Quarantine gave us a lot of time to be with ourselves – to think, read books, exercise, create new habits or even start a new job. Mainly – start an e-commerce business, because it is one of the most beneficial activities during the quarantine period.
How to start an e-commerce business?
Unfortunately, proper timing is not enough if you want to start a successful e-commerce business. You will also need professional tips that could prevent you from making crucial mistakes, knowledge on how it works and advice on how to start. Here are the seven most useful tips that could help you start a successful e-commerce business.
1. Find your product
First things first – finding a product is where it all begins. Some people might say that the idea-generating process is the start, but basically, it directly connects with your vision of what to sell. It is a tough part because it can forecast your future success. Do people need your product? Can it be popular? Is it a one time buy or will they purchase it again? When deciding what to sell first, you should trust your gut. People that do what they like are like sellers who sell what they want – people who believe in their work. But if your sixth sense is sitting there quietly, you can always check multiple sources: trending product lists, seasonal products, newest items or inventions.
2. Select a business type
Once you know your product, you will have to know where to get it and how to stock it or not to stock it at all. There are two ways – you can find a supplier from which you will buy items, and stock them in your warehouse; another way is to dropship them. Both ways are good, but you have to decide which is more beneficial for you right now. To stock products, you will have to find a warehouse and learn how to manage it. Also, learn about shipping management and find the best solution to ship your orders. If you choose to dropship items, it eliminates the warehouse management part, but a lot of other issues come into play. For instance, late shipments, overselling or any other disturbance in the order fulfilment pipeline, because a big part of your business depends on somebody else. It might look more carefree, but it is also risky, so you have to evaluate all pros and cons before the final decision.
3. Do your homework
Before you start to set up your store or find the right sales channels, do quick research! Look at other small e-commerce businesses and start to compare it to yours. Learn their competitive advantages and use them for yourself. For example, look at their store design and layout, how their customer support works, what are the shipping terms and of course the pricing. The best advice is to find stores that sell similar or even the same products. Then, you will know who you’re competing against and what you need to do to be the buyer’s number one choice. It could be anything – maybe you will have to offer better pricing, special gifts, free shipping, better customer service or a nicer store design. To know that, do your market research and be prepared.
4. Create a brand
Once you do it, you can finally create your identity. Decide what you want your customers to see when they look at your logo, shop style and design. Try to find your brand’s tone of voice, how you would like to communicate with your customers. It might help you out in knowing how you would like to look. Only then should you create your name. You may have gone ahead and chosen a name for your store in the first step when you made your choice for the products you’re going to sell. However, keep in mind that after you research competitors, you might want to change it. After you come up with a name, take a second look at your direct competitors and see if your name stands out enough. It is important to make your name different, but not too difficult to understand and still memorable enough.
Now you are ready to create a brand new online store. But first, one more question – do you want to build a website from scratch, use a premade template for it or just register a new account in a well-known marketplace? It is another big decision that you need to make. You can build a website and have an account in the most popular marketplaces or just sell your product through your online store and social media channels. This step is in-part a marketing decision as well. Once you find your platform of choice for selling, you then need to go through the same process for marketing. Where and how will you advertise your new store? How much are you willing to spend on marketing? All of these decisions need to be made before you launch your store.
6. Start with a management tool
It might not be the most intuitive tip, but it’s best to start with an e-commerce management software connected to your business immediately. Otherwise, you will struggle to keep track of everything. While some platforms have pretty decent control panels, most don’t. Even those that allow you to manage order fulfilment, inventory and shipping straight from your store, are usually severely limited. Not to mention that a piece of software specifically built to manage multiple sales channels will allow for much easier expansion later down the line. Since the best way to see if something fits your needs is to try it out, you should look for a solution that offers a free trial. One of the best options is Multiorders. It has great pricing for a fresh e-commerce business, doesn’t limit marketplace connections for future expansion and has an extremely user-friendly user interface, so it is very easy to start using. Be sure to check it out!
Once you complete all these steps, you are more than ready to launch your very first online store! Hooray! But don’t think that all the hard work is over now. When your store is active, you are prized with all other responsibilities, such as customer support, store management, etc. Perfect customer support is one of the most important factors that determine the success of your e-commerce business from the very start. It is one of the main weapons that could protect your store from bad reviews. That is why you need to pay attention to your customers and communicate with them. Also, you have to continue or start your marketing strategy, because people need to hear about your store that is built according to all these steps!