Gone are the days when government jobs were considered to be the best career choice one can ever bag. With growing years the beliefs and trends have drastically changed.
And the invention of the internet and the world wide web, jobs and businesses have taken a whole new turn. What was a successful venture last year need not be the same the following year too.
A great example in the recent past is the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a sudden, tremendous jump in the growth of online shopping.
People were forced to resort to the help of virtual platforms in order to fulfill even their primary needs from grocery shopping to virtual schooling.
Recent studies have shown that almost 43% of worldwide shoppers now feel more positive and comfortable shopping online. 40% of consumers report they’re currently more comfortable with the technology than before lockdown.
With this industry growing by the day, the time has come for you to start a successful eCommerce business and make good monetary benefits.
However, you need to prepare yourself to undertake bold and risky moves and make well-informed decisions to start your own eCommerce business.
In the article to follow, we have provided you with detailed information on how to start an eCommerce business in 2021.
Though the final big picture is very rewarding and might seem deceivingly simple to glance at, you will have to put in a lot of effort and time into developing it from scratch.
But don’t fret, we are here to help you all through the way.
Let’s get you started!
Deciding Our Target Audience
Any job or in this case business we do will be directly or indirectly for an end-user. They are the ones who create the demand for the products you sell. And hence your rise to stardom or fall to dust is literally in their hands. Hence while starting any business, your first step is to always know your target.
In an industry such as commerce, you should be really wise in choosing the right suitable target — customer base for your product line.
Since you are just getting ready to take your first steps into this field it is always good to be cautious and not land too many things on your plate since you will already have many things to figure out and manage simultaneously.
Always take one step at a time and start with one group of people probably depending on their geographical location, age group, product niche, profession, etc. So when you are working on analyzing your audience, keep these pointers in mind-
- How will this audience benefit from your business?
- What are they interested in? (Eg: lifestyle, product etc)
- How accessible is a traditional brick and mortar store to the targeted audience?
- How does your targeted customer base shop?
- Is your target audience comfortable with virtual shopping?
and many more.
Drafting A Business Plan And Choosing A Suitable Revenue Model
This is the constitution of the business world. Running an online tutorial is just like any other business out there.
And hence drafting an effective business plan and selecting a suitable and robust revenue model accordingly is key for a successful eCommerce business.
Here are a few business models that will help you gain the required traction and visibility into your business operations.
- Warehousing and wholesaling
- Private manufacturing
The right business model along with a robust revenue model is an absolute winning combination. However, you need to take this decision based on what is right by your business.
A combination that works for one needn’t have to work for you too. Let’s look at the revenue model options below-
- Commission model
- Subscription / membership model
- Listing Ads Fee
- Lead fees and
Choosing Your Niche
Picking an appropriate eCommerce niche plays a crucial role in laying the foundation of your virtual business. You need to thoroughly do some research before you finalize on a niche.
While deciding on your niche, make sure to steer away from crowded niches, niches that are already dominated by huge brands.
These being said you should also not go for a niche that is devoid of any competition too, because it might seem like there is literally no market for those categories of products.
There are basically two types of products that you can sell online. Namely-
- Digital product and
- Physical products
We would suggest you choose a product that at least has a keyword count of 1000. This is a great way in knowing how well your product might sell and make profits.
Acquiring Domain And Hosting
Your domain name and hosting is what defines your business. The domain is actually like the name that you will have to choose to address your website.
Usually, when a new business is born on the internet it is very common for the owners to name them after their products, parents, friends, etc. but that is not how it works.
Your domain should also be SEO rich because this is how customers search your name. I.e using keyword) Hosting is nothing but a platform that will carry your virtual commerce business.
You can buy or subscribe to hosting facilities from the internet too. Some of the well-known examples is-
- Hostgator etc
Developing Your Ecommerce Application
With the current generation being so technologically it is of no surprise that even building an eCommerce site has become extremely simple and less time-consuming.
- Develop From Scratch
There are two ways of doing this. Either you, yourself can develop it just the way you want it. Else you can even hire an exclusive set of the technical team in order to help you build your online application.
However, on the downhill side, you will have to invest a lot in this process and it is also going to consume a lot of time.
2. Using A Saas Marketplace Platform(Software As A Service)
As the heading says, this is a method where you subscribe for a ready-made eCommerce software.
Starting from your domain and hosting everything will be taken care of by the software provider and all you need to do is pay your scheduled fees.
One drawback is that you will not be able to make too many customizations and nor will you be able to own the code for your software. And hence even if you encounter a small technical glitch you will have to contact your software provider.
3. Build Using A Readymade Script
The most opted method that requires less funding and will also help you launch your business more quickly is the ready-made eCommerce software. These ready-made solutions are known as turnkey solutions.
You will also be given a choice of customizing it according to your business plan. You will also be the sole owner of your website and you will be given the source code. This will further help you when you need to make modifications or upgrades to your virtual platform.
Setting Up Payment Gateways
Though eCommerce has become an integral part of our lives there are still some who are not very comfortable with the idea of transacting money through the internet or having virtual valets.
This calls in for many alternative payment methods. If you stick with only one type of payment method, then you will be losing many customers.
And given the advancement in technology, there are newer and more innovative ways in which you can virtually and safely transfer money. We have listed a few options which you can look into integrating in your eCommerce store.
- Direct account transfer
- UPI transfer
- Valet transfer (PayPal, Amazon, Paytm, Gpay, etc)
- Credit/debit card transfer
- QR code scan transfer
- Cash on delivery
and many more.
Securing Your Virtual Platform
With comfort and convenience comes security issues that all of us are well aware of in this internet-dependent world.
According to the studies, the rate of eCommerce fraud has grown rapidly over the past few years making it twice the rate of eCommerce sales.
And given eCommerce business is all about transacting money over the world wide web every minute of the day, it is only wise to keep as many checks and detectors in place in order to prevent any fraudulent activities.
Customers’ privacy is of utmost importance in this business. This will not only compromise their personal details and financial details but also bound to tarnish your reputation.
You can integrate a double verification system for a secure payment as well. Purchasing an SSL(Secure Sockets Layer) certificate helps in authenticating the identity of a website and encrypts information and secure it.
Depending on the purpose you want it to serve there are different types of SSL certificates that you can purchase through the internet as well.
Before you do other types of paperwork one important documentation that needs to be filed is an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
It is a unique number that will help identify your business entity, open a business bank account, and also in filing your taxes irrespective of whether you have employees or not.
Marketing Your Business
A very apt cliche quote- “last but not the least”, marketing and promoting is the very last bit of every kind of business across industries. It is not as simple as putting out pamphlets or a post on your social media account.
Given that there are over 20 million eCommerce stores out there, you will have to plan and market yourself in such a way that you gain the attention of the right audience and redirect traffic to your website.
In order to understand the nuances of marketing, you need to know the types of online traffic there are-
- Organic Traffic
- Direct Traffic
- Referral Traffic
- PPC(Paid Per Click) Traffic and
- Social Media Traffic
So, based on these types of traffic you can plan your strategies. What follows are different kinds of marketing strategies that you can adopt in order to get a good SERP(Search Engine Result Page) ranking and increase the inflow of traffic to your website-
The most popular method of marketing. Just like how television advertisements play an important role for the respective business, virtual media advertisements also have the same function associated with them very closely. Some of the types of online advertising are-
- Paid Search Ads
- Display Ads
- Product Listing Ads
Currently, in vogue, this method is rapidly getting more and more popular by the minute. Users believe more in reviews and podcasts than have faith in the actual product.
Hence business owners tend to hire known celebrities in order to endorse their products and hence gain attention.
Methods like newsletters, emails, blog posts, etc all come under this category. Apart from being educational, it has been one of the major methods of directing organic traffic.
The oldest and main digital marketing strategy, this method has been followed for over two decades. This method is used to optimize your webpage contents by using apt keywords which in turn will help you gain a good SERPs ranking.
Social Media Marketing
This is nothing new to you. The advent of social media accounts has literally made our world small. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram have all opened up different ways to market products and businesses.
They have millions of followers and as a result, have a greater reach. Thus helping in building brand awareness.
These steps are nothing new that you haven’t heard of before. However, there are certain nuances that you will have to bear in mind while in the process of building your virtual empire.
Once you make a wrong decision and you get an unfavorable review or rating it will be very difficult to reverse it. So, don’t be in a hurry to get your business started and focus on taking just one step at a time.
If you need any kind of assistance or help in proceeding with any of the above steps, do call us or drop in a message and we shall get back to you right away.
Best of luck with your new venture!
Shopygen is a great platform that provides turnkey eCommerce software solutions, customized to build highly scalable marketplace startups in unique niches.