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Starting an e-commerce business is a profitable business idea. If you’re looking to start an e-commerce business, then you’re in the right place.
Ecommerce Business needs absolutely no introduction the magnanimous scale and size of the ecommerce industry speaks for itself the opportunities for new Startups in Ecommerce businesses are immense with great potential for scalability and profitability. Ecommerce business has relatively changed the way societies buy goods and services. The ease and convince of online shopping have made ecommerce popular among the masses and forced traditional business to shift from physical stores to digital stores.
The global ecommerce market currently stands at over $4 trillion Dollars worldwide. With an estimated CAGR of over 20% annually. These figures are sure to excite anyone to prepare to jump in the ecommerce pool.
So, let’s get in to the crux of the article and present you with a 10 step guide on how to start an ecommerce business from scratch quick and fast.
1.RESEARCH ABOUT ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
Begin with most fundamental element of starting a business that is “RESEARCH”. Begin your research on ecommerce business by reading articles published on ecommerce industry and familiarise with all the basic concepts of ecommerce. This way you will be able to conduct a much better and focused research on ecommerce business.
Read a ton of literature published online and offline like Articles, News, Reports, Stats, Data and other scholarly articles published elsewhere this should broader your knowledge on Ecommerce industry and help you make informed decision.
Once, you have finished Surveying all literature start writing down your thoughts and ideas on a notepad or a word file and start developing your business ide. Try to expose a gaping hole in the market and find a solution to fill that hole in the market. Most ecommerce business do that by going Niche in the market and offering a very specific products line for a narrow customer base where competition is low and profitability is high.
Next step is to write a business plan for your ecommerce start up, let’s take a look into how to write a successful business plan for your ecommerce business.
2.WRITING AN ECOMMERCE BUSINESS PLAN
Quote “He who fails to plan is planning to fail” Winston Churchill
Writing an Ecommerce business plan is the single most important document “A Bible” of your business. Let’s reveal to you here some very important points you should have, in your ecommerce plan. These points combined with the data you gathered will help you scale your business more organically and will let you adjust your business according to the changing market dynamics of demand and supply.
An Ecommerce business plan is a comprehensive document, though it should be written simple and should include all the finer details of your business start-up. Write down your Vision, business goals, future plan along with company details. An ecommerce business plan is very important as it helps you to channelise your flow of funds as this is a highly capital, intensive business model.
Your Ecommerce business plan should include the following details given below along with other important details of your business.
- Business Objectives
- Research analysis
- Product analysis
- Market analysis
- Competition Analysis
- Startup Cost and Capital requirements
- Funding analysis
- Management analysis
- Operational Planning and analysis.
- Marketing and Advertising plan
- Sales Planning and forecasting.
- Future and Contingency plans
The above list is only informative and not comprehensive but we have given you some important gist of the Document to begin with. Your ecommerce business plan should document each and every aspect of your business. This way you would be in a better position to take well informed decisions about your business.
In, the next step, we look how to choose a right product for your ecommerce business?
3.CHOOSING A RIGHT PRODUCTS FOR YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
Do You have a Product ready to sell online? NO, well then you are not alone a problem that all most all of the new Ecommerce businesses face is to find the right products to sell online. In this passage I, will give you 3 quick and easy methods on how to choose a great product for your ecommerce store.
1.Check the Bestseller page on Marketplace Sites
The most easy and fastest way to find potential products is to check the Bestseller page on Marketplace Sites like Amazon Bestsellers list. Scan through the product’s categories and shortlist some of the products you are interested in. Check their bestseller rank, read reviews and find the number of sellers selling similar product online collect all this data and build a list of potential products to sell online.
2. Choosing a Niche Ecommerce Product
Not Interested in Bestseller products, due to stiff competition! NO problem, try a Niche product.
A Niche in business simply means specialising in a particular segment of the larger market. An ecommerce Niche has a definite advantage over conventional market as it has lesser competition, easy to rank SEO Keywords, focused marketing campaign and higher lead conversion ratio.
Here are some proven ways to find Niche products:
- Turn your own passion or hobby into Niche products.
- Find a persistent problem or need of the market and build a product as a solution to address that problem.
- Catch the Trends early then the rest. Use third party software to find upcoming trends and sell such products before anyone else.
- Satisfy Guilt pleasures! Sell a whole range of products that satisfy guilty pleasure of Shopaholics. You will be amazed on much people are willing pay for such products that satisfy their guilts.
3. Ecommerce Product research Tools.
Probably the most effective form of ecommerce product research is done through the use of AI based product research tools. These tools have tons of features which gives you unimaginable amount data to work. These Data points give you leverage over the competitions by giving you market specific information’s like customers buying pattern, highly demand goods, upcoming categories, trending products, finding niche products etc. Some of the popular product research tools are Jungle Scout, Helium 10, Viral Launch etc. to name a few.
Now, that we have a product in place in the next step we take a look on how to choose an ecommerce platform for your online store.
4. CHOOSING THE RIGHT ECOMMERCE STORE PLATFORMS
Building an Ecommerce store for your online business is both important and complicated. Customised Software are Meteorically expensive to build and maintain. Ecommerce platforms are great solution for bootstrapped start-ups, but one needs to invest time and energy to learn the finer aspects of this ecommerce platforms. Conduct a comparative analysis of 2 to 3 such platforms for more detailed understanding.
Fortunately, the market is filled with great Ecommerce platforms which are both user friendly and easy to learn. These platforms offer tons of features to setup your ecommerce store fast and easy both on desktops and mobile. Some of the most popular Ecommerce platforms are
- WordPress CMS,
- Big commerce,
- Wix and may more.
Choose the right software platforms depending on your budget and business needs. It is highly advisable to try demo sites before making any purchase commitments.
Now that we have an ecommerce store up. Next, let’s learn how to build a store from scratch.
5. BUILD YOUR OWN ECOMMERCE WEBSITE FROM SCRATCH
Well, not satisfied with Ecommerce Platforms! No, problem you cloud choose to custom build your ecommerce website store. You can seek help from professional web developers or hire a website developing agency who will create a customised Web store for you as per your requirements. Here we will walk you through some simple steps to build your own ecommerce website store.
Design a website: Hire a website developing company and design your own dream website with customised functionality and features. You could use CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magneto etc. to design a website as per your requirements. One of the big advantages of customised websites Store front is that you can differentiate your self from competition by offering unique experience to your customers.
Choose an attractive Domain: Choose an attractive domain name which is short, cheesy and appropriate to your business. The Domain name should be carefully chosen as this name will be your Brand name in the future. Just google how to pick a domain name and there will be ton of advices for you to follow. Some of the popular domain name registering company in India is Godaddy, Hostinger, Namecheap etc.
Choosing Hosting Provider: Hosting simply means putting up and running your website on the
Web space. Hosting is easier than ever before with so many Hosting companies to Choose from. Most of the top hosting providers have dedicated technical team to help you with technical side of the web bosting. Thus, giving you the peace of mind and allowing you to focus more on updating your Ecommerce Store and running the business. Godaddy, Hostgator, BlueHost, Hostinger etc are some of the top-off the line hosting providers do go and check their sites for pricing and features and other details.
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6. INTEGRATING RELIABLE PAYMENT GATEWAYS
A payment gateway is an intermediatory payment system integrated at the front end of your ecommerce store to facilitate your customers to make payment for products purchased on your site. A good payment gateway will make the entire transactional process hassle free and smoothen the payment process from customer bank account to your merchant bank account.
There are some really good payment gateways in the market some popular companies over the internet are Paypal, CC Avenue, PayU, EBS, VISA and MASTERCRAD for both international and local customers. A good payment gateway should be able to provide multiple payment options like Credit card, Debit Card, Wallets, QR codes, UPI/BHIM etc. All payment gateways are highly secured and encrypted with banking standard encryptions for safe passage of customer payment details between ecommerce site and user bank.
Remember, that good payment gateways come with a price tag always check for transaction fees and service charges compare two or more Payment gateways to check for their pricing. Do Check for any hidden charges or other charges that you may not be aware while choosing a payment gateway.
Now, that we have an ecommerce store ready with integrated payment gateways we now move to next step in the process that is how to market your ecommerce business.
7. MARKETING YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
Marketing your Ecommerce store is a continuous and constant process which should evolve with changing times and needs of your customers. Ecommerce is a highly competitive sector and it requires huge effort to acquire new customers and retain the existing one’s.
Digital marketing is the new era of marketing your products to the target audience. As an Ecommerce seller, you should apply all the digital marketing techniques to increase traffic to your website.
Here are some of the Digital Marketing techniques you should learn to optimise.
1.SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION)
SEO is the technique of increasing your websites visibility in search engine results page organically. SEO helps your website to obtain high-ranking placements in the search results page of search engines. SEO is an extremely powerful medium to increase website traffic exponentially.
2. PPC (PAY PER CLICK)
PPC advertising is a method in which you post your Website advertising links or Banner on other websites amassing large traffic you pay a fee each time someone click the ads. The idea is to make visitors click the link so they are diverted straight to your website which can turn in potential sale. PPC is an expensive advertising method but it is highly effective in deriving target traffic to your site. Targeted traffic is the best form of traffic with higher chance of converting in to sales then regular site traffic.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social Media marketing is leveraging social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc as a marketing tool to reach wider audience and connect with them at personal level to build Brand loyalty and trust in order to appeal to the new customer’s base.
Building Brand awareness and fostering solid customer relationship should be one of the primary objectives of your ecommerce business on social media platforms.
4. EMAIL MARKETING
Email marketing is powerful marketing tools to build a firm association with your target audience. With over 90% of internet user having an email address the power to take your business straight to your customers inbox is immense. Email marketing is the cheapest form of marketing and is a good way to build deep relationship with new and repeated customers.
5. CONTENT MARKETING
Content Marketing is creating and publishing of strategic content like Articles, Videos, Podcast, Blogs and other forms of visual and audio content to promote your products and website to reach your defined audience. Creating high quality free content will help you build credibility, trust and emotional connect among the audience with your business or Brand.
Now that we have all components of ecommerce store ready in the next Step, we look at how to register your ecommerce company in India.
8. REGITER YOUR ECOMMERCE COMPANY WITH LOCAL AUTHORITY
Any business performing trade related activities in India compulsorily needs to be registered with Ministry of Corporate Affairs under registration of companies ACT 2013 and Goods and Services Tax (GST) and local Municipal authority. You could seek professional help for registering your company through Company Registration agencies or through Chartered accountants.
You can register your company as a Sole proprietor or OPC (One Person Company) if you’re are a single person. If you have one or more then one partners then register as LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) or Private limited company. Seek professional help of business Consultant or CA who would be able to guide you better.
Registering your business is an important step and it is extremely important to begin the registration process concurrently with building your ecommerce site. Remember, that you would be required to furbish Company registration details with Payment Gateways and Banks while opening a merchant account.
Now let’s move forward to see how to pen an account with the bank for your ecommerce store.
9. OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT FOR YOUR ECOMMERCE BUSINESS
You would need to open a separate bank account in the registered company name for your ecommerce business. Current account is the preferred account type used for business and commerce in India. Choose a bank which has some additional benefits for Current account holders like Overdraft facility, business loan, Faster Credit, Forex services etc.
The Final Step, now that we have a fully functional ecommerce business, we finally look how to build your own ecommerce brand from scratch.
10. BUILD YOUR ECOMMERCE BRAND
BRANDING IS SO IMPORTANT! Your E-commerce Brand needs to resonate with your customer base and pull them back for repeat purchases. Keep your brand simple and accessible to your target customer. Create a story around your Brand to plug emotionally with your customers.
Invest in a visually appealing website, Logo, colours etc. Hire a social media manager to actively manage your social media profiles. Build a brand personality with a clear purpose for business.
Keep customer service your utmost priority communicates in clear and transparent manner with your customer. Good customer services are the backbone of any great Brand. Be loyal to your customers and tackle issues with utmost diligence and honesty this is the way to build a solid relationship and Brand loyalty among your customer base.
Brand positioning is what sets successful businesses apart from the tons of competition. Differentiate your Brand from the competitions through focused and strategic marketing campaigns and position your brand uniquely and directly in the eye of your customer.
Maintain Consistency in your brand building approach. Be consistent in delivering messages which align with core values of your business. Brand consistency basically means hammering the same core messages over and over again through branding elements to harden brand recognition among your target customers.
In summary, this 10 Step guide for you to Start an ecommerce business will definitely help you to kick start a successful ecommerce business out of scratch. With little more research and hard work you would definitely be able to build a highly successful ecommerce business just like so many others ecommerce businesses. We hope that now you have enough knowledge and resources at your disposal to start your own ecommerce business. Wishing You All the Best!
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