E-commerce is the best place to start or build your small business online. The market for online commerce is more substantial and lucrative than the high street because of changing consumer practices and new technologies. Here’s how to start and run a successful online digital store.
Key Takeaways: e-Commerce Business
- E-commerce businesses are now more popular and lucrative than high-street stores.
- There is a range of e-commerce businesses to choose from, including drop shipping.
- Ensure you have a viable core product that you can base an e-commerce business on.
- Shipping is another core element of an online business that needs to be organized.
- Don’t forget about returns and post-sale processes; you can use third-party services.
What is an e-Commerce Business?
E-commerce stands for “electronic commerce” and refers to the buying and selling of goods online instead of in physical stores. In recent years, e-commerce has come to dominate the buying and selling of goods as the high street declines and digital technology is widely used.
Typically, e-commerce businesses operate from online platforms like Shopify, WordPress, or Big Commerce. These platforms provide a suitable infrastructure for buying and selling your products, such as a digital storefront, a payments page, and a page for creating SEO content.
Types of e-Commerce Business
There are several types of e-commerce business models. These include dropshipping, private label selling, handmade items, subscription boxes, merchandise, as well as B2B and B2C products. With so much on offer, there are lots of opportunities to set up an e-commerce store.
Deciding on a business model for an e-commerce business is one of the first things you need to address. Of course, the type of e-commerce business you choose also depends on the product you are selling. Research the e-commerce type carefully to ensure your business is supported.
How to Start an e-Commerce Business
Starting an e-commerce business is like starting any business; the more research you carry out and the time you put into the infrastructure, the better your business will perform in the short term. If you have strong financials, your business will be stronger, and you will be able to secure investment. It’s a good idea to start the journey with a business plan to conceptualize things.
Source Suitable Products
The core of your e-commerce business is likely to be the products you sell, so it makes sense to spend some time researching this carefully and choosing something that has good margins and a strong market. There is no limit to the items you can sell online, but choose items intelligently.
Some people choose a passion product to sell in their online store, and while this can be successful from time to time, it is sometimes better to take a dispassionate approach to products. Try to solve a customer’s pain point or cater to hobbyists who always need parts.
Research the Competition
One key aspect of starting an e-commerce business is understanding the competition, what you are up against, and what the threats are to your business. Understanding these factors creates a more robust business to launch. Conduct a competitor analysis and a SWOT analysis to ensure you understand where your store sits in the market and how to avoid common pitfalls.
Write up a Business Plan
As with a conventional offline business, an online business requires a business plan. A business plan is needed to conceptualize the business, organize the business, and help you to source funding successfully. Writing up a business plan is easier than you might think using a template.
Business plan templates are available online and can be followed quite easily; there are also online resources you can use to learn more about helpful things to include. Remember, a business plan is a flexible document that needs to be updated regularly with any changes made.
Develop a Brand Logo
The brand logo will be on the front page of your online store; it will also be on your online content, your packaging, and any advertising you invest in. A brand logo encapsulates the values and ethos of your business, so it’s very important. It also helps customers find and identify you online and offline. Ensure your logo is simple, bold, and aligns with your brand.
Set up an Online Store
Setting up your online store is a necessary part of your business process, but it is not the first. Initially, you need to put the foundations in place to ensure that your store will grow into a successful business. The good news is that starting an online store has never been easier.
There is no shortage of website builders to choose from, including Shopify, Big Commerce, and WordPress. Website builders provide everything you need to set up a domain, create product pages, write SEO content, and develop a brand logo. Choose a platform that suits you best.
Choose a Shipping Strategy
Shipping is an important factor to consider for your e-commerce business, especially since customers have such high expectations these days. Decide whether you want to use a dropshipping model and if you want to include international shipping or focus simply on the domestic markets. Read this complete guide to shipping and fulfillment to design your store.
Choose Reverse Logistics
Shipping products to customers is a vital part of the business. Products need to be stored, packaged, and shipped, often in an efficient and sustainable supply chain model to satisfy modern customers. But what happens when they are dissatisfied and the products come back?
Reverse logistics is the process of receiving and processing returned products to ensure customer satisfaction. If you want to reduce some of the stress on your business caused by post-sale returns, use reverse logistics solutions to move and manage products and services.
There’s never been a better time to start an e-commerce business. E-commerce is now the best way to reach customers with your products and market your business online. However, it is important not to underestimate the process; make sure you plan and carry out your research.