If you want to outgrow your competitors in business, know that it won’t be easy. If you want to know how to run your e-commerce business properly, you should have a powerful strategy in place. Given below are a few tips that may help you achieve success as an e-commerce business owner. By following these tips, your chance of achieving success as an online business owner will be higher.
How To Start an Ecommerce Business
Online retail is a booming business. But I’ve seen too many ecommerce businesses struggle to get traction. Running an online store can get complicated fast, which is why I’m a big fan of launching single branded product line + affiliate site combo.
This ecommerce model is very different from the typical online stores that rely on product sales.
- Starts with a niche & persona, NOT product
- Highest profit margin
- One product to worry about shipping
- Use sales off of affiliate marketing to reinvest
- Figure out what else is selling and launch new lines
- Natural growth projection
Building an ecommerce business takes more than choosing a brand name, writing product listings, and starting to sell products online. Even the best business ideas can flop if you aren’t driving enough traffic to your site.
How To Start An Ecommerce Business
- Research The Basics Of Ecommerce Business
- Start Ecommerce Niche Research
- Personas and Product Selection
- Establish Your Brand & Ecommerce Business
- Create Your Online Store
- Attracting Customers to Your Ecommerce Store
- Marketing Your Products Online
- Ready To Start Your Online Business?
Research The Basics Of Ecommerce Business
Beginning your research is the first critical step. Don’t operate off of a hunch. Growing any online business is an investment. Treat it as such.
There isn’t a single business structure that works for everyone. Service-based business, software, digital product sales, and physical products are just the tip of the iceberg.
Before you can decide on what to sell online, you need to understand the different business models available.
It’s not rocket science, but it does impact your business structure.
My focus is on physical products, but that doesn’t imply a need for you to invest heavily or fill your garage with products. How will you source products and inventory management?
If you want to turn a profit without touching your product or investing heavily at the start, dropshipping is a smart choice.
If you like the idea of having your own warehouse full of goodies, you’re investing more up front and working with a wholesaling or warehousing model. Have a business idea for the perfect product idea or a favorite product you wish you could sell under your brand? Look into white labeling and manufacturing.
And then there are subscriptions, where you carefully curate a set of products or a single product to be delivered at regular intervals to your customers.
The ecommerce business model that attracts me the most is a single product category that you supplement with affiliate marketing. You can control the content marketing and branding on a focused product and focus the rest of your energy on driving sales by monetizing traffic.
Start Ecommerce Niche Research
It pains me when people email me their ecommerce site and it’s filled with hundreds of products, dozens of categories, and no real focus.
Unless you have a massive budget, you can’t be the next Best Buy or Amazon. You have to niche down to run a profitable ecommerce store.
Choosing your niche is the most important step in opening your online business. Start this process by identifying successful companies already working in this space.
Make sure that the area is competitive – an absence of competition usually indicates that there’s no market, either.
Don’t pick an overly crowded niche, however, and skip anything dominated by major brands. If you’re having trouble with this, drill down further on what you want to do – the more specific you are, the less competition you are likely to face.
Niche-ing down also gives you the benefit of having a lot of “shoulder” niches, related to what you do, but not identical. You can work together with business owners in those niches to cross-promote, become (or acquire) an affiliate, and grow your customer base.
Pick a product category with a minimum of 1000 keywords and focus on a niche that does well in social media, where publishers in the area are affiliates on Amazon. If you can nab a few affiliate marketing opportunities, you won’t have to worry about shipping as much product, but you can still make a profit.
Personas And Product Selection
Now that you’ve identified a niche and business model, you might be tempted to start hunting for products to sell.
Don’t. Before you think about product ideas, think about personas. You can’t expect people to buy your product if you don’t know who you’re selling to.
Who are you? What does the store represent? Who are your ideal customers? You need to project a consistent brand image (a journey that starts with your brand name). An organic seed company that started selling conventional fertilizer wouldn’t last very long.
The persona of your store has to match the expectation of your customers and the products you choose to carry.
Once you’ve identified the image you want to project and the customer you are catering to, it’s time to come up with product ideas. I suggest starting with one – you’ll invest less at the start, and if you want to offer more you can test the waters with affiliate marketing.
In the example of an organic seed company, you could find popular organic products on Amazon and create content to send traffic to those affiliate products. If something catches fire, you can consider making your own brand of that product. If you’re not 100% sure what to sell, you can use affiliate marketing to validate your idea.
Before you invest in the product, though, evaluate it carefully. Even if you choose a dropshipping model, you want to test it carefully and get a feel for the product yourself so you can identify any potential problems and prepare customer service scripts to answer common questions.
If you want to start a successful business, you need a brand that connects with your persona. Identifying your persona makes building an ecommerce brand easier. You might avoid girlie colors and images if you are selling products to corporate businesswomen interested in living a sustainable life.
But before you set up your store and get into the nitty gritty of building a brand – there are some basic steps you’ll need to take.
Step 1: Register Your Business.
Choose a business name and register your company. There are legal protections and tax benefits for incorporating, so don’t skip it.
Step 2: Pick Your Store’s Name
The name of your site and the legal name of your business don’t need to be identical, but keeping them consistent has its benefits. Make sure whatever you choose fits your niche – you don’t want to pick a brand name at the last minute.
Step 3: Get Your Business Licenses
If you’re not familiar with this process, the Small Business Association has plenty of resources to help you get started, including a mentor-protege network and courses on small business basics. Look actively for mentors – their advice can be priceless, even for little things like acquiring business licenses. One of the smartest decisions I ever made was finding someone who could show me the ropes.
Step 4: Get Your Employer Identification Number
You’ll need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a business bank account and file your business taxes next April, even if you don’t plan on having any employees. Your EIN is a bit like your business’ social security number: it’s a unique number that identifies your business and helps you file important paperwork.
Step 5: Apply For Business Licenses And Permits
Operating an online store does not exclude you from needing certain business licenses and permits. Check with your city, county, and state to see what sorts of sales tax licenses or home business licenses you need, and get those approved before you start operating.
Step 6: Find The Right Vendors
You’ll have a lot of competition selling products online, so it’s in your best interest to find the best quality and best prices for the products you sell or materials you use to create your products. Shop around until you find a vendor you want to do business with long-term – this includes your ecommerce software (your “shopping cart”). Think scalable from the start.
Step 7: Logo Creation
Don’t fret over it too much, but do make sure that it is not in use by another company in your niche. Logo design doesn’t have to be terribly original, however (and really shouldn’t).
Step 8: Get Visual
Consider the colors of your brand, the imagery you’ll use, and the typeface or fonts you’ll employ carefully. If you’ve got the budget, you might want to hire a marketing firm to create a design brief for your company. If not, you can create your own. Just keep it consistent and read marketing tips designed to help boost your brand.
Use SEO For Better Ranking
It’s really difficult to profit from your e-commerce business if your website or store doesn’t show up high in search results. In other words, your website should be ranked for common keywords that prospective buyers may search for when buying online.
Suppose you deal in clothing for kids. Now, if you search for “kids clothing” or children clothing “, your website should show up on first page of search results. According to Optify, most internet users choose to browse first three websites on a search engine results page.
Focus on Mobile
Mobile internet users are increasing day by day. As a matter of fact, most people of today use their phones instead of bulky laptops to search for their desired products online.
If you want to get a higher market share, we suggest that you focus on mobile. According to statistics, the number of mobile users is higher than desktop computer users. So, make sure you get your website optimized for mobile phones.
Embrace social media
If you are not using social media websites, you may lose a lot of business opportunities. As a matter of fact, social media plays a great role as far as growing e-commerce business is concerned.
If you choose the best social media strategy, reaching a wide audience will be easier for you. Aside from this, make sure your online store includes links to your social media pages.
Quality of service
Online buyers have an idea of the quality of customer service of an online store based on a few factors. Some of the important factors include refund process, product delivery, and product questions and so on. You may want to make sure that buyers don’t have any problems related to any of these areas. Not handling these issues will mean bad reviews from customers on review websites and forums.
If you want to make sure that customers won’t get mad at you, you may want to put together a powerful business strategy by keeping your goals, resource and needs in mind. After all, the success of your business is based on the satisfaction level of your customers.
Today, most of e-commerce startups don’t achieve success because they don’t have the right strategy in place. They don’t follow the main practices that are a must for success in today’s online marketplace.
Long story short, if you follow the tips mentioned above, your chance of achieving success as an e-commerce business owner will be higher. This way your business will be more likely to run circles around your competitors and you will have a larger market share.
Source by Shalini Madhav
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