How to Start an E-commerce Business

Want to learn how to start an e-commerce business? I personally love the idea of digital products and she's doing really well as a one-woman shop. She's not the only one! There are thousands of women out there making a living selling their creative ideas online. Another example that comes to mind is  Wunderkin Bows.  The founder, Hillary, wanted to create a classic accessory that her own daughter could wear.

How to start an ecommerce business

Today, her business is massively successful! While reading these types of stories can make it feel like popping up an online store is easy, and actually is. But driving traffic to that store doesn't happen overnight. That said, learning how to launch and grow a successful e-commerce is critical to your success. There are a lot of resources and courses out there that can help you learn how to start an e-commerce business. Take advantage of them and shorten your learning curve. A couple that come to mind are Steve Chou's course (love his podcast!) and Susan Bradley's courses at The Social Sales Girls It's not a simple process to set up a successful business online any more than it’s easy to set up a brick and mortar business on the street. There are steps that need to be taken, but if you put in the work, you’ll be able to establish a prosperous online business that allows you to develop and grow in the long term. Here are a few more tips to help you get on our path to e-commerce success.

Start with Your Idea

While you might have a great idea and the talent to put it into action, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve considered exactly how your product or service fills a gap in the market. Supply and demand play a huge role in determining the success of all businesses. You’ll need to keep in mind what kind of people are going to purchase your product or service. How does it solve a problem for them? How can you improve it? These are questions you need to consider before you settle on anything and there are a few ways that you can stress test your business ideas:
  1. Look into the industry. See what’s already out there. How does your idea compare and how can you cover gaps that existing products and services don’t help with.
  2. Talk to potential clients. What are their pain points? What kind of products or services do they wish existed? Ask them what kind of help they would be most likely to pay for and what kind of value they would place on it. It may not give you a complete product or service guide but it will help develop your idea and determine how you can best break into the market.
  3. Test your product or service. Whether that means selling prototypes of your product or offering a small pool of clients advance access to your service, a trial run can give you valuable information about your business before you officially launch.

Look at Your Competitors

Every business has competitors, and so will yours. Looking at your competitors can give you invaluable information on what kind of product or service is selling best in your industry and what kind of options people are looking for. Where there are gaps in your competitors’ product offerings, there are opportunities for you to fill those gaps. You’ll also be able to get a jump start on different angles of your business such as your target audience and where to market your product and service. Chances are good that if a direct competitor is seeing a high return on investment through marketing on Facebook, you’ll be able to leverage a social media platform to give your business a boost as well. You can learn from the success of your competitors just as you can learn from their mistakes. You’ll also want to outline how you are different from each of your competitors. What makes you better or different than the options already on the market? Understanding the way that you are filling a need in the industry that isn’t being currently met is the main way that you can make your business successful.

Set up a Website

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As an e-commerce business owner, your website is the face of your business. It’s critical that you create an online platform that is easy to use, well designed, and effectively convey your product or service offerings to both Google and potential customers. You’ll want to hire a professional developer who can create a really good platform to serve as the base of your business. That means an attractive website and a user-friendly experience. Thankfully, the tools today make setting up an e-commerce business so easy! Sites like Etsy make setting up a shop super easy and very inexpensive. By setting up your storefront on Etsy, you can take advantage of the millions of shoppers searching for products on the platform. If you'd rather set up your own online store, then a tool like Shopify will help make the technical side of online business not so daunting. What to include on your website:
  • A clear description of your products and services
  • Contact information and an easy way for people to get in touch with you
  • Frequently Asked Questions and their answers
  • An “About Us” page that gives people an insight into your brand and your story
  • A CTA to either make a purchase or get a quote on your services

Find Your Audience

To effectively market your product, you’ll need to make sure that you meet your audience where they live and to do that, you’ll need to find where they’re spending time on the internet. Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll need to collect data on where they tend to go looking for your product or services, and beyond that, where ads for your business are most likely to make an impact. That way you can put together a comprehensive marketing strategy that covers all the different angles of your target audience. You’ll want to make sure that your marketing includes multiple platforms, from paid ads to search engine marketing to social media marketing.

Build Your Brand

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Regardless of how long you’ve been in business, you’ll want to make sure that you are always continuing to build your

brand. Your core values should feed into everything that your business does, and as you continue to establish your business online, your brand should get stronger. You can do this by:

  • Providing effective customer service
  • Getting feedback from your customers
  • Expanding your product or service offerings
  • Creating effective industry content to provide valuable information to your customers
  • Leverage social media to tell your story
  • Investigate influencer marketing options
Building a successful e-commerce brand is a major undertaking but it’s by no means impossible. Although there is a substantial amount of competition for top e-commerce brands, you can create your own platform to build your business as long as you can show yourself as an effective alternative to the current options. It won’t happen overnight but if you are strategic and thoughtful, your business plan will result in a profitable online platform that will flourish and give you the opportunity to grow.
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