Complete Guide to Starting Your First Online E-commerce Business
Starting your first Online E-commerce business offers many benefits and even more opportunity to fail if you don’t know what you’re doing – read this guide!
In today’s society, all companies need to have an online presence to remain competitive in the modern business world. Consumers have come to expect to be able to browse and make purchases online using their smart devices. What’s more, research on buyer behavior suggests that consumers often prefer to make purchases online rather than going into stores. All businesses should be taking advantage of this modern shopping trend and facilitating e-commerce transactions by having a fully optimized website that has been designed to be functional and user-friendly.
Along with the above, starting an online business gives you the freedom to escape the 9 to 5, earn a lucrative salary, and have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. With this in mind, here is a complete guide to starting your first online e-commerce business.
1. Find A Niche in The Market
To improve your chances of business success, start by looking for a need in the market.
Remember that you must find a product or service that is in demand. Ideally, you want to offer something that no one else is currently providing. This will give you a huge advantage as you’ll have less competition, meaning you can set higher prices for your services. Do thorough market research and try to identify a gap in the market. Visit online forums to see what queries people are trying to solve and do keyword research to identify what people are searching for online.
You should also research your competitors and understand what makes them popular.
Learn everything you can about these companies and identify what they can (and can’t) provide their customers. Once you have a business idea in mind, you should check that it is viable by conducting further research and asking for honest feedback on your business idea. This will help you determine whether your business will work long-term. It will also allow you to make any necessary amendments to strengthen your business plan.
2. Write A Strong Business Plan
A business plan is an essential tool that will help your business idea transform into reality.
Too many people skip this step when starting their first Online E-commerce business. Your business plan will guide you throughout each stage of your business and will help motivate you to achieve your business goals. In addition to this, your business plan will also be used to show people why your business idea is viable. Keep in mind that investors and lenders will expect to see a detailed, well-written business plan before offering financial support for your business. A strong business plan can also be used to convince top talent why they should choose your company over competitors. Fortunately, there is plenty of advice available on how to write a business plan along with useful templates that can be downloaded for free.
3. Write A Strong Business Proposal
Not to be confused with your business plan, your business proposal is what’s going to help you close deals.
It’s best to make sure that your business proposal includes the following sections:
• goals and objectives,
• recommended solution,
• fee summary,
• fee schedule,
• project schedule,
• terms and conditions.
For you complete Guide on How to Write a Business Proposal, Click Here.
4. Design A User-Friendly Website
Once you have a business idea and plan in place, you need to design and build a website for your business. It is now easy to create a low-cost website that will attract potential customers, advertise your products, and facilitate e-commerce transactions.
There are a few key things to consider when designing an effective business website:
- According to a recent survey, US millennials now make around 36% of purchases on mobile phones. For that reason, modern businesses must have a website that has been optimized to fit the smaller screens of smart devices. This will help enhance the customer experience and increase opportunities for new sales via mobile phones.
- Keep in mind that slow page speed is likely to result in a high bounce-back rate and lost customers/sales. Improve your web page speed by choosing suitable hosting, minimizing redirects, and optimizing images.
- Keep your website simple and easy to navigate. Use high-quality images to engage your visitors and illustrate what your business is about, without the need for large volumes of written content.
5. Invest in Essential Business Software
Software can be a highly effective tool to help you run your online business more efficiently.
Modern technology can be used to streamline business operations, improve customer service, and boost sales and profits. For instance, many online business owners used project management software to help them keep on top of all their projects and automate key business tasks.
Inventory management software is another extremely useful tool for any e-commerce business. When you start running an online business, it can be difficult to manage your inventory efficiently, especially if you’re selling through multiple sales channels. This can lead to unhappy customers, wasted stock, and lost sales. Luckily, you can find plenty of guidance and tips on how to implement effective inventory management solutions by reading articles on what is inventory management and looking for advice online.
All e-commerce businesses should consider investing in social media management software to help them monitor and manage their social media campaigns. These tools can be used to automate the posting process, grow your online presence, and communicate with your target audience more effectively.
We have collection of highly recommended tools for just about every aspect of your business, check them out here;
6. Create Effective Marketing Strategies
You must start promoting your online business straight away to build brand awareness and generate sales.
Fortunately, there are many ways to market your business online for free, so you don’t necessarily need to spend huge amounts on expensive marketing campaigns to grow your business. One of the most effective ways to market your business for free is through social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These platforms are extremely powerful marketing tools that can be used to reach your target audience and advertise your products to a global audience. All modern businesses should be taking advantage of social media as part of their marketing campaigns and using it to boost sales and increase revenue potential. If you don’t have the time to manage your business social media accounts, then consider hiring a social media professional or invest in social media management software as mentioned above.
It’s important to understand that we can separate online marketing strategies into three main categories:
- Paid: using paid advertising and other paid promotional channels to get traffic. The plus side of paid channels is that it will generate traffic fairly quickly, but the main downside is that it can be very expensive.
- Earned: when other sites, influencers, and/or media, link to your site or page for free, giving you a source of traffic. The advantage of earned channels is that they can easily boost your credibility, but it’s very hard to control (i.e. you might get traffic coming from irrelevant sites).
- Organic: building valuable, relevant content, and promote it through local SEO and Google My Business and other channels to generate organic traffic. The main advantages of organic traffic is that it is sustainable and generally will produce higher conversion rates. The downside is that it can take a long time before you can generate results.
7. Choosing Your Ecommerce Platform
There are several different Ecommerce solutions available ranging from open source to enterprise level hosted solutions. Choosing which one is right for your business isn’t always easy and the last thing you want is to be jumping from platform to platform. The first step will be determining the size of your online business ie: how many products you will have, anticipated sales each month etc.
For a Complete Guide on Choosing the Right Ecommerce Platform, click here.
In today’s digital age, the possibilities to start an e-commerce business are endless. What’s more, advancements in technology have made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to set up an online business and advertise their products to a global audience. Starting an online business is not easy, but the potential rewards are huge. Use the advice above to help you set up a successful online e-commerce business today!