7 steps to start your E-commerce business

Setting up an e-commerce business may involve a lot of determination and motivation, and it can be devastating and complex for new entrepreneurs. There are many boxes to check, hats to wear, and things to do. And if poorly planned, it can all go ruined real quickly.

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Start from the beginning – The Business Plan

A business plan is your fundamental starting document where you will describe your business, the products you will offer in the market, and the way you plan to make money. The file should deliver a clear business strategy, a list of resources you need to get started and identify potential risks.

This is vital to your business’s success, so take your time. According to HBR, these are the 3 fundamentals that a business plan should reflect:

  • The market, including both existing and prospective clients, customers, and users of the planned product or service.
  • The investors, whether of financial or other resources.
  • The producer, whether the entrepreneur or the inventor.

Products description, packaging, and inventory

The product description explains the main product’s features, why it stands out from others in the market, and the benefits it will bring to the target segment. How much will the product cost, and where does it stand compared with other relatable items in the market. If your product has been tested by professionals in the field and has any certifications and awards, these features will increase the product’s credibility and benefit the marketing process later.

Packaging is one of the main aspects of your product, but unfortunately, many companies do not recognize it. You have worked so hard to create a product and experience that will appeal to your customers – why disappoint at the last stage?

If you have an online store, you’ve probably noticed that when shipping companies talk about parcel dimensions, they refer to volumetric weight. Calculating the volumetric weight correctly is very important, as it allows you to choose the form of transport that best suits your needs and even save possible cost overruns on shipments.

Inventory management helps you identify which and how much stock of a product you have. Proper execution of the process will ensure you meet customer expectations, on-time delivery and consumer satisfaction.

Market analyses

Starting a new business is an exciting but also stressful process, as there is a whole list of things you need to do before starting. An important aspect of this venture is proper market research, and there are 2 options before you: a secondary method known as dark research, where you rely on the sources and data already available and harvested by other parties for other purposes, and primary market research.  

The primary market research focuses on your key objectives. The process is done internally and involves reaching out directly to potential customers to gather information.

Business strategy implementation or Getting the Stuff Done

Strategy Implementation refers to the execution of the plans and strategies to accomplish the long-term goals of your new business. This is where you go from paper to the moves and actions to achieve the written-down objectives. And you need to shine! Because without a proper implementation even the best-laid plans may not come to realization.

If you decide to partner with a fulfillment provider in this exciting journey, make sure to choose an affordable, fast and accurate provider. By doing so, you will reduce shipping costs, automate the fulfillment process and expand into new markets easier.

Web plan

No need to emphasize the importance of having a good website for your ecommerce business. This is where you say Hello, nice to meet you! to your target market, showcase your product, and build trust and credibility. The significance of it being professional and user-friendly cannot be understated. 

  • Planning is essential for the success of your e-commerce business. Here are steps to a structured and well-thought-out website:
  • Set purpose and goal
  • Create a budget
  • Assign roles
  • Create a content strategy
  • Structure your website
  • Design and testing
  • Maintain your site

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Financial plan

Having a business idea, creating a marketing plan, and talking about it on social media are great ways to kickstart your business. But when it’s your own business, you’re also responsible for helping it achieve its financial goals. It’s good to know in advance whether your business is going to be profitable. 

Again, preparation is the name of the game. This step will make it clear whether your business idea is feasible. It will indicate the costs and what is needed to finance them and convince financiers to lend you money, forming the basis for your financial pitch. 

The way you come up a credible financial section for your business plan is to demonstrate that it’s realistic. Break the figures into components by sales channel or target market segment, and provide realistic estimates for sales and revenue. 

Marketing strategy

A clear vision of your mission, branding and customer communication. By definition, e-commerce marketing is any marketing effort you make to promote your online store and generate sales. It applies both to getting new customers (customer acquisition) and making old ones shop again (customer retention). This is a long-term journey, and your end destination, aka the goal of your marketing strategy, needs to be set first.

Following is the task of defining the target audience, their demographics, interest, and shopping behaviour and also establishing your brand’s message. An integral part of any digital marketing strategy is keyword research – they will help you define your brand and realise which words your target audience will use to reach you online. Make sure to develop the metrics and channels you will use to reach your customers, but also set a budget. Be realistic when determining the amount of money you will dedicate to this part of your e-commerce business start-up and use it wisely.

In the end, you will measure the results of your marketing activities, both organic and paid, and modify your strategy.

There are no limits on who can become an excellent entrepreneur. You don’t need a lot of money or even business experience to start something that could become the subsequent major success.

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