outgrow your operations.
Don’t stress about it. Begin by keeping a bird’s eye view on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The more in-depth statistics you are able to measure, the more data you’ll have that will help you make important business decisions.
The ecommerce KPIs that you should measure are as follows:
- Sales per month
- Average order size
- Visitor conversion rate
- Cart abandonment rate
- Site traffic
- Sources of traffic to your site
- The average time a visitor spends on the site
- Email subscribers
- Social media followers
Monitoring how these KPIs change over time when you tinker with your website or your marketing strategies will help you make better decisions concerning branding and scaling.
Best Time for Ecommerce Businesses to Enter the Market
By now you know what to do when starting an ecommerce business. But what is the right time to enter the digital landscape? The year 2017 was a great year for the ecommerce industry. The global revenue amounted to almost $2,290 billion. Ecommerce experts predict a growth of almost 19.11% in 2018. It will result in a global revenue of $4,479 billion by the end of 2021.
Now keeping these statistics in focus, you can always enter the online marketplace whenever you feel you’re ready for it. But in our opinion, there are two best times in the year where you should enter the market in order to reap massive profits.
1) The Back to School Season
This is the 2nd largest online sales season of the world. It begins in late July and lasts up till mid September. The back to school retailers offer a variety of products that parents buy for their kids. On an average, 29 million households from USA participated in the shopping spree with an average spend of $510 per household in 2018.
The market size of back to school sales season is estimated at a whopping $27.6 billion. That’s a huge market to cater which is why we consider it as the 2nd best time to enter the online market.
2) The Holiday Sales Season
The holiday sales season is the largest online sales season of the world. This festive season is the favorite quarter of many ecommerce businesses. It begins in October and ends with New Year celebrations.
You can offer exclusive deals for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year during the Holiday Sales Season. The sales during this season in 2017 increased to 17.8% whereas it will further grow by almost 15% – 17% in 2018. According to eMarketer, the retail industry (in-store+online) of USA will grow by 3.8% in 2018 to $691.9 billion.
Undoubtedly, the big holiday sales season is the best time for you to enter the online marketplace. You will be able to reap higher profits with ease as everybody is in search of unique gifts for their loved ones.
Time-Sensitive Promotions Work Like a Charm!
There are a number of campaigns that make sense only during the holiday season. You have one final shot to execute them perfectly. Nonetheless, no need to take the pressure. It doesn’t matter whether you offer a flash sale, holiday gift guide promotion, or any other omnichannel effort, you’ll have a larger ecommerce target audience to interact with during the holiday season. Take advantage of it.
Furthermore, take this opportunity to define your brand. Work on strategies that will allow you to stand out from the crowd. Any efforts that you make during the holiday season towards refining your brand, can also be carried into the following year.
To sum up,
As of December 2011, only 32.7% of the world’s population had an internet access. But, we all know the significance of internet today. It is growing healthily. If you are starting an ecommerce business today, it will enjoy the benefits of that growth.
Whether you choose to enter the market with the back to school sales season or the big holiday sales season, it is mandatory that you begin optimizing your website at least a month before the season begins. It will provide you enough time to consider effective marketing strategies.
For instance, it is a great idea to repackage your website into a theme based ecommerce store during the sales season. It will derive fruitful results.
If you intend to enter the market with the holiday sales season, feel free to. Give your best. But if unfortunately, you are unable to extract massive profits, don’t worry. You have a whole year to overcome the struggles you faced and make a comeback in the next holiday sales season stronger than ever.
So what are you waiting for? Start your ecommerce business now and expand your horizons while enjoying massive profits.
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