A few years back, starting an ecommerce site was considered to be a big hassle. In today’s dynamic and rapidly developing digital age, even though starting an ecommerce site is still not easy. But it is not a herculean task. There are few basic steps you need to follow on how to start an online business on your own:
- Set up a goal
- Create and develop the platform
- Launch the website
- Maintain it well
Things are now within easy reach of entrepreneurs, designers and marketers. They have access to different types of software, tools and platforms that were not available even a few years back.
Ecommerce businesses have always had an excessive growth potential. By ecommerce we mean transmit of goods from warehouse to buyers address – after they have been selected and purchased by the buyer. Today ecommerce giants like Amazon and Ebay have become household names. In the last 5 years there has been a massive growth in the Ecommerce industry. Today, you can get buy and sell anything online – from cars to retail to flowers to handicrafts. You name it. Mobile apps are there that sell services as well such as cleaning, painting, plumbing and so on.
Today, setting up a brick and mortar store is much more difficult than starting an online business. For a physical store you need to book a commercial address and then redesign it as per your business requirement. With ecommerce it will be much easier. You need to decide on the products or services you will offer, choose a user-friend platform and integrate shopping cart and payment gateways. All this you can do right from the comfort of your home.
What you need to start an online eCommerce site:
- Register a domain name and host a space on a secured server
- Register your business name
- Select your business structure
- Get EIN – Employer Identification Number
- Get licenses and permits, online ecommerce will have separate permits and licenses
Start with a detailed research
There is always a demand of something and there should always be a supply to fulfill that. If you have not yet decided on the product or service you are going to offer, research on what people are looking for. Read articles, latest trends, current growth rates, and so on. Once you have selected the product or range of products you will be on a better ground to start with.
You can alsovisit online forums, start asking questions, join online groups. Quora is also a great platform to get answers for your questions.
Create a copy
In simple and lucid words you can take your visitor through the entire selling process. If you don’t know it, hire a professional copy writer to write product descriptions and other content. Few things you need to ensure:
- Add a compelling headline
- Use clear product descriptions
- Sound authentic and genuine
- Add reviews and testimonials of previous buyers
- Talk about benefits more than features
- Add special offers that people can’t refuse
Your content should answer the question of ‘what is in it for me?”. People should feel at ease while shopping in your online store.
Design and develop your ecommerce platform
You can choose a platform like Mongo DB and integrate node js shopping cart to it. Choose any platform that you will find user-friendly:
- SquareSpace commerce
These are few leading ecommerce platforms that offer you to design and build your own online store.
Keep a simple layout with a white background so that your products can stand out. And most importantly choose a simple and uncomplicated checkout. A customer friendly website will increase stickiness, ensure customer engagement and retain your old customers to come back to you,
Prove that you are an expert
People will trust you based on your authenticity and your thought leadership skills. You must establish yourself as a subject matter expert. They are coming to you with a purpose. If you give them something extra, they will be super happy. Remember that customer engagement is extremely vital for your online business.
Some points on how to start your own ecommerce business is that you can start with a blog where you can upload informative articles. Then slowly with time you can start adding short documents and videos that will improve engagement, also, add links such as ‘send a friend’ where they can share your thought leadership information with others.
Let others brag about your brand
Add social media platforms so that your visitors and customers spread good things about your brand though word of mouth. This will increase your popularity online. Include case studies and testimonials of your customers who have used your products and services. You can also integrate Adwords like Pay-per-click to bring in new traffic. However, it depends on your marketing budget. In the initial days you can vouch on organic digital marketing.
Add push notifications
Push notifications are one line messages that pop up on your screen or mobile app background so that you can send messages to your prospects and customers. These messages are crisp information that you are delivering to your subscribers real time and on the go.
There are third party tools that you can use to integrate mobile and web push notifications in your ecommerce platform. With these notifications you can:
- Communicate with your subscribers on real time
- Deliver your message without being spam filtered
- Target, engage and retarget your customers
- Avoid cart abandonment
- Improve conversion rates
- Provide seasonal or limited period offers to your subscribers
Your ecommerce site might not become successful overnight, even Amazon had to struggle a lot. You need to have a dedicated approach and strategic planning in place. With time you can also go for a physical store. Even ecommerce giants like Amazon and Pepperfry have opened their physical stores at key locations. The major concept is – both online and physical store go hand in hand.
I am a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. Currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. I also report on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.