The internet revolution standing at the threshold of introduction of the 4LTE massive speed web surfing and Smartphone browsing inclination of the customers marks the important milestones for business owners to review their present retailing practices. The eCommerce concept is already revolutionizing a new spell bounding zone where people purchase with utmost comfort during their spare time without the hassles of tolerating the huge crowd at the malls and important outlets. From fast food to clothes and accessories and all other important goods and services, you can avail them from the comforts of a home.
If you consider this as an opportunity for the buyers alone, then think again. Simultaneously, it is also an opportunity for several entrepreneurial aspirants to launch their own business online. ECommerce is a highly lucrative business offering several benefits. One of the major advantages of running such a business is that you do not have to invest on a retail outlet in a prime location that is extremely expensive nowadays taking the bulk share of your budget. Starting your online business allows you to start a business from even a small town and reach out the vast spread of niche customers with a confidence. Here is a step-by-step guide to start your eCommerce business.
Select Business Niche and Products for Sale
It is extremely important to choose the product that has acquired sufficient market demand, conduct a research about the key competitors and the threats, availability of provisions to run the business and other factors. Select a niche you have proper and detailed understanding of and the one you can regulate in future to fulfill customers’ demands. The non-perishable goods including wholesale clothing items, electronic gadgets, and gift items are some of the most popular items of online purchase.
Prepare a Business Plan
Planning and strategic approach forms the determinant factor to measure the success. Once you have selected the product line, you want to sell through an eCommerce platform, prepare a plan to beat the market competition, business promotion and budget allocation, pricing products, revenue sharing, shipping arrangements and other factors. During the research and planning phase, pricing is one of the essential factors. Calculate the actual cost of the project and initial investment. The pricing should be lower than that imposed by the competitors while maintaining a reasonable margin above the costs to ensure that you can start earning from the business.
Find Wholesalers and Dropshippers
As an eCommerce business owner, you will require regular supply of the goods for promoting on the website and selling them to the customers. To reduce the costs, it is important to establish a contract with reputed wholesalers in the niche business with decent records in the past. The wholesalers offer their products at low costs compared to retail sources. Establishing a formal business contract with reputed wholesalers and dropshippers allows the business owners to regulate their operations smoothly. The novices may have problems finding the most suitable contacts. Search for the Wholesale directories online. These directories provide the information with contact details about genuine top wholesale suppliers, innumerable product categories, names of eminent suppliers of top-notch brands and much more.
Accomplish Legal Formalities
All businesses are subject to the imposition of laws of the state and other regulations. Complete the business registration and other formalities in the initial phase to own the trademark and other rights as the owner of the eCommerce operations. Prepare the draft of terms and conditions mentioning the company policies concerning the product delivery, mode of payment, authenticity of the products, order placement, cancellation, package returns, shipping charges, and other related issues. Mention these terms and condition on the website so that the customers get complete information before purchasing the products. Always mention transparency and provide facts to the audiences for building trust and loyalty for long term relationship.
Establish an eCommerce Website
Your website is the most important medium to display products, connect with the buyers, regulate sales operations, and control financial transactions. Following are the steps to get started:
- Website Design, Hosting and CMS: The eCommerce website design has a particular format and requires adding important tools to control the operations. There is ample scope of website customization based on your choice and requirements. Choose light shades for the website background and solid colors like orange, blue, red, green and others for the highlighting the important buttons on the site. Some important tools including the PrestaShop, Magenta, Shopify, VirtueMart, OS-Commerce are great for eCommerce platforms. With prime consideration to the website security, you can consider using the SSL certificate that offers advanced data encryption and site protection against theft and burglary. Select a cloud hosting service offering backup support and massive online storage to regulate the site properly. The customized content management system (CMS) allows the eCommerce site owners to update information, upload new pictures, change product lists and perform many other operations without the help of an IT programmer or web designer.
- Business Name and Logo: Select the business name that truly reveals the operations and sounds impressive to the buyers. Get a company logo designed by a professional graphic designer. Several website design companies offer excellent logo design services. Today the customers appreciate simple logos with a catchy color effect and implications.
- Organize Site Contents: Place some high quality written content such product description, material info and other details. The images of the products are very important. If possible, provide some videos for better understanding of the products. Build proper on site links to allow the visitors to the site to navigate smoothly on the site. Once the link-building task is completed, test the links to detect the errors and perform a debug program to resolve the issues.
- Online Marketing and SEO: Once your website is ready for hosting online, assort a strong multi dimensional SEO strategy involving external link building with blogs, article directories, social media websites containing the profile of the company etc.
The eCommerce businesses have great prospects in the future. The concept is already being accepted and the sales reports of several companies reveal that around 40 percent of the annual sales generated by several retail outlet owners originate from online sales.