What You’ll Need to Start an Ecommerce Business

by Mike on March 2, 2019

What You'll Need to Start an Ecommerce Business

You have an entrepreneurial brain. So, the more you hear about and see people shopping online, the more the wheels start turning: You could start an ecommerce business to capture a piece of the ever-growing pie.

You’re right in noticing the ecommerce industry is growing as more people shop online using their desktop computers and mobile devices. In 2012, the web accounted for around seven percent of all U.S. ecommerce sales. By 2016, this percentage had grown to 11.6. The next year it rose markedly to 13 percent. The pattern is one of year-over-year growth; it’s undeniable ecommerce is becoming more popular as time goes on.

So, what basics will you need to launch your own store? Here are a few staples to keep in mind. 

The Basics: Name, Logo, Business Plan

Just like setting up any business, starting an online store requires you to square away certain details about the identity of your company and its plan for operation. You’ll need a name, to start. You’ll also need a logo. Both of these seemingly basic details require you to have a firm grasp on your website’s branding and identity.

The best business name will be memorable, not already in use by another company and will fit your branding. Once you have a name, you can register your business. You can also create a logo to represent your store at a glance. Take the time to think about your brand’s personality and values here. Visitors to your store will make snap judgments based on its name and imagery, so you want to make sure these are a strong as can be before you go public.

Choosing and Sourcing Your Products

What will your ecommerce store sell—and how will you acquire these goods? According to marketing expert Neil Patel, there are two ways to approach setting your product lineup: You can create something that “scratches your own itch” or you can take an existing product available for sale and improve upon it while also marketing it better.

Patel illustrates this concept using notebooks as an example. Many stores out there already sell notebooks, which you’ll learn as you’re conducting competitor research. But your store can sell premium notebooks to a certain subset of customers. One option for sourcing your notebooks is using a popular marketplace like Alibaba to find a supplier. Look at factors like number of pages, page thickness, customizability, etc. and their effect on pricing.

Setting Up Your Website

Next up is creating a space for online users to browse your wares and transactions to happen. What is an ecommerce store? Shopify defines it as commercial transactions facilitated through the internet. Above all, you’ll need a website that enables people to understand your products and purchase them if they desire.

Thus, your website must facilitate easy navigation, as online shoppers will simply leave if they have trouble finding what they need. For this reason, many sellers choose to work with pre-made site templates rather than building a website from scratch.

Even if people like your products, they may still abandon their shopping carts during the checkout stage. To minimize the risk of this occurring, you’ll also need to offer secure, convenient payment gateways people want to use.

Marketing Your Online Store

Lastly, you need a way to bring traffic to your website so you can turn visitors into customers. There are many marketing strategies available to retailers today: email, content, social media and paid advertising, to name a few. Figure out where people within your target audience spend time online and what messaging resonates with them.

These basics are what you’ll need to start an ecommerce business. As your sales grow, your store can, too.

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