In this era of digitalization, managing an eCommerce business from the comfort of your homes has become easier than ever. However, knowing the exact steps to build a highly successful eCommerce business is crucial. But before that, you should understand the importance of eCommerce business in today’s world.
eCommerce businesses refer to the businesses that deal with the transfer of services, goods, or funds over the Internet. Since online shopping has seen a splurge in the past few years, you can find a plethora of eCommerce businesses nowadays.
So here are the different steps that can help you to build and run a highly successful eCommerce business while refining your marketing strategies.
The basic step to initiate your eCommerce business is conducting the necessary research to create a business plan. Since e-commerce businesses have numerous benefits over brick and mortar businesses, they require careful research. Once you have conducted effective research, you can easily concoct a business plan for your eCommerce business.
When you start researching and creating a business plan, you need to get answers to several questions.
- Will you be dealing in services or products?
- If you would be dealing in products, then would they be digital or physical?
- What will be your type of business model?
Besides answering such questions, you even need to compare the demand and supply curves of your products or services. In case, the supply of the particular products or services is greater, then your business niche may not be profitable. On the other hand, products or services with high demand can be profitable.
The reason is with higher demand, the customers wish to purchase the products or services but cannot get them. Here comes your role to supply the necessary products or services.
Hence, the growth of the e-commerce industry might be good for you. But at the same time, it means you need to conduct effective competitor research to supply products that can face the competitive market.
Besides this, while creating your business plan you even need to identify your target market. The target audience includes all the people who can become your prospective clients. Hence knowing about their needs, wants and requirements can help you to run a highly successful e-commerce business.
1. Find an Online Platform That Is the Best Fit for You.
Once you are done with the research and business plan, it’s time to choose an eCommerce platform. An eCommerce platform is an application or software that can allow you to exhibit your products or services and connect with your target audience. You can think of an E-commerce platform as your shop or location in a brick-and-mortar business.
Thus, before choosing an online platform that is the best fit for you, you need to consider several aspects. First of all, it is crucial to choose a platform that has good traffic visiting it. Secondly, the online platform which you use should be flexible and scalable with a strong SEO performance and good loading speed.
An online platform that can provide the best user experience to your customers will attract them the most. Additionally, once your platform is set up, the customer should have no issues navigating through It.
In this era of digitalization, there are numerous eCommerce platforms with excellent SEO and great functionalities. Let’s have a glance at the top eCommerce platforms:
Being the best platform for SEO, WooCommerce has a variety of features for E-commerce businesses. It has an easy-to-use interface with impressive designs and themes.
With a super easy setup, this e-commerce platform has a quick loading time. It can even provide you with different integrations, designs, and themes. However, the platform is weak at content marketing.
Packed up with flexibility and scalability, Bigcommerce is a multi-channel selling platform. It has a strong SEO performance with different designs, themes, and integrations. However, the platform may provide inconsistent loading speed sometimes.
Being an easy-to-set-up e-commerce platform, Squarespace is a great option for newbies in the field. It has some of the great template designs for simple stores. However, the platform is not supported on mobile phones and has limited e-commerce integrations.
Besides the above platforms, you can even check out other platforms like Wix, 3DCart, Template Monster, Volusion, etc.
2. Create a Product Listing With Details About the Item You Are Selling
Now you have conducted effective research and even decided on your E-commerce platform. So, it’s time to create a product listing with the relevant details that can help the customers to know more about your products or services.
Once you have decided on your product, you can create a product listing by researching the other online businesses in your niche. Competitor analysis can help you to concoct a product listing in the following manner.
- Check out if your competitors are dealing in a single product or multiple items of the same niche.
- Are their products easy to source? If yes, then how do they source their products?
Another tip to create a product listing is to explore different social selling sites like Etsy, Pinterest, or even small eCommerce businesses on Instagram. This can help you to select your product listing by determining the demand and supply of the particular products or services.
3. Determine Which Payment System to Use
Once you are done with the product listing, you need to consider an important technical aspect of your eCommerce business. One of the most important aspects of creating your e-commerce business is to accept payments from customers. Since your initial aim before creating an E-commerce business was to earn profits, you need to find the right payment system to receive them.
In this era of digitalization, there are myriad options to accept payments digitally. However, choosing the right payment gateway should be your priority. You should always select the payment option that is feasible for your customers and aligns with their requirements. Since your target audience may have different preferences for payment options, you can choose multiple payment systems for your e-commerce business.
So, let’s have a glance at some E-commerce payment systems.
PaymentCloud is one of the best online payment systems that can integrate with other e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Bigcommerce, or WooCommerce. Besides accepting payments through debit cards, credit cards, or e-checks, this platform even has impeccable security features. Additionally, you do not need to pay any cancellation or setup fee when using the platform. The users can also receive a built-in shopping cart through this platform.
Payoneer is a great platform if you want to receive international payments in local currency. The platform takes just three steps to set up, and then you can start receiving payments from your customers. All you need to do is send the paying emails to the customers so that they can pay you. Moreover, the platform does not accept debit or credit cards. Instead, it facilitates bank transfers.
With the best fraud protection, PayCafe has 24 by 7 customer support. This online payment platform is easy to set up and has flexible payment methods. It accepts payment through direct deposits, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, or even international cards. Since the platform has automated algorithms, it analyses each transaction for fraud. In case some issue arises in your transaction, the transaction will be blocked immediately.
Besides these platforms, you can also check out other payment platforms like Square, Helcim, 2checkout, etc.
4. Find a Postal Service That Can Deliver Products to Customers
After deciding on your payment system, you need to find the Postal Service that can help to deliver the products to your customers in the best possible manner. Since there is high competition in the E-commerce field, the customers have become accustomed to free shipping from certain E-commerce stores.
Though free shipping might be easy for large companies, it is not feasible for small business owners. However, if you fulfill the expectations of the clients by providing them free shipping, you might convert prospective customers into loyal, lifelong clients.
Achieving an impeccable delivery service requires a complex structure of activities and work. However, the daunting task is to provide shipping without raising the prices to unacceptable levels. For this, you need to identify the right shipping partners that can allow hassle-free delivery without high charges.
The best alternative to private carriers is the US Postal Service. Postal Services have presently re-emerged due to a boom in the E-commerce industry. Since these services have advantages over other methods of delivery, you can choose them if you are dealing with bulky products.
But choosing the right postal services is not an easy task. You need to consider several factors before choosing your shipping partner. Some of the best shipping partners or postal services are:
United States Postal Service
United States Postal Service is a shipping business company that provides both domestic and international shipping. The presence of APIs in the platform can help you to add shipping tools to your website and facilitate an excellent user experience. Additionally, you can even receive a discount on this platform and the delivery time ranges from 2 to 8 days.
Sendle is the best Postal Service for small businesses who need to send small packages to the customers. The platform has 100% carbon neutral shipping without any subscription fee or charges. However, the platform only ships packages throughout the US and not internationally. You can ship packages worth 20 pounds or less using this Postal Service.
UPS is a small shipping company meant to ship large packages. The company ships package worldwide and are ideally meant for small businesses. The major aspect of this service is that it has several tools specifically meant for small businesses, and it can even provide same-day delivery in certain cases.
DHL is a small business shipping service ideally meant for international shipping. This postal service is great for E-commerce businesses that are new to the global markets. The shipping charges vary according to the package size. Moreover, you can even find certain detailed international shipping guides here.
So you can choose any of the postal services according to the nature of your E-commerce business, its size, and your target audience.
5. Create an Advertising Campaign With the Desired Message
Building an E-commerce business should not be your sole aim. Rather, you should aim at creating a highly successful e-commerce business. Once you create your e-commerce business, you need to let your target audience know about it. Unless and until you let the customers know about your business, they will not make any purchases. One of the best ways to promote your commerce business is to create an advertising campaign with the desired message.
E-Commerce advertising refers to the process of promoting your e-commerce business through paid content, either online or offline. When you pursue online advertisement, you can include your paid content on search engines, newsletters, websites, social media networks, or other online properties like instant messaging or emails. On the other hand, if you opt for offline advertisement, then you can include your paid content on traditional forms of advertisement, like radios, televisions, direct campaigns, etc.
Creating your advertisement campaign with the desired message will enable you to reach your target audience and let them know about your products or services. Hence, the goal of your advertising campaign could be to enhance your brand image or get responses from your customers like getting a newsletter subscribed, app signup, etc.
Once you create your advertisement campaign, you should always experiment and see whether the ad strategy works well for your e-commerce business or not. Generally, if an advertisement strategy works well for your competitor, it may not work well for you. So it is crucial to measure your Return On Investment (ROI) and analyze the several aspects of different Advertisement models whether online or offline.
The different advertising campaigns that you can follow for your e-commerce business are-
- Banner or display ads
- Instagram and Facebook ads.
- Google product ads or shopping campaigns.
6. Send Your eCommerce Business to Live
Conducting live streams for your newly built e-commerce business can help your prospective customers to see the products in real-time and get their questions answered. Livestream e-commerce was initially used in China, where it is showing positive impacts. According to Forbes, approximately 37% of the online shoppers made their live stream purchases in China in 2019.
Similarly, you can reap the benefit of the Livestream opportunity and create a business model to demonstrate and discuss the different benefits and aspects of your products or services. Your live stream session can take place on your e-commerce website or other social media platforms.
To engage your audience in the Livestream session, you can interact with them by providing them with short-term offers, limited edition items, and giveaways. Discounts and offers serve as an incentive for the people and create an urgency for them to purchase a particular product or service. Additionally, you can even create deeper and long-lasting connections with your customers when you answer their questions in real-time. The customers feel a connexion of trust, and hence, are more likely to purchase your products or services.
Things to do when your e-commerce business goes live.
Deliver great customer service.
As mentioned earlier, in this era of digitalization, people are opting for online shopping. However, the popularity of E-commerce platforms even poses severe competition. So in case the customers are dissatisfied with your services, it just takes a single post or negative review to ruin your brand image. Hence it is crucial to deliver great customer service. Some of the methods by which you can provide great customer service through your E-commerce business are:
To improve customer service, you can forecast inventory needs. Calculating your reordering level will help you to manage the stock effectively. However, in case you do not forecast your inventory, then you may either order more or less than the required level. If you order less, then you need to refill the stock again and again. On the other hand, ordering excess will increase the cost of inventory. So you can ensure effective customer service only if you provide the required items to your consumers at the right time.
Automating the online order fulfillment process is another method to improve customer satisfaction. Once you automate the online order fulfillment process, you can pay attention to other processes and hence, improve the overall efficiency.
Another important method to enhance customer service is to analyze your order management process. In case you find gaps in the process, you should improve them. If your order management process is not up to the mark, then you may send wrong orders or even miss the orders altogether. So, the best method to enhance your order management process is to automate it.
Market your store
Once the E-Commerce Store is created, you need to market it to drive the target audience towards it. Unless and until the target audience knows about your products or services, they will not purchase them. There are different methods to market your store. You may either use the online methods, the traditional and offline methods, or even a combination of both.
As mentioned earlier, you can promote your store and market it online through Facebook and Instagram ads, Email marketing, or even shopping campaigns. Similarly, you can opt for traditional methods of marketing.
One of the most powerful ways to market your eCommerce site and enhance it is through blogging. You can substantiate the popularity of blogging from the fact that an entire industry is now built around this productive online practice. So why not reap the benefit of blogging for your eCommerce business?
Starting a blog has a plethora of benefits for your online business. First of all, it can help to boost your Google rankings and hence, establish you as an expert in your industry. Another advantage of blogging is that you will never stop having ideas to blog about. Blogging is all about highlighting the new products or services in your industry and marketing them. Thus, blogging can help you to engage your customers and hence, enhance your market through guest blogging.
Build an email list
One of the best methods to keep your customers up to date regarding the products or services is email marketing. Email marketing allows you to connect with your customers and notify them about every update that happens in your e-commerce store.
You can pursue email marketing by creating an email list and sending regular emails to your email subscribers. Hence your email list should include your prospective customers, regular clients, and even the people who may be interested in your products or services.
Grow based on what works.
Once you have initiated your e-commerce business, analyzing it regularly will help you to know the different aspects that work for your business. Similarly, you can also know the negative aspects of your business. Thus, it is crucial to work on the negative aspects and amplify your positive aspects.
Say, for example, if live streams or email marketing works best for your business, then you should amplify these marketing campaigns.
Thus, approximately 40% of Internet users globally purchase goods and services online from e-commerce businesses. Moreover, since people are looking out for an easier customer experience, they tend to shop more online from their mobile phones. So, it’s time to reap the benefit of this splurge in the e-commerce business by creating your store!
Efa Yasin, exhibits her witty personality, through her intriguing writings. Her works have been published on various websites, like NOGOZO and THETOPTOURS. With her forte being in English, she has conducted researches and concocted articles on various niches like marketing, travel and tourism, information technology, and many more. Currently, she is writing for a marketing blog: aregs.com.
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