2020 Guide to Starting an E-Commerce Business
January 21, 2020
This definitive guide will help your get your store started and produce results, especially if you’re starting an e-commerce.
Without a doubt, starting an e-commerce business can feel incredibly exciting and be equally challenging.
Get Your eCommerce Store Started
This definitive guide will help your get your store started and produce results, especially if you’re starting an e-commerce business from scratch. So get start ticking off things from your checklist!
1. Develop Smart Objectives
Goals first. Focus on setting SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that helps you define your goals, and accomplish tangible results.
Ideally, a SMART objective is:
Smart goals help you create goals that are focused, realistic and measurable, and keep you on track to achieve your goals.
2. Choose Your Domain Name
Domain names are usually bought from Domain providers online. There are a few things that you need to consider in choosing a domain name
- Make sure that the name you choose is available across different social platforms.
- It shouldn’t be too long
- Choose a name your customers can remember easily
- It should be easy to spell and type, avoid dashes and misspellings, and stick with local extensions such as .com
- It should represent your business or brand.
3. Consider the Platform to Build Your Store On
While there are a lot of eCommerce store builders readily available in the marketplace, when choosing an e-commerce
store builder, consider the following:
- Ease of Use
4. Web Hosting
If you are not choosing a self hosted platform, you will need to choose a hosting provider for your e-commerce website. web hosting for your e-commerce is essential. There are two main types of e-commerce development software that you can take advantage of when building an online store:
Hosted e-commerce software
Self-hosted open source e-commerce software
5. Define Your Target Market
To build a solid foundation for your business, you must first identify your typical customer and tailor your marketing pitch. Small businesses can effectively compete with large companies by targeting a niche market, and by doing so, you will likely find people who are genuinely interested in your brand and products. These people will be the ones who will engage with your brand and buy from you. Defining your target market also helps you boost your ROI, and prevent you from spending marketing dollars on people who are not interested and won’t buy from you.
6. Evaluate Your Competitors
E-commerce is highly competitive Don’t go after the same market. You may find a niche market that they are overlooking. Create an alternative strategy ‒ market to the people that your competitors aren’t marketing to. It will help you focus on finding potential customers while creating a monopoly of customers that other competitors might have overlooked.
7. Choose the Manufacturer For Your Wholesale Products
Create a relationship with your wholesaler. And test the quality, product packaging, delivery and return. Without a trustworthy wholesaler, it can be a challenge to keep stock, get fast delivery and returns.
8. Markup Your Products
You know you need to mark up your products to make a profit. But, how much should you mark products up? For calculating markup percentage, start by finding your gross profit. Then, find what percentage of the gross profit is the COGS (COGS = Beginning Inventory + Purchases During the Period – Ending Inventory) . Follow these three steps for the markup percentage:
Step 1: Find the gross profit. (Revenue – COGS = Gross Profit)
Step 2: Divide gross profit by the COGS. (Gross Profit / COGS = Markup)
Step 3: Multiply the markup by 100. (Markup x 100 = Markup Percentage)
9. Opt For Outsourcing
Outsourcing helps companies of all sizes shore up skills gaps in their teams, boost efficiency and sharpen their focus. For instance, you can outsource an e-commerce developer to work on your existing projects or accounts.
10. Plan Your Social Media Strategy
E-commerce and social media go hand in hand. Without a strategy, you might be posting on social media platforms for the sake of posting. Without understanding what your goals are, who your target audience is, and what they want, it’ll be hard to achieve results on social media. Use the different social media platforms to build strong relationships, connect with existing/potential customers and offer support.
11. Recognize your possible promoters
Once you’ve identified your target audience, the next thing that you should do is to look for promoters that will act as advocates for your brand. Part of their job is to let your brand be known. With this in mind, offer generous incentives to brand promoters.
When it comes to creating a strong personal brand and getting clients at the same time, advertising can help elevate your brand. To be successful, advertising should carry messages that appeal to your customers when they want to buy and reach them through the media they use.
13. Optimize Your Website
Managing a website is a massive job, but fining out what is stopping your customers from converting is worth the agony. Assess the health of your site quickly and take action to optimize traffic and deliver sales. You need to come up with a solid SEO strategy to optimize your site on specific keywords so that it will land higher results on search engines such as Google. While it does take a lot of effort at first, once you rank on the top pages, your sales increase on autopilot even with minimal effort on your part.
14. Measure Your Marketing Success
It’s vital to develop a consistent plan and marketing strategy that will help you project, measure and evaluate your marketing campaigns. Once you have a marketing plan in place, you will need to analyze the data and measure kpi’s to determine the success of your marketing campaign.
15. Measuring eCommerce Success
The most successful ecommerce and retail businesses are metrics obsessed. After all, if you can’t measure something, you have little chance of improving it. To properly measure ecommerce success, you need to have 3 main goals in mind:
- Selecting the right ecommerce key performance indicators (KPIs) and then tracking/measuring their corresponding metrics.
- Ensuring that you have an analytics system in place to measure all of these metrics as accurately as possible.
- Setting proper benchmarks for your ecommerce KPI list to track success.
The simplest approach is to identify one main metric and choosing 3-7 supporting metrics that guide you toward your one main metric. The most common marketing metrics and goals to track e-commerce business success are:
A few example ecommerce KPIs to consider are:
Sales conversion rate, Email opt-ins, Customer lifetime value, Customer acquisition cost, Revenue by traffic source, Average order value, Shopping cart abandonment rate, Net Promoter Score.
16. eCommerce and the law
It can be a challenge to launch and protect an eCommerce site. You have to protect rights for your site and products. There’s a lot to do and keep track of. Hire a lawyer to help you secure your eCommerce business and avoid some of the pitfalls associated with sales, employee problems, intellectual property rights, and government regulations.