With lockdowns and social distancing being the norm across several nations, commerce has largely moved online and seen a steep rise in the number of people shopping on the internet. This shift has created an opportunity for businesses to move from the brick-and-mortar store plan to the digital world. Net Solutions’ Digital Commerce report mentions that 81% of businesses are expecting a rise in their eCommerce sales post the COVID-19 crisis.
But the question is — how to start an eCommerce business. Establishing a presence online comes with a plethora of hurdles. This article throws light on the steps to successfully launch a business digitally.
Steps to Start an eCommerce Business
The current pandemic has forced organizations to relaunch their processes, and operations and digital transformation is an important part of that revival. Here are the other essential steps to starting an eCommerce business.
1. Research eCommerce Business Models
This is the first step to answering your question – how to set up an eCommerce business. Before you start laying out the plan for your company, you need to decide on a model based on different aspects of the business, such as what you sell, whether it is goods or service and the size of your company are some of the factors that should be considered while researching.
The Fortune 500 models are the representation of success, but their approach will not fit a smaller startup. Design a well-researched model to help you scale and grow your business smoothly.
2. Start eCommerce Niche Research
The mistake majority of businesses make is trying to scale too quickly. It is important to not be overly-ambitious and pace yourself. You may not have enough funding as the conglomerates, so trying to implement their business model a wasted effort during the initial stages. Look into the nitty-gritty details of your plan.
Starting a company with a small number of products and patiently scaling up is the key. Find a niche that suits your firm’s style. Also, keep in mind to find one with the reasonable competition, since those without it may not have any market demand. But choosing an extremely crowded market can lead to your product being over-shadowed.
3. Validate Target Market and Product Ideas
Your next step should be to understand the market for your product. Set up a metric for success; freeze your target audience, and look into their current demands. This pandemic has turned the online industry on its head, with online grocery stores’ traffic up by 161% since mid-Feb and travel and hospitality transactions down by 81%.
Once you have set these in stone, you can begin to look into your merchandise. Focusing on a smaller range can help you jump-start the business. Once you have a strong foundation, you can start scaling, while your successful items continue to generate revenue.
4. Register Your eCommerce Business & Brand Name
This step is about focusing on all legal and financial aspects before you start selling. You should look into getting a license, without which you will not be legally allowed to set up your company. Furthermore, a business bank account needs to be set up before you can move forward, which will need an employer identification number.
It’s also time to work on a brand name logo. The name should be easy and have a high recall value. A logo should be simple, recognizable, and able to convey your message.
5. Finalize Your eCommerce Business Plan
Resources are limited in the beginning; therefore, you must construct a business plan where you invest them in the areas where you are likely to make the most profit. This is the key to steady growth.
But you should also plan for any black swan events. Sometimes unpredictable events that completely sway the market show up out of nowhere. Create a fail-safe in your plan so that you encompass some of these events.
6. Create Your Online Store
Next in to launch the store online is building your website. This is the window to your business for customers and can make or break your company based on the impression it creates. The website must focus on being user friendly so that shoppers enjoy it and can easily navigate to their required pages.
Almost half of the respondents in the Net Solutions’ eCommerce Industry Report reveal that streamlining the checkout process is one of the biggest drivers of online sales.
Even if your company does offer a wide range of features, you should refrain from using a cluttered window. Instead, you can make toolbars so that they can easily find what they are looking for. You should also pay equal attention to search engine optimization for garnering better views and visibility for your website.
7. Attract Customers To Your eCommerce Website
A strong marketing plan is the first step towards good traffic. According to your desired demographic, you may have to use different marketing techniques and platforms. For instance, if your products are catered to fulfill millennial demands, you should use focus on appropriate channels and social media to advertise. But this won’t work on an older audience.
Since they are less tech-savvy, you may want to focus more on telemarketing. Once you have established a strong marketing campaign, you should work towards turning these prospects into leads. Hire a sales team to boost conversions through offers and services. 60% of consumers surveyed by PwC say that they would stop doing business with a company if they experienced unfriendly service.
Starting a business is hard even under perfect circumstances, and now with the virus wreaking havoc, it can’t get any tougher. However, building an eCommerce solutions at this time can be beneficial for both the business as well as the end consumer who has shifted online for their needs. The steps mentioned in this article offer detailed insights to help build a successful eCommerce business online. It’s always advantageous to reach out to maximum audiences and make the products and services available to them at any given time through your eCommerce business.