May 10, 2023

How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 5 Easy Steps

Starting an ecommerce business can be overwhelming, but with this guide, you'll have everything you need to launch a successful online store.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 5 Easy Steps
How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 5 Easy Steps

Ecommerce is thriving and growing exponentially with millions of ecommerce sites worldwide. 

By 2027, the number of users in the ecommerce market is expected to grow to 586.30 million

With an expanding market, starting an ecommerce business is a great avenue for success. 

But starting an ecommerce business can be somewhat challenging especially if you're new to the game. Thankfully, we're here to streamline the entire process.  

Read on to find out five easy steps to start your ecommerce business. 

5 steps to start a successful ecommerce business 

Starting an ecommerce business involves many components. If you are starting an ecommerce business, you may be thinking of the kind of products to sell, who your audience is, and how to attract them to your ecommerce store.

So, here are five major steps to start an ecommerce business: 

  1. Research and choose a product to sell
  2. Source your ecommerce products
  3. Set up your ecommerce store
  4. Choose an order fulfillment & shipping method
  5. Promote your ecommerce store 

Research and choose a product to sell 

The success of your ecommerce business is heavily dependent on the type of product you sell. So while you may be excited to launch your ecommerce business, starting with a thorough research is important. 

You want to be strategic about picking products that appeal to a particular audience. You can go through some of the trending products on platforms like Amazon. 

You can then use tools like Google Trends to find out if these products are good for your business. 

As you scan through various product ideas, you want to answer these questions: 

  • What problems do you want to solve? 
  • What product can help solve these problems? 
  • What trends in your industry can profit your business? 
  • What are some areas you can improve on to stand out? You can check out various customer reviews from competitors to find problems you can solve to stand out. 

In addition, you want to research your competitors. Pay attention to their price range and product benefits. Consider what ecommerce business model your competitors are using - is it a B2C or B2B ecommerce model? Who is their target market? How do they promote their products? 

By carrying out a competitor analysis, you can better identify good products and avoid costly mistakes. 

Remember that this is the focal point of your ecommerce business so don't rush the process. Spend enough time researching the best possible product for your business. 

Source your ecommerce products

Sourcing your ecommerce product is just as important as choosing the product you want to sell. 

Are you going to work with a manufacturer or create your own products? Do you want to keep inventory in stock or work with a dropship supplier? 

Let's look at a few options for sourcing ecommerce products briefly: 

  • Creating your products: This gives you great control over your product design, quality, and supply. It also helps to keep your operations manageable. This option is great if you want to sell handmade items. You can hand-make your products and sell them on ecommerce channels like Amazon Handmade and Etsy
  • Resell existing products: This is perhaps one of the most common options for ecommerce business owners. It is both cost-efficient and relatively easy to start. All you need to do is find a reliable supplier, order your products, store them, and ship them to customers. With this option, the key to success is to maintain a good relationship with your supplier. 
  • Dropshipping: The dropshipping model will work great if you don't want to invest in inventory or keep any in stock. When a customer places an order, you buy the item from your supplier who then ships it directly to the customer. 
  • Build your brand with a manufacturer: If you want to build your brand, you can work with a manufacturer to create products according to your specifications. 

Set up your ecommerce store

After you've got the perfect product and supplier to source your products from, the next step is to set up your ecommerce store. 

You can decide to set up your own ecommerce store using platforms like Shopify. 

Shopify has various templates and features that can help you build an ecommerce site that suits your brand. 

Choose your business name, logo, and theme. Keep your target audience in mind and ensure your store is memorable. 

On the other hand, you can choose to start your ecommerce business on already established ecommerce platforms like Amazon. You can leverage the existing customer base of these platforms to grow and scale your ecommerce business. 

Once you set up your ecommerce store, you can list your products and start selling to consumers. 

Choose an order fulfillment & shipping method

Setting up a beautiful ecommerce store is one thing. Getting your products to your customers is another. Order fulfillment and shipping involve getting orders to your customers. You can choose to use a third-party fulfillment method or ship products to customers yourself. If you choose to ship products to customers yourself, consider things like warehouse costs, shipping rates, international shipping, packaging, and so on. 

If you choose to use third-party fulfillment methods like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), keep in mind how much it will cost to use their services. 

Consider factors like your product type and profit margin to ensure you are using the best fulfillment method for your business. 

Promote your ecommerce store 

Promoting your ecommerce store is one tactic that can help you increase visibility and reach a wider audience. 

There are so many channels to help you promote your ecommerce store. However, the secret is to find the best channels for your business. You can start with free channels like social media before investing in paid channels. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and so on, you can create brand awareness and drive traffic to your ecommerce store. 

You can then move on to run paid social media ads to target a specific audience and increase visibility. You can also utilize other marketing channels like email marketing. 

Tips to run an ecommerce business successfully 

So now you've set up your ecommerce store. What's next? Here are some tips to help you run a successful ecommerce business: 

  • Optimize your ecommerce store: With millions of ecommerce sites customers can choose from, the last thing you want to do is have a poorly optimized site. After creating your ecommerce store, the next step is to optimize your store. Ensure your site is navigable with an intuitive navigation bar. Create beautiful product pages, improve your website speed, optimize for mobile, and optimize for SEO. 
  • Manage your inventory effectively: To keep sales coming, ensure your inventory is effectively updated and managed. Having your products consistently out of stock can lead to you losing out on sales. Ensure your best-selling products are consistently in stock. You can do a sales forecast to help you estimate how much inventory you need periodically. You can also invest in inventory management tools to help you monitor your inventory levels. 
  • Deliver great customer service: To improve customer loyalty and increase long-term business success, it is important to deliver great customer service. On your ecommerce site, add FAQs and offer phone, email, and live chat support options. Ensure you respond to customer complaints and requests as promptly as possible. 
  • Invest in multichannel selling: To reach new customers, you need to meet them where they are. Multichannel selling is one way to reach out to customers on the various platforms they may be in. For example, your customers may be on Amazon or Instagram, or TikTok. Start by identifying platforms where your customers are most likely to be, integrate them into your store, and start marketing your products through these platforms. As you grow, you can integrate more channels into your ecommerce store. 
  • Add product reviews to your site: Product reviews serve as powerful social proof that can improve your conversion rate. 9 out of 10 customers will consider product reviews before making a purchase. So, you want to make sure you have them in abundance. Reviews not only improve conversion rate but also improve your ranking on search engines like Google. If you're just starting, it may be difficult to get reviews. However, you can persuade your customers to drop a review on your product using email marketing, social media, and product review tools. To get positive reviews, you want to ensure you offer great products and services. 
  • Track performance using analytics: ecommerce analytics are important for tracking performance to help make improvements. You can uncover trends, optimize prices and utilize customer data for business growth. You can invest in analytics tools like Google Analytics and Semrush to track your site's performance. Some metrics to look out for include conversion rate, page load time, bounce rate, click-through rate, customer acquisition cost (CAC), etc. 

Launch your ecommerce business today

The journey to building a successful ecommerce business is more like a marathon than a sprint. After building your ecommerce store, you need to invest in building your brand and marketing your products. 

We hope our article will help you understand how to start your ecommerce business and hit the ground running.  

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