eCommerce has grown explosively in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic had an accelerating effect on digitisation and this has led to eCommerce growing considerably compared to previous years.
Because eCommerce growth continues to set new records, it's easy to believe that consumer market competition is now so fierce that it's not a good idea to try to sell online on your own. However, there’s still a huge potential for those who have an entrepreneurial spirit and who want to start their eCommerce and start selling online.
Below, we have compiled a guide with the steps you need to take to succeed in planning, starting, and developing a successful eCommerce business.
First and foremost, you need to decide what you want to sell online and secure access to what you sell. When you start your eCommerce, you should have suppliers who provide products or materials for what you are going to sell.
In addition, you should acquire the knowledge that what you sell is also in demand in the market. The products that you are going to sell on your webshop can be anything. Online shops sell everything from clothes, furniture, musical instruments, car spare parts, and everything in between. Regardless of what you are passionate about, make sure your supplier is reliable. When starting your eCommerce business, you need to have the products delivered to your customers as soon as possible.
When you have an idea of what your eCommerce business will focus on, you should create a business plan where you list your business idea, target audience, competitors, marketing and sales, organisational form, and everything that should be considered from the very start.
Some entrepreneurs feel inhibited by formulating their plans and strategies in writing but the fact is that a business plan is an essential component of starting an eCommerce business.
A business plan will support you on your path to meeting your goals and it will also assure potential investors that you’re on the right track. If you find writing a business plan to be challenging, you can use a business plan template that contains all the crucial points to help you with your efforts.
Many entrepreneurs begin by choosing an eCommerce platform. Even if there is no right or wrong answer, we recommend that you take your time when choosing the right platform.
Different eCommerce platforms are good for different types of companies. For that reason, you should have put together a simpler business plan and studied your market and competitors well before choosing a platform.
We would also advise startups to choose an international and well-established eCommerce platform as you will certainly get more functionality and opportunity to expand with an internationally recognised platform than if you go with a small local service.
When choosing an eCommerce platform, you should be clear about which channels you want to use to sell your products or services. A common strategy can be to sell partly via your online store but also via other sales channels such as social media, or marketplaces such as Amazon.
Many eCommerce stores start off by focusing on making sales, believing that it’s the best strategy to achieve success. Even though sales are vital for company growth, good customer service should not be overlooked either.
When your customers have a poor experience with your eCommerce, they will immediately turn to your competitors and they might even spread the word and share their bad experience with other people. For this reason, providing outstanding customer service will raise your business to a new level and promote loyalty to your eCommerce brand.
Of course, you should not underestimate the work of building your webshop. Several of the eCommerce systems available on the market today are so user-friendly that even beginners can design their online store via the systems.
However, you shouldn’t underestimate the job and the time it takes to create a well-established online store. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to hire a web developer or professional web design agency to do the job.
The most important thing of all for you to succeed with your eCommerce is that you set aside time and money for marketing. You can have the best product in the world, but no one will buy your product if you fail with your marketing efforts.
Make sure that your store is visible in the search engines by optimising it for SEO. Follow the online store's traffic with the help of analysis tools such as Google Analytics. This way, you will constantly learn more about your customers which you can then use to your advantage.
Launching your own eCommerce business is both exciting and challenging. Choose a niche, evaluate its viability, and build a solid business plan and sales strategy to attract the right customers. The process might feel overwhelming at first, but it will certainly be a rewarding one in the end.