We’re living in a world where ecommerce businesses are ruling the marketplace. As technology advances, more and more people are turning to ecommerce for services that used to be offered by brick-and-mortar establishments. These days, it’s not uncommon for people to hire an electrician or plumber through an ecommerce platform — all from the comfort of their home!
But what if you want to start an ecommerce store? How can you get started selling your products online — and generate income from it? Well, we’re here to help you make the transition from brick-and-mortar to an online store with a clear, actionable plan that will turn your business into an ecommerce empire. But first, let’s talk about what exactly an ecommerce business is.
What is Ecommerce?
E-commerce, or electronic commerce, is a term that refers to businesses that have developed an online presence that allows them to sell their products and services to customers through the internet. This digital presence can take many forms. Some e-commerce sites are “bricks-and-mortar” stores that have made the investment to open a storefront online with all of the same inventory and services, just as they would in a regular storefront.
Other businesses are exclusively e-commerce storefronts, that don’t have any physical location but exist entirely within the digital realm, serving customers from all across the globe. Both types of businesses can sell anything from books to travel packages to consumer electronics — there are very few limits on what kinds of goods can be sold this way.
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Do you want to turn your shop into an eCommerce business?
How to Start an Ecommerce Business?
Starting an ecommerce business can be daunting, which is why — more often — companies hire an ecommerce agency to help them out. If you want to know how to start and ecommerce business, consider the following tips for moving your business to the digital world:
Figure out what you want to sell
Building an e-commerce store from scratch can be time-consuming because you must figure out which products you want to sell online. Whereas if you already have a physical store, all you have to do is list the items you’re currently selling in your store.
This will help you to decide whether you should sell each product or service individually or as a package. You should have a clear idea of what your potential customers are looking for so you can cater to their needs accordingly.
Choose the right platform
Next, choose the platform that’s right for you. There are many different e-commerce websites available for setting up an online shop, but it’s important to find one that will work best for your business needs. For example, if you’re selling clothing or other physical items, consider using Shopify or WooCommerce because these platforms have robust inventory management tools that make it easy for customers to browse and purchase items without having to create a new account first. These platforms are also useful for business owners looking to sell their services online, such as landscapers or lawyers.
Create a catchy and informative shop title
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you already have a brand name that people recognize. You can use it for your new e-commerce shop as well if it makes sense for your target customers. If not, choose a catchy title that describes the products or services you sell. Don’t forget to use keywords that are relevant to your business.
You will need an inventory management system that allows you to track all the items in your store at any given time. This way, you can easily keep track of stock and avoid running out of stock at an inconvenient time for your customers. It also helps with pricing since it gives you accurate data on how much each item is worth at any given moment in time.
Build the right supply chain footprint
Before you build a website, make sure that you have a robust supply chain footprint. This includes working with trustworthy shipping partners and warehouses where you can store all your products. It’s important to keep these warehouses close to where your customers are located so that they can get their orders quickly and easily and you can save up on shipping costs.
Write descriptions for each product
Now that you have a better idea of what you plan on selling, it’s time to list all those products or services on your e-commerce platform. It is important to write a good description for each product you sell. It should give a complete statement about the product including its purpose, usage, features, benefits, specifications, and more. If possible, compare your product with similar products in the market. Your customer will get an idea of what to expect from your product only by reading its description on your site.
Upload high-quality images of your products
To attract customers, it is necessary to have high-quality images of your products on your website. Make sure that all images are sharp and clear so that customers can have a good look at your products to help them decide whether to buy or not.
Before deciding on a final price for your product, it would be wise to compare the prices of your products with those of your competitors. By doing this, you can ensure that you do not end up underselling or overpricing your merchandise, which can result in lost profit or sales respectively.
Set up a payment method
After setting up your prices, you have to set up a payment gateway account. A payment gateway allows you to receive credit card information through your website and then pass that information on to a bank or third-party processor to complete the transaction. Some of the most trusted payment gateway providers are Paypal, WePay, Shopify Payments, and Stripe. They offer end-to-end encryption so you don’t have to worry about fraud and similar issues.
There are many factors involved in choosing which one is best for your business. Some considerations include features like fraud protection and customer service options, as well as pricing models (monthly vs. per-transaction fees).
Don’t forget the shipping plan
Shipping is a critical process for any e-commerce business. To attract more customers, you can offer free shipping with a minimum purchase threshold as a marketing strategy.
For fast shipping, you can choose from various options, including UPS, FedEx and DHL. These services can help ensure your packages arrive on time and in one piece. You’ll also want to choose a shipping insurance policy in case anything goes wrong with your shipments while they’re in transit.
Market your business online and offline
This is an important step for any business owner who wants to expand their reach. You need to market your product online as well as offline to make sure that people know about it. You can do this by creating an Instagram or social media page for your business. You can also advertise in newspapers or magazines or you can opt for email marketing.
If possible, try bringing upsells into your sales process so that customers will buy more than what they were looking for initially. This will help increase your profit margin in the long run. To maximize the value of the customer’s average cart, you can set up newsletters and mailing lists. You can also send them alerts regarding sales and other discounts. Marketing can be a big task to handle on your own, so you should also consider hiring an in-house digital marketing expert or an ecommerce marketing agency.
Analyze and improve your sales strategies
Once you launch your store, you need to analyze your business model and current sales strategies. You can do this by conducting a market survey and analyzing the results. Based on these results, you can adjust your marketing strategies and prices to maximize your revenue potential.
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What Permits Do You Need for an Ecommerce Business?
In addition to the basic paperwork you’ll need to register your company with the state and get a tax ID number, there are other considerations that vary depending on the type of business you own. Here’s a list of common permits and licenses:
1. Business License
Required by most states, this license allows you to operate your business legally in the United States. The cost varies by state but typically ranges from $50 to $500.
2. Seller's Permit
This permit is required if you plan to sell products or services as an individual or through an LLC or corporation. It covers sales tax collection and remittance and should be obtained before you start selling anything.
3. Resale certificate or tax id number
A resale certificate or tax ID number is necessary for all businesses that sell goods for the purpose of making a profit. It allows you to purchase products at wholesale prices and then sell them at retail prices without having to pay sales tax on each item. You can apply for a resale certificate through your state’s revenue department.
4. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An EIN is a unique number that identifies your business to the IRS. You can apply for an EIN online at the IRS website using Form SS-4.
5. Health department permits, if your products are food-related
Certain types of businesses require health department permits before selling their products in certain states and localities. For example, if you plan to sell food items such as baked goods or prepared foods, you may need a health department permit before opening for business.
How To Grow an Ecommerce Business?
Growing an ecommerce business is no easy feat. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and creativity. But with the right strategies, you can grow your business and see your sales skyrocket.
Here are some tips that’ll help grow your e-commerce business:
Find a unique selling proposition
It’s all too easy to get lost in the crowd when there are so many other e-commerce stores out there vying for attention. A unique selling proposition (USP) is what makes your business stand out from the rest. If you can’t think of one, try one of these ideas:
- A unique product range
- A unique delivery method (e.g., same-day delivery)
- Super-fast delivery times
- Free delivery over $100 spent
- The ability to track orders online (for parcel delivery firms)
Create a user-friendly website
In order to draw customers to your site, you need to make sure that it’s user-friendly and easy to navigate. A good website design will help your customers find what they want easily and quickly. It should also be easy to navigate so that buyers don’t get lost while shopping around on your website. A good website can also help boost word-of-mouth marketing and drive more traffic to your store.
Drive traffic to your site through SEO, social media, and paid advertisements
Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to all the ways you can improve the visibility of your e-commerce store on search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! so that it shows up when people search for particular keywords or phrases.
This is important because most people don’t go directly to your website when they want to buy something; instead, they type keywords into a search engine like Google and click on the results that show up first. Besides doing SEO, you can also use social media to interact with your customers and increase reach, or run paid advertisements or pay-per-click to increase conversion rate. Hiring an ecommerce agency can help you hit all of these media if they offer all-around services.
Keep track of your sales and customer feedback
Once you’ve got traffic, the next thing that you need to do is make sure that these people actually buy something from your site. To do this, keep track of all of your sales and feedback from customers who have bought something from your store.
You can use different tools for this such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console, or use software like Shopify or BigCommerce that already has built-in analytics tools for ecommerce businesses. These tools will also help you track customer behavior so that you can make adjustments over time in order to improve conversion rates (the percentage of visitors who actually buy something).
Contact an Ecommerce marketing agency
One of the best things you can do to grow your business is to hire an experienced ecommerce agency. The experts at Win at E-commerce have a deep understanding of how e-commerce sales work and can help you set up your site and optimize it for conversions. We can also provide guidance on how to market your product, manage inventory and distribution, and more.
Now, that you’ve learned about all the steps you need to take to set up your e-commerce business, it’s time to get started with your business plan! As you can see, there are a lot of different things involved in turning your shop into an e-commerce business. But don’t let that scare you away — if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there is nothing stopping you from making your dream of running an online store a reality!
If you need help with your ecommerce strategy or marketing your business, schedule an appointment with us.
The team at Win at Ecommerce would love the opportunity to talk with you. We can give you a free evaluation of your technology and help your business win.