This article explores how to start an eCommerce business or improve on your existing one.
With more and more people buying things online, it’s essential for any business to have at least some form of payment acceptance on their website.
How to start an eCommerce business?
When you start an eCommerce business from scratch, you’ll need to understand that it
- requires proper planning
- doses of creativity
- a significant investment of time
- of course a certain amount of initial capital
(Do you know that:- Shopify states that 50% of stores on its site have never gotten a single sale.)
eCommerce Business Plan
Customers have repeatedly shown that they choose based on emotional wants rather than logical needs.
The first step towards setting up an online business is to think of a viable product or service that caters to a market desire.
Proper market research, analysis and planning can prove invaluable in determining your idea’s feasibility and growth potential.
Our first step will help you assess the viability of your idea before you start risking your hard-earned money on the venture.
It will provide you the information needed to decide whether to go ahead with your idea, fine-tune or discard it.
Next we work on your plan of action for your online business.
Such a plan should address the following:
Your market opportunity analysis framework should outline the key features and benefits of your online products or services.
Evaluate whether there is a big enough market to justify taking on the business endeavour ahead.
Competition Analysis: Decide how your product or service might fare against existing offerings.
Identify your potential critical price points, how to target the demand and your unique selling proposition in a crowded marketplace.
Product and Supplier Sourcing
Decide on whether you want to adopt the direct selling, dropshipping or affiliate marketing model.
Based on your current strengths, this decision would great affect your cash flow as well as your potential profits.
Digital Marketing Strategy
Identify who your potential customers are.
- age group
- geographical location
- likes and interest
- financial status
All these will affect your chosen marketing channel
eCommerce Business Cash-flow Analysis and Projection
This will prevent the most common issue that start-ups face.
That is having plenty of potential but lack of liquidity in their business.
Stay conservative and avoid being overly optimistic while planning.
Identify your worst case scenario and ensure that your cash flow allows you to get through it.
Fine-tuning your results
As you assemble your online e-commerce business plan, you will see opportunities to fine-tune your initial concept.
By identifying potential pitfalls to avoid, you will naturally increase your odds of success.
Incorporate Your eCommerce Business
Your choice of incorporated business entity will determine your exposure to legal liability, taxation rates and your ability to raise capital and run the business.
The regulatory landscape in your country may result in increased cost having to comply with local laws.
At the same time, you may gain from tax benefits or grants that can help your funding situation.
The more informed you are, the better you can plan ahead, minimize business risks and improve your chances of success.
ESTABLISH YOUR BUSINESS INFRASTRUCTURE
Depending on the product or service, you will require a supporting business infrastructure.
Infrastructure includes anything you need to run your business.
This can include, staff, IT systems and functional processes that support your business.
Your start-up will run efficiently when your chosen infrastructure matches your business strategy.
We list a few pertinent elements for your consideration below:
i) Website Design and Development for Ecommerce
Aside from finding an actual physical or information product to sell online, another challenging decision is determining your business or brand name and choosing an appropriate and available domain name.
Your domain name equates to your identity in the online world.
It should be a name that is associated to what you sell and can be easily recalled.
Hosting services provide a space on the internet for your website reside in.
Consider a hosting provider that provides prompt and quality customer support, up-time guarantee, generous disk space and bandwidth and high level of internet security.
E-commerce and CPA websites, like any website, need to convert traffic and turn visitors into customers.
Good website design reflects the quality of your brand and addresses the wants of your potential customers.
E-commerce sites also need to include product catalogue, shopping cart, checkout process and secure payment processing.
ii) Website Ecommerce Marketing & Advertising
Set aside an ecommerce marketing budget.
Marketing & advertising can be the difference between your business making a massive profit or suffering a huge loss.
Paid advertising can instantaneously bring visitors to your site.
This results in online lead generation companies being in high demand.
Maximise your budget by laser targeting only people who want your product.
Remind potential customers who haven’t bought about your product and why it would help them.
Build customer retention systems that will help them buy from you repeatedly.
Loyal customers trust and love your brand.
They will share your brand, increase your online visibility and reputation. – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is considered a form of website marketing.
For example, you can use a term like “buy online e-commerce business” or “start an eCommerce business” in your website content.
Or “e-commerce for beginners Singapore” if you are conducting a course for such.
Structure your eCommerce website properly, research & include relevant keywords and you will rank higher in Google and other search engines.
iii) Operations & Customer Support IT Infrastructure
Being in the online space where everything works at lightning speed, you need to have very efficient IT systems for order processing and customer support.
Start an eCommerce business right by choosing the right system will save you time and money on a daily basis.
Invest in a system that allows you to start small with minimum investment but can scale easily as your business grows.
It is best to outsource this as you will want to concentrate on running and expanding your business instead of learning to become a technological boffin.
iv) Order Fulfillment
Once the customer has placed an order, you need to deliver the product/service to your customer as advertised.
If you have a physical product and are not adopting an affiliate marketing or drop shipping model, you will need staff, warehousing, inventory and logistic systems.
Make sure you are ready to deliver the products/services that you are advertising on your site – nothing kills a business faster than an inability to deliver what has been sold.
v) Finance Management
Always plan and manage your business finances carefully.
Launching an online business may cost a lot less than a traditional offline business but it still requires an investment of several thousand dollars.
A profitable online business is more than just a website.
It involves start-up, technology, inventory, marketing, advertising, staffing, accounting & legal fees, office rental costs, etc.
There will be sunk, fixed and ongoing variable costs.
Having proper book keeping, knowing your numbers and managing the cash flow will be very crucial to the success of your business.
If your CPA/e-commerce platform is integrated into your accounting system, your bookkeeping functions may be greatly simplified.
If you use separate systems for your website, order management and accounting, accurate data entry and migration will be required to ensure that the information is properly entered and managed in all systems.
So here, we conclude how to start an eCommerce business article.
While the online space presents huge business potential, starting a successful ecommerce business requires planning, time, energy, investment, skills and money management.
Having a team of experts at your round table is essential. Coupled with appropriate planning and proper preparation will ensure you have a smooth start and have fast sustainable expansion in your quest to start an eCommerce business.