Ecommerce businesses are the future of sales, a fact which has been proven by the emergence of global giants like Amazon, AliExpress, and more recently, Etsy. Also, smaller e-commerce businesses like eBay, are also showing they are more than capable of sitting among the big boys, while Walmart closed hundreds of stores back in 2019.
All these stats go on to affirm the place of e-commerce in today’s economy, and how it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the undisputed sales medium. However, knowing how to open e-commerce website of your own isn’t easy, as it requires lots of resources. But with this article as a guide, you can get it right from day one.
The nature of ecommerce
E-commerce is essentially a business whose primary market is on the internet. Basically, it operates by listing products on a website and delivering to customers after they place an order and pay. Most ecommerce sites have both the option of paying on delivery or paying online. Also, more importantly beyond the website you see, ecommerce is a full-scale business that has lots of work going into the background. Knowing how to open ecommerce website is not so difficult, however, if the right work does not go into the background ahead, you just might learn how to close an ecommerce website too.
What are the skills needed to run a successful e-commerce website?
Running an ecommerce website requires that you put a solid team together. This team should consist of the following:
- Website developers
Your team plays a major role in how successful your ecommerce business would be, and by extension, your website too. Firstly, you have to create a business model, after which you can go on to build your e-commerce website. Without the business, knowing how to start a ecommerce website is not relevant.
How to start an ecommerce business
Starting an ecommerce business is more or less like starting a regular business. It requires that you take both legal steps and entrepreneurial steps. Ecommerce businesses differ from regular ones where you probably need a building as the first step. However, there remain some similarities too, especially in the opening stage.
Basically, there are eight vital steps to take when opening an ecommerce business. They are:
Research on ecommerce business and find a niche:
Finding the right niche is very important, and necessary to the success of your ecommerce business. Just like starting a conventional business, you have to look into different factors like location, available products to sell, delivery areas, and all. Also, you should take time out to investigate the specific market you are interested in conquering and make the right decisions for your business with respect to the information you find.
Important questions need to be answered, like what exactly would your ecommerce business offer? Would it be digital or physical products? The types of packages and subscriptions available. While doing this, keep your competitors at heart.
Choose a business name and establish a legal structure:
Of course, your business name is very important and is one of the things that gives the first impression whenever people encounter the business. This name should be unique and indicate clearly what your business does. As a rule of thumb, you should contact the U.S patent and trademark office to ensure that the name does not conflict with existing business names. Also, you can check in with the local secretary of state’s website just to be absolutely sure.
Also, keep in mind that the name you choose would potentially affect your domain name. Therefore, you can carry out double research to be sure that the best domain name isn’t already taken. If it is, you can consider a different domain structure if not ready to scrap the business name completely. Also, your legal structure is very important, therefore, select the best legal entity that describes your business. Keep in mind that the choice you make has financial and legal implications on the business operation.
Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN):
This is a nine-digit number that is useful to help you separate your business from personal finances. Although not all businesses are required to have them, they are really useful for you. As a plus, you can apply for an EIN for free with the IRS online. After application, receiving your number is a piece of cake as it’s almost instantly given.
Apply and obtain all the necessary business licenses and permits:
All businesses are regulated by the government of a country, and yours wouldn’t be an exception. You have to apply for and obtain a license to legally operate in the US, and precisely within your resident city and state. However, there are some situations where you wouldn’t need to register with the state, like if you are registered as a general partnership or sole proprietorship.
Employ the right staff:
The right staff are those that would add value to your business. It’s a startup, therefore you can’t afford to carry dead weight. Try to employ the best of the blend between cost and expertise. Most importantly, get people that can perform their job description better than you.
Finally, completely establish your business by doing the following:
- Select the best ecommerce platform for your business and create a befitting website
- Fill up your website with products and contents good enough to attract customers
- Market the right way
Step by step approach on how to open ecommerce website
Ecommerce is one of the most valuable industries, with experts predicting that it would reach the $27.15 trillion mark in 2027. This puts it as one of the fastest-growing and most valuable industries around the world. The comfort of shopping at your convenience with visual aids, and getting it shipped to your doorstep without ever stepping out, is unmatched.
Here is a step by step approach on how to open e-commerce website:
Purchase a domain name:
Purchasing a domain name is the very first step on how to start a ecommerce website. It should be something that perfectly reflects and identifies your brand and what you do. Purchasing a domain name is relatively cheap, as you can get one for less than $10 on GoDaddy. The name should be short, sharp, and scream ecommerce.
Hire a good web developer
The web developer is like a craft man, his work of art would largely play a role in how people perceive your website. In this stage, you should take the pain and hire a good website developer with a track record of success in making other ecommerce websites.
For a more professional touch, it’s preferable you hire a company that specializes in it, as most of them have a team of web developers and graphic designers that can give you just what you need. If you are not really sure of how to go about it, simply contact us at Iconic Digital world as we have a huge amount of experience handling such, at great pricing. Going through our client portfolio and testimonies here would convince you.
Get all your paperwork ready:
This has been explained in the earlier how to start an ecommerce business section. It is important that you contact an attorney to help in the process, and also satisfy all the legal requirements necessary to get your business up and running. Also, you would need to register the necessary articles of incorporation with your state and obtain a vendor’s license or seller’s permit if you would be making taxable sales. Without this permit, most vendors might not be willing to work with you, therefore, this is one of the most important stages in your learning how to open e-commerce website.
Choose your preferred ecommerce and website hosting platform
This is another vital decision which you’d have to make in the how to open e-commerce website. However, it’s not difficult, as you can easily choose from any of the big boys, which are WooCommerce, Shopify, or BigCommerce. Each of these platforms has its advantages and disadvantages, which you should do well to read up on, or if you would rather not, leave it to the experts at Iconic Digital World to make the best decision for you.
Find the right theme
The importance of using the right theme cannot be over-emphasized. Like Amazon for example is characterized by its simple but amazing yellow and black theme that looks low grade, but is somehow loved by everyone. That’s the power of a good theme. It should be laced with colors in line with your business logo and overall branding. Themes are very cheap these days, as you can get one easily as low as $5.
Launch and go live
If you have gone through the first five steps, congrats, as you can now launch your website. This makes it accessible to the whole internet by inputting the domain URL on a browser. However, before any product listing and sorts, inform your developer to create an “About Us” page, contact page, and also terms and conditions. Also, keep in mind that having a live site helps your credibility when negotiating with vendors. In addition, bloggers and reporters that are looking to offer fresh news updates would have something to link back to, therefore giving your site a good authority and SEO strength. SEO is key in your bid to knowing how to open e-commerce website.
Market your business and by extension, its website
Even if you have the best websites and perfectly priced products, no one would come around if they don’t know it exists. You should look to take advantage of PR tools that can help put you out there. One of the best you can use is Help A Reporter Out (HARO), and as a plus, it’s also free. HARO can give the best possible exposure which can be game-changing when used properly. Proceed to sign up, and max out its resources to the benefit of your business.
The platform provides journalists with a huge database of upcoming news sources. Ensure you remain online to respond to journalists’ quarries as quickly as possible. If you consistently send back two pitches a day over a year, you’d be amazed by the amount of exposure it would afford you in return.
Get it right with PitchBox
PitchBox is a tool that helps you develop and maintain relationships with media contacts. It automates a lot of processes, ranging from emailing, tracking, prospecting, and the overall management of your workflow. All you need to do is create your own introductory and follow-up emails and leave the rest. Although the subscription is expensive, it’s worth it as it saves time and allows you to focus on the more important stuff. However, you also have the choice of opting to take the pain and manage things yourself, without the app.
After establishing a relationship, you have to proceed to reach out personally. Share your expertise through articles and write-ups that would carry enough value to not just be deleted after the first read or worse, left unread. Create a connection with vendors in your niche, pick up the phone and reach out to them. It’s a win-win relationship for both sides, however, the truth is that you’re just starting out and you need them more than they need you.
It’s time for Gateway payment
You must have been wondering when it was time to get the money in, well, it’s now. Gateway payments are the systems that handle financial transactions on ecommerce websites. They are also a very important step in your process of how to start a ecommerce website. Gateway payments like PayPal and Stripe are very popular, however, they are more like e-wallets, and cannot accept credit cards. For such, you’d need gateways like 2Checkout.com or aurhorize.net.
Google shopping and Facebook product catalog for SEO
Before your website developer finishes building your site, start working on the SEO part. When the site is at its final stages, take advantage of the google shopping campaign to ensure your images appear on user search on the Google search engine. The Facebook product catalog is another feature that you can use to greatly improve your SEO numbers. If you don’t know how to use them, you can always reach out to a professional.
Get vendors and list your products with compelling content
Depending on the nature of your ecommerce website, if you are the supplier of the product, simply list it on the site. However, if you’d only be selling third-party goods, then you’d have to come to a compromise with vendors and suppliers. Also, note that the products should only be displayed through high-quality images, and also have compelling writing to match.
Although often looked down at, having good SEO optimized writeup could be the difference between customers making a purchase and not. Also, it helps your pages rank for search results on the google search engine. For the best result, hire a professional SEO content writer to create appropriate content for each product, while using the right keywords. Not sure where to get one? We at Iconic Digital World have a team of highly experienced SEO writers that would certainly give you the best at affordable pricing. Simply reach out today.
Tidy your packaging and shipping network
Lastly, you’d need to figure out how to store and ship products before launching. Deals can be struck with third-party providers or vendors depending on what you need. At this stage, you’d need to answer questions like what size packaging do you need? Are there shipping restrictions and how to navigate them? What delivery service is best? And many more.
Now that we have walked you through the step-by-step approach on how to open e ecommerce website, do well to take your time and maximize productivity in each step. You can always reach out to us at Iconic Digital World if you’d rather have all the technical jargon handled by professionals. In all, keep in mind that you must get it right from the start to avoid emergency correction campaigns in the future.