How To Start An eCommerce Business
China has the largest market for e-commerce worldwide, with the US coming immediately after in space, and the fastest flourishing one is India. Indian eCommerce business has grown to a stage where more than 80% of the online population has bought something online. To have an eCommerce business is a huge list of tasks in itself, keeping aside marketing the business.
Just so you know, we have listed 16 Reasons To Start Selling Online already, so do read that as well.
Let us walk you through the process of successfully setting up an eCommerce business that we have consolidated into just three steps.
Step 1 - Selecting a product or range of products
This is one of the most crucial steps in starting up an eCommerce business. Select a single product or a range of products that you want to sell online. Now, how to select the best product? Should you just go with your passion and pick what comes to your mind?
Well, in brief, you should pick products that match your wants and are business-friendly as well. Be brutal to delete the product from your list if there is very less chance to be sold and make you money. Explore other eCommerce websites to see what sells best and you can simply start with that.
In any case, even if you’re loving your decision of the product choice, don’t settle. Evaluate your choice of products before launching the eCommerce business. See how big will be your market, how does your audience like to purchase online, from where does your audience buy, what specifications of the product does your audience really care about, which feature of your product gets a most negative or positive response and so on. Every detail is important. You can anyway add more products or remove the non-performing ones from your eCommerce store in the future.
When you’re sure about the product, find a supplier or say, a manufacturer. Wait! If you’re going to make your own products, and you can do it at the required scale, then you’re your own manufacturer. But if this isn’t the case, look for the right manufacturers for your products.
When you outsource your products, there are two cases:
Case 1: You buy the whole stock of your products at once and when an order is placed on your eCommerce website, you pack the product and ship to the customer on your own. This is a traditional method where you invest your money into the products before getting any orders.
Case 2: You don’t buy even a single piece of product. When an order is placed on your eCommerce website, you notify your supplier about it. He manufactures the product, packs, and ships to the customer in your name. This is called the Dropshipping method where you don’t invest any money in maintaining the inventory, instead, you pay to the supplier only when you get an order. Learn more about Dropshipping business in India.
Step 2 - Plan your business
Now, you know what you’re going to sell and from where you’re going to source the products. Look for your competitors selling similar products like you. Browse through their eCommerce websites, products, their social media channels and everything that is accessible to you.
You can use Google Adwords Keyword tool to research your competitors. Try making out their strategies and the best selling products, so that you know how much efforts you will have to make pulling the business against them. This will help you become ready for your own future campaigns.
All this should be done before writing down the business plan as it will guide you at every step of it. A business plan will help you walk straight and map your activities for good and bad. When this plan will be put to action, you will know where you’re losing money and where you can make the most of it.
If you skip it today, you will have to do it one day, maybe after some months or years of selling when things get stuck. A business plan helps you think in a positive direction, gives you clarity about your company, product, and market. Your marketing agenda is also included in the business plan, so you always know how you will reach your target market.
Do read this- 10 Ways to Promote Your Online Store
With the business plan ready, you can now register your business. Clear all your doubts about GST and other taxes in India if you opt for Dropshipping model for eCommerce right here.
Step 3 - Setting up your business
It’s time to give a face to your business. Decide a name and register your domain name. The name should be attractive and easy to remember. Use a short and unique name, and also look for the availability of the .com domain. Next, design a logo that goes with the spirit of your eCommerce store and its products. The logo can be a symbolic one or a simple text logo, you decide.
Now, you have your product and brand ready, only a store is required from where you will make all the sales. Build your eCommerce website and optimize it for Google (SEO). By optimizing your eCommerce website for the search engine, you will be ranked on the search result pages and get found. All your products will be listed on the website so that, just like an offline store, a customer who is looking for something you sell would come to your store, select and place the order on your store.
All your sales will be driven through your eCommerce business website. Therefore, it’s very important to get it right. A beautiful welcoming website is what people like to buy from. A shabby-looking website is never going to earn a sale expect from their own uncles and brothers.
Here are some things to keep in mind while getting your awesome website designed:
The images that you upload for all your products should be brightly lit, be of high resolution and creative enough. Give product variations, if possible. You can use a lot of free online tools for image editing.
Product Descriptions (and Title)
Every product should have a description along with it for two reasons: (1) For letting the customer know the details about the product including its material, special features, method of handling and so on, whatever applies best. (2) For SEO purpose i.e. to give your website the organic search-ability boost. Use good keywords in your description and the title of the product, as it can lead a customer directly to a particular product page from your website.
Price and Discount
Price should be mentioned with the unit of currency for every product. If you’re offering discounts, show the original price and the discounted price on the product page for better sales.
Ease of Use
Your eCommerce website should be easy to use. This is a given requirement, obvious enough, but often ignored. The ease with which a customer can browse through your products, filter search, add to cart, apply discount codes, make payments and contact your customer support, it will decide how happy the customer is and likely to buy from you in future and also refer your store to others.
You should always have a return policy on your website so that customers can trust you and in case of any issues with the product, they can ask for a return. Lay out the terms for a return very clearly to avoid any mistakes later.
Shipping details are also important with every product or at least in the ‘terms and conditions’ page of your website. Also include the shipping charges, whatever applies. If you offer Free shipping, mention that.
There should be a contact page with at least a short form, your email address, and a contact number. This way you give all the options to the customer to reach out to you for any issues. If you have a presence on social media platforms, do mention those links as well.
Don’t shout what you do not offer. Make real promises and give genuine service to your customers. Whatever you communicate about your products should be honest and pleasant everywhere.
Optimize Content for Search Engines - Text and Images
The content on your eCommerce website, including the text content, image, and video content, everything should be search engine optimized. Already stated above, this optimized content will help you get ranked on the search engine and you will have nice visibility and popularity among your audience.
You are all set to start your own eCommerce business now!
A wave of nervousness is expected when you decide to start something new. It can be scary and doubtful knowing that you have invested all your time and money on this project. The future of this project is uncertain, just like any other, but you need to trust yourself and your efforts. You have all the technical aspects covered in this article and we urge you to believe in your work. Only true belief can really help your business afloat.