What You Need to Know Before Starting an eCommerce Business

It’s no secret that online shopping is king in 2023. It’s convenient, it’s accessible, and it’s easy.

Starting an eCommerce business can be super lucrative because of this. People want new ways to shop, and they’re always on the lookout for new products.

Here, we’re going to let you in on some tips and tricks to help your new business succeed from the ground up. Read on to learn what you need to know before opening your online business.

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What You’re Selling

This may sound obvious, but many people who want to start eCommerce businesses don’t know what to sell. They’re business-minded but don’t have valuable goods or services in mind.

If you’re passionate about something and want to turn it into a business, great. If you love making pottery or building gadgets, you already have a business idea. If your work is your passion, you’ll have an amazing time launching your eCommerce shop.

If business is your main interest, you can still have an awesome time! Research product lines that have demand. Come up with something new and innovative to bring to the table.

You might need to spend some time thinking about how to improve your idea, especially if you’re in a heavily saturated industry. You need to stand out to your target audience.

After all, those are the people who can make or break your eCommerce shop.

Target Audience is Key

Before you do anything else, a new eCommerce business will need to figure out its target market. This means using Google Analytics and similar tools to find the audiences:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education level
  • Interests
  • Pain points and problems

You can use this information to figure out how to brand your business.

For example, a business catering to high-level, high-income executives in their 40s should be no-nonsense and professional. You’ll want simple brand imagery, lots of statistical infographics, clean navigation systems, and neutral colors like black and navy.

Pictures and videos will be informative and formal.

If your business caters to women in their 20s looking for jewelry and accessories, you’ll want a more fun and quirky brand. Whimsical colors, fun product photos and videos, influencer content, Reels and TikToks, and funky fonts will work here.

Carefully assess your data and make decisions based on what your target market wants to see. Look at what social media platforms they use and what kind of content they mostly consume. Tell them how you can solve their problems in a way that they will care about.

Most of Your Customers Will Use Mobile Phones

Online shopping is no longer something that desktop users dominate. Smartphone and tablet users have generated over $3.56 trillion in ecommerce purchases, and over 90% of people use a mobile phone for regular online shopping.

This means that you’ll need to make your website mobile-friendly. Your page should be easy for Smartphone users to navigate. Your text and product images should be big and easy to scroll through.

One-tap payments can also go a long way for mobile shoppers. No one wants to input their information over and over again onto a tiny phone screen. Let people make an account and set up preferred payment methods for one-tap purchases.

A professional web designer can help you a lot with this. They know how to optimize a site for the most popular iOS and Android devices. Trying to do it yourself means a poorly-made amateurish website that won’t rise above the competition.

You’ll Need a Business Plan

You can’t wing it when starting an eCommerce business. Instead, you’ll need a detailed business plan that maps out your goals and objectives.

The core elements of a good business plan are:

  • A description of your business and its structure (material availability, inventory, fulfillment, manufacturing information, and other stuff related to daily operations)
  • How you do market research, what you look into, and how you can reach consumers
  • Your management team and the personnel that reports to them
  • Any financial and legal documents/agreements

In the end, create an executive summary for your business. This will include your company background, advantages in the market, financial highlights, opportunities, and personnel overviews. This will keep all your information in one place so you can have it at a glance.

You’ll Need to Make Yourself Memorable

You might think that consumers will flock to you if you just offer quality goods and services. Unfortunately, there are over 20 million eCommerce sites active today. Even within a niche industry, you’re going to be up against some fierce competition.

This may sound stressful, but all it means is that you need to take specific measures to make yourself stand out. You’ll need a unique selling point that makes you a better alternative.

Coupons and promotions are always a good idea for new eCommerce shops. They give people a financial reason to come to you over competitors.

This is even more true if the promotion is unique. You might:

  • Give a discount to people who help get you trending on social media
  • Give away T-shirts, stickers, pins, and other swag to those who spend money
  • Create a referral program to drive in more customers
  • Run photo and video contests on Instagram and TikTok
  • Partner with other brands that share your target audience and give coupons to people who work with both businesses

Sustainability is also a good way to stand out. Over one in three people around the world will pay more money for environmentally-friendly items. You’ll stand out if you boast stats and facts about how you help the Earth and the ecosystem.

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How to Brand

To be memorable, it’s also important that you brand your business the right way. Create a unique brand name that doesn’t sound like anything else in your industry. Make sure that it’s catchy and memorable.

Your brand name also needs to be easy to say and spell. This will let people talk about it and Google it. They can learn more information and more people will learn about your eCommerce shop.

Brand names need to go with memorable logos.

Think about a set of golden arches or a simple checkmark. You probably immediately thought of McDonald’s and Nike even though those brands were never mentioned. Your logo needs to be a similarly memorable symbol that people can immediately associate with your business.

A good logo is:

  • Minimalistic and identifiable
  • Clean with simple shapes
  • Unique (unlike anything else you’ve ever seen)
  • In branded colors
  • Bold and easily visible

Both your brand name and logo need to be relevant to your products. You don’t want to look like a software company if you sell handmade household items. People need to know what they’re getting into and easily identify what you do.

You Might Need Legal Documents

You’ll need to cross some t’s and dot come i’s before launching your eCommerce shop. Some industries require you to legally register your eCommerce shop. Do some research on local and industry regulations to determine if you need anything.

A Terms of Use, privacy policy, warranty policy, and return/refund policy are also baseline legal essentials. They can keep lawsuits at bay and stop your consumers from becoming confused.

You also will want to file for intellectual property protection.

Trademark your brand information and imagery so people can’t steal it. Copyright any written or artistic information like eBooks, product photos and videos, or jingles.  Get a patent for any innovations or unique services you’re selling.

This will protect your business from intellectual property theft. Being unique and memorable is important for any business, especially one that’s just starting up. You don’t need someone stealing your ideas and stopping you from standing out.

Social Media is Your Best Friend

Launching a memorable business is much easier with social media. After all, that’s where your target audience already is.

Many platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok will let you target your primary audience directly. When you put an ad into Facebook Ads, for example, you can choose the demographics to show it to. You can also choose to cross-post the ad onto Instagram to reach more people.

Other platforms base their marketing on hashtags. Twitter is a prime example, though tagging is a cross-platform necessity. They help people find and follow your posts and page.

Once you launch a social media page and create an ad campaign, you’ll also need to engage with followers. They’ll find you through tags and promotions. They’ll love it if you post:

  • Interesting information about your business
  • Blog posts that provide value to them
  • Info about how you can solve their problems
  • Photos and videos of your hottest products
  • Follower-exclusive promotions
  • Coupon codes
  • Q&A sessions where you answer in the comments

This keeps people interested and engaged. Just make sure that you’re prompt about replying to messages. You want consumers to feel valued.

Beyond Basic eCommerce Tips

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when starting an eCommerce business. It can get overwhelming, but it’s much easier once you have as much information as possible.

Check out the ‘digital marketing’ tab on our home page to get more comprehensive information about growing an online business!

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