Whether you have crafts to sell or you want to shift your existing in-store retail business into the world of online shopping, starting an eCommerce business is an exciting step for entrepreneurs.
Ecommerce is a booming industry, but starting any business requires hard work and expertise. These top tips for starting an eCommerce business will help you get started.
Research your competition
The first thing you should do when you’re preparing to start an online business is to research your competition. Who is already selling products similar to yours? How will you differentiate yourself?
Standing out for the competition doesn’t necessarily mean you need to undercut their prices, though their prices will help you set your own. It’s about figuring out your brand’s unique selling points (USPs).
Find the right platform
Do you want to create your own website or set up an online store using a platform like Etsy or Shopify? And if you create your own website, what platform will you use and will you need a WooCommerce payment gateway or similar plugin?
You’ll need to consider this before starting your business as it may affect your budget and business plan. Creating your own website will give you more freedom over how your online store looks, but eCommerce platforms work well for small businesses that don’t already have a following or business owners with no web design skills.
Set up social media accounts
Social media is an important way to market your eCommerce business. Make sure you set up social media accounts on key channels. For many online retailers, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are the most important channels.
Social media marketing isn’t as simple as posting every now and then and hoping for the best. You should have a social media marketing plan and campaign ready for when your business launches. If social media marketing feels alien to you, check out guides like this one on social media for small businesses.
Secure suppliers and shippers
Like any retail business, starting an eCommerce store requires securing several logistical elements, like suppliers and shipping. If you require supplies to make your products or you need a supplier to execute your designs, make sure you do your research so that you can find a reliable, high-quality supplier within your budget.
A big difference between running an online store and running a physical store is that online purchases need to be shipped. Rather than relying on your local post office, you should research alternative shipping options that are cheaper and include insurance for any goods lost or damaged.
Push for online reviews
An online store is often only as good as its online reviews. These show potential customers that your business is reliable, trustworthy, and your products are high quality.
Sometimes, being a great online seller with fantastic products isn’t enough. You need to give your customers an incentive to leave an online review. Many new eCommerce businesses offer customers a discount on their next purchase if they leave a review. This can help you get those early reviews easily and boost sales in future too.