A Complete Guide on How to Start an E-Commerce Business

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Not only are e-commerce businesses the way of the future but they’re the way of today, with the majority of business activity and communications now taking place online in some capacity.

While there are many reasons to be interested in running an e-commerce store apart from the profits, there’s never been a more lucrative opportunity for the right person to begin a business.

With that said, if you’re eager and ready to learn how to start an e-commerce business, passionate about providing top-notch products and services to your target audience, this article is for you!

In what follows, we’ll be detailing several general steps to creating an online store, discussing the advantages of doing so, and providing a number of tips for those new to the online arena.

How to Start an E-Commerce Business

While running an e-commerce business is often compared to running a brick-and-mortar storefront business, there are actually several key differences when starting the former.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide so that you can ensure a streamlined and efficient journey throughout the beginning phases of starting your very own e-commerce business.

Identify Your Business Offering

A business is nothing without a product or service to offer its consumers. Simply put, identifying your business offering requires you to define what product (or service) you’re going to be selling.

While this might sound like common sense, you’d be surprised at how many people show passion for starting an e-commerce business without any substantiated idea of what that business is going to offer.

On the more complex side of things, deciding what to sell can be a challenging first step, not only because of the rapidly changing environments of today’s trend-based marketplace but because of the skill required to successfully identify a product that will, in fact, sell.

Easier said than done…

Devise a Business Plan

Consider this the research and development phase of launching your e-commerce online store. From researching your competition and identifying your target market and understanding their buying behaviours to devising a curated business plan centric around your findings, this step is where it begins to get real!

While we won’t be going into detail regarding how to devise a comprehensive business plan it deserves an entire article on its own, consider your business plan a roadmap to success, if you will.

Though tedious, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to do so, for it will often act as your compass during key decision-making sessions.

Choose a Platform

Once the bones of your business are solidified, it’s time to begin taking concrete actions to set up the business itself. This refers to choosing a platform and proceeding through the steps to actuate your online presence.

While the most popular e-commerce platform today is unarguably Shopify, there are several other suitable platforms available to choose from, from Wix, Squarespace, WooCommerce, and more…

Withstanding the choice of platform itself, remember that setting up and actuating your business also requires you to choose a name, design a logo, and create the theme of the website itself.

Prepare for Takeoff…

Before proceeding to the final launch phase of your e-commerce business, it’s important to note that it’s not enough to merely set up your business for success. Instead, you’re also required to ensure that all systems in place are implemented and all supply chain concerns are taken care of.

This includes but certainly isn’t limited to inventory management systems, tracking and analysis systems, shipping and fulfillment systems, and more…

It’s Launch Time!

Now all that’s left to do is launch your first e-commerce business! While it’s been a long journey to get to this point, the work has only begun. Now it’s time to take action towards acquiring customers, retaining customers, and converting them to loyal and lifelong ambassadors of your brand.

Throughout the lifecycle of your online store, actions that will continue on a rolling basis include digital marketing strategies such as paid ads, organic social content, and email marketing, as well as SEO tactics to garner traffic and increase brand awareness.

The road ahead isn’t going to be one that’s smooth and relaxed. Quite the opposite, in fact… However, if done properly and with extreme focus and determination, the road ahead will certainly be a rewarding one!

Advantages of E-Commerce Businesses

In today’s competitive digital arena, you might presume that running an online e-commerce business is all but advantageous, boasting, instead, several roadblocks and difficulties.

While there are certain difficulties in running any business, this presumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there’s never been a better, more advantageous time to own and operate an e-commerce business than there is today.

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely already privy to both the pros and cons of e-commerce businesses, however, below are some of the most emphatic!

Top 5 Advantages of Running an E-commerce Business

  • Low Barrier to Entry
  • Low Overhead Costs
  • Ability to Overcome Geographical Limitations
  • Ability to Scale with Ease
  • Untapped Potential for Profits

Withstanding the four primary advantages of running an e-commerce business, it’s also an opportunity that operates around the clock because, well, the internet doesn’t close. This, for obvious reasons, opens the doors of opportunity for increased conversions and total customer reach.

Further, because of the rapid growth and innovation in tech and online software, there’s never been more readily available resources than there are today. This not only makes for an easier transition from employee to business owner but it provides you with the opportunity to be 100% autonomous, not reliant on anybody else but yourself should you so choose.

Finally, it goes without saying, who doesn’t want to be their own boss?! At the end of the day, I think that’s why you’re primarily interested in running an e-commerce business, right?!

In Summary

The process of running an e-commerce business will have many differences throughout its lifecycle from start to finish, however, will also share a similar structural process regarding the setup of the online store itself.

Depending on the strategy that you choose and the product(s) that you decide to sell, the cost of starting will also differ greatly…

Regardless, e-commerce businesses are an incredibly lucrative and rewarding opportunity if you approach it correctly and execute it properly. In short, the level of success that your online store reaches is completely and underly in your hands as the owner.

The decision as to how far you want to take it is up to you…

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