It is no secret that online shopping is the future. And there has never been a more promising time to begin your own e-commerce business than now. If you are looking to launch a successful online business, here are five important steps to get your e-commerce business off the ground.
1. Research e-commerce business models
Lots of start-up entrepreneurs find a product and supplier they like the look of, set up a website, and start marketing. However, to give a business the best chance of success in such a competitive marketplace, you should be taking the time to research the viability of the business model. There are lots of different ways to structure an e-commerce business, e.g. selling physical products via wholesale or providing software as a service. You may want to which entails selling stock on behalf of another company or stockist, so you do not need to store or dispatch products yourself.
2. Consider the products you will sell
The best strategy for an e-commerce start-up is to focus on one or two product lines in a niche. Having lots of products and several categories will make it difficult to build a brand or . When you have an idea about potential products you could sell, you need to check the level of competition in your prospective niche (which indicates whether there is a market for the product), but also that the niche is not so competitive it will be difficult to establish your brand. Look for product niches that sell well online, particularly via social media, as this will make marketing more straightforward.
3. Decide which products to sell to whom
When you have your business model and a product in mind, you need to decide who you will be selling to. When you know your target customers, you can weave this into your branding, website design, and communications. Your brand needs to align with the products you will sell and appeal to the people you want as customers.
4. Create your e-commerce website, i.e. your online store
Your e-commerce website is your storefront, so it is crucial that you give this step lots of thought. When you have your domain, you can decide on a hosting platform that will enable you to take payments and process orders. Your website needs to look great, but it also needs to load quickly on both desktop and mobile, to rank highly in search engines, and be easy for customers to navigate. This is easier said than done for most, so you may want to to help you.
5. Register your business/brand name
You need to , which should also include deciding on your brand name. The brand name should align with your product, mission, and appeal to your target audience. Your website address should be as close to your brand or product as possible, although it may not be possible to get the exact domain name you want. Branding a start-up should also include deciding on colors, fonts, language, and a logo. Depending on your location and your product niche, you will need to apply for licenses and permits to be able to trade.