An entrepreneur can start an eCommerce business as a totally new venture or an extension of an existing business. With some knowledge, you can build one or several eCommerce businesses.

If you think setting up an online store is difficult, it’s not. Here is our eCommerce guide that will walk you through the entire process – from choosing the products and services to building and launching your eCommerce website.

How to Start an eCommerce Business

Here is our step-by-step eCommerce blueprint to set up and launch a new business online:

1. Choose a Niche

If you are wondering how to set up an online store, the first step is to choose a business domain or niche. Do you want to cater to a large pool of customers or a small specialized market? For example, do you want to sell organic foods or golf balls? You need to be clear about the market you want to serve.

Develop a business plan around the products or services you wish to sell.

2. Choose a Product, Name, Business Logo

Finalize the products or services you want your eCommerce site to feature – you can always add more products or remove some of them.

Next, choose the name of your business as it will help you zero in on the best domain name for your eCommerce website. The domain name plays a role in how easily and frequently customers find your site on the web. Creating a business logo is the next step towards firming up your business plan.

3. Research Your Competition and Industry Gaps

Any good business plan will involve SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. Your choice of products and services should be the result of proper market research. You should take into account the competition and prepare appropriate strategies to counter and withstand it. 

4. Select the Platform

To set up your store, you need a platform that offers end-to-end software solutions for an online business to operate smoothly and scale up. WooCommerce is a popular eCommerce platform that comes as a plugin on WordPress. Shopify and Magento are among the other popular options.

There are some other important things to consider when choosing your eCommerce platform:

  • Payment Gateway

Your eCommerce platform will offer some necessary features to process the payment you receive in exchange for your products or services.

Payment gateway is the technology that encrypts a customer’s payment data, such as card and payment details before sending the transaction to the recipient bank or account, called the acquirer. You should choose trusted and top brand payment gateways for your eCommerce site.    

  • Notifications

During the development of your eCommerce site, you should ensure that it’s optimized for receiving notifications. From visitors’ activities on your site to updates from the eCommerce platforms and plugins, the notifications can hold important and urgent messages for you. Your site should be optimized and turned on for such notifications.

  • Offer Popups

Popups are common features on eCommerce sites as they offer an easy and convenient way to influence the customers’ decisions. For example, a popup announcing a some percentage of discount to new customers or on a particular product can improve your site’s conversion rate. You should deploy such popups on your site.

  • Buyer Persona

As you try to optimize your eCommerce website, buyer personas play an important role in choosing the right plans and offers.

A buyer persona is a fictitious image of your target buyer in terms of preferences, age, location, and other inputs. When you have a clear buyer persona, crafting a marketing strategy is easier. 

  • Product Recommendation

Artificial intelligence (AI), such as machine learning, plays an important role in eCommerce today. Product recommendations are an example of AI in eCommerce marketing.

Once a customer visits your site, the site captures the data related to their preferences and activities. Then, it populates relevant products to the page where the customer is or when they visit the site next. 

6. Create a Mobile-Friendly Website and Design

Your eCommerce website must be mobile-friendly! A responsive template or theme adjusts the content as per the size of the display. A mobile phone has a smaller display, and if the user has to pinch or zoom the display to see the content better, the site is not mobile-friendly.

7. Pick Product Shipping Methods/Partners

When customers make an order, they are curious to know when it will be delivered. How you delight your customers with suitable delivery plans can influence the conversion rate. 

  • Will you offer free shipping?
  • Will you charge a flat rate or piecewise?
  • Do you offer international shipping, local shipping, or same-day delivery?

These are important questions, and your business plan should cover them effectively. 

8. Marketing Your Store

eCommerce is an extremely competitive space. To be successful, an eCommerce business needs to undertake appropriate marketing initiatives. There is a wide range of tools and solutions to promote and market an eCommerce store.

Content marketing, SEO for organic leads, Online Ads, Social media engagements, and sales funnels are some of the most effective marketing solutions for an eCommerce business.

9. Target Customers With Customer Segmentation

eCommerce marketing at scale is available through marketing automation apps and software. As you deploy these marketing solutions, you will realize the need for customer segmentation.

Age, income, education, and location are some of the most common customer segmentation categories. It helps marketers create effective and personalized marketing content.

Some of the common FAQS

1. What are the different types of eCommerce?

An eCommerce business can be

  • Business to Business (B2B)
  • Business to Consumers (B2C)
  • Consumer to Business (C2B)
  • Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

2. Is it hard to start an eCommerce business?

It’s not. It takes a few steps and a little spending to create a small online store. However, you can plan and implement an eCommerce business of any size.

3. How much does it cost to set up an online store?

It depends on your scale and budget. You can start an eCommerce site on a $100 budget. On the larger side, $40,000-$100,000 is a good budget to build and launch a medium-size eCommerce site.

4. Do I need to use a developer to start an online store?

It depends on the size and scale of the operation. If you want to build a highly optimized medium-to-large size eCommerce business, hiring a developer is a good idea. Anyone with some knowledge of computers can create a small online store.

5. How long does it take to create an online store?

If it’s a small online store, building and launching your online store may take a few hours. For large projects, it can take from one week to several weeks.  

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