Thinking about starting an eCommerce business? Looking for the tips on how to start an eCommerce business? If so, things may seem attractive and pinky when we look at those already established as a successful online business owner.
Well, everything you see is just the surface and the real hardships and struggle are deep below it.
This is not to scare you, not at all!
I am just trying to calm your over-enthusiasm and confidence so that you can see the things from the ground of reality. So that you can work in the right direction, with the appropriate information, and enough preparation.
There are tons of articles and guides on the internet teaching about how to start an eCommerce business. So this article is not about the basic steps known by everybody. They are already there and you can read them when you are ready to jump.
What I am going to share here is the actual things you will have to do to ensure you can survive in the fierce competition.
But before we go for it, let me quickly tell you the basics. Remember that, though they are MUST, you can go ahead without some of them. Read on.
Basic preparations for an eCommerce Business
1. Decide what you want to sell
First and the most basic thing you need to start an eCommerce business is to know what you want to sell.
You can sell any product. But first look at its market, demand, competition, and availability of manufacturers or vendors. It will help you narrow your focus on what to sell.
2. Decide where you will acquire the products
Once you decide what to sell, you can either manufacture or source products from a vendor. You can also consider drop shipping which is a popular method for sourcing products.
3. Have legal certifications and permissions
Before you start selling online, you should have all the legal procedures followed. Likewise, Get your business and company registered in your country and get a tax ID number. also, acquire appropriate permissions and licenses for the products you intend to sell.
4. Have a well-designed and well-structured online store
What you need for your eCommerce business next is an online store. Though this is not required, it’s good to have one. So get a suitable logo, product images, website content, and marketing material created by experienced professionals.
You can use free tools and Content Management Systems like WordPress, Drupal, OpenCart and many others. They provide most of the things ready and you can set up your store within an hour. However, customization would take time and expertise.
If you don’t want to have an online store, you can sell your products as an Amazon seller. Apart from that, you can also sell on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks.
Read Proven Amazon Selling Tips for Beginners: Used by Successful Sellers if you are selling on Amazon.
How to make your eCommerce business profitable
Now comes the real things you need to make your eCommerce business profitable.
1. Reach your customers to keep your eCommerce business running
No matter how much demand is there for your product, you can’t see the orders unless you actually get it to your customers by marketing and promotions. Your revenue and profit depend on how rigorously and aggressively you promote your brand and products.
In this context, you have to have a marketing strategy. More clearly, you have to target two groups of the audience from the visitors to your online store.
One group comprises of your potential customers. They are already looking for the products that you are offering. So, you can bring them to your site and convert into paying customers with regular ads and promotions cost-effectively.
On the other hand, the second group includes people who are not aware of or interested in your products yet. So you should have a separate marketing strategy. Therefore, you should focus on creating awareness and demand for your products among them. As
Paid and free promotions
Use paid ads on Google, Facebook, and Instagram to target and reach a large audience base. You can also hire an online marketing expert if you don’t know online advertising and social media marketing or don’t have time to do it.
Again, keep in mind that no business can survive without marketing. So this should be your number one activity after launching your eCommerce business.
2. Use these proven techniques to increase online sales
Below are some tips on getting traffic and conversions on your eCommerce store.
Many marketers and site owners use this technique called re-targeting. Further, it’s a feature provided by Google, Facebook, and other Ad platforms. They allow you to show your advertisement to those people who have previously visited your site but didn’t place an order. Therefore, by constant re-targeting, you can increase the chance of purchase from them.
On the other hand, exit-intent popup works on your eCommerce website itself. It’s a popup block displayed to the visitors or potential customer when they move out from your website. And when it appears, customers are more likely to click on them, and results have shown a 3% increase in conversion rate and some even get higher results.
Abandoned cart notification
Sometimes a customer decides to purchase your product but leaves the cart without checking out. But there is a solution to this problem called Abandoned cart notification. You can send notifications to those clients who have entered their email during the ordering process or while visiting your site. Additionally, you can offer them discounts or other benefits in the notification email to increase the chance of their re-visit of your eCommerce store.
This strategy has shown great results in terms of returned customers and conversions. However, note that there may be many reasons for customers leaving your site without making a purchase after adding a product to cart. So figure them out and work on a solution for them to reduce abandoned cart rate.
3. Keep your customers first
This is not a new concept anymore. But beginners generally end up paying all attention to the revenue and profit.
Regardless of your level, i.e. beginner or an established player in the eCommerce business, if you want to succeed and survive for a long time, you should pay more attention to customer satisfaction. Provide the best customer service and response them with the utmost respect and eagerness to solve their queries.
Additionally, you should also be ready to accept customer returns. However, you should always deliver the product as promised in order to reduce returns. In case they return, you should be ready to provide a replacement for no additional cost if a customer wants.
In short, keep your customer first and profit as second, and you will never face loss.
4. Your eCommerce business will not start profiting overnight
Majority of beginners fail and exit because they tend to lack patience and preparation. If you are having this tendency, get rid of it.
Remember that you can’t expect your business to start earning from the day of its launch. It can take one month, two months, six months, or even more.
Secondly, you should have some financial support to survive until you start selling products online. This is because your eCommerce business having an online store will need time to bring visitors. Similarly, the inflow of visitors will depend on your paid advertising and social media marketing efforts and will take time to increase.
Thirdly, it’s good to have a secondary source of income. You may think that it will distract your focus and efforts. But it’s not true. Real distraction will happen when you are out of money and stressed. Focusing on your newly set up business will become really hard when you don’t have money to pay your monthly bills.
So ignore those who say only focus on your goal only and avoid nothing else. When you have a small but regular flow of income, you can stay relaxed and focused on your goal.
Anybody with determination and some money to invest can start an eCommerce business. Just follow basic steps and the tips given in this article and you will be highly likely to have a thriving online store.
Best of luck!