Starting an eCommerce Business: What You Need to Know

There could be as many as 24 million businesses online right now. That’s a lot of competition, sure, but it also proves how much potential there is in an eCommerce business.

After all, there wouldn’t be so many internet stores if it was a super tricky thing to do!

If you’re good at sourcing or making products, it might be time to turn that passion project into a revenue stream. Researching how to start a successful business will mean the difference between success and failure.

Read on to get it right.

Identify a Product

Identifying a product to sell is a crucial first step in building an eCommerce company. To validate your product idea and determine its market potential, you can:

  • Conduct market research
  • Send out customer surveys
  • Analyze your competitors’ products and customer base

Only by understanding your target market and their needs can you develop products that resonate with your potential customers.

Once you have a product idea, the next step is figuring out how and where to obtain your products. This could include:

  • Dropshipping
  • Wholesale
  • Private labeling
  • Manufacturing
  • Your current brick-and-mortar business
  • Making them yourself

Each model has pros and cons, and you must select the most suitable method based on your product idea and business goals.

Set Up Your Business

Once you have a solid eCommerce business plan, the next step is to start a company. This involves back-office tasks like:

  • Choosing a business structure
  • Naming your business
  • Applying for an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

You’ll also need to open a business checking account and get any licenses or permits your city, state, or country requires. Don’t be afraid to consult a lawyer and accountant to ensure you get things right.

Build Your Store

Knowing how to start a business is one thing, but you won’t sell anything without a working online store.

First, settle on a website builder and eCommerce platform—we recommend WooCommerce for beginners. Employ the services of a designer to create your brand identity and build out your site.

You’ll also need to implement the latest SEO trends to ensure your website gets seen by searchers.

Understand Order Fulfilment

Fulfillment—the process of getting your customer’s bought product to them—is arguably one of the most complex parts of selling online.

The easiest way for small businesses is to use your local post office’s tracked parcel service. Businesses dealing with large volumes of orders might want to consider working with a shipping partner. Just be sure to make it clear to customers whether you ship domestically or internationally.

Create a Marketing Plan

To sell online successfully, you’ll need to get eyeballs on your product pages. This means you need to lock in your marketing strategy.

If your SEO is on point, you can expand into other channels, like social media and paid advertising. Experiment at the beginning to see what works for you and determine where your target market likes to hang out.

Your First eCommerce Business: Get Started Today!

Establishing an eCommerce business is at once exhilarating and arduous.

You’ll quickly learn everything from assessing a product’s feasibility to promoting and shipping it. The journey may seem puzzling at times, but it’s ultimately fulfilling.

We hope this step-by-step guide helps you chart a more straightforward path.

For more entrepreneurial advice, browse the other articles on our website.

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