In the US, over $513 billion was made through online sales during 2018 and the overall online sales saw a growth of 15%. E-commerce companies like Amazon, Alibaba, Walmart and other top-rated companies benefited the most in that number.
Although this is true, there are various success stories of how small businesses made it in this industry despite its congestion with big companies. E-commerce industry has grown with over 16% from 2018 and the biggest online companies have a stronger market position with the little companies trailing.
The growth we have seen in this industry up until now shows that you can expect more future growth on this successful business model.
It is reported that the sales of e-commerce sites will increase to $4.9 trillion by 2021 from $1.3 trillion in 2014. We believe you’re convinced to start your own online business after seeing these E-commerce statistics. If you want to have a part in this progressive industry but don’t have an idea of how you can do it, follow this step by step process:
Regulations and compliance
Crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s is imperative for the success of your business. You should strive to understand all the regulations and policies that govern companies in your state.
Do bear in mind that having an online business does not exempt you from following the rules of a general business. Once you have registered your company and registered for taxes, you can now launch your own e-commerce brand.
Choose your revenue model
This is the heart of the success of your business because it is how your brand will make its revenue that will pay for all the costs and make a profit for you. Just as one of the representatives from Forex Broker informs, “You need to know whether you will make your revenues by selling a service or a product or simply being an affiliate with tie-ups to Amazon or others”.
Other revenue models that are out there are advertising sales, commission and license fees. You have to choose which way you will make your revenue and then recognize the demand you will use to your advantage.
Recognize a demand you will penetrate
There is an online business for almost any business idea you may have and most of the companies that execute them are big companies that are well known and trusted.
Studying your competitors to see where they excel or what are their weak points, will help you a lot. You do not even have to tackle the largest problems because it is the little things that attract customers. You can do this by going online and seeing their reviews and try to address their complaints as you form your online brand, so they never become a problem.
Some of the e-Commerce shops that are in great demand online are fashion – cosmetics, accessories and apparels, power tools, travel accessories, camping and survival gear shops, computer hardware and accessories for phone etc.
Define your niche
Defining your niche means being specific about your products and not selling a wide range of products on one online shop. You can achieve this by looking at all the categories on other big online shops like Amazon and center your brand around one category and that will be your niche.
This will help you gain the attention of online shoppers that are specific about their shopping needs. It will offer them a more convenient method of shopping and will help them to find what they need as fast as they possibly can. This is opposed to what you see on big online shops that sell a wide variety of product categories.
Your branding process is one of the most crucial processes because it is what your customers see every time they search for you.
Your branding can make or break your brand. If it is inadequately branded, you may not reach the customers you want to reach. This will result in lower sales margins and lower profit margins, which is the enemy of your online brand progress.
Choosing the perfect brand name will require you to be original and consider the products or services you will be selling. For example, naming your brand with the name “Winch’s Green Solutions” when you are not even in the green energy sector is a big no.
Your brand name should be relative to the industry you will be dealing in. You should also try to avoid at all costs involving your name in your online brand’s name.
Remember that this is not a corner store at one neighborhood but will be seen by hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. A great example of how you should name your online brand is AliExpress.
This is because it is a subsidiary of Alibaba that is solely focused on selling items individually and swiftly. The name is also universal and clears the intentions of the brand.
Building your online presence
Once you have chosen the color scheme, made your logo and picked out the brand name you now have to start building your online presence. You need to ensure that you follow through these two points when building your online presence:
- Create a user-friendly website
- Create social media handles and pages
Using colors that are relative to your industry, you should design your logo using branding tools like Canva or 99Designs. Your logo should also be industry specific and tell the whole story about your brand with no questions asked. Most importantly your logo
Using the color scheme you have chosen, you should design the website of your online brand. You can use online website designing tools that support designing online shops because an online shop should be part of your website. You can also use stock photos on your website but not as part of your products.
All of the promotional pictures of your products should be original. Once you have completed the design of your online shop, you should secure a domain name. Use your name as a domain and preferably use a “.com” domain.
If you use a quality e-commerce website builder like Shopify for your designing, you will also get an intuitive dashboard
and access to other useful tools.
Your online brand should also be present on all major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp, Pinterest, YouTube etc
Creating the same handle on all platforms will make it easier for your customers to follow you and find you on all social media platforms. If there is a platform you don’t understand fully, you should invest your time in finding out how you can use it to further the interests of your business.
As you start out, you won’t initially have a big customer base. However, creating a great marketing strategy that involves using SEO on your website and advertising campaigns will be beneficial. Using keywords with top search volume and long tail keywords, will do your business tons of good.
Running an advertising campaign using Google ads, Facebook or Instagram will help your brand gain some exposure to potential customers. You can always find the right advertising package for the right price at one of the above-mentioned platforms.
On your social media platforms, you should also constantly post content about your products or service. Always post high-quality and original content that’s engaging and compels people to like, share and tweet.
Payment methods and logistics
Once you have found some customers, they will expect a smooth-running payment method and fast delivery time. If possible, use an EFT, credit card and a PayPal payment method. If you look at how easy it is to pay on Amazon, you will see the importance of getting merchant accounts on PayPal and other major providers.
You should also link them to your online shop for an easy payment method. Your potential customers will expect to be done with their payment within a few clicks so you should work on integrating a payment method on your online shop.
Courier companies are well known for their slow service, so finding the perfect one will not be easy. Once you have found the fastest courier companies, you should compare their prices so you don’t dent your pocket.
Online brands are the future of general shopping as they are always improving and taking things up a notch. You need to be patient in this industry because you will not get clients overnight; it takes time to build up customers trust. The results are rewarding, though. And as time goes on, all the hard work will be a distant past. If you want to be an e-commerce entrepreneur, you should adapt to change and be technologically savvy.Author