There are many reasons to start an eCommerce business, and this article will cover some of the most compelling ones. Do you have a product idea but don’t know how to get started? If you’re interested in starting a business with low start-up costs, high-profit potential, and less competition than other businesses, then it’s worth considering building your eCommerce store.
This article will help walk through the steps involved with starting an online store from scratch.
How to start an Ecommerce business (step-by-step)
There are few steps to take before you can start an eCommerce business.
Research Ecommerce business models
The first step is to start looking into the different types of eCommerce business models. Every product has a unique value proposition, and what works for one company’s products may not work for another. Here are some common examples that you can research further:
A drop shipper will sell their products in your store with no inventory costs, making this approach popular among beginners who don’t have much capital. The downside to being a drop shipper is that it limits control over pricing and profit margins due to the lack of stock ownership. Many online retailers use this model today because they’ve succeeded in using it in the past, or they’re too busy choosing a business to start and need help with fulfilment.
If you have access to cheap manufacturing in China, this can be a great way for an online retailer to source products. The downside is that it takes more time and money upfront than other models because of the need for product development or finding manufacturers overseas.
Private label companies create their own brand name using store-specific items they’ve sourced from different suppliers. This approach requires significant start-up costs but has high-profit margins due to the lack of competition in the space.
If already established eCommerce businesses sell similar products, then look into buying wholesale inventory directly from them. You’ll often find drop shippers on sites like Alibaba who sell bulk orders at discounted prices so you can resell these products for a profit.
Start Ecommerce niche research
You’ll also need to do some market research before you can make a decision on what type of business model to take. This includes figuring out how big your target audience is and finding the right product that they’re willing to pay for. The following resources will help you get started with eCommerce niche research:
Evaluating product ideas
Use this template from Shopify’s blog as a starting point when deciding whether or not there’s demand in the marketplace for your products.
Conducting market research online
Learn how Google Trends, Quora, Reddit, YouTube videos, social media posts and other sources can be used as tools for conducting market research online.
Understanding buyer persona types
You’ll learn about different ways of categorising your target audience and gain insight into their unique needs, motivations, and challenges. This will help you create products that they’ll value.
Register your Ecommerce business and brand name
The next step is to register your business name and brand with the appropriate authorities. You can do this by either starting a company or setting up an LLC (if you live in the USA).
Your eCommerce store will need its domain name, hosting account, social media accounts for marketing purposes, and any apps that are needed for handling transactions between customers and the website. Depending on which products you’re selling, it’s also possible that additional permits may be required depending on local laws.
Finalise your Ecommerce business plan
You’ll need a business plan before you can start selling online. This includes creating your product descriptions down to the last detail, identifying where you’ll source inventory and how much money is needed for initial stock.
It’s also important that you have an eCommerce website designed specifically for selling products immediately because it takes too long to build one later when sales are already taking place – this will cause problems with conversion rates due to not having enough time set aside in advance of launching the site. When designing your store, you should aim for simplicity so customers don’t get confused by anything complex, which could lead them away from making purchases on your site.
Design your storefront and build it out (if needed)
Once your branding has been completed, then comes time to design your storefront using one of several popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, or Bigcommerce.
If you’re planning to use a dropshipping model, it’s often best to start with Shopify, as the pre-built features will be more suited for this type of business. If you have access to cheap manufacturing in China, I recommend Bigcommerce instead because many suppliers use Alibaba and Aliexpress. Even if your products come from other platforms like Amazon or Walmart, I’d still advise that you set up store pages on these marketplaces first before adding them into your eCommerce storefronts (if needed).
Add your products to your storefront and set up shipping rates
Once everything has been finalised, all that remains is finding suppliers who can provide unique items at competitive prices. This includes product listings on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, or Alibaba and establishing relationships with wholesale suppliers.
You’ll need to set up shipping rates for each of your products which can be done automatically through a plugin if you’re using Shopify. If you’re selling from multiple marketplaces, then it may make more sense to use a fulfilment service instead since most eCommerce platforms don’t have native integrations with all major online stores yet (if needed).
Now that everything has been set up and is ready to go, it’s time to start making sales. Remember not to spend any money until at least $1000 worth of orders come in, so there isn’t too much risk involved. This will minimise the chances of being scammed or having your money stolen from you.
Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun because eCommerce is all about enjoying what you do, no matter how difficult things might get at times.