You may think that starting an e-commerce business does not have the same challenges as building a brick and mortar store. Yet, the truth is it requires as much effort to get it up and running. There are several decisions you will have to make, and they must come at the right time. We will make the process easier for you by sharing with you the steps you need to take. If you follow them, you will find the process significantly easier.
1. Ensure You Have the Right Product
Do you have a good idea about what kind of products you want to sell? You may have general knowledge, but you have to find a niche product and one that answers the consumer’s needs. You must also ensure that you get the right supplier. You want high-quality products that come in at the right time so that you always have inventory. It would be very disappointing for a customer to order an item, but you do not have it in stock. It would especially be a disadvantage to anyone who is starting a new business and hoping to rope in clients.
2. Do Your Market Research
You have to evaluate the viability of your business by doing market research. Doing a SWOT analysis is a crucial step. Look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the business environment, and how they will impact on your business.
You must also do a competitor analysis to know what you are up against. Look at factors such as the kind of products they have, the marketing strategies, customer reviews, pricing, among others.
3. Write a Business Plan
A business plan is the guidebook you will use to run your ecommerce company. It will detail everything, including your goals, timelines, financial aspects of the business, marketing strategies, among others. There is quite a bit of emphasis on the bsiness plan because if you do not get it right, you will find that your business is not able to take off.
One crucial area is the budgeting and where you will get the financing. It could be from your savings; you can borrow from family and friends, or take a loan. Starting an online business requires that you have inventory, and you must, therefore, have sufficient finances. The other option is to apply the dropshipping business model, where you identify a supplier who will ship the products directly to the customers. The customers will order the goods from your store; you will then forward the order to the supplier, who will organize for the end-consumer to get the items. Identify the right supplier who has high-quality products, and is very strict on shipping timelines.
4. Get a Good Business Name
Your business name is how your customers will identify your company. It is not a simple task, and you have to take sufficient time to come up with one that communicates your brand position appropriately. There are many online tools like the Shopify business name generator that you can take advantage of. Once you fill in the relevant details on the online form, it will give you a list of names in a matter of seconds.
Your business name will also determine your domain name. The advantage of using the name generator is that it will also suggest a domain name, and an extension. Once you come up with the name, check whether anyone else is using it and if not register it as soon as possible.
5. Come Up with a Logo
The logo is another identifier of your online business, and it pays to have a simple yet impactful one. You can get a designer to come up with one or use online tools to help in the process.
6. Design Your E-Commerce Platform
You will need a website for your e-commerce platform. There are several online website builders, including Shopify that will help you in designing your site. Some of the things you need to consider include;-
- An attractive online store that will capture the attention of the online audience – you will find very many themes on Shopify; both paid and free
- An easy-to-use interface to make the user experience pleasant
- Fast loading speed – which will depend on the web host provider you opt for
- A quick checkout process so that you do not have to deal with abandoned cart issues
- Multiple payment options, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, among others. Shopify has the Shopify payments, which will not attract a transaction fee for every purchase.
7. Consider Multiple Sales Channels
If you set up your e-commerce platform on Shopify, it will allow you to integrate it with other channels. Such payment gateways include Amazon, eBay, Facebook, among others. It allows you to access a broad audience base, which can do the shopping from the convenience of whatever platform they are on.
You must also optimize your e-commerce store for SEO and mobile. Many people like the convenience of using their mobile phones to shop. It is handy, and they can do it from wherever they are.
8. Decide On Your Marketing Strategies
Platforms like Shopify have marketing tools that you can use to generate awareness for your ecommerce platform. You have many options for marketing on the online platform, including social media, blogs, video content, listing the local directories, setting up a Google My Business page, among others.
9. Tie Up the Loose Ends
There are certain things you have to put into consideration before launching your e-commerce store. Such include:-
- The terms and policies especially those regarding Returns
- Shipping aspects
- Tax issues
- Contact details
- Billing information
- Content audit
- Email notifications
- FAQ section
- The shop page
- Analytic tools, among others
10. Launch Your Store
Once you have things up and running, it is time to launch your store. You will have already started marketing, and it will be a good idea to give discounts and promotions to generate interest. Make sure you have sufficient inventory whether you are physically handling it or dropshipping.
Follow the steps above when launching your e-commerce store, and it will be easy for you.
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