E-commerce proves to be one of the best ventures of today. After all, it provides a safer and more convenient way to shop in this pandemic.
With reports estimating an increase from 2.05 to 2.14 billion buyers in 2021, many are taking advantage of this lucrative business idea.
It’s time you do so, too.
Remember, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time setting up shop. With this guide, you can start your e-commerce store right away.
Go for the Right E-Commerce Business Model
As with any other business, it’s best if you did some research first. If you want to succeed, then you need to be familiar with the different business models available and learn from Matthew Lepre, a well-known ecommerce tycoon.
Business to Business (B2B)
This model is all about the provision of products to one business from another. Since you need to serve a big industry, you will need a big budget to start this kind of business.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
This is similar to the traditional model, where businesses sell to individuals. The only difference is the platform. Instead of a brick-and-mortar store, you do it online.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
With this, you get to buy and sell items to fellow consumers. In return, you stand to receive a paid commission.
Consumer to Business (C2B)
As it works the other way around, it involves a consumer servicing a business. This is similar to a sole proprietorship selling to a corporation.
Choose a Niche
It’s okay to be an e-commerce jack-of-all-trades if you have the capital to do so. Unless you have the funds and resources ala Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, you need to work on a specific niche.
You could start by looking up the businesses that have succeeded in your desired category. Next, you need to make sure that the area is still competitive. If it’s not, then there’s a chance that there’s no revenue with it.
While this may prod you to choose a popular niche, it’s not always the best decision. This is especially the case if it is already controlled by big brands that offer affordable prices.
That said, the best way to go is to explore something you like. Be as specific as possible so you can avoid a big deal of competitors.
A good idea is to go with a shoulder niche, which is related – but not identical – to something you like. You can collaborate with business owners to promote their products or become an affiliate marketer.
Pick a category that fares well in social media or one with a lot of affiliates over Amazon. That way, you can make money without the task of having to ship the product.
Think About Your Customers’ Personas
Before you buy stocks for your store, there’s something else you need to work on: your clients’ personas.
To identify these, you need to ask the following questions:
- Who am I as a seller?
- What does my store represent?
- Who are my perceived customers?
That said, you need to be consistent with your brand image. From here, you can explore various product ideas.
Since you will invest quite a bit of money on your stocks, you must study these products well. Even if you are going for dropshipping, you need to take the item on a test run yourself.
This way, you can answer any questions or concerns your clients may pose.
Build Your Brand
Once you have created your customer personas, it’s time to get your business registered.
The first thing you need to do is to come up with your business name and register it. Go incorporate as this comes with tax incentives, as well as some legal protection.
The next step is to name your website. It doesn’t have to be a copycat of your business name, though it’s best if they’re related to each other. More importantly, it should jive with the niche you have selected.
After this, make sure to acquire the necessary licenses for your business. These will depend on your location and the products you sell, among others. You’ll also need an Employer Identification Number even if you plan on just operating the website yourself.
Have Your Logo
Now that you have a registered brand name at hand, you can proceed with logo creation.
It should be original, as you don’t want your company to be mistaken for another similar business. When you have your logo done, you need to consider the colors, images, and fonts.
While you can create your own, you can always follow Matthew Lepre‘s recommendation and have this outsourced to freelancer platforms such as Upwork. Here, you can have a logo professionally made for cheap.
Get Your Products
Once you have the legalities in order, you can go ahead and scour the web for vendors. You should also look for the right software for your business.
Your choice should be easily scalable, especially if you want to grow your business in the future.
Finalize Your Plan
As with any other business plan, you need to put your limitations on paper.
List down your breakpoint in terms of unit and duration. After all, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend to hit a specific revenue.
Apart from setting your business finance limitations, this is also the perfect time for you to plan product sourcing, employee hiring, and marketing.
Get Your Store Started!
Now that all your plans are in place, it’s time for you to start your store.
Start this by registering your domain name and URLs. When you design your store, make sure to adhere to your brand’s logo and design philosophies. But as you do so, your design should be compatible with your e-commerce software. You don’t want your website to look wonky when viewed.
If you don’t have the luxury of time to make a brand-specific website design, you could always choose a pre-made theme.
Even if you sell the cheapest products in the world, nobody will buy it if nobody knows your store exists.
As such, it’s essential to market your shop. You can do this with email marketing, digital marketing podcasts, social media marketing, and SEO.
Starting your first e-commerce business is not as daunting as it sounds. By following these tips, you can capitalize on the significant revenues that online stores bring.