It’s no doubt, the idea of starting an e-commerce business appears more and more attractive. E-commerce continues to expand every year. And with more and more buyers joining the world of online shopping, it has surely a bright future. Starting your own business is not easy no matter whether it is an online store or brick-and-mortar venture. However, the following steps, in my opinion, are essential when it comes to starting an e-commerce business.
Choose a niche
The e-commerce market is highly competitive and it gets harder and harder to break into. That’s why having the right approach is a crucial thing. What are your business goals? Do you want to focus solely on the new and trendy products? Or maybe you aim your business to last a lifetime? Are you going to sell to other businesses or to consumers directly? These are the questions to answer at first.
Your business idea can be based on your passions and interests or special knowledge that you’ve gained. Being an expert in the chosen niche can give a great advantage. Firstly, it will be easier to understand your audience. Secondly, with all your skills and knowledge, it won’t take much time to establish credibility for your e-commerce business. In case if you don’t have a concrete business idea, start with conducting market research.
Stand out from your competition
Differentiating yourself from the competition is the next step after you’ve chosen your niche. Of course, if your business is something totally new and innovative, the competition won’t be so big. But in most cases, it will be something that others have been already doing. And starting your e-commerce business by simply copying will never make it successful.
Doing research on your competitors will help to find out what are they doing and aren’t doing, so you can analyze it and come up with a better strategy. You can focus on providing high-quality customer service or a wider range of affordable products. It can even be the uniques approach to the entire niche itself.
Next, you need to prepare your Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This statement should communicate to customers the uniqueness of your business and what is the philosophy behind it. You should also make this statement in a way to attract your target audience.
In order to ensure that you’re going to be consistent and reliable to your customers, your business and everything that it does should reflect all that is stated in your UVP.
Build a brand
The name, logo, product photography, branding your business is an important step. Even if your product is different from other businesses ’ inventories, don’t miss out on a effective branding strategy. This is something you should focus on if you want your customers to recognize your future business.
Business name and logo are essential things when it comes to branding. How to come up with a great business name? You can use mainstream or trendy words or “obvious approach” outlining what your business does, for example. If you feel totally stuck on this stage, try to use business name generators, there are plenty of them on the Internet.
To design your business logo and overall aesthetic, the best way to start is by establishing your brand message. Remember to consider your target audience and your business goals while doing that. Then you need to determine your visual identity. Make all images and graphics in a way that will create an emotional impression on your potential customers. Once you’re done with the concept of all the visual parts, collect and use feedback before finalizing this process.
Register your business
One of the most important steps, when you think about how to start your e-commerce business, is the formal and legal establishment of your business. Writing a business plan that includes all details of your future business such as competition, products, marketing strategy, financial plans is important before registration of your business. Besides giving you a clear plan of action, the business plan can be a good “reality check” for your business idea.
Once you finished the business plan you need to incorporate your business. Are you the one who is in charge of the business? Maybe you’re starting it with your best friend or a close family member? Decide between different entities including sole proprietorship, LLC, a general partnership. Although I listed not all of them, these are fairly popular with business owners nowadays. Registration of your business name with the proper local and federal governments is the last but not least thing to do. Depending on your industry and location obtain all the necessary licenses and permits. And remember to do everything to ensure that your business is earning profits, reporting income, and paying taxes legally.