by Faith Lisondra

September 14, 2020

Business, Business Continuity 5 min read

The Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Ecommerce Business from Scratch

Ecommerce is everywhere.  

Whether you are buying new clothes, purchasing electronic products, or simply ordering food, ecommerce stores have made them quick, smart, and efficient. So much so, that almost 2.05 billion people across the world admit to making frequent online purchases.  

The business side has also witnessed a tremendous spurt of growth. Retail ecommerce sales worldwide have increased to $3.53 trillion in 2019! This number is further expected to rise and touch the magic figure of $6.54 trillion by 2022. 

Get in with the times. Take advantage of this opportunity for revenue and create your own ecommerce website.  

But first, why should you have an ecommerce business?  

An ecommerce outlet helps your business thrive by:  

Expanding its reach

An ecommerce store can quickly expand the reach of your business beyond your location. Customers from different parts of the world can view your product and order it. This enables you to reap global revenues and grab international attention.

Ecommerce expands customer reach

Enhancing its access  

Unlike a physical store, an ecommerce business is open 24/7. This grants your customers access to all your products at a time and place of their convenience. You get to earn more – even beyond working hours. 

Reducing costs  

An ecommerce business doesn’t need huge investments. You don't have to rent a store, hire salespersons, or create inventories. You only need to get a license, approve a design, and begin selling! You can then use the amount you save to grow other areas of your business.  

Increasing customer conversions 

Being data-based, e-commerce allows you to collect vital pieces of customer information. This includes their gender, location, interests or status. You can use these to design customised products and increase your conversions.  

Streamlining its operations  

Venturing into ecommerce can help you streamline your business processes. Your employees can get in touch with your customers via live chat or phone, anytime. You can address their grievances in an instant and improve their experience.  

How do you start a successful ecommerce business?  

If you want to launch an ecommerce business, you’ll need to do more than registering a brand name and getting a website.  

Here are the essential steps you need to know: 

Choose what product to sell 

This is the first and most crucial step in starting an ecommerce business. 

If you already have a brick-and-mortar store, you already have products to sell. So you can skip this step. 

If you’re starting from scratch, that’s no problem. Here are some guidelines for you to choose your product: 

Figure out your target audience 

Who do you want to cater to? What do they need? What problem of theirs do you want to solve? Your chosen product should address these questions. 

Select a niche 

Start small. Don’t think about being the next Amazon just yet. To make your ecommerce store profitable, you need to focus on a niche. 

Make sure the niche is competitive. If there’s no competition, it’s a sign there’s no market in the first place. 

But don’t pick a highly saturated market, either. Skip those that are dominated by major brands. 

In the end, choose one that’s specific and unique. The more specific your niche is, the less competition you have to worry about.

Ecommerce niches

Find a supplier 

Figure out where you’re getting the products you want to sell. 

There are many models of acquiring inventory, each of which fit every kind of business need: 

Making 

This is best for those who have a skill in craft, such as making jewellery, clothes, or bags.  

This allows for total control over the brand, quality, and price. But this can be challenging in terms of time input and scalability. 

Manufacturing 

If you want to create your own product but don’t want to create it yourself, consider finding a manufacturer to do it for you.  

You still have control over brand, quality, and price. But you have to be cautious over minimum order quantities and fraudulent manufacturers. 

Wholesale 

If you don’t want to bother yourself in creating your own products, buy them in bulk or wholesale. 

There’s low risk attached to the wholesale model, as you’re dealing with products that have been validated on the market. This is also the ideal choice if you want to get started with your ecommerce business in a jiffy. 

However, you don’t have that much control over pricing, and you have to worry about selling out your inventory. You also have to consider other businesses who are selling the same products 

Dropshipping  

This method allows you to sell products without having to hold inventory. You coordinate with a dropship partner to create and ship the products, as well as hold and manage inventory. 

Dropshipping incurs low risk and costs, as you don’t have to worry about selling out your products. But it’s also a highly competitive model with low profit margins. 

Setup your ecommerce business 

Now that you got the fundamentals down pat, it’s time to set them up. 

Name your business  

Be creative, different, and original. But make sure to keep it short, simple, and representative of your business, as well. 

Once you’ve come up with one, register your domain name and social media handles. You don’t want your competitors to get it before you do. 

Create your business logo 

Your logo is the visual representation of your business. Make it count! Create it in a way that customers know what your business is about at first look. 

Build your online store 

A well-built online store is the foundation of your ecommerce business’s success.

Build online store

Work with this to-do list in setting up your ecommerce website: 

  • Create a design that’s visually appealing and easy to navigate. 
  • Add your business logo. 
  • Organise your products page. If you have multiple offerings, arrange them per category. 
  • Make sure your individual product page has complete information. Include the price, description, dimensions, weight, and other relevant info. 
  • Check if your call-to-action buttons are visible and working (e.g. Buy Now, Checkout, etc.). 
  • Provide your customers with various shipping options. 
  • Make sure that your store is compatible with various payment gateways. 
  • Setup a tracking system for you to monitor your customer orders. 
  • Connect your store to marketplaces (e.g. Amazon, eBay, Facebook Marketplace) to maximise your audience reach. 
  • Develop a well-trained customer support team and a grievance redressal system. 
  • Get an SSL certificate to protect sensitive customer information (e.g. passwords, credit card details). 
  • Evaluate the site's features in terms of loading speed, SEO and performance. 

Establish your brand  

For your ecommerce business to thrive, you need to work on your brand. 

A well-established brand helps cultivate familiarity, recognition, and trust among your target audience. Before you know it, they’ll become your loyal customers. 

RECOMMENDED: 5 Low-Cost Branding Tips for Your Small Business 

Start marketing 

You now have your product, your business requirements, your online store, and your brand. It’s time to promote your business to your target customers. 

There are many ways to market your ecommerce business. In the end, what matters most is you craft your strategies with your target audience in mind. 

RECOMMENDED: 6 Marketing Hacks That’ll Boost Your Ecommerce Revenue 

The way forward  

As times change, more and more businesses will begin to enter the ecommerce space. So, if you intend to launch a profitable ecommerce business, there’s no better time than now. Use this guide to help you navigate the waters.  

Good luck with your new business venture!  

To know more about managing a business and everything else that it entails, check out our helpful guides. 

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