How to Start an eCommerce Business
There is no doubt that eCommerce is an incredibly popular business model in today’s digital world. Still, as simple as this type of business can be, it’s probably not going to fall into your lap. Like any business, an eCommerce business requires exceptional product and competitor research, store setup, and marketing abilities to find success.
Are you ready to launch an eCommerce business but aren’t sure how to get started? First, decide on your niche and the type of products you want to sell. Then, follow the steps below to get it off the ground.
Before figuring out a specific angle for your business, you should take some time to research competitors in your niche. This process gives you the information you need to know to set yourself apart from similar businesses while finding a path to success.
A competitive analysis is an evaluation of other businesses in your niche, usually your closest competitors. The process of completing a competitive analysis helps you see what other companies are doing right and how your business might be able to heal some pain points of things they could be doing better.
You can evaluate as many businesses as you want, but even using just two or three of your closest competitors can give you invaluable insight. Specifically, pay attention to:
- Refund or return policies
- Shipping policies and charges
- Discount codes and promotions
- Product images and descriptions
- Social media presence
- Customer demographics and engagement
- Customer reviews and testimonials
- Marketing approaches
These points are crucial elements of any business model that you will want to incorporate into your own after tweaking them to make them align with your business.
Find the Right Products
With your new competitor research under your belt, you can start figuring out which products are going to make your brand stand out. There are always trending products that could help get your brand noticed, but you don’t always have to go the trending route.
In fact, it can be an even better idea to go with your passions. You’ll always be able to talk about and market products that you love and can stand behind, but it might not be so easy with products that are simply on-trend right now. With love and dedication behind your product, it can stand the test of time beyond trends.
When you have a few ideas of what you want to sell, start reading reviews of similar products that are on the market. What do people love about them? What could you improve? Use those points as a baseline for developing your products or choosing other products to sell in your eCommerce store.
Set Up Your Store for Success
Ensuring that your store is set up correctly before you launch it to the public can be a critical step in starting your business off on the right foot. These eCommerce web design tips can help you design a shop that draws in customers, but you also need to focus on integrations, contact forms, and other elements that make the shopping process a breeze for your customers.
eCommerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce for WordPress are excellent options for building your store. They both offer integrations and customizations for designing a unique, functional online shop.
Think about payments, too. How do you like to pay when you shop online? Should you add a PayPal or Amazon Payments integration? How will you handle international payments, if applicable?
Attract Customers to Your Store
When it comes to eCommerce, marketing is the key to growth. An eCommerce store can easily benefit from using online marketing techniques, like social media promotion, email marketing, ad campaigns, and blog marketing.
Additionally, consider coming up promotions that can draw customers in. Sending out regular discount codes or promotion alerts on your social media channels and email newsletters can be the perfect way to entice people to come to your store and make a purchase while saving money.
A rewards program is also helpful for thanking your loyal customers for returning. According to The 2019 Bond Loyalty Report, 79% of customers are more likely to keep shopping with a brand with a good loyalty program. Your program can be as simple as offering points to customers based on the amount they spend on a purchase, which they can turn into a percentage or dollar amount off a future purchase.
Starting a Successful eCommerce Business
The above pointers can help you launch your eCommerce business in a way that positions it as unique, trustworthy, and enticing to your customer base. ShareThis offers a range of tools that can assist you with building and marketing your eCommerce business, like the Email List Builder and Video Share Buttons, to encourage simple shares of product tutorials or brand awareness video content.