Hundreds and thousands of eCommerce business modules are created each year and with the rising number rises the competition. According to research, there are 12-14 million eCommerce companies all across the globe. That is the power of the internet. It is the place we call home and a space we nurture our minds with.
With too many businesses coming on board each year, it is no surprise that a lot of people tend to buy things online. And that is possibly one of the best reasons why investing in an eCommerce Business of your own may sound like a good plan.
The numbers may sound daunting. You may worry about how you would place your mark. What would you do to stand out in the crowd of eCommerce? Will you be able to reach the desired goal, the desired number, the desired percentile of revenue?
There are thousands of questions that come to the surface when thinking of starting an online store. However, that should never stop you from starting a venture you’d call yours.
To begin with, starting an eCommerce business may be a herculean task, but there is no rocket science involved. The process is worth experiencing as you deal with several situations, learn about a lot of elements that come to play when starting an eCommerce business site.
This guide will help you ample in understanding the basics of business, the ethics involved, technical skills and qualification, finding yourself the help needed, research & development, analysis, and stat, so on and so forth.
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Read along to know how you can start an eCommerce Business from Scratch in 10 Fun and Easy-to-follow steps.
Step 1: Research & Development
When you are looking to start your business, always enter into the industry with prior research. When I say research, it means learning about your industry, products/services involved, competitors (if any), the scope of business, strengths, weaknesses, and loopholes (if any).
For instance, a subscription module business would not simply require one to consider inventory management. You may also need to consider the scope of your business and understand if people are buying products similar to ones you wish to sell.
You will also need to research on your industry’s specifications – expenses, profits, ROIs. Research is a never-ending process and whilst you are equipping yourself with the same you can shift to learning a gear or two of your business. Here’s where step #2 comes into the picture.
Step 2: Nuances of your venture
Once you are clear about the idea of your venture alongside taking shipping, inventory, costing into consideration; you can play around demo products by listing them on your page to see how they work for you.
This is also where your pre-launch campaign turns into a priority. (See Step 9 to learn about your launch phase). You will need to compile of list of to-dos, meet makers of your industry, learn the craft of selling and making a profit.
Once you launch, you cannot just accept traffic to start rolling in and that is exactly why learning the fundamental functional requirements of your business is critical.
Step 3: Selecting a Brand Persona
No venture can work without a name and your brand name must speak volumes of who you are and what you do. Brainstorm on ideas when seeking a name for your brand. Your branding needs don’t just end at the name. You will also need to seek professional help in creating a logo personal and unique to your brand.
Then comes the business cards, leaflets, brochures, and templates. Your brand should also work alongside specific color tones and font styles. Switching between fonts back and again and using loud colors may make your brand look amateur in the world of the internet.
Learn about color palettes, color combinations, brand color identification – so on and so forth. Every color carries meaning and it is up to you to display the one that best fits your brand’s identity.
Step 4: Establishing your business’ presence
Start with a pre-launch campaign with a coming soon copy that attracts the attention of many. Understand your brand’s need – you cannot simply switch from a formal tone to a quirky one and back to the corporate style of speaking.
A lifestyle brand may need to look out for quirky trending content that connects with the millennials using social media websites. Whereas a brand in a serious work sector like Banking and/or Finance may have to come to terms with a formal style of writing.
Create your social presence by activating your social media profiles on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. These 4 social channels help amplify your brand’s reach. They work wonders in bringing you a real potential audience (that may visit your page and buy from you).
Whereas for content required on your website, learn the basics of Search Engine Optimization, Google Indexing, Search Engine tools, the importance of keywords and more. These aspects help shape your brand’s standing on a search engine.
Let’s assume you are a wellness subscription box brand and the keyword that most people use to find wellness subscription boxes, obviously, is wellness subscription boxes UK (country changes as per your location). You will certainly want to be looked at on the first page of this search. However, to ensure you stay on the top, SEO plays a major role.
Search Engine Optimization simply works on the principle of ‘content is the king but so are keyword placement, keyword density, and keyword richness’.
Step 5: Creating an online store / Starting an eCommerce Business:
Creating a store, managing it, maintaining it and keeping it functional is fundamental to scoring the perfect online store. Learn the best competitive rates by payment portals and gateways that you may use for payment purposes. For an online store, you can try out Wix, Shopify, WooCommerce amongst others.
I personally recommend WooCommerce due to its epic functionality and user-friendly experience.
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For payment gateway, you can look out for portals like CCAvenue, Instamojo, RazorPay, PayuMoney, Paypal and more. Each payment gateway attracts a commission in the form of convenience fees that are to be paid by either the vendor or the buyer or simply by both. Look out for clauses and seek the ones with the lowest rate and highest functionality.
Step 6: Business Registration:
Business Compliance is a standard and something that you just cannot miss out on. I cannot stress this enough as to how important this process is. For someone living in a country with strict tax regulations and business registration rules.
It is mandatory to seek help from a professional who can help you register your business to help it run seamlessly without any inconvenience, ban or deletion. Registration may take anything between 3 days and 3 weeks (depending on where you live).
Also check for details about licenses needed for your business, if any. Licenses allow you to legally execute your business without any hindrance and help cross a major hurdle between an individual and an entrepreneur. Make the most of Step 1 to learn about your business’ legal needs.
Step 7: Market Yourself
Either offline or online marketing, creating a launch campaign for your BIG DAY is imperative to kickstart your business with high amplification. Brainstorm on ways to promote your brand. You could have a coming soon campaign where you disclose various facets of your brand.
A slight idea of what you would do, how you would do and where. These are just mere factors in developing an audience before your launch to bring in customers from DAY ONE itself.
Try out Social Media Networking Sites for your launch. List out Pinterest as a search engine and use it to amplify your traffic. For instance, ensure you use SEO and Keywords in the title, description, and hashtags for your posts. This way it is far more clickable and pinned by many.
For Instagram and Facebook, you could have an animated video reveal with a 2D animation, a slide show or simply a video clip of your coming soon campaign.
Another way to market yourself is by releasing a press release amongst media channels and partners. Many businesses, these days, prefer creating a press release for their launch.
You can also try out Influencer Marketing by seeking influencers in your industry (ones that have high engagement and following) to promote you on their page (in either barter or financial compensation).
Launching teaser videos as advertising across Twitter will also help signal the right audience towards. This can attract amplified traffic to your website.
Step 8: Stocking inventory:
While you are busy planning the digital and offline ideas to market yourself. Don’t sideline the importance of taking your inventory into account. For a product-based venture, inventory management may require labor owing to the amount of inventory ordered, number of orders rolling and space requirement to store them.
You can create an excel of your products, list out their SKUs, categorize them according to your website’s category segments. Inventory management also means ensuring you have them in stock at all times depending on its popularity.
While you are busy managing your inventory, hire a professional writer. A writer can help you with the content, product description and other details that form the crux of your website.
Step 9: Launching your brand
A killer campaign targeted to the right audience can bring in an amazing response during the launch of your eCommerce business. Start by pinning down ideas for your launch, how you would want it to look it and what should it be. You can always discuss brand launch ideas with friends and folks, colleagues around and people who professionally do so.
If you are looking to expand your team, ensure you have a brand strategist on hand. Your launch will define how your brand will be perceived. Make the most of this opportunity and run a show that’s worth the applaud.
Your brand launch could be with an amazing copy that speaks of your brand in the highest regard. It can carry with it a visual, an image, a gif, an animation, an intro, a video, a behind-the-scenes, a snippet, a press release.
Come what may, your reveal needs to stand out to create an impact on the minds of those perceiving it. Boost your posts and promote your brand to the right audience using advertising tools on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
For those seeking Pinterest as a platform for their launch, create a board for your launch and promote individual pins. They have a higher chance of engagement.
In case you are using email marketing to create an announcement for your email user base. You can opt to direct them to a landing page, launch page through a visually pleasing newsletter.
I would recommend ConvertKit, the simplest way to do your email marketing.
Step 10: Keep your spirits high
Remember, every business comes with its set of highs and lows, ups and downs. If yours doesn’t have one, then is it even a business in the first place? Prepare yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, financially to face situations that may seem too black or too white. Remember to embrace the greys.
Some days may be filled with the hustle-bustle of orders. Other days you may not hear a single ka-ching to your cash register. No matter what, do not give in to these issues, they are trivial and shall pass too.
Focus on your grind and work diligently, passionately and intelligently towards your goals. Set practical goals by listing out a doable to-do list. Don’t just hop onto the imaginary world with ideas and notions that things need to be in place, always. You might hit a dead-end at times and an infinite loop the very next morning.
In a nutshell, starting an eCommerce business is not rocket science. There are simple steps that one needs to follow and abide by. You can, however, have your own set of variables. Try to add or discard a marketing channel. You may simply switch to email marketing. As a brand, you would also choose to 2 social media platforms only.
Instead of an official website, you may also possibly have an Etsy Store. No matter what, remember these three points in mind. Create Kickass Content, Selfishly Promote Yourself, Learn To Accept All Possibilities. And when you hear too many ka-chings, humble yourself and stay on-ground with your practices.
Let your brand speak for itself. Let your creativity and imagination come to life. Add depth and perspective to your ideas through these steps and continue with your focus.
An eCommerce business, like any other, comes with its set of advantages and limitations. Learn about them and work on ways to find creative and quirky solutions to these limitations. Start an eCommerce Business from scratch today and get to be part of a million-dollar community.
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(This post may contain(s) affiliate links. That means I do get compensated every time someone buys from these links at no cost to you. See disclosure here.)