The pandemic era and a massive shift to digital experiences have made the prospect of launching an ecommerce business very tempting. However, starting and sustaining an ecommerce business is easier said than done. You need the right business idea, suitable ecommerce solutions, a well-planned strategy, and more.
Still, if you’re thinking about starting an ecommerce business, you’ve come to the right place. This blog post will provide you with a step-by-step guide to start and run your online business. We’ll go through idea generation, technology options, online store management, maintenance, and more.
Here’s what you need to know to start and run your online business.
How profitable is ecommerce?
Trends show ecommerce business is becoming increasingly profitable. For established businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs, ecommerce is a profitable model as both the sole focus of a business and an additional selling channel.
Data shows that in three months, a new ecommerce store can make more than $63,000 in monthly revenue. In just one year, a successful ecommerce store can average $127,000 in monthly revenue. After three years, a successful ecommerce store can earn an average monthly revenue of $352,000, which is an increase of about 175% between years one and three. On average, your successful ecommerce company can make as much as $39,000 of revenue in the first month in business, and some jump up to $6.5 million in total after three years.
A step-by-step guide to starting your ecommerce business
The ecommerce business journey begins well before you launch your business. A successful ecommerce business demands tremendous research early — whether you’re starting an online store or doing an ecommerce integration.
Thanks in large part to the pandemic, there’s more competition than ever. To succeed in this market, you need to think strategically and act methodically.
Step #1: Research your business model
An online business is a big investment, and you need to take it seriously. Your ecommerce business isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition— you must have a unique online business model. You need to map out marketing, manage inventory, coordinate shipping, and more. Because of all of these factors, research is extremely important. You should make sure to talk to an ecommerce consultant to ensure you have a viable plan. Look for an ecommerce development company as soon as you have a rough plan.
Step #2: Validate your target market
It’s time to identify your target market and the type of products you want to sell. Before finalizing your offerings, it’s essential to understand buyer personas. Begin with a few, well-defined product ideas. You can always expand gradually from there. Before you invest in products, you must evaluate them and think about leveraging low-cost methods like drop-shipping.
Step #3: Know your competition
Competitor analysis is crucial in any business. When you analyze your competition, try to understand them categorically. The presence of competition validates the niche you have selected.
For example, you must know all direct competitors and top players in the market. You will learn a lot from your competitors. Hence, analyze them and observe them closely. Take note of things you like and dislike about them. It’s also important to understand the kind of ecommerce platforms they use. For instance, if a competitor uses Magento ecommerce development, you should understand all the pros and cons that went into that decision.
Step #4: Create a brand name and register your business
It’s crucial to develop a brand name and logo that reflects your business model. In a world dominated by ruthless competition and brand identities, it’s impossible to succeed without a brand name. Make sure you’re sending the right message to your target audience through your brand image.
Register your business name and company name to get tax benefits, legal protection, and more. Make sure to apply for a business license, permits, and other certifications to operate without legal obstacles.
Step #5: Build your online store
The kind of online store you build determines a lot about your long-term strategy. If you want to build a customized online store, you need to make sure to choose the right ecommerce development company.
There’s a large number of ecommerce solutions out there, and it can be overwhelming. The ecommerce platform you pick will impact your store’s performance and profit. It’s important to make an informed decision based on both comparison and research. Choose an ecommerce platform that suits your business needs. For example, smaller companies might find that Shopify solutions are the perfect selection.
For fully customized B2C and B2B ecommerce, we recommend Magento, which is popular among medium to large companies. While building your online store, you should think about mobile-optimized design, SEO, and secure payment gateways.
Step #6: Showcase your products
It’s important to display your products properly and professionally. You need to include well-written product descriptions and visually captivating images to entice your customers. Product pages should be custom-built and create an immersive experience for shoppers. Reviews and testimonials are essential elements of your product pages, and you need to be strategic about displaying prices, too.
Step #7: Attract customers with great UX and marketing
Competition is more intense than ever, so you need to stand out and attract the right audience to your store. SEO plays a vital role in attracting the customers you want. The most successful ecommerce operators meticulously manage their brand and digital marketing strategies.
You can use paid marketing like pay-per-click or free marketing like content curation. Social media marketing is also huge for online store visibility. In order to be successful, you need to develop a loyal base of customers. Make sure to take advantage of loyalty programs, gift cards, coupons, and more. It’s important to keep your customers as engaged and loyal as possible.
How to launch a successful ecommerce business
The ecommerce economy is poised for significant growth in the coming years, but you can only expect to see results if you approach your launch the right way. The following tips are critical for a successful ecommerce launch.
Don’t rush the launch
One of the biggest mistakes ecommerce entrepreneurs make is rushing or forcing the launch of a website. You only get one shot to launch your website, so you shouldn’t mess it up.
It’s okay to purchase your domain name and throw up some sort of “coming soon” page, but you should avoid the big reveal until you lay some substantial groundwork (content marketing, SEO, social media, paid advertising, etc.).
Focus on your customers
Many ecommerce businesses fail because potential customers can’t touch, smell, feel, and see (firsthand) products before making a decision. Obviously, there’s no perfect solution to solve this problem. But you need to compensate for the lack of real-life experience in other ways.
Make sure you price your products well, offer free shipping, and make the checkout process as simple as possible. You need to make customers comfortable online if you expect to make sales.
Invest in testing and analytics before, during, and after launching your ecommerce business. Think like a potential customer and figure out what works, what doesn’t, and the “why” behind those answers.
Leverage social media
An ecommerce entrepreneur who completely outsources social media is going to have trouble succeeding in ecommerce. Social media is the heartbeat of the business. It offers you an uninterrupted glance into the lives of your customers. While it’s okay to have a social media manager, it’s pertinent that you are involved with it, too.
Use testimonials and product reviews
Testimonials, product reviews, follow buttons, and social login options are huge in the world we live in. You need to leverage your customers, as well as their positive experiences, to make other customers feel comfortable enough to shop at your ecommerce store.
Make sure your mobile experience is seamless
Bill Siwicki of Goldman Sachs says, “Tablets will play an important role, as worldwide consumer spending via mobile jumped from $204 billion in 2014 to $626 billion in 2018.”
Those are huge numbers. And when you factor in the growth of the post-pandemic era, mobile is becoming even more popular. Simply put, you need to make sure that you are thinking about mobile shopping in every single decision you make.
As the ecommerce economy grows, more and more businesses will enter an increasingly crowded space. That means it will be increasingly important to stay on top of SEO and stand out from your competition. Connecting with a skilled SEO company can pay huge dividends in the long run.
Collect as much customer information as possible
Unless you plan to launch a single site and step away, you must collect as much customer information as possible. They will help with customer satisfaction, repeat business, and even future launches. Start building your customer database today.
Be flexible and adaptable
Never stop evolving. Technology, customer tastes, and trends all change. You must do the same if you want to succeed in such a fast-moving market.
Be creative with your brand
As you visualize your brand, try to be creative as possible and think out of the box. Mood boards, for example, are a fun and creative exercise that can help you visualize your brand’s overall direction.
Creativity helps keep you inspired and on track. Think about your brand’s fonts, images, and colors. What does it say about your brand? What will your customers think? It’s important to work with a designer to create a professional logo and other branding elements to use on the website and packaging.
If you’re consistent and focused, you will succeed
A lot goes into starting an online business, The process may be intimidating, but you can make it happen. Work through it step by step, and never worry about making things perfect right out of the gate. Most importantly, you need to learn by doing.
Success requires a lot of time, patience, and research. However, it’s also very important to have help along the way. Cin7’s inventory management software will make your ecommerce brand’s launch a lot easier and allow you to leverage useful integrations. Ultimately, we can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. If you have any questions, or are curious about how we can help, book your demo today.