Last updated on 30 June 2021
Technology is changing the way we shop and eCommerce sales are growing every year. You may have found yourself wondering, do I have what it takes to run a successful online business? Starting an eCommerce business is demanding. In fact, it requires a lot of hard work and decision making that needs to come together at the right time. You must have a long-term vision for success with a product or service that truly adds value to the market.
It is completely normal to feel so overwhelmed that you do not know where to begin. Fortunately, I have come up with a list of seven (easy to understand) things you need to know before starting your eCommerce business.
1. Decide what to sell
Firstly, you must decide what product you want to sell online. Personally, the advice I would give you here is to sell a product that you understand and that interests you. Many entrepreneurs are selling knowledge they already have or a product they already know how to produce. Not only will you be creating a business with a product that you are passionate about, but you will also be able to truly add value through your personal knowledge.
As you are thinking of starting an online business, odds are you already have an idea of a product you want to sell. Although this is a great start, it is still crucial that you research the product you will be selling. Is there demand for this product? Who are your competitors? Is there a gap in the market? Who are your potential customers?
Remember, market research is a key component to your ecommerce business’ success.
2. Choose your eCommerce Business Name
Once you have figured out what you will be selling, you need pick a name that fits your brand. You should choose something that is descriptive and memorable. By doing this, try not be too general or vague. Your goal is for your customers to know what they are buying when they hear your business name. Furthermore, if you are planning on growing your business in the future, try use a name that is scalable. By this, I mean select a name that will capture your future growth. For example, if you sell t-shirts, but down the line you want to add hoodies to your range, don’t go for a name that has the word “t-shirt” in it. Too descriptive can be potentially limiting.
Also, don’t forget to create an awesome logo.
3. Register your eCommerce business
Although this step is a bit more on the tedious side, it is necessary. A simple search on your country’s government website to guide you through how to get set up. This may also be a good time to familiarize yourself with the other legalities involved in running an eCommerce business. These can include user agreements, cookie notifications and terms of service.
4. Register your domain name
In this step, you will need to decide on a descriptive and memorable domain name for your website. I suggest combining this step with Step 2 so you can ensure that the domain name is available. This will be the URL that you will share with your customers to access your website. Therefore, try to keep it short and use a proper domain extension, such as .com or .co,uk. Once you have chosen your domain name, you need to find out if it is available and within your price range. You can do this via a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy or Bluehost. Once you have found your chosen domain, you can go ahead and register it.
Domain registrars also usually offer hosting packages with the domain purchase. They will supply the technology and services required for your website to be viewed online. For example, Bluehost offer packages from as little as £2.30/month that include a free domain.
5. Design a great website
No matter what industry you are in, having a great eCommerce website is crucial for your company’s success. Fortunately, you can still build an engaging website for your business, even if you are not a web designer. You have to start by selecting the platform you wish to build your store on. I recommend using either WordPress or Shopify (we have lots of tutorials to help you out). Furthermore, these platforms offer many free themes and plugins that will help your website look professional.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional website designer who will create your online store for you. But remember, just like everything in life, when it comes to website design, you get what you pay for. It is crucial that you find someone who is reliable. Many business owners will agree that the more money you invest in your website, the better the results will be. So, forking out a little bit more can be worth it in the long run. The extra cost you will pay will be reflected in the level of service, support and professionalism you get.
Trust me, I have been there and made the mistake of hiring cheap. Let’s just say it cost over three times the initial amount I paid to fix the website I was given. Learn from my mistakes and save yourself some money in the long run!
6. SEO is key
A successful website design is not complete without search engine optimization (SEO). With strong rankings, you can generate leads and grow even more. You have probably heard the term used a million times before, but it is still crucial that you understand it. Most importantly, you must identify keywords that are relevant for your business and the products you are selling. You can use keywords throughout regularly updated written content on your site. This content should also be accurate and informative. Getting your message across online is vital.
7. Know how to market your eCommerce business
Promoting your business online is one of the best ways to drive traffic. How you portray your brand online determines how eager people will be to visit your online store. If you are overwhelmed by all of the marketing jargon out there, start with something that most of us already know how to use social media. Social media is the best way to reach a large number of people instantly for free, but it does take time to build a following. I would advise setting up your social media accounts before launching your business to create interest.
Marketing can also come at a high cost. If you don’t have the money, you better be prepared to have the elbow grease. Marketing your business is a lot of work, whether it be creating social media content or running ad campaigns. The first step is to decide what type of marketing you will use. Will it be sponsored content? Pay-per-click ads? Social media advertisement? How will analyses traffic and conversions? You need to be prepared to have an understanding of all these aspects. If you think you will struggle with this, I recommend thinking about hiring help.
- Facebook/Instagram Ads
- TikTok Ads
- Pinterest Ads
- Google Ads
- Reddit Ads
Setting up an eCommerce business may be hard work, but it is definitely possible. Most importantly, you have to remember that success takes time. It will not happen overnight. Following the above steps will give you a solid foundation, but there is a lot of work required throughout the entire process. Luckily, if you remain persistent, you will learn so much valuable information by getting hands on and just going for it.