Ecommerce business is a fast-growing modern industry that allows merchants to earn money regardless of the location or the investment level. If you are interested in starting your ecommerce business, you should be ready for serious preparation, research, and analysis. It can be a little simpler if you already have some marketing or business skills or experience in selling. If you are a beginner, we made a detailed guide with important questions and useful publications that will help you to orient in an ecommerce business.
#1. In search of an online-store idea
Choosing the product for selling
The first thing you need to do is to define what you want to sell. It can be the most difficult part of the preparation stage, as the properly chosen product can bring you success while a bad choice can result in high competition or lack of demand. You can check these posts with trending ideas to get some inspiration for your searching:
- 12 Hot Trending Products to Sell Online in 2020
- 10 Business Ideas Which You’ll Want to Try
- How to Start a T-Shirt Business Online: 5 Things That You Need to Do First
Validating your idea
When you find the perfect product, you should get some proof that it will sell well. You should validate your idea before starting your business. Find your target market and figure out what they think about your product and what they expect from it. We collected for you several helpful posts about business validation:
Defining the way to obtain or store products
So, when you have checked that your product is in demand, you should think about how to obtain, store, and ship it. You can choose the way of dropshipping, print-on-demand, cooperation with a wholesaler or a manufacturer, each with their pros and cons. If you want to sell your handmade products, you can skip this paragraph. Otherwise, you should learn the information below:
- Dropshipping for Beginners: Starting a Dropshipping Business with Shopify in 2019 \
- In Search of Wholesale Supplies: Tips for Beginners
#2. Time for research and analytics
Considering your competitors
When you have solved all previous questions, you should check what the marketplace offers in your niche and how your competitors work. This information will help you to find your place and figure out something special for your customers: it can be friendly pricing, fast shipping, high quality, the unique design of the product, etc. We can recommend several books that will help you at this stage:
- Easy Competitor analysis by Jacqui Carrel
- Business and Competitive Analysis: Effective Application of New and Classic Methods by Craig S. Fleisher, Babette E. Bensoussan
Writing a business plan
A business plan is a document that transforms you from a dreamer into a businessman. It includes all your ideas, growth strategies, real figures, dates, and financial part of your ecommerce project. If you are a beginner in this deal you should train in writing a business plan and check these useful posts:
#3. Create your business
Searching for the proper name of your store
Seeking the right name for your store is no less important than looking for actual products for sale. You should not only find a name for your store but also create your recognizable brand. Don’t forget about the domain, check that the needed one is available. Think about your mission, product’s features, your audience, and read these books for inspiration:
- A Secret History of Brands: The Dark and Twisted Beginnings of the Brand Names We Know and Love by Matt MacNabb
- Naming Your Business and Its Products and Services: How to Create Effective Trade Names, Trademarks, and Service Marks to Attract Customers, Protect by Phil Williams
- Brand New Name: A Proven, Step-by-Step Process to Create an Unforgettable Brand Name by Jeremy Miller
Creating a logo
After you have made up your mind with the clear name of your brand and registered your domain, you should create your logo. It can be something simple and connected with your products. You can describe your vision to the designer or completely rely on the expert. We collected several interesting books that can help you better to navigate this topic; you see that business is not only about money but first about the idea:
- Logo Design. Global Brands by Julius Wiedemann
- The Logo Design Idea Book by Steven Heller, Gail Anderson
- How to Use Graphic Design to Sell Things, Explain Things, Make Things Look Better, Make People Laugh, Make People Cry, and (Every Once in a While) Change the World by Michael Bierut
Meeting with search engine optimization (SEO)
If you have some knowledge about SEO, you can set everything properly from the beginning and get far more visitors than without it. Think about how your website should look like, how you can optimize it for search engines. At this moment, you can need these books and publications:
- The Definitive Guide to Selling on Amazon by Tracey Wallace, John Rossman, Andy Geldman, James Thomson
- SEO Fitness Workbook: The Seven Steps to Search Engine Optimization Success on Google by Jason McDonald Ph.D.
- SEO Made Simple (Third Edition): Strategies for Dominating the World’s Largest Search Engine by Michael H. Fleischner
- How Website Speed Optimization Can Help You Win
Choosing the platform for your online store
At first, you can find a platform where you will build your store. It should provide convenient customization tools, friendly interface, flexible pricing, smart apps to improve your sales and attract the audience. Also, don’t forget that you are a beginner in the ecommerce business without programming skills and a team of developers, admins, and marketers, so you need the ability to turn to a specialist from customer service with your questions. According to all these requirements we recommend you Shopify, one of the best worldwide known ecommerce platform. You can check these posts where we compared Shopify with other platforms and make sure that it is a proper choice:
- Top 5 Best Ecommerce Platforms In 2019
- Shopify vs. Magento Battle: What Is the Best Choice Platform?
- Shopify vs. Volusion: Choosing Between the Leading Online Store Builders
- Who Wins the Shopify vs Squarespace Battle in 2019?
- BigCommerce vs Shopify: What is the Best Option for Your Business?
- Shopify or WooCommerce: Quick Comparison of Two Ecommerce Titans
- Big Cartel vs. Shopify: What is the Best Option to Empower Your Business
Creating your online store
You can create your Shopify store without special knowledge and in a short time, but we also prepared for you a detailed guide to making this process more clear:
- Creating a Shopify Store in 6 Steps
- Changing Your Shopify Store Domain Name [Quick guide]
- Find and Submit Your Shopify Store Sitemap to Google in 4 Steps
- 8 Tips on How to Write Best Product Descriptions That Sell
- How to Cancel or Pause Shopify Account in a Few Clicks
Don’t forget that your online store should highlight things that make it different from your competitors, be user-friendly with good quality of product images and product descriptions. Also, any time, you can turn to the experienced Shopify developers for help and advice.
Adding sales channels
You shouldn’t stop at your website as a single sales channel. Find out where else your audience buys, what place is convenient, or usual for them and add these channels, it can be social networks, blogs, or giants of ecommerce, such as eBay or Amazon. Shopify offers you a simple and free way to add these channels to your store. Read these posts to know more details on how to do it:
- Shopify Facebook Integration: How to Sell More with Social Networks?
- Shopify Amazon Integration Step by Step
- How to Set Up Shopify eBay Integration in 3 Steps
- Why and How to Start Your Shopify Blog?
#4. Final preparation before the launch
Think about shipping
The shipping of the product is a crucial moment, one of the key factors that have an impact on the customer’s interest and loyalty. If it is too expensive or you don’t give your customers the ability of choice, they will pass by. Also, if the product arrives in an untidy package or the delivery time is too long, customers won’t make a second purchase. Shopify allows you to use its free shipping.
Customize your payment gateway and payment processor
The first rule of online shopping is its convenience and security. Customers don’t want to figure out how to pay for the product and spend a lot of time on this process. At this time they need to know that their payments will be secure and they can expect a refund. Another trick is to use well-known providers who are trusted among a lot of people in their usual life. Shopify offers you an inbuilt clear payment system by default and the ability to integrate your store with other payment solutions. Don’t forget that customers like when they have a choice, so offer them several ways for payment. You can find some options here:
#5. What to do after the launch of your ecommerce business?
Time for marketing.
When all technical moments are behind, your online store starts its work, and you should focus on customer attraction and retention. It’s time to work on your marketing strategy, track and analyze customers’ behavior, and gather feedback. Shopify will help you at this stage too: it offers a lot of useful applications which can be used for all your goals. We made a review of the most interesting Shopify apps and prepared several tips for sending emails, creating a loyalty program, and improving your store using apps:
- How Loyalty Programs Drive Customer Retention
- How to Configure Shopify Email Forwarding [Illustrated Guide]
- Google Analytics Tracking on Shopify Thank You Page: How to Add this Option?
- 7 Must-have BFCM Apps for Shopify Stores [Essential Toolbox]
- Best Shopify Apps of 2019 to Boost Sales and Retain Customers
We hope our guide will help you to start your ecommerce business and make it effective and thriving. Feel free to leave your questions in the comments below.