Before 2020, e-commerce business was a choice, but now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a necessity for many small businesses. In some countries, physical stores have to be closed or in compliance with very strict regulations. As a result, it’s not always profitable for some small businesses to keep them open. B2C or B2B e-commerce development services can help with this.
E-commerce has been growing for a while now, and in 2020 it exploded. But much like starting any business, starting an e-commerce one isn’t easy. Nevertheless, opening an online business right now is more attainable than ever before. Here, you can find some tips on how to start your own online business and what you need to do if you want it to grow steadily.
How to Start
Just like with starting any regular business, it is necessary to know your niche, competition, products, vendors, etc. If you want to create a company that makes luxurious chocolate candies, you won’t buy supplies in the nearest supermarket. Instead, you will need to look for the best chocolate suppliers you can find.
In the beginning, the most important subjects you need to consider are:
- E-commerce business models
- Target market
- Legal requirements
The most notable e-commerce business classification concerns the type of business transaction you’re going for. So think about who do you see yourself selling to? Do you want to sell directly to a customer or other businesses? The most prominent models you should consider are B2B, B2C, and C2C. These are Business to Business, Business to Client, and Customer to Customer.
Another model you need to consider is the business revenue model. Think about how do you want to handle inventory management and sourcing products. The simplest form is dropshipping. It lets you set up a storefront, and the rest is up to your supplier. This way, you don’t have to deal with managing inventory. Other types of e-commerce businesses to explore are wholesaling, private labeling, white labeling, and subscription management.
Niche and Target Market
Choosing your niche is the most important step, because as a small business, you can’t compete with sites like Amazon or eBay. Here are five ways to drive traffic to your ecommerce site. Make sure the niche you chose is competitive, but not overly crowded. The more specific product you sell, the less competition you are likely to have.
Your target market is people who you think would want to buy your product or service. You need to design a brand image that will encourage people to buy in your store.
Location and Platform
The location of your store will define the platform you are going to use. Answer yourself if you want to start locally or go international. You can always create your own website, but hundreds of e-commerce platforms will allow you to create and customize your site’s design and domain name, which allows numerous customizations, such as a sticky header which is one of the more popular options. You can check out the most popular ones like CoreCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and Magento.
The first step you need to take is to apply for an EIN number (Employer Identification Number). Although not all types of business types are required to have it, it can really help separate your personal and business finances. Then, you want to determine which licenses and permits you will need to operate legally within your city, state, or country. Generally, most e-commerce home businesses do not require as many business licenses and permits as brick-and-mortar stores, but still, you may want to be sure of all requirements, so there are no surprises in the future.
How to Scale Up
After establishing an e-commerce business, you should focus on promoting your store. Trying to scale up may be a difficult task, but there are things you can do to help your company get there much faster.
Create a Strong Marketing Campaign
Even if your company is steadily growing, you still need to make sure that customers remember your company. You can implement various marketing strategies like SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. You can also hire a brand ambassador agency to utilize their micro-influencer database and reach millions in a matter of seconds. For example, this way, you will be able to remind your customers about abandoned shopping carts, your products, and special offers you have prepared for them.
Create a Customer Service Policy
The more products you sell, the more complaints you’re going to have. It would be best if you got in front of customer service, before you get too many complaints to handle. It should be your priority, as even the most unhappy customers may become your fans if you deal with their situation efficiently. Having a customer service policy is imperative for keeping your clients happy.
Ecommerce masterclass takeaway
An aspiring entrepreneur looking to start an ecommerce business can take inspiration from many sources & one of them is ecommerce masterclass run by Gretta Van Riel & Nathan Chan from Foundr magazine; here’s few of the important steps while starting & scaling up the ecommerce business:
- Build the market first then sale product
- Create a fan base or audience on social media
- Find the niche before launching the products
- Create an email list
- Choose a product viable for shipping and e-commerce
- Differentiation – create a USP & start something you will do for long time
- It is recommended to start manufacturing or sourcing the products locally in the beginning;foreign manufacturing may require large production & It’s easier to be involved in initial creation of a prototype
- Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – Diversify producers
- Once the business gets bigger with a solid product prototype, one can scale up to foreign supplier
- Create the buyer persona: Who is your buyer to be?;What is their lifestyle, beliefs, personality?
- Craft the brand language according to the buyer persona
- What is their language?; Speak the language of your buyers
- Find influencers & influencing pages to work with
- Find relevant influencers in same niche
- Micro influence marketing – find people with 5k – 50k followers
- Micro influence marketing – do without payment rather use product as a gift
- Macro Influence marketing – 50k+ influencers sales process with payment
- Macro Influence – Use customized discount codes for each influencers to track
The Bottom Line
If you take your time and do thorough research, you can spare yourself a lot of unnecessary nerves. The whole process may seem hard and intimidating, but you can make it work. Just work through it step by step and learn. Always remember to be patient and don’t rush things. If you do, it may have some nasty blowback on the life of your company.
Even after a great start, don’t forget about taking care of your customers and brand. The worst mistake you can make is to assume that everything will always be okay. Always be prepared to learn more, and with a little time and practice, you’ll have a successful business you can be proud of!