Let’s be clear, starting an online business isn’t an easy job. There are plenty of tasks that you need to complete before you start making the big bucks. Everything from setting up the site, to finding the right suppliers, and branding activities – the list goes on and on. It might seem overwhelming, yes, but
Let’s be clear, starting an online business isn’t an easy job. There are plenty of tasks that you need to complete before you start making the big bucks. Everything from setting up the site, to finding the right suppliers, and branding activities – the list goes on and on.
It might seem overwhelming, yes, but it pays off in dividends down the road.
If you’re an ambitious entrepreneur, then keep on reading because this short checklist will give you an idea of what you need to do to start your eCommerce business.
Getting started with eCommerce
While creating an eCommerce store doesn’t have as many steps as opening a brick-and-mortar store, there are certain things you need to look at before creating one.
More often than not, we get mixed up in the operational tasks and forget about the administrative and legal ones. These considerations are important since they cement your business in government records and help you avoid legal problems. We’ve added them to this list because they are useful in the long run.
Regardless, let’s begin the list.
Step 1: Finding your niche
What are you interested in? What’s your niche? These, and many others, are all important questions you need to ask yourself before you proceed with building your eCommerce store. Let’s give you an overview of the various questions you need to ask yourself.
- What kind of product/service niche will it be?
- Is it a physical or digital product?
- How will you source these products?
- Where will you store these products?
- What kind of profit model will you be using for your store?
- What are the legal requirements of your business?
- What are the startup costs?
- What’s your competition in your niche? How many players are in the market?
- How will you market your products?
All of these are important questions to address before you start your business. Sure enough, you want to get started as quickly as possible, but it’s better to give some time to think of these aspects as well.
Step 2: Business identity and legal concerns
Give time to picking a name. You don’t want to go and change it from time to time. When your business becomes successful, that becomes the name people identify you with, so it’s important to pick it carefully.
If you’re operating in the United States, make sure to check in with the patent and trademark office to confirm whether or not the business name is already picked up by another business.
This helps you avoid legal troubles.
Since it’s an eCommerce business, you must cross-check your business name with a domain name registrar like Namecheap for its availability. This helps you avoid domain name selection problems down the road.
What happens is that you pick a name, and then the .com, .org, or .net TLDs aren’t available for that name. When you’re selecting the name for your business, keep cross-checking it with the domain name checker. If the domain is unavailable, keep making changes to the name until you find a combination that works.
Step 3: EIN’s and business permits
If you’re running a digital business, this is an essential concern. You want to have proper business identification numbers to manage your business finances separately from your own.
Depending on the nature of business, you need to have several permits to operate without hindrance. In the US, and several other countries, you also have to abide by environmental and ecological permits. If you’re running a small business online, you don’t have to have as many permits as a brick and mortar or an international operation. However, if you’re ambitious and want to expand the operation in the future, it’s better to have an understanding of international business operations and the permits required for them.
Step 4: Selecting an eCommerce platform
When you’ve taken care of the administrative aspects of your business, it’s time you go about seeing the operational end. Of course, the first thing in that area is selecting an eCommerce platform. There are tons of tutorials and videos available on the internet comparing eCommerce platforms with one another. From Shopify to BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Magento – each one of them has been compared to one another to see which one is better for the user. But at the end of the day, whatever platform you select, make sure that it fulfills your business needs and what you want to do with them. To give you a run-down of the most popular eCommerce platforms out there, we’ve compiled a list:
There are many more, and selecting any of them depends on the users and what they wish to fulfill with the store.
Step 5: Product Sourcing
When you’ve set your sights on an eCommerce platform, it’s time you research how you’re going to source the products for your eCommerce store.
What model will you use to source your products? The dropshipping model or the product model? Both considerations require their planning. If you’re selling your products, then you need to research how you’re going to manage the inventory coming and going from your store. In addition to that, you also need to add those products to your store with the proper keywords and make sure that they’re optimized for SEO.
Step 6: Marketing
When both the administrative and operational concerns are taken care of, you need to look at marketing your business. From forums to independent websites, search engine marketing, and social media – the internet is filled with opportunities for naturally marketing your business.
“Naturally” is the keyword here. Also known as organic marketing, this process is slow but cements your business brand and helps your eCommerce gain signals from every portion of the internet.
If you’re looking to grow your business quickly, then you’re covered. Businesses like Google, Facebook, and Twitter provide their own paid marketing services that get your business and brand noticed. Google Ads, for example, help you rank at the top of search engine results for a particular keyword.
Besides that, there are other forms of word-of-mouth marketing. Whatever marketing strategy you use, make sure that your product and customer services are top-notch.
Starting an eCommerce business can seem like a stressful task at times. There are a lot of considerations that you need to look at before you ever make your first dollar in the business.
That being said, the steps that we discussed in this post are important if you’re looking to make your business thrive in the modern digital landscape. They are there to help you gain a competitive advantage.
Take each of the considerations we discussed in this post one at a time so you have a good handle on things.