Did you know that by 2021, global eCommerce sales will reach nearly $5K billion?
The numbers clearly indicate that the eCommerce business is growing and flourishing. And anyone with smart strategies can start an eCommerce business and make a profit.
Image Source – Statista
Are you thinking about starting an eCommerce business, and want to make a huge profit? You have a dream and that’s a great start.
But, if the foundation of your eCommerce business is not strong enough, it will soon fizzle out. Establishing an eCommerce business and managing your relationships with your customers is not a walk in the park.
Want to discover some sneaky and easy ways to start an eCommerce business now? You’ve come to the right place. This post will talk about some of the best ways to start a lucrative eCommerce business from scratch.
Let’s get started.
1. List niche ideas
If you want to start an eCommerce business, the first thing you need to decide is – what do you want to sell? Unless you have a rock-solid answer to this question, there is no point in moving forward.
But how will you decide what to sell?
To begin with, you must have a basic idea of what you want to sell. And based on that idea, you can slowly work your way to the top. You must develop a sustainable brand if you want to flourish in today’s aggressive eCommerce world.
There are many eCommerce ideas that you can start with. But you must ensure that your idea is relevant and feasible today. To make the process a little easier, you can study already successful businesses in the niche.
Also, ensure that the niche area you select has low competition. However, if there’s no competition it means there is no market. So stay away from niches like these. But at the same time, you must not select the niche that has an abundance of competitors or it’ll be tough to stand out.
Also, skip a niche that is already dominated by major and popular brands. However, narrowing in on and identifying exactly what you want to sell will help you. If you are being very specific, you can dodge competition from big brands.
Narrowing down your eCommerce business ideas helps you have a clearer idea of what to focus on. However, when deciding your niche, you must keep in mind that too specific a niche can limit your business as well.
2. Study the competition
Once you decide your niche area, you must identify the big shots and potential competitors in your niche. It’s an important step because it will help you understand their marketing strategies. And it will help you understand the mistakes you could avoid.
This research will also help you understand where you stand in the market. Learning about your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses will help you to strategically frame your own strategies and policies. It can even help you to further narrow down in your niche. And you will be able to focus on a few products or services, which enable you to stand out from your competitors.
3. Decide on a business model
Now that you have decided your niche area, it’s time to decide on a sustainable business model. Every business has a different model and structure that works best for that particular business. So you can’t really copy or adapt the business model of other companies.
You have to invest your time in developing your own business model. Ensure that your business model is sustainable for the growth and expansion of your business.
But before you decide on a business model, first you need to understand the different business models available. Your decision will depend on the type of product or services you are selling because it will directly impact the future of your business.
Let’s take a look at some of the main business models:
These days, there is a subscription for every kind of product from food to fitness to online courses. So there’s no limit to what can fit under this model.
You just need to make sure that you have a continuous inflow of new inventory to keep your customers satisfied and happy. Maintaining an inventory can be challenging, especially for a small-scale company. But this business model will ensure generating repeat income.
White labeling and manufacturing
This business model would be perfect for you if you want to build and produce your own products and sell them. Don’t forget to include manufacturing, raw materials, and inventory management costs.
This model will allow you to produce products that stand out and are different from your competitors.
Dropshipping is another popular business model. This model allows you to earn profits without even touching the product. So the initial investment in this model is not very big. The only investment is in developing a super user-friendly website.
In this model, a customer places orders and you simply direct the order to the product seller. And they ship it directly to the customer’s address. Basically, you are playing the role of the middleman, and a very profitable one at that.
This business model is the best option for you if you want to have wholesale and inventory. You can purchase goods and products at a low bulk price and resell them and make a profit.
These are some of the most popular business models you can select from. But when selecting one, keep in mind the products or services you want to sell.
4. Study your target audience
After you have decided what you want to sell and how you want to sell it, you need to figure out whom you want to sell it to. Who are your target customers? The type of niche and the business model you select will directly have an impact on the type of audience you want to target. Wondering how?
There are consumers who only want to invest in exclusive and premium brands. So they might not give you the reaction you want for dropshipping. Also, many customers buy a one-time product due to their budget constraints, and might not opt for subscription services. So you need to understand what exactly your target customers expect and want from your business.
To understand your target customers in a much better way, create buyers personas. Ask questions like who are your target customers? Why would they be interested in making a purchase from you? How is your offer different from those of your competitors? What kind of needs and pain points can you promise to resolve?
Answering questions like these will help you develop a near accurate buyer’s persona. This, in turn, will help you sell your products effectively to your customers. This can even help you come up with ideas for new products.
5. Build your brand
The next important step is to build your brand, which includes naming your brand and creating a logo and tagline. It also includes registration of your brand and getting licenses and permits. Let’s take a closer look at this one by one.
Naming your brand
First things first, think of an attractive yet simple name for your brand so it’s easy to remember. It’s not mandatory to have the exact same name for your website as well. You can think of a variation of the brand name. But for the sake of consistency and your customers’ convenience, it’s better to keep it somewhat similar.
Ensure the name of your brand and website are relatable and suitable for your niche. It’s important that you spend some time to do a little research before choosing a name. You don’t want to come up with absurd names at the last minute.
Register your brand
For any eCommerce business, this is a very important step. Don’t ignore or skip it. After you select a name for your company, register it. By registering your company, you will be entitled to tax benefits and legal protection.
Get licenses and permits for your brand
Just like an offline store, you also need to get certain business permits and licenses for your online store. The laws and rules for licensing and permits differ from country to country and state to state. So check with your country, state, and city to figure out what sort of permits and licenses you will need to kick start your business.
Create a logo and a tagline
Even if people don’t remember your brand’s name, they will remember the logo. So you need to create an interesting and innovative logo. Also, make sure that the logo resembles your brand and its values. If you don’t have an in-house designer, invest in a professional designer to create an innovative logo. This is vital because your logo will eventually appear on everything.
Once you have your logo in place, you need to think of a catchy and simple tagline for your brand.
Amazon has a yellow arrow in their logo. Ever wondered why it is there? Well, the arrow from A to Z implies that Amazon sells everything – from electronics to books, from homecare products to fashion. The arrow also indicates the smiling and satisfied faces of customers.
Image Source – Amazon
6. Write compelling content
Just by developing a website, your job is not over. If you want to increase traffic and raise awareness for your brand, you must create compelling content. The content on your website is the key to encouraging your target customers to make a purchase. So focus on writing persuasive content for product descriptions and landing pages.
When creating content for product descriptions, it’s easy to simply copy and paste the description provided by the manufacturer. But it’s best to avoid doing this. Invest your time into creating a different but relevant and attractive product description.
You can use the product description of the manufacturer as a reference, and work on it to make it more creative. Ensure to add some valuable and helpful information in the description.
For instance, the screenshot given below is of a product – Dorco Classic Razor from Dorco. The product description is less than four statements and the bullets highlight the important features of the product.
Image Source – Dorco
When a prospect visits your website, the first thing they see is the landing page of your website. So you need to make the content on the landing page of your website very engaging, interesting, and attractive to visitors. Ensure that your landing page puts the issues and selling points in front of the visitor.
Check out the landing page of Muzzle. They straightforwardly communicate why their product is worthy of your time and energy.
Image Source – Muzzle
7. Start marketing
Now you are all set for the final step – the marketing of your brand and your products. You need to focus more on outbound marketing rather than inbound marketing. This is simply because you are newly starting your business and have very low domain authority.
So, let’s talk about some of the most effective methods of marketing.
Facebook and Instagram ads
Facebook and Instagram allow you to place your ads in the user’s feed. Through Facebook and Instagram ads, your target customers will discover you and develop an interest in your brand.
Image Source – Instagram
Image Source – Facebook
Influencer marketing is one of the best options, especially when you are new to the industry. You can collaborate with influencers, and ask them to talk about your products on their social media profiles. This can help you generate traffic and increase awareness of your brand.
Ensure that you work with an influencer who is relevant and suitable for your brand. Influencer marketing platforms like Grin will help you find suitable influencers for your campaign.
Image Source – Instagram
Creating ads on Pinterest as promoted pins can generate interest and spark demand.
Image Source – Pinterest
Google ads can also boost your traffic. Google can directly show your ads to potential customers who are looking for similar products or services.
Image Source – Google
These are some of the most effective marketing strategies for a newly developed eCommerce business. Allocate a budget for the tactics that are most likely to help you reach your target audience and then optimize your marketing strategy accordingly.
All set to start your eCommerce business?
These are the most important steps to follow if you are starting an eCommerce business from scratch. Every step is crucial, so make sure you don’t skip anything. Otherwise, your business plan may fall flat. But when done correctly, your eCommerce business can flourish and reach new heights in a short span of time.
Deciding a niche, figuring out a suitable business model, and understanding your target customers are basic but important steps. These steps cannot be completed overnight. And more than money, you need to invest your time.
Once the basic steps are done, you can start building your brand and marketing it by writing amazing content. For quality content, you need to invest both time and money. And for each step in the process, you need to have patience and persistence.
If you think we missed any important steps, feel free to comment.
Guest author: Brian Mechem is COO and Co-Founder of Grin, a software solution for companies who run influencer marketing programs. Grin’s software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.