Ecommerce is the future of businesses. If you’ve got an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ve probably thought of starting your own online business, even if it’s only for a fleeting thought. After all, we’ve all seen how Ecommerce has changed the economic landscape.
For example, Amazon is going up against traditional retailers — and winning. Facebook has recently introduced a marketplace option and even Instagram is following suit. It’s clear that the trend towards eCommerce businesses isn’t going anywhere.
But how do you start an online business? It’s one of those things that seemed to be wrapped up in an air of mystery. Traditional businesses are rather straightforward to set up, but not many first-timers are experienced in setting up eCommerce businesses.
The truth is that starting an online business is rather easy. It just has different steps. Here are some handy steps on how to start right and grow your business successfully in 2021.
Finding Your Niche
The first thing you’ll need to cover is to decide on the product you want to sell. Hence, you need to find your niche. Competition is stiff when it comes to the world of eCommerce businesses. If the traditional business is a dog-eat-dog world, the same is ten times true for online businesses.
This is why finding your unique product and niche is important. It sets the scene for the rest of your business later on. For one, your product and your niche will define you. You have to ask yourself, “what makes me different from my competitors out there?”
Designing Your Product
Say you already have a product and niche in mind. It doesn’t stop there. After you’ve decided on your product, you now have to determine how to get it. Make sure it’s sustainable and that the quality is good. Ideally, you should already have a chain of suppliers as soon as you launch your site.
Doing Your Research
To effectively decide on your product and niche, you need to do ample research. And it shouldn’t just be casual, browsing-on-the-net research. You have to go out on a limb and go the extra mile. If you can, order from your competitors and note how their product and service is sold or presented.
Find ways how you can improve your current systems. Meet actual customers and find out their needs. Most importantly, research your products and suppliers. You never know if there’s room for improvement that you might have missed.
Brainstorming Your Website
As far as research and planning is concerned, you should know how to set up your website — it’s the backbone of online businesses. If you’re new and not familiar with eCommerce websites, you may ask help from your entrepreneur friends, collaborate with an agency, or hire proficient writers and web developers.
But even if you outsource the actual setup and design of your website, you should still have a working idea of how the website works. Knowing yourself, your product, and your website is half the battle.
Setting Up Your Site
So you’ve finally decided on your product and done all the research required for your business. The next and one of the most crucial things to do is to set up your site. All the work you’ve done up to this point will be pointless if you don’t set up your website impressively. This step is often considered the most daunting task for Ecommerce starters, so if you don’t feel comfortable yet, there’s no need to panic.
Consider On-page, Off-page, and Technical SEO
Setting up your site will involve a whole host of decisions. For one thing, you’ll have to decide on a URL and a domain. Search engines rank websites higher when they have easy, readable URLs. You also need to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly, free from any broken links, and doesn’t take too long to load. These aspects all belong to technical SEO.
On-page SEO focuses more on content optimization while off-page SEO takes care of your link-building aspects through backlinks and guest articles and blogs. If you’re still a novice on the website optimization processes, you can always read eCommerce SEO guides on the Internet.
Revisit Your Chosen Niche
As mentioned above, your niche will affect your decisions later on. For example, your sales channel will be affected by the type of niche you choose. If you decide to sell handmade and creative products, your sales channel will probably be Etsy or eBay. But if you can set up your own website, it would be better.
Design Your Website Smartly
This is where on-page SEO takes place. Designing your website isn’t just about graphics and ads — it’s the overall content and structure of your page. If you don’t have excellent graphic designing skills, don’t hesitate to outsource a graphic designer. If you can’t also write effectively, you can always hire proficient writers. Ideally, if you don’t have a team, you may hire an agency to do all the work for you — from web design to technical aspects.
Display Your Products Professionally
Getting the product on your page is the most important part of setting up your website. Aside from hiring graphic designers and writers, you may outsource photographers and videographers to capture your product professionally. Make sure your images and videos are captivating and your product descriptions are convincing. Lastly, your site should provide a way to check out these products, accept payment channels, and contact you for concerns.
Getting the Word Out
So now you have your site up and running. The products look good and the descriptions are bound to entice buyers. But how do you get buyers to come and visit your site? After all, it’s not like a traditional store where you can just wait for curious passers-by.
The answer lies in advertising. You need to get the word out about your site. There are plenty of ways to advertise on the Internet. You may do affiliate marketing or collaborate with bloggers and influencers. Most of all, you should learn about basic SEO so you know how to rank high on Google.
Think about it – when was the last time you visited the second page of a Google result? Do your best to get your website on the first page of search engine results and always aim high.
Invest in Social Media
Social media is undeniably the most powerful tool in promoting your eCommerce business. In a world full of techie generations and online shoppers, it’s helpful to keep a social media presence these days. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all fair game when it comes to social media advertising. YouTube is also good if your niche requires videos. To get people in the proverbial door, you have to be savvy about advertising your products and targeting them to the right audience.
Experiment on Ads
Aside from posting on social media, you can also create paid ads targeted to specific users for your site. Google Ads is a common tool among advertisers, but there are also other options like Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads. Experimenting on paid advertisements is a little tricky – you’ll have to learn about target audiences and pay-per-impression or pay-per-click. Whatever strategy you choose, it’s going to yield positive results if you have a well-defined marketing strategy.
Starting an eCommerce business is no mean feat. It may seem daunting and you’ll experience many bumps on the road. The important thing is to persevere and continue. With these handy tips, you’re sure to be off to a good start for your new venture.