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- How to start an eCommerce Business?
- 1. Find things to sell on the internet
- 2. Decide on a business concept for your online store
- 3. Verify your product concept and narrow down your target market
- 4. Create and register a business structure
- 5. Where to buy and how to produce items for your eCommerce business
- 6. Create an online store business strategy
- 7. Create your online store
- 8. Increasing the number of people who visit your online store
- 9. Measuring e-commerce success
- What is the cost of starting an e-commerce business?
- Let's bring this to a close
If you’re a talented entrepreneur or craftsperson, you’ve certainly fantasized about opening your eCommerce store and creating a business that provides you with a sense of accomplishment and independence.
Establishing an eCommerce business is difficult labor that requires numerous stages and decisions to be made at the proper moment. This step-by-step instruction will teach you how to do each one.
Unfortunately, most people don’t start an e-commerce business because they don’t know where to start.
Ecommerce had a 14.1% share of the worldwide retail sector in 2019, and Statista predicts that by 2023, 22% of all retail transactions would be conducted online.
By 2024, hard money sales in the United States might amount to more than $475 billion — and that’s just B2C.
We’ll go through everything you’ll need to know to create your own successful eCommerce company, including:
- How to find the perfect items to sell on the internet.
- Decide on your online company plan.
- Validating the concept of your product.
- Get your business registered and incorporated.
- How to find things on your own.
- Developing a business strategy.
- Choosing an eCommerce platform and getting your store up and running.
- Improving the number of passengers to your eCommerce website.
- Increasing sales and evaluating the results.
Given that one out of every three workers does not believe they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, starting your own eCommerce business is a viable choice.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of what it takes to start and maintain a successful internet store.
Let’s get this party started.
How to start an eCommerce Business?
1. Find things to sell on the internet
You must sell one of two sorts of items to be successful:
- In a burgeoning specialty, a high-demand product.
- A commoditized, high-quality product.
- Products for a Specific Market
Niche items cater to a highly narrow market. You choose one high-quality item — potentially with many varieties — and design a targeted marketing plan instead of a hundred distinct product lines. Niche items are typically priced inelastic and have significant profit margins due to their exclusivity and demand.
Small-batch or one-of-a-kind products (a crocheted shawl or a piece of hand-thrown pottery) are examples of niche products (handmade leather bags, seasonal preserves).
It can also be standard businesses, such as Larq, which specializes in self-cleaning water bottles (and a limited number of accessories). Larq’s clients are fervent, and they’re willing to spend more than the norm for a high-quality product.
Products that have become commodities
Elevated or critical physical or digital items with a large current consumer base are referred to as commoditized products. Commoditized products account for the vast bulk of B2C eCommerce purchases. They’re widespread, and because the sector is so demanding, e-tailers frequently modify pricing to remain ahead of their competitors.
Software programs, chargers, saucepans, footwear, clothing, children’s toys – you name it, anything’s been commoditized. Surprisingly, commoditization frequently starts with a truly creative product that becomes popular; other companies then begin to imitate the original product and form rivalries. Fujitsu and nHush Puppies, a footwear firm, and a technology corporation, are two companies in the commoditized product industry.
Most profitable eCommerce businesses sell both specialty and commoditized goods. Their specialty products set them apart, while the commoditized things they handpick add volume to their online storefronts. Take, for example, Berlin Packaging. Custom packaging design is its specialty, but the company also sells a variety of common packaging items.
How to Pick the Right Products?
Perhaps you already have a wholly original concept – perhaps you’re an inventor or a designer with a working prototype. If that’s the case, congratulations. If not, don’t worry; you don’t need to invent the next great thing to run a profitable eCommerce business.
Instead of thinking about ground-breaking innovation, evaluate what people want and what you can provide.
The following will explain what can benefit you in coming up with a viable niche product to offer online:
There is a solution to every problem: It is common for innovation to begin at home. Can you emerge with marketing research (items or services) to challenges you come across frequently?
Discover your calling: You’re about to invest a lot of time and effort into your new e-commerce venture, so make sure it’s something you’ll enjoy doing.
Determine your branding potential: In eCommerce, branding is critical. How else are you going to advertise your brand? Who will be your target market, and how will you connect with them via multiple eCommerce stores?
People spend a lot of money on things they enjoy, thus guilty pleasures are a-go. You’ll almost surely create a customer base if you can tap into consumers’ passions — or vices — with a compelling product.
Keep an eye out for opportunities: The most successful entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for new business opportunities. If you pay attention to cultural movements, you’ll be able to predict consumer trends before they happen.
Accept the trend as quickly as possible: When it comes to trends if you spot one that appeals to you, jump on board as soon as possible. The sooner you enter a new market, the more likely you are to be recognized as a pioneer in the field. “Authentic” brands are given a larger share of the market.
Identify niche markets: We discussed Larq before as an excellent example of a niche concept. Larq discovered an issue (unsanitary water bottles) and devised an eCommerce solution to address it (a rechargeable sanitizing water bottle). Before ever generating a single production run, Larq raised millions of dollars in venture money. The power of the niche, oh, the power of the niche.
2. Decide on a business concept for your online store
You’ve decided what you want to sell; the next step is to figure out where you’ll sell it. In the world of eCommerce, there are four basic business models: business to consumer, business to business, consumer to consumer, and consumer to consumer. Let’s discuss each category:
Business to Consumer(B2C)
Simply put, B2C stands for business-to-consumer eCommerce. Your clients are ordinary folks, and you sell goods and services at retail prices. Some B2C businesses sell real goods, while others sell software or smartphone apps. Others, on the other hand, sell various types of recurring subscriptions.
Because the risks aren’t as great in B2C eCommerce, the sales cycle is shorter. Here the majority of transactions adds a single customer rather than an entire executive board. B2C companies often have lower average order values (AOVs) than B2B companies, but they earn more sales.
Consumers Direct (D2C)
Direct to consumer brands sell directly to consumers, bypassing the middleman. Some of them produce their goods, while others establish a supply chain and outsource the manufacturing process. By refusing to sell products wholesale, direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses enhance profit margins.
D2C enterprises have a lot of control over the customer experience because they communicate and sell directly to consumers (CX). As a result, they tend to grow rapidly and develop devoted followings.
Consumer to Business(C2B)
Although C2B is a little obscure, it is a legitimate business concept. Consumers offer goods and services to businesses directly in a consumer-to-business arrangement. On freelancing sites, where firms engage self-employed workers to do various assignments, you may see this business model in action.
From one company to another (B2B)
Ecommerce enterprises that sell to other businesses are known as B2B. Occasionally, the end-user is also the business buyer (stationery, office technology, or furniture). The majority of B2B transactions, on the other hand, include wholesale stock, components, or raw materials.
B2B e-commerce ventures, on the whole, have lengthier sales cycles. Because complex sales frequently require committee clearance, high-stakes transactions might take months. You earn high-value orders and recurring purchases in exchange for your patience and diplomacy.
Customer to Customer (C2C)
Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) enterprises bring consumers together. When people offer products or services to other people, they are charged subscriber fees, listing fees, or transaction costs. Auction companies, such as eBay, and online classified services, such as Craigslist, are examples.
Business revenue models bring in the bacon, while business models establish the structure of your organization. Business revenue models, also known as value delivery strategies, impact how you manage your inventories. Other popular choices include:
Dropshipping is an intriguing eCommerce business strategy in which you, as a merchant, sell a selection of products on your site while your dropshipping supplier handles the shipment and order fulfilment. While you won’t have as much control over your branding and customer support, it’s a great method to try out new product ideas while saving money on shipping and inventory storage.
Services for Subscription
Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature and Marquis Wine Club’s monthly wine delivery service are two examples of subscription businesses that turn one-time buyers into repeat customers by offering low prices on recurrent orders. Many businesses mix subscription services with additional revenue streams.
They deliver things in bulk to other businesses at cheaper prices than retail. Their consumers either resell or use those products to make finished goods or provide retail services. Consider segmenting your intended consumer base into large and small businesses if you pick a wholesale business model.
Private Label vs. White Label
Private labelling and White labelling may appear to be the same thing, yet they are two very different business concepts. You attach your logo to generic items from a distributor in a white label business model. You engage a manufacturer to develop a product solely for you in a private label business model. Private labelling is more expensive than white labelling, yet both procedures save time. In either case, you’ll have more time to focus on marketing and new technology rather than design and production.
Amazon fulfils orders (FBA)
It allows businesses to hand over responsibility for warehousing and shipping to Amazon. Your bulk items will be delivered to an Amazon fulfilment facility, where they will be kept and mailed on your behalf. There are expenses, but you don’t need a warehouse and you don’t have to post any products – plus, Amazon covers you if anything goes wrong during the shipment procedure.
It’s one of the best ideas on Amazon without having to build a whole website.
3. Verify your product concept and narrow down your target market
When you have a viable product idea It’s critical to conduct market research at this point to ensure. You’ll also need to develop one or more buyer personas, which will aid in the development of laser-focused marketing tactics in the future. Market research isn’t as difficult as you would imagine, and creating buyer personas is a lot of fun. Let’s get started.
Research into the market
It is something for which you would need to employ a professional firm. You can if you want, but gathering information in-house isn’t difficult. All you need is a plan and the necessary tools to get started. Here are three of the most effective methods for learning more about your target market:
Organize consumer surveys
Consumer information is gathered through surveys using good old-fashioned questions. Setting up a profile for your new business on social media and offering incentives to individuals who take your survey is one of the easiest methods to grow an email list (10% off a future purchase, or entry into a prize draw). Advertisements that brings revenue can assist you in reaching out to a targeted audience and driving traffic to your page.
Various great marketing tools, such as SurveyMonkey and QuestionPro, make creating surveys simple. Sign up, design your first questionnaire, and send it out to your contacts. Make sure you keep track of the email open rate and use the data from your survey to get a sense of your customer base.
Consider what kind of information you require from customers and tailor your inquiries accordingly.
To get you started, here are a few demographic topics:
- Relationship status
- Children’s number
- Household earnings
- The level of education
Don’t forget to collect psychographic information as well. They can assist you to understand why people make decisions. this is how the knowledge of a person’s attitudes, beliefs, and values allows you to comprehend how they see the world.
You can add questions in a psychographic survey about:
- Musical preferences
- Choices of lifestyle
- Aspirations and long-term objectives
- Values of the family
- Retirement aspirations
Ask pointed questions regarding your business idea, as well as whether or not participants would change your products or services.
Consumers should be interviewed
Arrange phone or Zoom interviews with some of your survey participants if possible. The detailed interviews can assist you in providing more detailed answers to certain queries. Negative-sounding people should not be excluded because they may be able to provide valuable input that will help your company improve.
A few days before your interview, send interviewees a list of four or five questions through email. If you give them time to ponder instead of putting them on the spot, they’ll give you better responses. During each conversation, make sure you take as many notes as possible.
Form Focus Groups
Targeted communities can be a shambles, yet they frequently yield fruitful results. If you have good people skills and want to gather a group of consumers from your target market for a brainstorming session, go ahead. It can be done using a video chat tool such as Zoom or Skype or in person.
To avoid dominance bias, include an impartial and diplomatic moderator in the dialogue. Dominant characters tend to unbalance focus groups, resulting in distorted ideas, so include an objective and diplomatic moderator in the conversation.
Personas for Buyers
Buyer personas are a type of persona that is used to describe a group
Questionnaires, interviews, and a focus group were used to obtain data. It’s now time to combine all of that information into a “genuine” person — or individuals. Buyer personas make marketing more efficient by allowing you to focus on your “ideal customers.”
Follow these steps To begin creating a buyer persona:
- Assign a nickname to each profile, such as “Mark the businessman” or “Elizabeth the Interior Designer.”
- Make your persona more relatable by including a photograph.
- Each profile should provide a collection of demographics.
- For each persona, fill in the fields with psychographic information.
Assume you sell a variety of unique outdoor things, such as camping equipment and cutting-edge American-made tents.
Your buyer profiles may look something like this:
Mark Smith, a 34-year-old unmarried homeowner, is ” Mark the businessman.” Mark, a Denver native, currently resides in Ohio but intends to retire to Vermont shortly. He has a college diploma and works as a mortgage counsellor for a prominent bank, earning around $35,000 per year. He enjoys skiing and mountain climbing with his friends in his spare time. He would rather save up for high-quality gear than buy inexpensive gear since he wants his gear to last a long time.
“Elizabeth the Interior Designer” is a 44-year-old mother of three teenagers who is married. Her beau is a plastic surgeon who specializes in cosmetic procedures. Because she resides in southern California and works with a small group of extremely wealthy clients, her annual salary is around $210,000. She, her husband, and their children take a long camping trip every summer, preferably to a foreign destination. She expects the latest and most up-to-date technology and is willing to go to any length to attain her goals.
As long as your buyer persona (or personas) are relevant and tactical, you can make them as simple or as complicated as you like.
4. Create and register a business structure
To get started, you’ll need to establish a business structure and register your company. If you’re a freelancer working under your name, you can register as a single proprietor; otherwise, your eCommerce business will most likely be established as a partnership, LLC, or S corporation.
In reality, the top LLC services will provide you with the greatest guidance for your individual needs and can assist you in making decisions that will have a short and long-term impact on your business. It’s critical to understand how personal and corporate finances will affect your firm, and you should ask questions to ensure that you’re clear on this as you get started.
A sole proprietorship
Self-employed people who don’t want to (or aren’t ready to) register as an LLC should use this sort of business structure. In most regions of the country, the procedure is simple. Unless you operate under a pseudonym, many jurisdictions do not need you to register your freelance business. Delaware, Oregon, Alaska, Montana, and New Hampshire are the only states without a statewide sales tax. In most other states, sales and use taxes are paid quarterly.
Although the setup is straightforward, being an alone trader has several significant disadvantages. To begin with, the terms of a sole proprietorship agreement do not protect your assets if your business fails. Second, you’ll have to pay self-employment tax, which rises in tandem with your earnings. Is there a way to fix both problems? Choose a different company structure.
Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
You can reduce your liability by separating your assets from those of your firm. To begin, select a registered agent to act as the LLC’s representative and file articles of organization with your home state. There will be a charge, but it should not exceed a few hundred dollars.
You can operate your own company or employ people to execute the work for you as an LLC owner (also known as a member). Before recruiting staff, you’ll need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EID, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, or FTIN) from the IRS.
You don’t need to file a separate tax return for your LLC; instead, the profits pass through the firm to you, and you pay self-employment taxes on all of them.
If your business takes off and you start making a lot of money, you can choose to pay taxes as an S corporation instead. At that point, you can set a “reasonable” compensation for yourself and avoid paying taxes on any profits over that amount.
Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) (LLP)
An LLP is just like an LLC in that it may be formed quickly, but there are a few differences between the two business forms. A limited liability company (LLC) can have one or more members, however, an LLP must have at least two. LLPs, unlike LLCs, must name at least one partner who will be held legally responsible for the partnership’s acts. If an LLP goes bankrupt, enters into business debt, or issues, silent partners and investors are not personally accountable.
Small businesses often register as LLCs, while professional partnerships, such as law firms and accounting firms, register as LLPs. LLPs and LLCs are required to file yearly reports in numerous states. For tax purposes, LLPs are similar to LLCs in that they are pass-through entities.
To incorporate your business, you don’t need to pull in millions of dollars per year. All of the significant publicly-traded company is a corporations. The corporate structures are:
The C Corporation is a private company headquartered in the United States.
All businesses that incorporate are automatically C corporations unless they file a petition with the IRS for S corporation status. Owners of C corporations, like owners of LLCs, have limited liability, which means they can’t be held responsible for corporate losses. If you need a large sum of money, you can take your firm public and sell corporate stocks and bonds to investors. You, on the other hand, get taxed twice: first on your wage and then again on the firm’s earnings.
The S-Corporation is a sort business organizations
To form an S corporation, first form a C corporation, then apply to the IRS for taxable status as an S corporation. S corporations, like LLCs, are frequently pass-through businesses.
Owners pay themselves salaries and pay income taxes on their earnings, while the rest of their revenues are exempt from taxation. Because S corporations can only have 100 shareholders, if you wish to go public later, you’ll need to convert your S corporation to a C corporation.
You’ll almost certainly spend more on accounting services after you’ve incorporated your company. You’ll almost certainly spend more on accounting services every year if you decide to register your business as a corporation because corporations are required to issue regular financial statements and tax season is much more complicated, so you’ll almost certainly spend more on accounting services every year.
Obtain all required business permits
If you plan to operate as an LLC, LLP, corporation, or anything other than a sole trader under your name, you’ll almost likely need a business license.
If you run a dropshipping business from home under a false name, you’ll need a DBA license and a sales tax license, for example. Because licensing and permitting procedures to vary by state, be sure you understand if you fit into any of the categories in your location.
Developing a Corporate Identity
Visual branding will be covered in a nutshell here, but it’s a large topic that requires a 2,000-word piece. To make your company identifiable and enhance brand recognition, you’ll need a logo and complementary branding colours that are consistent throughout all of your sales channels.
You can design your logo or engage a freelance designer for a more polished result.
In any case, keep the following points in mind while branding your company:
Relevance: Your logo should have a purpose; it should notify people about the services your organization offers right away.
Simplicity: Your logo should not be extremely complex or sophisticated; clients must be able to remember it.
You require a logo that can be used on both your website and a billboard. It needs to be able to scale up and down without losing its meaning or integrity.
Customers must be able to associate your logo with your firm if it is to be considered unique.
The best logos in the world are recognisable even when all other information is eliminated; even toddlers can recognize McDonald’s Golden Arches from half a mile away. Sierra Designs, a provider of high-performance camping goods, has a simple, memorable logo that can be used with or without the accompanying logotype.
Once you’ve decided on a logo, use its colours in other aspects of your visual branding, such as your website design, packaging materials, marketing emails, and commercials.
5. Where to buy and how to produce items for your eCommerce business
It’s time to go through the product sourcing strategies we reviewed in the business models section in further detail. The three fundamental techniques for obtaining items are DIY production, wholesaler or manufacturer, and dropshipping. Many internet businesses combine techniques to create a well-balanced revenue stream
DIY Products or Services
People have been producing and selling commodities for thousands of years. Neolithic traders had to travel overland to sell beads, ceramics, and sculptures; nowadays, you can sell handcrafted items all over the world via the internet.
DIYs have low beginning costs, but you must invest a lot of your own time to compensate. On the other hand, you have complete control over the production process and user experience, and you can make design modifications on the fly if things don’t work out.
You may decide to form a relationship with a manufacturing company to mass-produce products as your company grows.
Keep the following in mind if you take the DIY route:
- Assemble a reliable raw resource supply network.
- Decide if you’ll engage a shipper or mail the merchandise yourself ahead of time.
- Make a schedule for your production.
- Think about where you’ll store your inventory.
Are you a manufacturer or a wholesaler?
If you’re ready to build and ship products on a larger scale, consider using a wholesaler or a manufacturer as a product source. Let’s discover both options with more detail:
If you don’t have a unique product idea and don’t want to work with a manufacturer or store things in bulk, dropshipping maybe your best product sourcing choice.
When you work with a dropshipping supplier, you become a retail distributor. You offer the wholesaler’s products on your website, and the wholesaler fulfils and ships your orders.
Dropshipping has a lower profit margin than white-label or private-label resale, but it is a straightforward and quick business model. Dropshipping and do-it-yourself are combined in some enterprises. A drop shipper might be used by an artist who sells and distributes one-of-a-kind paintings from home, for example, to offer duplicates and branded mugs.
6. Create an online store business strategy
Before jumping in wholeheartedly, take some time to think about the future. Due to a lack of planning, almost half of all new businesses fail within five years.
A business strategy can help you better understand your one-of-a-kind product by allowing you to:
- Discover the resources you’ll need to run your business.
- Get updates on your competitors.
- Recognize and capitalize on business possibilities.
- Determine the demographics of your target market.
- Consider your company’s long-term goals.
At least seven sections make up a typical corporate strategy. Following the instructions below, you can create your strategy:
The Report’s Summary
The summary compresses your business idea into a few paragraphs. It appears at the start of your company’s plan and informs readers of the following information:
- What your company does.
- The goals of your company.
- The products or services you offer.
- The people you’re trying to reach.
- Your distribution channels.
- It all boils down to your monetization strategy.
Almost certainly, your executive summary will be the last item you write. This will give you time to digest all of the other aspects of your business strategy before writing a summary.
Overview of the Company
This is the section where you provide visitors with a complete introduction to your company. This section begins with the name of your business and moves on to its legal structure (LLC, S-corp, etc.) and domain name.
After that, you’ll write a succinct mission statement and outline your company’s vision. Finish with a list of significant competitors and some background information on your company’s concept and distinct value offer.
Research into the market
You get to show off what you know about your target consumer base in the market study section. The results of a SWOT analysis are often the starting point for many business owners (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). They then conduct a competitive analysis.
Competitive evaluations help you gain a deeper understanding of your competition and gain a competitive edge.
They do it by identifying and listing the following characteristics of each competitor:
- The site’s address and the volume of traffic it gets.
- What’s the product and the business model offers.
- Approach to product pricing.
- Statements of vision and mission
This section is concluded with a paragraph detailing how you intend to make your company an industry leader.
There are three ways to do it:
Customer focus: You’ll sell high-quality products to a niche market.
Cost leadership: Your offerings are less costly than those of your competitors, which gives you a cost advantage.
Differentiation: You offer a one-of-a-kind item or a much-enhanced version of a competitor’s item.
Products and Services
This is where you go into greater detail about your product or service. Tell your readers more about the products or services you provide; if you sell a wide range of items, write in broad terms about your inventory and how your company differentiates from its competitors.
This section is where you’ll tell readers about your marketing strategies. The section begins with a breakdown of your marketing budget before moving on to a list of marketing channels you intend to employ to advertise your business. There are two sorts of marketing channels: direct and indirect.
Organic Marketing Channels: Search engine optimization (SEO) methods, content marketing, social networking sites, and blogger networks all drive organic traffic to your website. Organic marketing channels are low-cost, have a long-term value, and can assist you in increasing your brand’s visibility.
Paid Marketing Channels: Paid marketing channels provide fast results, making them a desirable option for new businesses. PPC advertisements, social media advertisements, influencer marketing, and affiliate marketing are all costly, yet they create quality leads.
Make a logistics and operations plan
Everything you’ll need to manage your firm physically should be included in your operations and logistics strategy. This category comprises requirements for office space, technology, personnel, and warehouse space.
Don’t forget to include details on:
- It has to do with your distribution network.
- Your production plan.
- Shipping and fulfilment options are available.
- This is where your inventory will be kept.
This area of your business plan will explain the day-to-day costs of running your own eCommerce business to investors.
Make a financial plan
You’ll need cash to get your eCommerce business up and running. You’ll need investors or a bank loan if you don’t have enough money to start trading. You must persuade potential investors and lenders that you understand money management and that your business will be profitable.
The following are included in the majority of financial plans:
- A financial statement is a breakdown of all of your revenue sources as well as all of your expenditures for a specific period.
- The top of a balance sheet is shareholder equity, which is a list of all your assets and debts.
- A cash-flow statement is an income and cost statement that displays how much money comes in and goes out in real-time.
- Finding investors and persuading your bank to issue vital company loans will be much easier with the right business plan in hand.
7. Create your online store
It’s finally time to develop your website after you’ve confirmed your product ideas, registered your company, and written a business strategy. The majority of online retailers and wholesalers prefer sales as a service (SaaS) platforms since they are easy to use and include website-building tools and eCommerce platforms.
There are a lot of SaaS providers, and some are better than others. Start with a free trial to see all it has to offer before making a decision.
Set up an internet store
After you’ve verified your innovative products, registered your company, and established a business strategy, it’s finally time to develop your website. Because they are simple to use and contain website-building tools and eCommerce platforms, the majority of online retailers and wholesalers favour sales as a service (SaaS) platforms.
There are numerous SaaS providers, some of which are superior to others. Before making a decision, start with a free trial to see what it has to offer.
When choosing an eCommerce platform, keep the following things in mind:
- Hosting for domain names.
- Excellent uptime and speed.
- A fantastic website builder built right into the program.
- Free and easy to use themes.
- Mobile-friendly website design.
- A large app shop with a large number of dependable plugins.
- PCI compliance is 100%.
- SEO tools built-in and adjustable URLs
- Other eCommerce marketing tools include promotions, discounts, analytics, and more.
- Available customer service via phone, email, and live chat.
- A limitless product catalogue.
- Transaction fees are none, and credit card processing fees are modest.
Arguably the greatest SaaS platform available includes several tiers ranging from Standard to Enterprise. High-quality themes, a responsive mobile-ready website, various sales channels, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and professional analytics are included in all BigCommerce plans.
If you upgrade to the Pro package, you’ll get access to additional features like custom SSL, segmentation tools, and an abandoned cart saver. Another significant benefit is BigCommerce’s exceptional customer service. BigCommerce is a scalable and robust e-commerce platform that is ideal for developing enterprises.
If you’re a WordPress user, they also have a new WordPress plugin called BigCommerce for WordPress, which is a WooCommerce competitor.
BigCommerce gets my top rating for medium to big organizations, and a 15-day free trial is available.
Wix is a popular choice among small businesses since it offers a wide range of professionally created templates, SEO capabilities, an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor, and a variety of promotion and gift card choices. Setting up a website is simple, and you can have one up and running in under an hour.
Wix has an integrated store-building tool, and you can utilize the built-in product galleries to organize your items or services pleasingly. Wix is a wonderful alternative for enterprises with a restricted product catalogue because of other features like a secure checkout, 24/7 customer service, and different payment channels.
Shopify is a massive eCommerce platform. They’re great for dropshipping stores because the integrations and store setup are quick and simple. Shopify, a well-known eCommerce brand, was founded in 2004 and soon rose to prominence as a leading SaaS provider. Abandoned cart recovery, free website SSL, marketing tools, and competent customer support are just a few of the platform’s features.
There are a few disadvantages to Shopify. For starters, you’re limited to 100 product variants, so if you have a vast catalogue with a lot of different product alternatives (size, material, colour, etc.
A minor flaw in SEO is also present. You are unable to construct your custom URL structure and must instead rely on Shopify’s standard.
Overall, they’re a fantastic, user-friendly eCommerce website solution that’s ideal for small businesses and drop shippers.
3dcart is well-known for its SEO capabilities. Zero transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth, and a ready-made Facebook store are among the other benefits. Create adjustable deals, custom discounts, scheduled promotions, coupon codes, and more using 3dcart’s promotion management.
Although 3dcart’s basic subscription is less expensive than many other SaaS systems, you get what you pay for. This supplier is better suited to small businesses than mid-size sellers wishing to scale because it has fewer features, themes, and enterprise functionality.
Volusion is a tried-and-true eCommerce platform. Kevin Sproles, the company’s creator, began his website-building career at the age of 16 in 1999. At the age of 19, he founded Volusion in 2002. This powerful all-rounder is stable and functional, with a great-value $26 monthly basic bundle that includes online assistance, unlimited items, and no transaction fees.
The platform’s redesigned content builder allows you to edit article pages from the store’s front end, so you can make changes right away if something looks out of place. If you have no experience with SEO or marketing, Volusion’s in-house team can assist you in developing a high-quality commerce plan.
Volusion has some powerful eCommerce features, however, I prefer the other options on this list.
Squarespace can be the ideal eCommerce supplier if you’re a visual person with limited eCommerce needs. It isn’t designed for large businesses, but it does provide a highly user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder.
Customers of Squarespace get access to a large collection of mobile-friendly templates, product management capabilities, and a variety of third-party shipping and fulfilment software.
To set up an eCommerce store, you’ll need to choose one of the more expensive choices among Squarespace’s four service tiers. Squarespace SEO can also be problematic: because URLs are similar, certain sites appear to be duplicate material, which can have a negative influence on your Google rating.
Squarespace is a fantastic web platform overall, but it isn’t ideal for e-commerce.
8. Increasing the number of people who visit your online store
It is not so hard to set up an eCommerce site. The difficulty arises when it comes to attracting traffic to it. We’ll go over both paid and free digital marketing strategies for increasing traffic – and sales – to your website.
Channels for Organic Marketing
It takes time for organic marketing channels to gain traction, but they provide the best long-term ROI (ROI). Among the most effective strategies are:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): It improves search engine ranks by using relevant keywords in page text, product descriptions, and other website content.
- Content marketing: It includes things like starting a blog on your site, optimizing blog entries, and writing articles to bring targeted people to your site. Pages on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: People are more likely to visit your website if you have active Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.
- Off-page SEO (link building): Without a significant number of high-quality, relevant links to your website, getting Google traffic is challenging. Two of these link-building tactics are guest blogging and developing link agreements with other sites in your niche.
- Email marketing: It is a significant marketing medium for eCommerce businesses. Choose an email marketing service that allows you to send email popups, abandoned cart emails, welcome email series (with discounts), and targeted image-rich holiday marketing emails.
Channels for Paid Promotion
Paid marketing channels are a popular choice for both start-ups and large-budget businesses since they provide instant results and make building a profitable online store easier. While they provide immediate results in web marketing, their ROI is frequently lower than those of free alternatives (excluding affiliate marketing, which has a strong ROI).
Some of the most effective paid acquisition channels for eCommerce organizations are as follows:
Bloggers and influencers with well-read blogs can join your company’s affiliate program and earn commissions on sales made through their affiliate links.
Influencer marketing entails paying social media influencers to promote your products on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others in exchange for a fee. (See my guides for additional information on how to make money on Instagram and TikTok.)
When you use Google’s PPC (pay per click) advertising, you create ads and pay each time someone clicks on them. Google Shopping ads are an example of this, as they sync with your product catalogue and make your products visible on the Google Shopping network.
Paid Facebook advertising can be used to target new prospects as well as retarget existing website visitors. One of the most effective Facebook Ads tactics is to use Facebook’s DPA ads. These ads appear to Facebook users who have visited your product pages and feature the same products that are available on your website. Facebook product listings can also be used to sell directly.
The most effective marketing efforts use numerous channels to attract consumers and increase conversions.
If I were to establish an eCommerce company today, the first thing I would do is devise an effective SEO strategy. This comprises doing keyword research on keywords that have a high search volume and have the potential to attract your target audience.
For example, if you sell camping gear, you might write a blog post about “The Top 10 Backpacking Tents” and include links to your product pages.
You’ll need to develop a solid link-building plan and collaborate with other bloggers in your niche to get backlinks. This will increase the Domain Authority (DA) of your website and make it easier for search engines to rank all of your pages.
Finally, I’d proceed with caution when using paid advertising, starting with Facebook retargeting ads. Then, if you can get a good return on investment, I’d switch to Google PPC ads.
9. Measuring e-commerce success
Google Analytics and other eCommerce analytics tools can assist you in determining how visitors arrive at your site and what they do while there. Finally, they provide you with data on your conversion and sales rates.
You can use analytics data to improve product descriptions and page content, which will lead to more potential purchasers.
BigCommerce and other SaaS eCommerce platforms allow Google Analytics connections. Create a Google Analytics account, then navigate to the Web Analytics option in your control panel’s Advanced Settings section if you’re a BigCommerce customer. To get started, go to the drop-down menu and select Google Analytics, then put your tracking ID into the Property ID field.
BigCommerce Individual page views and search phrases, as well as Enhanced Ecommerce and Site Search, may all be tracked with Google Analytics integration.
Analytics are available in Google Analytics (site traffic), Facebook Insights, and your email provider.
Pay close attention to the measurements and key performance indicators (KPIs) listed below:
- The amount of times your blog’s content is seen in a session.
- The number of individuals who have seen a single one of your ads.
- The number of people who open your emails and click on the links inside is known as email click-throughs.
- Several times likes, shares, comments, and clicks each of your social media posts get.
How many individuals add things to their shopping carts online but then depart without starting — or finishing — the checkout process?
The average order value is the average total value of one order placed on your website (AOV).
Overall, you must study and act on these findings to enhance revenue.
What is the cost of starting an e-commerce business?
So, now that we’ve covered all of the stages for starting an e-commerce firm, you might be wondering about one essential factor: As you and others expect, beginning an internet business will save you money on rent, property insurance, furniture, and other expenses associated with brick-and-mortar establishments.
Nevertheless, while it may be easier to establish an e-commerce firm on a shoestring budget, there are still a lot of fees to consider. It’s impossible to predict how much your e-commerce firm will cost to begin, as it is with any business. Whatever type of e-commerce business you start, the software or platform you use, and how you source your products, among other considerations, will all influence your initial expenses.
With all that in mind, you’ll probably want to carefully consider your budget when you first start and keep track of all of your spending as you go.
You should think about the following costs in particular:
Business licenses and permits: Your expense of registration and permits varies depending on your business type, region, and what you’re offering – some states have low fees, ranging from $10 to $50, while others can charge a few hundred bucks for establishing.
Ecommerce software: While an open standard may be free to acquire, there will be additional costs connected with this type of solution (developer fees, hosting, add-ons, etc). But on the other hand, if you’re looking for an all-encompassing platform, you’ll be able to locate some of the most basic solutions for a cheap monthly fee ($16 for Square Online Store, for example). More advanced and broader solutions will come at a higher price, with Shopify Advanced’s monthly fee capped at $300.
Domain name and hosting: Many e-commerce platforms provide a domain name or hosting as part of the platform’s price, while others allow you to buy your domain name directly from them. Nonetheless, if you require your domain and hosting, you can expect to pay anything from $1 to $15 per year for the domain and an average of $30 per month for organising.
Payment processing: You’ll have to engage with a payment gateway like Square or Stripe to accept payments online. Certain e-commerce software packages incorporate payment processing as part of the platform, while others allow you to link with your chosen payment system. On average, each purchase at your store will cost you roughly 2.9 per cent plus $0.30.
Inventory and shipping: The expenses of inventory and shipping vary greatly depending on what you’re selling. Nevertheless, of all the changes we’ve examined so far, your initial inventory investment will almost certainly be the most significant. You’ll want to buy inventory carefully, especially if you’re just getting started because you don’t want to waste money on items you won’t be able to sell. Of course, your shipping prices will be determined by your sales, the shipping providers you utilize, the quantity of the products you’re sending, and the delivery speed options you provide to clients.
Marketing and advertising: As a good rule of thumb, marketing and advertising should account for roughly 6% to 7% of your gross sales. This can be tough to estimate when you’re first starting, so you’ll want to take advantage of any free marketing and promotion opportunities you have. Then, once you’ve figured out what works best for your e-commerce store, you can start looking at paid methods for promoting it.
Additional costs may be incurred for items such as equipment, company insurance, workers, consultants, and other factors.
While it might be enticing to choose inexpensive e-commerce platforms and other tools, as Roxanne King, owner of The Holistic Mama e-commerce site, points out, certain additional expenses are unavoidable, and some are worth investing in. For instance, King employs extra Shopify apps, such as an auto-ship tool and up-sell pop-ups, which cost an extra $50 per month but are well worth the money.
Let’s bring this to a close
Building up an effective eCommerce store needs dedication and commitment. A great product in a hot category, a solid business plan, the right eCommerce platform, and a well-thought-out marketing strategy are all necessary.
It might appear to be a lot of work — and it is — but if you break down your goals into manageable tasks, you will be able to develop a successful eCommerce business.
What kind of eCommerce company do you want to start? Do you have any issues that you’re having to deal with? Let me know by commenting with your valuable opinion.