Everything You Need to Know to Start an Ecommerce Business

Yes, it's possible to start an online business on your own! All you need to do is follow this guide to learn how to start an ecommerce business.

In today’s world, it’s possible to become an entrepreneur and establish an online business with as little as a laptop, and a few good ideas. But there’s one major difference between a business that succeeds and fails: a serious work ethic.  

The future of the ecommerce industry looks great. So great, that it’s predicted to be worth $24 trillion by 2025, according to Meticulous Research. This means there’s plenty of opportunities to go around, but it also means that you’ll need to make a name for yourself in order to stand out from the rest. 

Here’s what you need to know in order to start an ecommerce business and make it worth your while. 

1. To Start an Ecommerce Business You Need the Right Product 

While there are literally millions of different products being sold across the internet on a daily basis, there are just as many people on the hunt for specific items. See these mind blowing mobile ecommerce statistics from Cell Phone Deal for ideas and inspiration.

Before you start an online business, you need a good idea of what you’re going to sell and who your market is going to be. You’ll also need to decide whether you’re going to sell your products wholesale, or direct-to-consumer. 

Research the best strategies on how to find product opportunities and the best places to search for product inspiration. It’s worth doing some research on popular or trending products within the ecommerce world. 

Once you’ve decided on the product you want to sell, you’ll need to determine how to obtain your products. For example, will you make your own products, outsource to a manufacturer, buy them wholesale, or choose a dropshipping option?

These are two of the most fundamental steps when it comes to establishing your online business. Make sure you do your research well and weigh your options. 

2. Scope Out Your Competition 

Before you dive headfirst into a business plan, you’ll need to do some research on the competition in your industry. Look at what your competitors might be selling (and how they’re selling it). 

By gaining knowledge on who or what you’re up against, you can formulate a business plan that ensures you stand apart from your competition. While it’s a good idea to create a business model that’s similar to theirs, nobody likes a copycat. This could undermine the integrity of your business. 

It’s also wise to conduct a SWOT analysis of your business idea. Quite simply, you want to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats posed against your business idea. It’s the ultimate to-do list that can help you assess and plan out your business for future success. 

3. Establish Your Business Details 

Once you’ve written out a comprehensive business plan, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty business tasks. The first being the actual name of your business, including a domain name. You want these two to match as closely as possible. 

After this, it’s time to apply for an EIN — an employer identification number. This is important for tax filing purposes. It also helps to separate your personal and business finances when submitting your tax returns. 

Then, you’ll need to think about business branding and a logo. 

4. Build Your Ecommerce Store

With your business plan and identity out the way, it’s now time to get into the exciting stuff — your actual online store. There is a myriad of crucial factors to consider, but one of the most important is the platform you use to support your store.

This determines how your products are displayed and reviewed, how you take online payments, how your customers contact and liaise with you, and so much more. Here are some of the top ecommerce platforms worth considering: 

  • Shopify — this is the most popular platform today and offers a user-friendly, all-inclusive experience with plenty of add-ons to choose from 
  • WooCommerce — if you already have a WordPress site setup, you can easily download WooCommerce and start selling from your WordPress site 
  • Squarespace — this platform is well-known for its beautiful templates, huge range of ecommerce capabilities, and is suitable for novice business owners
  • Magento — this is a great platform for those with a little more technical skill and those who want the option to completely customize their online store 

Remember that in order to build an online store with high-converting pages, you need well-written product descriptions, beautifully shot product imagery, SEO optimized imagery, and a well-chosen template to match your branding. 

A Pro Tip: 

A proven way to reach your target market is to choose a platform or sales channel that they already shop on. You want to do some research on where your target market shops and choose your ecommerce platform accordingly. 

5. Launch Your Ecommerce Store 

Another fundamental aspect of your online business is the shipping and fulfillment partners you choose to work with. Essentially, these are the people that handle your customer orders and ensure they are fulfilled with top-quality shipping protocols, and more.

Of course, there is the option of handling all of your shipping and order fulfillment on your own. But as your business grows, you may want to consider outsourcing this essential part of your business. 

You’ll also need to consider your returns policy and what that will entail. Bear in mind that an online store’s return policy is one of the first things all new customers review. It can be make or break for your business. 

6. Market Your Online Business 

Once you’ve established all of the above essentials for your online business, you need to acquire your first customer. This is where the hard work really begins as you develop a marketing strategy to draw in the right customer base. 

The success of your marketing is determined by one key factor: targeted traffic. You want the right type of people to visit your site so that you can actually sell your products. 

Some of the best marketing strategies include social media marketing campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. You can also use Google Ads and any of the online marketing tools that are included in the ecommerce platform you choose. 

Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth, email marketing, and customer testimonials, too. Once you start receiving orders, keep track of the marketing strategies that have worked and invest money into those channels! 

Are You Business Minded and Looking for Advice?

Almost anyone can start an ecommerce business today. All you need is the right product and the right target market. We hope this blog has left you feeling inspired if you are looking to become your own boss.

If you have a passion for business and want to achieve real financial freedom, check out the rest of this site for business news, advice, financial how-to’s and so much more.