Are you among the people who would like to start an ecommerce site? It is one of the most brilliant business ideas in the modern world. This guide will make sure that you don’t struggle when starting your ecommerce site. It has practical tips on how to start an e-commerce website.
Here are some tips on how to start an e-commerce website:
Research the Ecommerce Basics:
The first thing that you need to do when opening an e-commerce website is undertaking the research. You need to treat the growth of any online business as an investment.
There is no single structure that will work for all brands. Before you determine the products you will be selling online; you need to understand the various business models that you can use.
Even though this is not rocket science, it will affect the structure of your business in one way or another. In this guide, we will pay close attention to physical products. You need to think about inventory management and how you will source the products.
If you wish to make profits without touching the products or making substantial investments, you can go for dropshipping. However, if you want to own a warehouse that is full of your products, you need to work with a warehousing and wholesaling model and invest a lot of cash upfront.
It is wise to craft your business idea around a favorite or perfect product. You can either sell one product or several products depending on the nature of your business. You can supplement your ecommerce store with affiliate marketing to maximize your benefits.
Begin E-Commerce Industry Research:
You can come across several ecommerce sites that have dozens of categories, hundreds of products, and no real focus. The most important thing when opening an ecommerce business is to choose the niche. Look at some of the most successful firms that are already working in the industry.
The most important thing is to make sure that you are choosing a competitive niche. If there is no competition, then there is a high possibility that there is no market in that niche.
However, don’t select an overcrowded niche or one that is dominated by the major brands. You may find it hard to break even in such an industry. Once you narrow down to one niche, you can get several shoulder niches that sell what is related to your products but not identical.
You can use these shoulder niches to become an affiliate marketer and grow your customer base. Use a niche that has several keywords and has an exemplary performance on social media. If you get some affiliate marketing opportunities, you can still make profits without shipping several products.
Selection of Personas and Product:
After identifying your business model and niche, you may feel that it is time to hunt for products to sell. Think about the personas before you think about the products. Don’t expect customers to purchase your products before you identify your buyers.
Understand who you are and what your store represents. Know your ideal customers to help you project a consistent image for your brand. The persona of your ecommerce store should match the expectations of your clients and the products you want to carry.
After identifying the image you wish to project and the customers you are catering for, you can now develop your product ideas. Start with the one that needs less time investment and you can test the waters with affiliate marketing to offer more.
Don’t forget to evaluate the product carefully before you invest in it. Even if you decide to go for the drop-shipping model, you need to test well and get a personal feel for the product to identify the potential problems and make customer service scripts for answering common questions.
Establish Your Ecommerce Business and Brand:
If you want to learn how to start an e-commerce website, make sure you will get a brand that connects well with your persona. It will be much easier to build your brand once you identify your persona. You can avoid girlie images and colors if the products you are selling target corporate businesswomen who have an interest in leading a sustainable life.
However, before you get into the nitty-gritty and set up your ecommerce store, you need to follow some basic steps. These include;
1. Register Your Business:
Choose the most appropriate business name and then register your company. There are tax benefits and legal benefits for incorporation and you should not skip them.
2. Choose the Right Name for Your Store:
The legal name of your business and the name for your site should not always be identical. However, you stand to benefit a lot if you keep them consistent. Make sure that what you are choosing fits your niche well. Picking a brand name is not something that you will do at the last minute.
3. Get Business Licenses:
If you aren’t sure about what this process entails, you can get a lot of help from the business associations in your locality. Most of them have valuable resources that will take you through this journey swiftly. Also, you can get priceless advice from mentors especially when it comes to the acquisition of business licenses. One of the best decisions to make in life is getting a person who will lead you along the way.
4. Get the Employer Identification Number:
The EIN (Employer Identification Number) will help you to open a bank account for your business and file your tax returns. You need this number even if you are not planning to have any employees. The EIN is a representation of the social security number for your business. It is a unique number that will identify your business and assist you to file crucial paperwork.
5. Apply for Business Permits and Licenses:
You will still need some business permits and licenses even if you are running an online store. Check with your state, county, and city to see the home business licenses and sales tax licenses that you will need. Make sure you get approval for all of them before you set up your business.
6. Shop for the Right Vendors:
Selling products online is highly competitive and hence you need to find the best prices and best quality. It is the only way that your products will stand out in the market. Look around and get a vendor you will be comfortable doing business within the long run. Think about scalability from the onset if you want to report success.
7. Create a Logo for Your Business:
Don’t copy the logo of another company in your niche. However, you should not strain so much when creating your company logo. You can get some ideas on how to create the best logo by reading widely on this subject.
8. Get Visual:
Put your brand colors into consideration as you choose the imagery. Employ typeface and fonts carefully. If you have the budget, hire a reputable marketing firm to help you with creating a company design brief. If you have no funds for this, you can still create your own.
All you need to do is read some marketing tips on how to start an ecommerce store. It will help you to keep it consistent and help in boosting your brand.
Create Your Online Store:
This step is crucial when you want to learn how to start an ecommerce store. After you register your business name and think about its design, you should go ahead and register them. You will require the design information at the last stage of building the store.
Make sure that the design that you choose is compatible with the ecommerce software that you will be using. There are several ecommerce shopping platforms out there. Thus, choosing the best ecommerce software is not as easy as you may think.
Some of the factors you need to put into consideration include compatibility with different business structures, compatibility with various payment gateways, the loading speed, and SEO-friendliness among others. You can read comparisons and reviews to get the right one.
Instead of hiring an expert, you can use a theme to get your website running. The fee you pay for the theme depends on the one that you select. There are several themes for WooCommerce, Shopify, and BigCommerce and you cannot fail to get one.
The ecommerce platform should be able to integrate with the popular ecommerce marketplaces and help in increasing your exposure. Setting the ecommerce store goes beyond adding the content and products. You should also set up your automation and email marketing as well.
It is good to set it up before you start to receive traffic. Email marketing is crucial as it will help you to drive traffic. Set up thank you emails, coupons, and upsell to help you turn your visitors into sellers. The other thing you need to pay close attention to is customer support.
Attracting Clients to Your Online Store:
The other important thing when looking at how to start an ecommerce store is marketing. You have no guarantee that traffic will come in and hence you need to do a lot of marketing. That is why you need to choose a cart whose features are search-engine friendly.
SEO is alive and you need to avoid keyword stuffing. Keep search terms and keywords in mind on every page of your website, URLs, and ad campaigns. You should also look for ways to drive traffic to your website.
Do a lot of online marketing to make your ecommerce store to stand out in the market. Use a combination of strategies like the pay-per-click ads, social media, and sponsored content among others. Remember to monitor those campaigns that drive your store.
Market Your Products Online:
Apart from driving traffic to your website, you should also market the products that you are selling. Remember your primary objective is selling products and not driving traffic. Therefore, you should look for expansion areas and look beyond your website.
These are several ways to sell your products but the best starting point is creating an email list. Let your site have an opt-in freebie, launch social media campaigns to get more subscribers, and launch a giveaway where you only need the email of the customer to subscribe.
Giveaways will also increase the online presence and visibility of your brand. If you have an email list, it will give you several warm leads to work with meaning you will have a much easy sales process. If you give your consumers content and coupons through email, it will keep your brand image in their mind, establish credibility, and boost sales.
Let your emails be interesting and allow your consumers to give their opinion or reviews. Quickly respond to product quality and customer service issues and work on building relationships. Once you make a sale, start focusing on the next one.
Look at where and how traffic flows on your website. Check whether your product pages target your persona. You could be losing potential customers in the same place. You could be driving a lot of traffic to your website but you are selling nothing.
Carefully optimize each page to fix any leaks on the sales funnel as you look at your listings carefully. Analytics can help you with this task. These tools will help you to optimize and monitor all the steps in the sales process.
Partnering with retailers in the shoulder niches and offering affiliate marketing will boost your brand presence. The market has several opportunities but you need to choose the ones that are most relevant to your brand.
Use incentives to connect with bloggers in your niche so that they can give you reviews. Asking for feedback can earn your confidence and respect. These tips will help you when you are seeking answers on how to start an e-commerce website.
By now, you have all you require to know how to start an e-commerce website store. Running a successful online store does not need to be pricy or a struggle. If you have some knowledge, you will use a few dollars to set up a fully functional website.
If you follow the above tips, it will take you a short period to complete the whole process of building an ecommerce site. If you feel like you need some assistance, contact us for the best guide on the way forward.