That great idea you’ve had percolating for a while can become a reality. Opening an ecommerce business is a great step in your company’s overall success. If you’ve been wondering what is an ecommerce business, we’re here to answer your questions and make the process clear.
Trying to get your product in stores takes a time and effort. Plus, you normally have to prove that there’s a market for your product before a store will place your product on its shelves. By building your sales through ecommerce, you can take the next step in making your dream a reality.
To help you get started with your ecommerce business, here are some key areas you should consider in your planning process.
What is an ecommerce business?
What is an ecommerce business? Ecommerce, per Shopify, is defined as the buying and selling of goods or services online. Ecommerce is more than 20 years old now and continuously growing. Estimates have total ecommerce sales reaching $4.5 trillion by 2021, up from the $2.3 trillion in 2017. That means, there’s no better time to join the ecommerce world than now.
Building a website via Shopify
Building your ecommerce website doesn’t have to be a big to-do where you pay an outside vendor before you’re even making money from your company. You can build an ecommerce website using Shopify in as little as 15 minutes.
Shopify is an all-in-one commercial website platform that includes website design, management of your product suite and ecommerce. Because it’s all in one, you can choose your settings and start selling in very little time.
If your ecommerce website is a side gig you’ve taken on while still working a desk job full time, you don’t have to worry about trying to juggle your responsibilities. That’s because it has been designed for users that are busy and don’t necessarily have website development experience.
How to source items
Now that you’ve made it through deciding what to sell and how to sell it, you need to source your product or the materials necessary to make your product. This is an important step. Until you know what your material costs will be, you can’t price your products appropriately.
Depending on where you get your materials from will also determine your time to prep, box and ship your items. Be sure to do your homework before ordering from a wholesaler or supplier. You can become the victim of a fraudster who has found a way to capitalize on the growth of ecommerce. Fully vet every vendor you partner with for your new business to ensure you don’t get taken advantage of as a new business owner. This might mean paying a bit more up front for your products to start, but in the long run can pay off with fewer headaches and lost operating costs.
Drop shipping is a partnership between you and another company that essentially warehouses and ships the products you market. You can consider drop shipping, just be sure to do the math first.
Drop shipping is great because it means you don’t have to find space to store your products, which can be an expensive aspect of starting an ecommerce business. The catch is, you often make less money using drop shipping. The warehouse you work with gets more of your profits, so you have to be fine with sharing that profit for the convenience factor.
Establishing a social media presence
Social media has enabled ecommerce to flourish and for small business owners to share their products with a broad audience. Consumers admit to being influenced by social media with 87 percent saying social media helped them make a purchasing decision.
Choosing the platforms you join should be based on your audience. Each platform has benefits depending on your goals. Once you have chosen your platforms, you can start establishing your audience on each social channel. One way to do this is to put a bit of money behind your social presence with advertising. This helps you reach the audience you want right away.
If you don’t have money to put behind advertising, you can still grow your audience by using strong hashtags, building partnerships with other companies on social media and producing content worth sharing with your followers’ personal network.
Once your company is well-established with an ecommerce website, product sourcing strategy and social media profiles, you’re ready to start earning customers. You need to capture the attention of your audience to bring them to your website to prove that your customers need your product or service.
The best way to earn new customers when you have little to no following is to produce outstanding content. This content should resonate with your audience and be tied to your product in some way. Your content should be helpful and solve a problem your customer is facing to prove their need for your product.
Additionally, ensure that security is a priority for your company and prove it to your customers. All ecommerce website should be secure as an https website. Consumers need reassurance that their personal information and credit card number will be protected when they make an online purchase.
One way to reassure your customers it to place a badge on your website from a trusted security partner, such as McAfee. This allows consumers to know at a glance that they can trust making a purchase through your website.
Storing and shipping merchandise
Deciding how to store and ship your merchandise is a crucial step in setting up your ecommerce business. If your inventory is limited, you might be able to do everything from your basement or garage. But as you grow, you might need storage space elsewhere.
Depending on how many products you sell, you might need to have a plan for different sized boxes and packaging material accordingly. This might mean having custom boxes that properly cradle and protect your product if it’s fragile. Investing in proper packaging materials can help you in the long run because you won’t have to answer to insurance claims of your product arriving broken.
Getting an ecommerce business up and running from scratch is easier than ever with the right tools. With a few easy planning steps, you can make your dream of owning your own business a reality.