Online shopping has changed the way you shop, it used to be a luxury, a convenience and now online shopping is a necessity. With the world hit by the pandemic, e-commerce has flourished to a great extent.
A great quote by a great man - Bill Gates, says it all
“If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
Thanks to internet today, shopping online and making payments is at our fingertips. Just a pass code or a fingerprint is all you need to have anything delivered to your doorstep in a matter of hours.
E-commerce is defines as- ‘Commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet.’
In the present world, the scope of e- commerce has expanded from food, groceries, clothes, ticket booking, luxury items, jewellery, cars, apartments, stocks, banking to crypto currency, everything is just a tap away.
This is e- commerce.
You can practically live at home and have all your work done for you with a few taps and paying for it.
E-commerce is divided into three parts-
Business-to-business (B2B) eg, Shopify.
Business-to-customer (B2C) eg, Amazon.
Customer-to-customer (C2C) eg, e-bay.
Are you hesitant to start a business through e-commerce, fret not, here is a complete guide to help you get your business online.
How to start an e-commerce business
The retail business is blooming and it is amazing to start a business at the comfort of your home and see it flourish over time.
Each business is different, and it needs a systematic approach. Therefore it is vital to carry out proper research before starting any e-commerce business. Read on to learn how to launch your business online.
#1- Decide on a Business Plan
The first step is to research and plan your business model. Find out what’s hot in the e-commerce field, and decide the business you want to do.
Do you want to sell goods or service? How are you going to source them? Are you going to produce, how and where? Do you want to stock or direct sell? Pricing? Who are your target customers?
Basically, you want to strategize the business model that best suits you, in the long run.
You need to plan your financial component too, even though this is not a brick and mortar shop, the financial aspect does play an important part in any kind of business.
Learn about competition. A competitor’s analysis is ideal at this point which will give you a clear picture about your competition.
#2- Create your Brand
Once a business plan is in place, the next step is to create a brand.
The brand name and the logo is a point of identification, through which your brand is recognized.
This includes, the name, the logo, color scheme, etc.
Here are some tips to create a good brand image.
The name should be short and meaningful.
It should reflect your business ideology.
Use simple language that is easy to remember and respectable to social norms.
The logo or the name could be unique, like Google and Twitter. These names did not have a particular meaning or spelling until they became a popular brand.
The bottom line is it needs to be memorable and easy to type or speak.
#3- Register your business
By fulfilling some simple formalities you can successfully register your e-commerce business. Here are some points to remember.
Apply for DIN- Directors Identification Number or
EIN- Employers Identification Number.
Keep your social security details and digital signature certificate ready.
Apply for tax certification, license, permits, etc
#4- Create a website
Now that the paperwork is out of the way, you can legally start your e-commerce business.
Let us create a website to get started.
Remember, this website is the face of your online store.
The domain name has to reflect your business name, as this is where you will showcase your products, sell your services, take orders, manage inventory, display tracking details, etc.
You also need to set up email marketing and automation to gather traffic. Add coupons, sales, deals, sign up offers to attract customers to your webpage.
#5- Choose a platform
You can decide to either directly sell your products on your own website or sell them through shopping portals such as Amazon, Shopify, Flipkart, etc.
You can select any of them after carefully evaluating their compatibility with your business, platforms popularity, target audience, SEO friendly features, favorable banking options, etc.
Customers want their products on time at their door step; therefore, you need to choose your mode of shipping carefully.
Here are some points you need to consider while selecting logistics.
Manage charges so that you can be clear with your customer, if you charge for shipping or free.
Provision of tracking service.
Consider popular and trustworthy agencies, to avoid damage and missing packages.
#7- Market your business
Once you have everything ready, you need to market your brand, let the people know you have arrived.
To make noise in your industry, here are some tips,
SEO proves to be a powerful tool to slingshot your website on top of the search results. Use proper key terms, hashtags and other SEO strategies to market your brand online.
Social Media platforms
Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube to promote your products for free, or use their paid ads services to boost your marketing.
Influencers can play a great role to help launch a brand. They have a powerful word of mouth that has a wide reach. Send them your products to review, bringing positive traffic to your website.
#8- After sales service
After sale service is the last the customer hears from you, make sure you leave a positive impression.
Take criticism and appreciation sportingly because in e-commerce, customer IS king.
Provide good after sales service like return or exchange of products, answer promptly to queries and grievances. This leaves a good impact on your customer.
Launching an e-commerce business is a great idea. But, just like any business you need to invest not only financially but also work hard on delivering good quality sales, building brand image, after sales services, and continue marketing. With a hint of patience, success will follow.