E-commerce business refers to a kind of business that enables you to sell your products or services over the internet. There is no doubt that the future of online business and ecommerce websites is really incredible and it will become a necessity for all shoppers.
So, there is no difference if your purpose of establishing an ecommerce website is either starting a new business from the baseline or growing the business you have already developed in the real world, it’s the best decision that you have ever made for boosting your sales and profits.
Starting an online store is somehow different from traditional ones as you need to update yourself to some sort of technology such as working with laptops and mobile phones, using software, searching on google, or even spending some time on social media pages to contact your customers.
Managing all of these tasks seems difficult at the beginning but as your ecommerce business grows, you will definitely get used to it. The only thing that matters is doing your best to put everything right in the first place.
That’s why we are going to share with you the most important steps that you have to consider for starting an ecommerce business from scratch.
Step 1: Choose what kind of products you want to sell online
If you have already decided to start an online business, the first thing you have to work on it is the kind of products sold on your e-commerce website. To make up your mind easier, it’s better to take a look at the following questions and decide to sell which kinds of products are the best for you:
Are you a Producer / Manufacturer or service provider?
If you are producing any kinds of products, starting an online business is the best idea. There is no difference if you have established a traditional business or not, it’s time to grow it in a new world.
As a producer, you may offer various kinds of products to your customers, the main point is that your business is not related to a supplier or provider, you are producing the products on your own and now you can offer them online to the potential customers.
There is no limit on selling online products, you might produce / Provide:
Services on an ecommerce business
- Online educational courses, web or graphic design, online health services, Digital marketing, Content writing, …
- Physical products on e-commerce business
- Clothes & Shoes, mobiles & laptops, books, jewelry and accessories, toys and games, etc.
- Downloadable products on online store
- Songs, e-books, plugins, software, and so on
Are you a supplier/Provider?
If you want to start your online business as a supplier or provider, you need to find some sponsors to provide some goods for you then you can sell them on your ecommerce website.
The best solution for creating this kind of e-commerce business is to sell second-hand goods. Actually, you can create a website to allow people to offer their second-hand products to other people who need them. In this process, you can charge the seller before posting its product on your website.
Work as a dealer
The other way is to negotiate with some producers and encourage them to work with you as a partner. It is a great idea to choose a specific industry for example health and beauty, fashion and clothing, Digital goods such as smartwatches, mobile phones, smart TVs, and so on. This can empower you to sell other producer’s products as a dealer on your e-commerce website.
Develop your e-commerce business strategies and sales plan
When you finally decide what is the best for starting your e-commerce business, it’s time to have a strategy for selling the products.
Actually, you have two methods to run an ecommerce business:
- Selling your product on online Marketplaces
- Running your own online store
Both methods have their pros and cons, so we compare them briefly to help you decide which one really works for you.
Selling products on Online Marketplaces
There is no doubt that selling your products on online Marketplaces can help you to reach your goal very fast and easy.
The best online marketplaces such as eBay, Walmart, Etsy, Alibaba, Google Express or AliExpress enable you to show off your products to be seen by a huge number of potential customers without any need to spend a lot of money and put on a lot of effort for creating an ecommerce website.
Selling products on Online marketplaces is a good choice when you have a limited budget but you want to gain profit in a short time. Actually, those marketplaces have already prepared everything for you:
- They designed an attractive website to offer your product to a large basis of online shoppers. It really seems perfect especially when you just establish a brand and you want to make other people know you.
- They investigated a lot of advertisements to attract potential customers. So, you have this opportunity to start your e-commerce business without any marketing strategies.
It is obvious that the most important target of selling any products is to gain profit. So, you need to consider the commission or transaction fees that those online marketplaces charge you to let your products be introduced to their visitors.
It means you need to share some part of your profit with them. Although, sometimes it is really an ideal option in the short term compared to running your own online store, in some situations investigating for an ecommerce website leads you to much more profit in the long term.
Running your own online store
Running your own online store means you need to investigate marketing and advertisement for your products, designing an ecommerce website, defining the payment methods, considering the shipping options and etc. In fact, you should think about the process of selling goods, receiving money and delivering them to the customers on your own.
If you have enough budget to start an e-commerce business by creating your own online store, we do recommend you to forget about online marketplaces and do your best to make it work.
There is no doubt that any customer can rely more on an independent brand who creates a strong identity without getting help from other third parties.
So, if you think like this, you are ready to go to the next step.
Step 2: Design a logo and pick a good domain name for your e-commerce business
Every business needs a good domain and a professional logo to make customers identify it among other competitors. It would be great if you search and find the biggest competitors of your ecommerce business before choosing your domain name and designing your logo.
For starting an online business, you need to pick an attractive domain name that is related to your business. You may consider your domain name as a name displayed on the banner of any shopping center. So, it really does matter to choose it carefully.
In the following, you can find the most reliable online domain & hosting server providers enabling you to easily register your domain name and buy a host to start running your e-commerce website.
The most famous hosting server providers:
We do recommend you to create a professional logo before going to the next step because you need to make a strong identity of your business in the customer's mind which is not possible without a memorable logo. To create an impressive logo, you can use online logo makers or hire a freelancer. It depends on the budget you have.
Step 3: Decide about the best CMS for creating your website or e-commerce business
By choosing the products you want to sell, picking a domain name, and purchasing a host, you have almost done the most difficult parts of running an e-commerce business. You can easily hire a professional website designer to do the rest for you.
However, if you decided to design your ecommerce website on your own, it is also possible by doing some research to learn which CMS platform is the best for running your e-commerce business.
Keep in mind that after choosing a CMS platform and running your website, you need to use an ecommerce platform to add the necessary functions to your website such as:
- Adding products and defining their prices
- Specifying the payment methods
- Determining the shipping zones
- Managing Orders
- Issuing coupons
Choosing the best ecommerce platform depends somehow on the CMS platform that you have chosen.
To make it easier for you, we are going to briefly introduce the most famous CMS platforms for creating a new website:
WordPress is a free and open-source CMS platform known as an ideal option for running an e-commerce website from scratch because you don’t need to have any coding knowledge for creating a website based on it.
As we mentioned before, for some CMS platforms such as WordPress, you need to install a plugin or exertion to add those extra features to your website and make it ready for selling your products.
The most popular ecommerce plugins of WordPress are:
WooCommerce is the most popular plugin of WordPress for turning any website into an online store. It offers various incredible features for selling any type of product including downloadable, digital, or physical.
Shopify offers better solutions for managing the price of your products. However, it’s not as flexible as WooCommerce.
BigCommerce is another CMS platform with a lot of amazing features like providing hosts for your website along with a user-friendly web design dashboard.
Squarespace helps you to create a simple online store very fast and easy. Although this CMS platform has a lot of advantages, it's not an open-source platform which may result in lower options for managing and controlling your ecommerce website.
Step 4: Design your online store and start selling your goods
The most important part of starting an e-commerce business is designing and customizing your online store to be more impressive and attractive for your customers to enjoy shopping from your online store.
To improve the appearance of your ecommerce website, you need to:
- Choose an attractive theme
- Add high-quality product images
Keep the ordering process simple for your customers
Improve the appearance and functionality of your online store by installing useful plugins
Step 5: Plan digital marketing to boost your e-commerce business
When everything is ready, it’s time for marketing and advertising to inform potential customers about your online store.
There are a lot of useful marketing strategies that can help you attract more customers and boost your sales, including:
- Advertising on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram
- Use SMS marketing or Email marketing
- Improve SEO of your ecommerce website to get a higher rank on search engines
- Pay for Google Ads to display your website on the top of the search pages
Starting an e-commerce business is not a big deal if you have planned out and set up everything, perfectly. You just need to focus on your target and pay attention to the strategies that can improve your customer experiences.