It’s 2019 and e-commerce businesses are booming. It’s estimated that by 2040 around 95 percent of all purchases will be made via e-commerce. Thus, if you’re interested in creating an e-commerce business, now’s definitely the time to do it. However, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed if you don’t know where to start. Never fear! Here’s a list of how you can start your e-commerce business in no time at all.
Step #1: Do research
Anyone who has started a business knows that you can’t go in blind, and if you do go in blind then the likelihood of your business being unsuccessful is that much higher. Treat your e-commerce business like the investment that it is and do the proper research. Are you going to sell a product? Service? Software? Digital product? There are different business models that exist depend on what you select, so this is an important first step in the process. You can’t decide what you’re selling way down the road; it’s part of the initial research process.
Step #2: Decide on your e-commerce niche
If you’re just starting off in the e-commerce field, you need to decide what your niche is and let’s just start off by saying it can’t be everything. You can’t sell books, shoes, games, movies, and anything else your heart desires. Amazon didn’t start off as Amazon overnight and neither will your e-commerce store. During this process, you should select something you like but also identify your competition. What other e-commerce stores already exist in this space? You don’t want to pick an e-commerce niche that everyone else is doing. Obviously, lots of competition means that it’ll be hard to compete and do well if you’re new.
The general recommendation? Product categories with a minimum of 1,000 keywords that does well on social media, and you can work with affiliates are the best place to start. You’ll be able to start out small and still make a profit.
Step #3: Pick a brand and product
Don’t pick your product before you pick your brand. You want to identify your audience and who you’re trying to sell to. What do you want your e-commerce site to be known for? How do you want your consumers to see you? This is all important to decide before you pick your product.
Then…pick one product. You may be tempted to jump the gun and have two or three or maybe five to ten. Resist this urge. Focus on doing one product and doing it well. If you are a success in your sales, then you can expand to doing more. However, you want to make sure that you have solid footing and reviews before you move on from the initial product that you start with. Make sure that your brand shines through this product. For example, if you’re branding yourself as a company or product for everyone, make sure that it’s gender neutral in design.
Step #4: Pick a name for your company
Here comes the exciting part. Maybe you thought this would be the first step in this journey, but it’s always better to save some of these more superficial tasks for later until you’ve decided the core elements. Now that you’ve decided on a brand and a product, perhaps you have a better feel for your store’s name. What goes with the brand and the niche you selected? At this point, you need to choose a business name in order to register your company. Incorporating your business has legal protections and tax benefits, so this isn’t a step you want to skip. If you later decide you want to change your e-commerce store’s name, it isn’t a deal breaker. Your store and business name don’t have to match exactly but keeping them consistent is recommended.
Step #5: Do a lot of paperwork
This may sound flippant, but it’s not only realistic, it’s necessary. There will be a lot of paperwork involved in the process of creating an e-commerce business. You’ll need to get your business license. Look at the Small Business Association for tips on this process. You’ll need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a bank account for your business and also file business taxes in April. This EIN is like a social security number for your business so you can’t do without it. Finally, you’ll need to apply for business licenses and permits. Just because you don’t have a brick and mortar store doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have licenses and permits to sell products or services. These licenses and permits will depend on your specific state, city, and county. You’ll need these to get approved before you start operation.
Step #6: Get a vendor
There’s a ton of options for vendors online these days because e-commerce is so expansive. Take your time to find the right one for you as you want to guarantee quality to your consumers as well as get a good price. Shop until you’re content with what you’re getting for both your product as well as your e-commerce software. Your e-commerce software is what will actually allow your consumers to buy your products, so you want it to be accessible, easy, and perhaps something that can grow with you.
Step #7: Make it fun
Just like picking your name, you may have wanted to do this from the get-go. All of the fun stuff like logo creation and creating imagery for your brand will be essential to make it appealing for consumers. Think about the branding and aesthetic you want for your company and then go from there. You can hire a graphic designer or do it yourself if you have skills you want to utilize. Marketing to a firm will be quick and efficient but only if you’ve got the budget for it!
There’s everything you need to start an e-commerce business in 7 steps! While it might seem difficult at first, you can start by just taking the very first step and doing the research to find out what’s right for you.