How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 9 Steps in 2022
Ecommerce has been advanced by 5 years thanks to Covid-19. At the same time, legacy retailers such as Lord & Taylor and Century 21 are declaring bankruptcy.[ How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 9 Steps (2022) ]
It was yesterday when you decided to take your business online.
Ecommerce had a 14.1% share of the worldwide retail sector in 2019, and Statista predicts that by 2023, 22% of all retail transactions would be conducted online.
By 2024, hard money sales in the United States might amount more than $475 billion — and that’s just B2C.
We’ll go over how to set up and launch a thriving (and Covid-proof) ecommerce business in this beginner’s guide.
We’ll go through everything you’ll need to know to create your own successful ecommerce company, including:
- How to find things to sell on the internet.
- Making a decision about your online company plan.
- Validating the concept of your product.
- Getting your business registered and incorporated.
- How to find things on your own.
- Developing a business strategy.
- Choosing an ecommerce platform and getting your store up and running.
- Increasing the number of visitors to your ecommerce store.
- Increasing sales and evaluating the results.
Given that one out of every three workers does not believe they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, starting your own eCommerce business is a viable choice.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea of what it takes to start and maintain a successful internet store.
Let’s get this party started.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business (Step-By-Step Guide) – How to Start an Ecommerce Business in 9 Steps (2022)
1 – Research products to sell online
You must sell one of two sorts of items to be successful:
- In a burgeoning specialty, a high-demand product.
- A commoditized, high-quality product.
Niche items cater to a highly narrow market. You choose one high-quality item — potentially with many varieties — and design a targeted marketing plan instead of a hundred distinct product lines. Niche items are typically price inelastic and have significant profit margins due to their exclusivity and demand.
Small-batch or one-of-a-kind products (a crocheted shawl or a piece of hand-thrown pottery) are examples of niche products (handmade leather bags, seasonal preserves).
They can also be single-product businesses, such as Larq, which specialises in self-cleaning water bottles (and a limited number of accessories). Larq’s clients are fervent, and they’re willing to spend more than the norm for a high-quality product.
Commoditized items are digital or physical products that are in high demand or that have a large established consumer base. They’re, in a nutshell, necessities for everyone. The majority of B2C internet sales are for commoditized products. They’re common, and competition is severe, so e-tailers modify pricing constantly to remain ahead of industry competitors.
Chargers, saucepans, footwear, software applications, clothing, and children’s toys are just a few examples of commoditized products. Surprisingly, commoditization frequently starts with a truly unique product that becomes successful; other companies then seek to imitate the original product, resulting in competitions. Hush Puppies, a footwear firm, and Fujitsu, a technology corporation, are two commoditized product enterprises.
Many successful internet businesses sell both specialty and commoditized goods. Their specialty products set them apart, while the commoditized things they handpick add volume to their online storefronts. Take, for example, Berlin Packaging. Custom packaging design is its specialty, but company also sells a variety of common packaging items.
How to Choose Your Products
Perhaps you already have a wholly original concept – perhaps you’re an inventor or a designer with a working prototype. If that’s the case, congratulations. If not, don’t worry; you don’t need to invent the next great thing to run a profitable ecommerce business.
Instead of thinking about ground-breaking innovation, evaluate what people want and what you can provide.
The following tips can help you come up with a solid niche product idea to sell online:
- Every problem has a solution: Innovation often starts at home. Can you create marketable solutions (products or services) to solve problems you encounter regularly?
- Find your passion: You’re about to put a lot of time and effort into your new e commerce business, so you need to ensure it’s based on something you can stay interested in.
- Figure out branding potential: Branding is vital in ecommerce. How will you brand your product? Who will your target audience be, and how will you create fellowship with them through various ecommerce stores?
- Guilty pleasures are a-go: People spend a lot of money on things they love. If you can tap into consumers’ passions — or vices — with a strong product, you’ll almost certainly build a customer base.
- Keep an eye out for opportunity: The most successful entrepreneurs constantly look for gaps in the market. Pay attention to societal shifts, and you’ll see consumer trends before they ever materialize. You might even help them manifest themselves.
- Get on the trend train early: Speaking of trends — if you do notice an appealing product trend, get on board with it early. The earlier you segue into an emerging market, the more likely you are to be seen as an original part of the industry. “Authentic” brands get a bigger slice of the industry pie.
- Spot niche markets: We mentioned Larq earlier because it’s such a good example of a niche idea. Larq identified a problem (unhygienic water bottles) and came up with a ecommerce solution (a rechargeable sanitizing water bottle). Larq raised millions of dollars in venture capital before ever producing a single production run. Ah, the power of the niche.
By the time you’ve finished thinking, you should have a shortlist of products or services. If that’s the case, try to figure out who your primary competitors are for each product. If you’re in the middle of a crowded field, go on to the next — and the next — until you locate a less crowded niche. Then you must choose whatever product you want to use.
2. Choose your ecommerce business model.
You’ve decided what you want to sell; the next step is to figure out where you’ll sell it. In the world of ecommerce, there are four basic business models: business to consumer, business to business, consumer to consumer, and consumer to consumer. Let’s take a closer look at each category:
Business to Business (B2B)
Ecommerce enterprises that sell to other businesses are known as B2B. Occasionally, the end-user is also the business buyer (stationery, office technology, or furniture). The majority of B2B transactions, on the other hand, include wholesale stock, components, or raw materials.
B2B ecommerce ventures, on the whole, have lengthier sales cycles. Because complex sales frequently require committee clearance, high-stakes transactions might take months. You earn high-value orders and recurring purchases in exchange for your patience and diplomacy.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
Simply put, B2C stands for business-to-consumer ecommerce. Your clients are ordinary folks, and you sell goods and services at retail prices. Some B2C businesses sell real goods, while others sell software or smartphone apps. Others, on the other hand, sell various types of recurring subscriptions.
Because the risks aren’t as great in B2C ecommerce, the sales cycle is shorter. The majority of transactions involve a single customer rather than an entire executive board. B2C companies often have lower average order values (AOVs) than B2B companies, but they earn more sales.
Consumer to Business (C2B)
Although C2B is a little obscure, it is a legitimate business concept. Consumers offer goods and services to businesses directly in a consumer-to-business arrangement. On freelancing sites, where firms engage self-employed workers to do various assignments, you may see this business model in action.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) enterprises bring consumers together. When people offer products or services to other people, they are charged subscriber fees, listing fees, or transaction costs. Auction companies, such as eBay, and online classified services, such as Craigslist, are examples.
Business revenue models bring in the bacon, while business models establish the structure of your organisation. Business revenue models, also known as value delivery strategies, impact how you manage your inventories. Other popular choices include:
Direct to Consumer (D2C)
Direct to consumer brands sell directly to consumers, bypassing the middleman. Some of them produce their own goods, while others establish a supply chain and outsource the manufacturing process. By refusing to sell products wholesale, direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses enhance profit margins.
D2C enterprises have a lot of control over the customer experience because they communicate and sell directly to consumers (CX). As a result, they tend to grow rapidly and develop devoted followings.
Dropshipping is an intriguing ecommerce business strategy in which you, as a merchant, sell a selection of products on your site while your dropshipping supplier handles the shipment and order fulfilment. While you won’t have as much control over your branding and customer support, it’s a great method to try out new product ideas while saving money on shipping and inventory storage.
Amazon’s Subscribe and Save feature and Marquis Wine Club’s monthly wine delivery service are two examples of subscription businesses that turn one-time buyers into repeat customers by offering low prices on recurrent orders. Many businesses mix subscription services with additional revenue streams.
Wholesalers provide things in bulk to other businesses at cheaper prices than retail. Their consumers either resell or use those products to make finished goods or provide retail services. Consider segmenting your intended consumer base into large and small businesses if you pick a wholesale business model.
White Label and Private Label
White labelling and private labelling may appear to be the same thing, yet they are two very different business concepts. You attach your logo to generic items from a distributor in a white label business model. You engage a manufacturer to develop a product solely for you in a private label business model. Private labelling is more expensive than white labelling, yet both procedures save time. In either case, you’ll have more time to focus on marketing and new technology rather than design and production.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) allows businesses to hand over responsibility for warehousing and shipping to Amazon. Your bulk items will be delivered to an Amazon fulfilment facility, where they will be kept and mailed on your behalf. There are expenses, but you don’t need a warehouse and you don’t have to post any products – plus, Amazon covers you if anything goes wrong during the shipment procedure.
It’s a terrific way to get started selling on Amazon without having to build a whole website.
3. Validate your product idea and hone in on your target market.
It’s critical to conduct market research at this point to ensure you have a viable product idea. You’ll also need to develop one or more buyer personas, which will aid in the development of laser-focused marketing tactics in the future. Market research isn’t as difficult as you would imagine, and creating buyer personas is a lot of fun. Let’s get started.
Market research appears to be something for which you would need to employ a professional firm. You can if you want, but gathering information in-house isn’t difficult. All you need is a plan and the necessary tools to get started. Here are three of the most effective methods for learning more about your target market:
Conduct Consumer Surveys
Consumer information is gathered through surveys using good old-fashioned questions. Setting up a profile for your new business on social media and offering incentives to individuals who take your survey is one of the easiest methods to grow an email list (10 percent off a future purchase, or entry into a prize draw). Paid social media advertisements can assist you in reaching out to a targeted audience and driving traffic to your page.
Several excellent marketing tools, such as SurveyMonkey and QuestionPro, make creating surveys simple. Sign up, design your first questionnaire, and send it out to your contacts. Make sure you keep track of the email open rate and use the data from your survey to get a sense of your customer base.
Consider what kind of information you require from customers and tailor your inquiries accordingly.
Here are a few demographic topics to get you started:
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Country of residence
- Household income
- Educational status
Don’t forget to gather psychographic data too. Psychographics provide insights into why consumers make decisions. It is the information about a person’s attitudes, beliefs, and values that help you understand how they view the world.
You can include psychographic survey questions about:
- Musical tastes
- Lifestyle choices
- Aspirations and life goals
- Family values
- Retirement goals
Ask pointed questions about your business idea, and ask participants whether they’d make changes to your products or services.
If you can, arrange telephone or Zoom interviews with some of your survey participants. One-on-one interviews can help you answer specific questions in more detail. Don’t leave negative-sounding participants out because they might be able to provide valuable feedback that’ll make your business better.
A few days before your interview, send interviewees a list of four or five questions through email. If you give them time to ponder instead of putting them on the spot, they’ll give you better responses. During each conversation, make sure you take as many notes as possible.
Create Focus Groups
Focus groups might be a shambles, yet they frequently yield useful results. If you have good people skills and want to gather a group of customers from your target market for a brainstorming session, go for it. This can be done in person or using a video chat programme like Zoom or Skype.
To avoid dominance bias, add an objective and courteous moderator in the conversation. Dominant characters tend to imbalance focus groups, resulting in distorted views.
Create Buyer Personas
You’ve used surveys, interviews, and a focus group to obtain data. It’s now time to combine all of that information into a “genuine” person — or individuals. Buyer personas make marketing easier by allowing you to focus on “ideal customers.”
To get started building a buyer persona:
- Give each profile a nickname — “Gary the Banker” or “Lucy the Interior Designer,” for example.
- Attach a photograph to make your persona more relatable.
- Add a set of demographics to each profile.
- Enrich each persona with psychographic tidbits.
Let’s pretend you sell a range of bespoke outdoor goods — camping equipment, innovative American-made tents, and so forth.
Your buyer profiles might look something like this:
- “Gary the Banker” is Gary Brown, a 30-year-old unmarried homeowner. Originally from Denver, Gary now lives in Colorado but wants to retire in Vermont one day. He has a college degree, works as a mortgage consultant at a major bank, and earns in the region of $35,000 a year. In his spare time, he loves skiing and climbing mountains with friends. He’d rather save up for good-quality gear than spend frugally on cheap equipment because he wants his kit to last for years.
- “Lucy the Interior Designer” is a 54-year-old married mother of three teenage children. Her husband is a cosmetic surgeon. She lives in southern California and works with an exclusive set of very wealthy clients, so she brings in about $210,000 per year. Every summer, she and her husband and children go on an extended camping trip, preferably to a foreign country. She wants the newest and best equipment and doesn’t mind spending as much as it takes to achieve her aims.
You can make your buyer persona (or personas) as simple or complex as you want — but keep them relevant and tactical.
4. Create your business structure and register your company.
To get started, you’ll need to choose a business structure and register your company. If you’re a freelancer working under your own name, you can register as a single proprietor; otherwise, your ecommerce business will most likely be registered as a partnership, LLC, or S corporation.
In reality, the top LLC services will provide you with the greatest guidance for your individual needs and can assist you in making decisions that will have a short and long-term impact on your firm. It is critical to understand how personal and corporate finances will effect your firm, and you should ask questions to ensure that you are clear on this while forming your company.
Self-employed people who don’t want to (or aren’t ready to) register as an LLC should use this sort of business structure. In most regions of the country, the procedure is simple. Unless you operate under a pseudonym, you may not be required to register your freelance business in many states. Oregon, Alaska, Montana, Delaware, and New Hampshire are the only states without a statewide sales tax. In most other states, sales and use taxes are paid on a quarterly basis.
Although the setup is easy, there are a few significant disadvantages to being a solo trader. To begin with, if your business fails, your personal assets are not safeguarded under the terms of a sole proprietorship agreement. Second, you’ll have to pay self-employment tax, which rises with your earnings. The manner in which out of both issues? Pick a different business structure.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
When you form an LLC, you reduce your personal responsibility by separating your personal assets from those of your firm. Appoint a registered agent, who will represent the LLC, and file articles of organisation with your home state to get started. You’ll have to pay a charge, but it shouldn’t exceed a few hundred dollars.
You can operate your own company or employ people to execute the work for you as an LLC owner (also known as a member). Before recruiting staff, you’ll need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EID, also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number, or FTIN) from the IRS.
You don’t need to file a separate tax return for your LLC; instead, the profits pass through the firm to you, and you pay self-employment taxes on all of them.
If your business takes off and you start making a lot of money, you can choose to pay taxes as a S corporation instead. At that point, you can set a “reasonable” compensation for yourself and avoid paying taxes on any profits over that amount.
Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
An LLP is just like an LLC in that it may be formed quickly, but there are a few differences between the two business forms. A limited liability company (LLC) can have one or more members, however an LLP must have at least two. LLPs, unlike LLCs, must name at least one partner who will be held legally responsible for the partnership’s acts. If an LLP goes bankrupt, enters into business debt, or is sued, silent partners and investors are not personally accountable.
Small businesses often register as LLCs, while professional partnerships, such as law firms and accounting firms, register as LLPs. LLCs and LLPs are required to file yearly reports in numerous states. For tax purposes, LLPs are similar to LLCs in that they are pass-through entities.
To incorporate your business, you don’t need to pull in millions of dollars per year. Having said that, practically every extremely significant publicly traded company is a corporation. There are two types of corporate structures:
The C Corporation
Unless they petition to the IRS for S company status, all businesses that incorporate are automatically C corporations. C corp owners, like LLC owners, have limited liability, which means they can’t be held liable for business losses. You can take your company public and offer corporate stocks and bonds to investors if you require a lot of money. On the other hand, you’re taxed twice: once on your own wage and again on the profits of the firm.
The S Corporation
To incorporate a S corporation, first form a C corporation, then apply to the IRS for S corporation taxation status. Many S companies, like LLCs, are pass-through entities.
Owners pay themselves salaries and pay income taxes on such earnings, but they are exempt from paying taxes on the remainder of their profits. Because S businesses can only have 100 shareholders, you’ll need to change your S corporation to a C corporation if you want to go public later.
After you incorporate your business, you’ll almost probably spend extra on accounting services. Corporations are required to submit monthly financial statements, and tax season is far more complicated if you choose to establish your company as a corporation, so you’ll almost certainly need to hire an accountant certainly spend more on accounting services every year.
Obtain Appropriate Business Licenses
You’ll almost certainly require a business licence if you plan to operate as an LLC, LLP, corporation, or anything other than a single trader operating under your own name. I
You’ll need a DBA licence and a sales tax licence, for example, if you run a dropshipping business from home under a false name. State-by-state licencing and permitting procedures differ, so be sure you know if you fall into any of the categories in your area.
Branding Your Company
Visual branding is a complex topic worthy of its own 2,000-word article, but we’ll go over it in a nutshell form here. To make your company memorable and create brand awareness, you need to come up with a logo and complementary branding colors that stay the same across all of your sales channels.
You can design a logo yourself, or you can use a freelance designer to get a professional result.
In either case, consider the following when branding your company:
- Relevance: Your logo should be purposeful; it should instantly tell customers what your brand offers.
- Simplicity: Don’t get too clever or complex — customers need to be able to remember your logo.
- Versatility: You need a logo you can use on your site or on a billboard. It has to scale up and down without losing integrity or meaning.
- Uniqueness: Your logo has to be unique enough that consumers associate it with your business.
The best logos in the world are unmistakable, even when you take all peripheral text away; even toddlers recognize McDonald’s Golden Arches — sometimes from half a mile away. High-performance camping equipment retailer Sierra Designs has a simple, memorable logo, and it works with or without the adjacent logotype.
Once you have a logo you’re happy with, use its colors to influence the rest of your visual branding, including your site design, packaging materials, marketing emails, and ads.
5. How to source and manufacture products for your ecommerce store.
It’s time to delve deeper into the product sourcing methods we discussed in the business models section. DIY production, wholesaler or manufacturer, and dropshipping are the three basic methods for obtaining things. To establish a balanced income stream, many internet businesses mix strategies.
DIY Products or Services
People have been making and selling things for thousands of years. Neolithic traders had to travel overland to sell beads, pottery, and sculptures; nowadays, you can sell handmade items globally via the internet.
Startup costs for a DIY tend to be low, but you put in a lot of your own time to make up for it. On the other hand, you have full control over the production process and the UX, and you can tweak designs on the spot if products don’t perform optimally.
As you scale your business, you might decide to form an alliance with a manufacturing company to create products en masse.
If you choose the DIY route, remember to:
- Arrange a reliable supply chain for source materials.
- Determine mailing options in advance; will you hire a shipper or send items yourself?
- Figure out your production timeline.
- Think about where you’ll store your inventory.
Wholesaler or Manufacturer
Consider using a wholesaler or a manufacturer as a product source if you’re ready to make and transport things on a greater scale. Let’s take a closer look at both possibilities:
Wholesalers sell branded items in large quantities. They also offer wholesale white-label products. You attach your branding on generic items and resell it to your customers.
You can save time and money by using a wholesaler if you’d rather focus on marketing and developing your business rather than product creation.
You can work with a manufacturer if you have a product prototype or want to expand your DIY business. Private-label items are produced in mass by production businesses in the United States and elsewhere for their customers.
Some manufacturers help entrepreneurs create new products and manage the development process from start to finish.
If you decide to work with a wholesaler or a manufacturer, consider the following:
- Read company references. If the manufacturer is based in the U.S. or Canada, check its Better Business Bureau rating and any associated reviews.
- Get a production cost estimate.
- Ask about minimum order quantities.
- Obtain a manufacturing time estimate.
- Go over bulk freight options.
- Examine contracts carefully.
- Inquire about guarantees and after-sales support.
Dropshipping may be your greatest product sourcing option if you don’t have a unique product idea and don’t want to work with a manufacturer or store products in quantity.
You become a retail distributor when you engage with a dropshipping supplier. You list the wholesaler’s products on your website, and the vendor makes and ships orders for you.
Although dropshipping has a lower profit margin than white-label or private-label reselling, it is a simple and rapid business approach. Some businesses mix dropshipping and do-it-yourself. An artist who sells and distributes one-of-a-kind paintings from home, for example, might use a dropshipper to offer copies and branded mugs.
6. Create your ecommerce business plan.
Before jumping into the deep end, take some time to consider the future. About half of all new enterprises fail within the first five years, owing to a lack of planning.
Writing a business plan can give you a deeper understanding of your unique offering and help you:
Find the resources you need to run your business.
- Figure out what your competitors are up to.
- Spot opportunities in the marketplace.
- Identify your target market.
- Visualize your company’s future.
Business plans usually have at least seven sections. You can use the following blueprint to create a strategy of your own:
An executive summary condenses your business idea into a few paragraphs. It sits at the front of your business plan and tells readers about:
- What your company does.
- Your business goals.
- The products or services you sell.
- Your target market.
- Your sales channels.
- Your monetization strategy.
You’ll almost certainly write your executive summary last. Doing so will give you the chance to digest every other part of your business plan before providing a recap.
This is the section where you provide visitors a comprehensive introduction of your organisation. This part starts with your company name and progresses to its legal structure (LLC, S-corp, etc.) and domain name.
You’ll then develop a brief mission statement and describe your company’s vision. Write some background information about your business concept and distinctive value offer, and then finish with a list of main rivals.
In the market study area, you get to show off what you know about your target consumer base. Many business owners start with the findings of a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats). After that, they do a competitive analysis.
Competitive assessments assist you in better understanding your competition so that you can achieve a competitive advantage.
They do this by identifying and listing each competitor’s:
- Domain name and amount of website traffic.
- Business model and product features.
- Product pricing strategy.
- Mission statement and vision.
This section concludes with a paragraph detailing how you intend to make your company an industry leader.
You can do this in three main ways:
- Customer segmentation: You’ll offer high-quality products in a trending niche market.
- Cost leadership: Your products are cheaper than those offered by your rivals.
- Differentiation: You offer a unique product or a much better version of a competitor’s product.
Products and Services
This is where you go into detail about your product or service. Tell your readers more about the merchandise you sell or the service you provide; if you sell a lot of different products, write in general terms about your inventory and why your company stands apart from its industry peers.
In this section, you’ll tell readers about your marketing strategies. The segment begins with a breakdown of your marketing budget and continues with a list of the marketing channels you intend to use to promote your business. Marketing channels fall into two main categories:
- Organic Marketing Channels: Search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, content marketing, social media pages, and blogger networks drive organic traffic to your website. Organic marketing channels are inexpensive, build value over time, and help you elevate your brand name.
- Paid Marketing Channels: Paid marketing channels get results quickly, making them an attractive choice for businesses looking to get off the ground. Pay per click (PPC) ads, social media ads, influencer marketing, and affiliate marketing all cost money, but they produce solid leads.
Operations and Logistics Plan
Your operations and logistics plans cover everything you need to physically run your company. Office space, technological needs, personnel, and warehousing needs all fall into this category.
Don’t forget to include details about:
- Your supply chain.
- Your production plan.
- Shipping and fulfillment options.
- Where you’ll store inventory.
This part of your business plan helps investors understand the everyday expenses associated with your own ecommerce business.
You’ll need capital to get your ecommerce business going. If you don’t have start-up costs in hand, you’ll need investors or a bank loan to begin trading. You need to convince potential backers and lenders that you can handle money and that you will make your business profitable.
Most financial plans include:
- An income statement: A breakdown of all sources of revenue and all your expenses over a particular time period.
- A balance sheet: A dual list of all your assets and all of your liabilities, culminating in shareholder equity.
- A cash-flow statement: A real-time income and expenses statement, indicating when money comes in and when it goes out.
With the right business plan in hand, you’ll find it much easier to find investors and convince your bank to approve vital business loans.
7. Build your ecommerce store.
It’s finally time to develop your website after you’ve confirmed your product ideas, registered your company, and written a business strategy. The majority of online retailers and wholesalers prefer sales as a service (SaaS) platforms since they are easy to use and include website-building tools and ecommerce platforms.
Quite a few SaaS providers exist — and some are better than others. Before choosing one, start with a free trial to test out its features.
Remember to look for the following features when deciding on your ecommerce platform:
- Domain name hosting.
- Exccellent speed and uptime.
- A great in-product website builder.
- Free, user-friendly themes.
- Responsive website design.
- An extensive app store full of reliable plugins.
- Full PCI compliance.
- Built-in SEO tools and fully customizable URLs.
- Promotions, discounts, analytics, and other ecommerce marketing features.
- Customer support via phone, email, and live chat.
- An unlimited product catalog.
- Zero transaction fees and low credit card processing fees.
BigCommerce, arguably the greatest SaaS platform available, includes a number of tiers ranging from Standard to Enterprise. High-quality themes, a responsive mobile-ready website, various sales channels, unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and professional analytics are included in all BigCommerce plans.
If you upgrade to the Pro package, you’ll get access to additional features like custom SSL, segmentation tools, and an abandoned cart saver. Another significant benefit is BigCommerce’s exceptional customer service. BigCommerce is a scalable and robust e-commerce platform that is ideal for developing enterprises.
If you’re a WordPress user, they also have a new WordPress plugin called BigCommerce for WordPress, which is a WooCommerce competitor.
BigCommerce gets my top rating for medium to big organisations, and a 15-day free trial is available.
Wix is a popular choice among small businesses since it offers a wide range of professionally created templates, SEO capabilities, an easy-to-use WYSIWYG editor, and a variety of promotion and gift card choices. Setting up a website is simple, and you can have one up and running in under an hour.
Wix has an integrated store-building tool, and you can utilise the built-in product galleries to organise your items or services in a pleasing manner. Wix is a wonderful alternative for enterprises with a restricted product catalogue because of other features like a secure checkout, 24/7 customer service, and different payment channels.
Shopify is a massive ecommerce platform. They’re great for dropshipping stores because the integrations and store setup are quick and simple. Shopify, a well-known ecommerce brand, was founded in 2004 and soon rose to prominence as a leading SaaS provider. Abandoned cart recovery, free website SSL, marketing tools, and competent customer support are just a few of the platform’s features.
There are a few disadvantages to Shopify. For starters, you’re limited to 100 product variants, so if you have a vast catalogue with a lot of different product alternatives (size, material, colour, etc. ), Shopify might not be the best solution for you.
A minor flaw in SEO is also present. You are unable to construct your own custom URL structure and must instead rely on Shopify’s standard.
Overall, they’re a fantastic, user-friendly ecommerce website solution that’s ideal for small businesses and dropshippers.
3dcart is well-known for its SEO capabilities. Zero transaction fees, unlimited bandwidth, and a ready-made Facebook store are among the other benefits. Create adjustable deals, custom discounts, scheduled promotions, coupon codes, and more using 3dcart’s promotion management.
Although 3dcart’s basic subscription is less expensive than many other SaaS systems, you get what you pay for. This supplier is better suited to small businesses than mid-size sellers wishing to scale because it has fewer features, themes, and enterprise functionality.
Volusion is a user-friendly ecommerce oldie. Its founder, Kevin Sproles, started his website-building career in 1999 at the age of just 16. He launched Volusion in 2002 at the age of 19. Stable and functional, this robust all-rounder has a great-value $26 per month basic package, which includes online support, unlimited products, and no transaction fees.
The platform’s updated content builder lets you edit article pages from the store’s front end, so if you see anything out of place, you can change it immediately. If you’re not familiar with SEO or marketing, you can use Volusion’s in-house team to help you craft a high-quality commerce strategy.
Volusion has some strong ecommerce features, but I recommend others on this list before them.
Squarespace can be the ideal ecommerce supplier if you’re a visual person with limited ecommerce needs. It isn’t designed for large businesses, but it does provide a highly user-friendly drag-and-drop website builder.
Customers of Squarespace get access to a large collection of mobile-friendly templates, product management capabilities, and a variety of third-party shipping and fulfilment software.
To set up an ecommerce store, you’ll need to choose one of the more expensive choices among Squarespace’s four service tiers. Squarespace SEO can also be problematic: because URLs are similar, certain sites appear to be duplicate material, which can have a negative influence on your Google rating.
You may read my whole guide to getting started selling on Etsy if you’re selling handmade goods.
Squarespace is a terrific website builder overall, but it isn’t the ideal for e-commerce.
8. Driving traffic to your online store.
It is simple to set up an ecommerce site. The difficulty arises when it comes to attracting traffic to it. We’ll go over both paid and free digital marketing strategies for increasing traffic – and sales – to your website.
Organic Marketing Channels
Organic marketing channels take time to build traction, but they create the strongest long-term return on investment (ROI). A few of the best tactics include:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Relevant keywords included in page text, product descriptions, and other website content boost search engine rankings.
- Content marketing: This includes starting a blog on your site, optimizing blog posts, articles, to drive targeted traffic to your site.
- Social media pages: Active Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages encourage new website visits.
- Link building (off-page SEO): It is very hard to get Google traffic without a lot of high-quality, relevant links to your website. These link building strategies include guest blogging and forming link partnerships with other sites in your niche.
- Email marketing: Email is a huge marketing channel for ecommerce businesses. You should choose an email marketing service that lets you create email popups, send abandoned cart emails, create welcome email series (that include discounts), and send targeted, image-rich marketing emails for holiday promotions.
Paid Marketing Channels
Paid marketing channels produce quick results and make it easier to create a profitable online store, so they’re a popular choice for start-ups as well as large-budget businesses. While they provide quick online marketing wins, they typically have a lower ROI than free tactics (excluding affiliate marketing, which has a strong ROI).
Here are some of the top paid acquisition channels for ecommerce brands:
- Affiliate marketing: Bloggers and influencers with popular websites join your company’s affiliate program and are paid affiliate commissions for any sales they help generate via their affiliate links.
- Influencer marketing: Social media influencers on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other platforms promote your products for a fee. (Here are my guides about how to make money on Instagram and TikTok.)
- Pay per click (PPC) advertising: You set up PPC ads with Google and pay each time someone clicks on your ads. This can also include Google Shopping ads, which sync to your product catalog and make your products available on the Google Shopping platform.
- Social media ads: Paid social media ads on Facebook can target new prospects and retarget previous website visitors. One of the best Facebook Ads strategies is to use their DPA ads. These ads appear to Facebook users who visited your product pages and highlight the exact same products they saw on your website. You can also sell directly on Facebook with product listings.
The most effective marketing strategies use a combination of different channels to capture consumers and generate conversions.
If I were to start an ecommerce business from scratch today, I would first create a strong SEO strategy. This includes conducting keyword research around terms that have high search volume and could bring in your target audience.
For example, if you sell camping supplies, you could write a blog post on “The Top 10 Backpacking Tents” and link to your product pages within the content.
Next, you’d want to develop a strong link building strategy and partner with other blogs in your niche to get backlinks. This will increase your website’s Domain Authority (DA) and make it easier to rank all of your pages on search engines.
Finally, I’d use paid advertising carefully, starting with retargeting ads on Facebook. Then I’d move to PPC ads on Google only if you can generate a strong ROI.
9. Measuring ecommerce success.
Google Analytics and other ecommerce analytics tools can help you figure out how people get to your site and what they do while they’re there. Finally, they give you information on your conversion rates and sales.
You can use the information you get from analytics to improve product descriptions and page content, resulting in more potential buyers.
Google Analytics connections are supported by SaaS ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce. If you’re a BigCommerce customer, simply create a Google Analytics account, then go to the Web Analytics option in your control panel’s Advanced Settings section. To get started, select Google Analytics from the drop-down menu and paste your tracking ID into the Property ID area.
BigCommerce Google Analytics integration allows you to track individual page views and search terms, as well as Enhanced Ecommerce and Site Search.
Google Analytics (site traffic), Facebook Insights, and your email provider all have analytics.
Here are some metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to pay attention to:
- Sessions: The number of times people see your web content.
- Reach: The total number of people who saw one of your ads.
- Email click-throughs: How many recipients open your emails and click on the included links.
- Social media engagement: How many likes, shares, comments, and clicks you get on each post you create.
- Online shopping cart and checkout abandonment: When shopping online, how many people add products to their carts but then leave your site without beginning — or completing — the checkout process.
- Average order value (AOV): The average total value of one order on your site.
Overall, you need to view and take action on these insights to drive more sales.
Setting up a successful ecommerce store needs perseverance and devotion. A excellent product in a booming niche, a strong business plan, the suitable ecommerce platform, and a well-thought-out marketing approach are also required.
This may appear to be a lot of work — and it is — but if you break down your ambitions into doable chores, you will be able to build an ecommerce business to be proud of.
Setting up your ecommerce business can simply be one of the best decisions you can make, given that internet purchasing is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What type of ecommerce business do you intend to start? Are there any difficulties you’re dealing with? Please let me know in the comments section below.