If you’ve been thinking about starting up your own eCommerce business, then you’re definitely on the right path. The eCommerce industry’s future seems to be promising, and you, too, make the most out of it by starting up right now.
But the process of starting an online store and selling products may seem overwhelming and daunting. Yes, starting an eCommerce business is not easy, but different platforms and solutions have made it much easier than it was a few years ago.
To help you out, we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist that will help you start-up an eCommerce business in 2021. Going through this step-by-step checklist will give you an idea about how you can go about building a successful eCommerce business.
1. Choose Your Product Idea
The first logical step to starting an eCommerce store is, of course, the product idea. You probably already have an idea about what to sell, or you may have a brick-and-mortar store, and you want to go online with it. In such a case, you can move on to the next step.
If you’re confused about your product idea, then you should start with market research. Do you want to sell physical products or digital products? What is your target market? Who are your top competitors? Finding answers to these questions will help.
You should also pick a value proposition or a USP for your business. What makes your products stand out from your competitors? Going in-depth with research is the best way to go about this step.
2. Draft Your eCommerce Business Plan
Next comes your business plan. This will be a roadmap that gives a structure to your rough ideas. You can start with market analysis and move on to creating a description for your company.
Your business plan should also include drafting your ideal customer persona, creating a marketing plan, and a financial plan. You can also set short-term and long-term goals for your eCommerce business. This step helps you prioritize your way through different steps.
3. Pick a Fulfillment Service Provider
If you’re selling physical products, it is important to think about the fulfillment service. You can follow the entire fulfilment order process in-house, but this may not be the best idea when you’re just starting out.
Instead, you can pick a reliable fulfillment partner who takes care of the entire order fulfillment process for you. Outsourcing eCommerce fulfillment helps you focus on other important business tasks, and you can rest assured that your fulfillment is taken care of by professionals.
4. Pick an eCommerce Platform
To set up your eCommerce business website and payment gateway, the next ideal step would be to choose an eCommerce platform that helps you set up your website, product pages, accept payments, and other necessary functions needed for an eCommerce store.
There are many eCommerce platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, etc., that may fit your needs. The best part about these platforms is that you don’t have to be a coder or a designer to set up your eCommerce store.
5. Set up Your Business Website
Once you’ve picked your eCommerce platform, you can start setting up your website. Begin by creating the main web pages such as the home page, about page, terms and conditions page, contact page, etc.
Next, you can start setting up your product pages. Ensure that you add in-depth product descriptions and high-resolution product images to offer the best possible experience to your customers. Ensure that your website scores high on readability and user-friendliness. Functionalities such as search and navigation should feel intuitive to the website visitors.
At this point, you can also start creating content for your website by creating blog posts that might be of interest to your target audience.
This will help you with the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your site and also help you attract new customers through valuable content. Make sure you analyze log files to have an effective SEO strategy building foundation for your site.
6. Launch and Start Marketing Your eCommerce Store
Next comes the big launch of your eCommerce store and finding your first customer. Before the launch, ensure that all the essential elements are in place. These can be your website, payment options, customer support emails, fulfillment process, etc.
You can choose to start promoting your store even before the launch. The channels that you pick for marketing entirely depend on your budget and your target audience’s preferences. You can choose to promote your store organically on social media platforms. Or, you can also run paid ads on these platforms to quicken the process of finding your first customer.
7. Provide Customer Service
Importance of customer service in the eCommerce business is paramount. Right from the day of your store’s launch, you should ensure that you have a customer service plan in place. You can set up emails and/or contact numbers dedicated to customer service.
Ensure that you respond to customer support requests as soon as possible. Sloppy customer service may lead to increased product returns, a bad reputation for your brand, and a number of negative reviews for your business around the internet.
8. Create Social Media Strategy
Social media plays a vital role in the growth of your eCommerce business. You should start working on your social media strategy as soon as possible in order to attract new customers through these networks over time.
It is important to pick the right channels and create content that best appeals to your target audience. You can run paid ads on these channels to accelerate the amount of traction that you receive. Other tactics such as contests, giveaways, and user-generated content can help improve your store’s sales.
9. Set Up Email Marketing
Eventually, you should start focusing on building an email list for your eCommerce business. Emails can be extremely beneficial in keeping your customers engaged and triggering repeat purchases.
You can set up email automation sequences that will help you get good engagement. You can also send exclusive discounts and offers to your email lists to attract more customers to sign up. Try to keep a mix of both promotion and informational emails for the best results.
So, there you have it – a comprehensive checklist that will help you start-up your eCommerce business in 2021. Having such a checklist will give a definite structure to your business idea and help you get started as soon as possible. So, start-up right away to reap the benefits of your eCommerce business before the end of 2021.