How To Start An eCommerce Business in 2021: A Simple Guide To Inspire You.
Given the current state of the world, the best thing you can do is try to seize the moment and grab the bull by the horns and take on a new venture. Reports are showing an increasing number and frequency of customers purchasing online. This highlights the opportunity to consider launching your eCommerce business. It might seem complex but it is a fantastic idea. You might be blown away by the numerous possibilities it presents.
According to statistics, eCommerce sales account for 18% of all retail sales worldwide in 2020. In 2024, this proportion is anticipated to rise to 21.8%. Therefore, starting your own internet business today might be easier than you think. Fortunately, finding the right business structure and specialty is no longer as complex as it once was, so starting your own eCommerce business in 2021 is an excellent opportunity. All you need is a little guidance to be on your way to unlimited eCommerce business opportunities.
The generalization of what you need to know to start an eCommerce business:
- Identify your niche and what you want to sell.
- Choose the right business model.
- Validate your product concept and narrow down your target audience.
- Establish your company’s structure and register it.
- Source or manufacture products for your ecommerce store.
- Create a business plan to help you run your business
- Building your eCommerce store.
- Generate traffic for the store.
- Measure your success.
Identify your niche and what you want to sell
First, you must choose what product you want to offer before considering an eCommerce software or business concept. A good starting point is to consider what you are passionate about and research it to see if it can serve as a means to solve consumer problems and can be converted to a product. This concept is the process of finding your niche. A niche is a specialized or targeted segment of a large market that businesses may utilize to set themselves apart from their competitors.
As a business owner, you should look for a niche in your area of expertise with unmet or underserved requirements. Instead of a hundred diverse product lines, you select one high-quality item (perhaps with many versions) and devise a targeted marketing approach. Niche products do not sell as well as commoditized ones, but there are fewer of them available. As a result, establishing a specialty eCommerce business could be a great idea.
When searching for a niche product, keep in mind that you are looking for something that will provide solutions to customer problems and requirements. It is best to study the market and find a niche that is unmet or underserved.
Choose the right business model
Once you have your niche idea in mind, you will need to figure out how to sell your product. You will need to choose a business model to do so. A business model is an outline of how a business plans to make money with its product and customer base in a specific market.
There are several business models you can choose from. For example, you can be a business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce store, business-to-consumer (B2C) or even consumer-to-business (C2B) or consumer-to-consumer (C2C). You can also have other business models like subscription services, dropshipping and wholesaling, fulfilment by Amazon or white label. It’s best to do your research and understand each business model concept before choosing one.
Validate your product concept and narrow down your target audience.
Now that you have selected a business model, it’s time to validate your product. It’s critical to conduct market research at this point to ensure you have a viable product idea. A good starting point is to do your market research through surveys, consumer interviews, or focus groups.
Source: Survey Monkey
You can also create buyer personas to aid in the development of great marketing tactics for future usage. The results of this can help you see what customers have to say about your business product and whether they are interested in buying your product.
Establish your company’s structure and register it.
After you select a niche, business model and validation of your product, it is time to own it as your own. First, you will need to determine which business structure your business falls under and then register it as such. It is essential to identify the correct business structure for your business.
There are three types of legal structures for a business: sole proprietorship, partnership and corporation. Each one has distinct characteristics. For example, if you consider yourself self-employed or a freelancer working under your legal name, you can register as a sole proprietorship. If you decide later to take on partners, you can reorganize as a partnership or other entity.
Once you have chosen your business structure and registered your business, you can start branding your company by selecting a logo, brand message, colour schema, and so on.
Source or manufacture products for your ecommerce store
At this point, you have established a business structure and are ready to move on to the next step. It’s time to delve deeper into the product sourcing strategies we discussed in the business models section. There are four primary methods for obtaining products:
- DIY production: Handmade items like beads, pottery, and sculptures.
- Wholesaler: Brand-name goods sold in bulks.
- Manufacturer: Expand your DIY business by purchasing DIY products in bulk.
- Dropshipping: Vendors provide products & ship orders on your behalf.
You do not need to settle on just one method to acquire products for your eCommerce store. Many eCommerce business owners use mixed approaches. It is a way to create a balanced income stream.
Create a business plan to help you run your business
A business plan is a guide for business owners to use to help start and manage their business. It serves as a road map for establishing, operating, and growing a new company. It is an essential method to use in considering your business’s critical aspects.
A business plan can also help you obtain finance or attract new partners. Once you have created your business plan, you can use it as a tool to persuade people to work with you or invest in your business. There are no specific right or wrong ways to write a business plan. The important thing is that your plan meets your business needs.
The types of business plans include but are not limited to; start-up, internal, strategic, feasibility, operations, and growth plans. Knowing what you want to achieve for your business and how you want to do it is key to choosing the proper business plan for your business requirements.
Building your ecommerce store
After you have verified your product ideas, registered your company, and produced a business place, it’s time to create your eCommerce website. Most online retailers use Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems to operate their eCommerce business. Software as a service (SaaS) is a cloud-based software solution that allows software vendors to offer programs to customers via the internet. The most frequent way for users to access SaaS software is through a website or an app. Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are two more well-known cloud computing options.
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.
BigCommerce, perhaps the greatest SaaS platform available, provides a number of pricing ranges from Standard to Enterprise.
Wix is a popular platform for small companies because it offers a wide variety of well-designed templates, SEO capabilities and an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor.
Shopify is a massive eCommerce platform. Their integrations and store setup are quick and simple. They’re excellent for dropshipping.
Squarespace could be the ideal eCommerce supplier if you’re a visual person with modest eCommerce demands. It provides a highly user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder.
Some eCommerce platforms come with extensions and add-ons to further improve the look and feel of your eCommerce website to add quality and value.
Generate traffic for the store
Setting up an eCommerce website is the easy part. Now you have to find a way to drive traffic to your website. The most common way to drive traffic to your website is through paid and free digital marketing strategies.
Free marketing takes time to gain momentum, but it provides the best long-term Return on Investment (ROI). A few of the most beneficial tactics include:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Relevant keywords within the website.
- Off-page SEO (Link building): High-quality, relevant links to your website.
- Content Marketing: The process of optimizing blog posts, articles, and website content.
- Social Media: Create Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.
- Email Marketing: Create unique email designs and popups.
Paid marketing channels, on the other hand, generate immediate results. Making it a popular choice for small and large enterprises, but the ROI is generally lower than free methods. A few of the common tactics include:
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC): You set up PPC ads with Google and pay each time someone clicks on your ads.
- Social Media Ads: Place social media ads on Facebook or sell directly through product listings.
- Influencer Marketing: Pay influencers to promote your products on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and others.
To captivate customers and produce conversions, you will need a combination of both marketing strategies.
Measure your success
Once you start opening your store and generating sales, it’s crucial to start measuring your success. You can use Google Analytics and other similar tools to monitor your conversion rates and sales. Google Analytics is a free web analytics tool offered by Google to help you analyze your website traffic. In other words, analytics tools can help you see how people arrive at your website and what they do while they are there.
Many SaaS eCommerce platforms and social media platforms have Google Analytics integrated within the system to help online business owners monitor their website traffic. You may utilize the information you gather from analytics to improve product descriptions and page content so that more visitors become customers. Overall, to increase sales, you must evaluate and act on these insights.
As you can see, creating your own eCommerce business is not as difficult as it seems. It all comes down to being prepared, understanding how you can establish your company and the steps you want to take.
In other words, it takes perseverance and effort to set up a successful eCommerce shop. Coupled with a good product in a growing niche, a good business plan, an eCommerce platform, and a well-thought-out marketing approach are all essential for a successful eCommerce store. Complete these steps and you will have no trouble creating your own lucrative online business!