The eCommerce industry is on the rise and for years and now it has turned into a necessity for merchants rather than an alternative. Ecommerce is the future of sales and the number of people buying online is increasing day by day.
According to Statista, “The number of digital buyers worldwide is expected to reach 2.05 billion in 2020, accounting for a quarter of the world population. This number was at 1.32 billion in 2014 and is estimated to reach 2.14 billion by 2021”
The world has been impacted by the wave of COVID-19 and retail operations have taken a grave hit.
The only precaution that can be taken right now is social distancing and this rule has broken the backbone of sales in brick-and-mortar stores. Hence, all retailers must initiate eCommerce business, to continue its operations. The words of Bill Gates fits perfectly at the current situation: “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.”
To initiate an online business from scratch, follow the below-given tips:
Study the market:
1) Research and Market survey
This rule is not only applicable to online business but applies to any form of business. Researching on the idea and surveying the market helps you to understand whether the planned business market is still in the growing phase (where the potential of strong holding the base is more) or whether the market is evolved (where the competition is up to the neck). This will give you the answer on how to go ahead with your plan.
With market research and survey, you’ll understand what your potential competitors are doing and what you need to do differently; so that you stand out of the crowd when you are ready to launch. A unique idea that solves problems is always embraced by customers.
2) Find a niche
You cannot start an eCommerce business with an overloaded set of niches. It is very difficult to be the next Amazon or Alibaba. Start your business with a unique set of niche and try finding an area where giant competitors have not placed their foot yet. Starting a similar business like your competitor is great, but make sure you add your unique pinch of sugar so that the overall experience of the customer is as satisfactory as an ice-cream.
3) Prepare a business plan
The most important part of your planning and execution stage is to come up with a good business plan. The research done in Step 1 will help you to prepare a business plan.
- Come up with a conclusion on whether you will follow the B2B/B2C/Drop Shipping business model.
- Will you need to stock up the inventory or whether you will fulfill customers’ orders on demand.
- Understand the cash flow of the business and prepare a blueprint to make sure it is smooth and ever-flowing.
- Understand the valuation of your business and check whether you have enough funding to support your business. Contact angel investors to fund your business if needed.
4) Come up with a good business name
A good name should be relevant to your business, easy to remember, and make sure it’s not too long to remember. A catchy name always leaves an impact on customers, making them understand what your overall product and niche is all about.
Tap into Legal Matters:
1) Register your business
The first step to legalize your business is to register your organization. Check whether the name you have selected is available for registration or not. Contact a legal advisor for the same.
2) Tax Registration
Tax details are necessary to open a bank account and registering a payment gateway. Contact a legal advisor for the same.
3) Bank Account
Once your company is registered, you need to open a bank account in the name of your business. This is mandatory because having a bank account is essential to set up a payment gateway.
Products hunt and presentation:
1) Find a source for your products
Depending upon your business model, select one of the following:
- Find a source to manufacture your products if you’re targeting a business whose products are solely made by you (B2C or B2B where you are the source)
- Find a source to import/buy from a global/local vendor if you are planning to resell products
from the wholesale market (B2C where you are the source)
- Find a source to order the vendors on-the-fly, whenever you receive an order (Drop-shipping business)
2) Get set up for photography
Once the source of the products has been defined, it is important to portray the products in a manner that is appealing to the customers. You need to have world-class images for your customers and to achieve that, you need to have a setup for photography. Below are the components that you need:
- A good camera which can capture and enhance the beauty of the product
- Set of lighting to illuminate the images enough
- Medium to high-end studio essentials (light tent), depending upon the size of the products for images with standard background
Prepare a pre-marketing roadmap:
1) Social Media
Social media is the backbone of any online business. Customers tend to buy when they view products and social media is one of the best ways to showcase it.
- Create accounts on Instagram and Facebook and prepare content enough so that you can post regularly once your business is running
- Creating an account on Pinterest helps in SEO, as your products are displayed in the ‘Images’ section of search engine results
- Create an account on Twitter and LinkedIn so that news and updates are shared via. Twitter and you generate enough leads via. LinkedIn
2) Google My Business
Google My Business is something that your customers will view upfront when they search your Brand Name on Google. Make sure you don’t miss this out.
Create an eCommerce website:
This phase is the one where your customers will directly engage and make a decision about whether they are going for purchase or not. Websites can be built from scratch or using an eCommerce website builder.
1) Use website builder
While you’re setting up your website, using a pre-built platform is an intelligent decision. The advantage of using a pre-built platform is they offer you readymade themes designed according to the business you wish to jump in.
Thycart is an eCommerce builder that offers such a solution with provisions to tweak and fully customize your website as per your idea. It comes with loaded themes that you can select from depending upon the type of industry. It offers enterprise-level solutions and delivers a safe and secure website in just 2 weeks.
Do remember to prepare a responsive website because customers prefer to shop from mobile. According to a report by Statista, “Worldwide, the share of m-commerce in all eCommerce is expected to rise to 72.9% by 2021”
2) Integrate with third-party applications
All eCommerce websites need to integrate with third-party applications to extend and complete the delivery experience. Thycart eCommerce builder provides seamless integration with the third part with API calls. Some of the necessary integrations are as follows:
a) Payment Gateway
Purchase done by customers will be transferred to the bank accounts and this is done only when a payment gateway is a setup. Users can make payments with a credit card, debit card, and net banking. You will need legal documents of your registration documents, tax details, bank details, and other identity details. Contact your legal advisor for the same.
Some payment gateways charge monthly/annual fees, while some charge % based upon each transaction. Kindly compare multiple payment gateways and select the best fit for your business.
Upon receiving of order, you will need it to dispatch via. shipping service. You can integrate with a single shipping provider or a shipping solution that integrates with multiple shipping providers at once. Integrating with a shipping solution gives you the freedom to utilize multiple shipping providers. Merchants can select ship from a list of shipping providers; this opens the door for servicing wide areas.
Depending upon performance and also opens doors for servicing pin codes.
c) Inventory management
Thycart eCommerce website builder has inventory management available by default and also possesses the capability to integrate with third-party inventory management applications.
d) Other plugins
You will need to install analytics plugins like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, etc. to track the activities of your website. Other plugins like sharing products on social media, having native wallets (to store cashback), etc. can be installed as per need.
3) Run a security check
Once a website is ready, make sure you test it against cyber-attacks. An eCommerce platform on the internet is targeted by attackers and make sure you run the following tests:
- Install SSL certificate on your website to safeguard against attacks
- Try penetrating your website with the help of a professional to test the security
- Perform load testing to find how much load your website can take upon
Execute marketing plan:
A website is of no use if no traffic is diverted to it. To accomplish this plan, you need to run marketing campaigns depending upon seasons, offers, festivals, etc. some of the marketing solutions are as follows:
Running Facebook and Instagram ads are the key to portraying your products in front of potential customers. The targeting algorithm of Facebook is very accurate and displays your ad to people who are potential buyers.
Google ads act as a pillar when potential customers search your keyword on search engines. Your website will be ranked up the order as you pay for Google Ads.
What if customers view your products on search engine results for FREE!!! Sounds great right. This can be achieved when you include keywords while creating products. Follow the below tips:
- Add ‘Alt Text’ in all of your products images
- Add Meta Description for all your products
- Add Tags in each product
- Use a plugin to boost your SEO performance
- Prepare content like blogs and include product keywords in it
We love it when the prices of our favorite products are slashed out. Such are the times of ‘offers’ when you should reduce prices or provide gifts. It increases the chances of sales and increases interaction with customers.
A way to increase engagement from viewers is to conduct giveaways regularly. You will receive engagements on your social media in return for giving free products to some customers. Well, who doesn’t like to receive free products in exchange for ‘likes’ and ‘shares’?
You spent a decent amount on marketing and trying to convince the customer to buy your product. It is a mandate for you to retarget customers who have abandoned their cart as they are the closest to buy your product.
6) Word Of Mouth
A free and most effective means of marketing is ‘word-of-mouth’. A customer tries to convince another customer FOR FREE and people believe their friends more than you.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.”-Jeff Bezos
Running an eCommerce business can be a tricky and long process. You’ll not be receiving tons of orders just after initiating the business. So behold, generating a profitable eCommerce takes lots of experience and there are multiple divisions that you need to be perfect in. So take it slow, experiment what works for you. According to Invesp, “On average, only 2.86% of eCommerce website visits convert into a purchase”.
Let’s Wrap It Up
While building an eCommerce platform can be a hassle and exhausting, Thycart can help you build a website with an enterprise-level solution and seamless integration with our cross-functional expert team in 2 weeks. There is no need for you to concern about the tech-level problems and we’ll take care of setting up your website.
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