According to Statista, there were over half a billion dollars of sales through retail eCommerce. With this huge market size, it’s no wonder so many people have decided to quit their nine-to-five to start an eCommerce business. Almost everyone has thought about it at one time or another. So, if you’re serious about starting an eCommerce store the first steps involve:
- Deciding on a business model
- Selecting your products
- Researching your competition
- Writing out your business plan
- Setting Up your Business
- Attracting Customers to Your Company
1. Deciding on a business model
First, you need to decide which business model will work best for your eCommerce idea. Most people start their first eCommerce business by either creating their own eCommerce site or utilizing existing marketplaces such as Amazon or Etsy. There are pros and cons to each of these options. Starting an eCommerce store gives you more control over your brand image and fewer fees per sale. Using existing marketplaces makes it easier to show your product to a wider audience and simplifies the process required to start selling your product.
2. Selecting your products
Once you’ve decided on your approach to making your product available to potential customers, you’ll need to figure out what products you’ll actually be selling. Most popular eCommerce guides suggest choosing a niche of products to start your journey. This makes it easier to build your audience within that niche compared to a general store that will require larger start-up capital and time.
3. Researching your competition
After picking out your product, you can begin researching your competitors to see what is working for them and how they’re getting customers. This can be done with a simple Google search for the products you’re looking to sell. Look for anything you can offer your customers that they currently are not. This can be in terms of information, improvements to existing products, or even a simpler checkout process.
4. Writing out your business plan
Now that you have a business model, products selected, and understand how you can differentiate from your competitors, you can begin writing up your business plan with all of this information. Our comprehensive guide to writing a business plan provides a great starting point.
5.Setting up Your Business
You’ve made the steps to outline how you will sell your products, selected a group of products to sell, figured out how to differentiate from your competitors and created a business plan. Next comes actually setting up your business. First, you’ll want to decide how you are going to incorporate your business to protect your personal financial assets. Most people choose from an LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp. More often than not, an LLC is all you’ll need for starting an eCommerce store.
Next, you’ll need to either set up your eCommerce store or create listings for your products on the marketplaces of your choice. If you’re starting an eCommerce store, plenty of website builders exist that make it easy to create a professional site without any previous experience.
6. Attracting Customers to Your Company
Finally, after starting an eCommerce store, you’ll need to attract customers to your store in order to sell anything. There are three main methods to drive traffic to your site. You can invest in Search Engine Optimization, utilize email marketing, or create pay per click campaigns on popular search engines or social media pages. Pay per click campaigns provide a quick way to drive immediate traffic and test the conversion rates of your site. However, they do take time to optimize for profitability as their costs can build up quickly.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, generally provides a longer term strategy that will continue driving traffic to your site after the initial investment. This involves ranking your site for specific keywords so customers naturally find your products. Another name for this type of website traffic is organic traffic. Once you have a regular stream of visitors to your site, setting up an email list with special promotions will boost your sales and build consumer trust.