Starting your own business can seem exciting, daunting, and overwhelming all at the same time. An e-commerce business, much like any other business, requires time, research, effort, consistency, and most of all, patience.
Since you’ve arrived here, it could very well be that you have checked all your boxes regarding setting up your business. But the question is – have you done enough?
Even if you’ve done your homework on the product or service you want to sell, there are still some things you probably need to know before moving things forward. This article will introduce you to the 10 crucial things you need to consider when starting an e-commerce business. These things are often overlooked.
But before that, let’s start from the basics.
What Is An E-Commerce Business?
Since you’ve decided to run an online startup, you probably already know what an e-commerce business is all about. In simple terms, it is the buying and selling of goods and services, primarily done through the internet.
Money and funds are also transferred digitally, completing the transaction.
E-commerce business can be either business-to-business (B2B), business-to-customer (B2C), customer-to-customer (C2C), or customer-to-business (C2B).
The advance and reach of the internet have made e-commerce businesses relatively easy to set up. Such businesses can easily reach a wide audience online and run more targeted campaigns through eCommerce data collection. Moreover, they can provide a greater variety of options and be affordable at the same time.
As a consequence, e-commerce sites are the preferred destination for many shoppers. But not all e-commerce businesses are successful; only a few truly succeed over the long run.
If you want your business to be among those that remain successful over the long haul, there are certain factors that you must consider. But what are these factors, you might wonder. That is what you’ll learn in the following sections of this article.
Things To Consider Before Starting An E-Commerce Business
There may be a lot of advantages when starting up an online business, but every light has its shadow. No matter what type of business you start, there are always going to be risks involved. But you can better manage risks in the e-commerce section if you bear some important points in mind.
Plenty Of Competitors
Online businesses have boomed over the last decade and their market increased even more during the pandemic. However, competition is fierce now more than ever with trends and people’s tastes changing every so often.
You may advertise and market your product aggressively but if you don’t keep up with changing trends, you’ll fall out of the game. So in order to stay in the game, get to know your target audience, use big data, and ensure your site remains on top of the search engine results.
Speaking of search engines, SEO or search engine optimization plays a huge role in the development of your online business. It is a process through which you can increase traffic to your websites from search engines.
Usually, top-ranked sites are more likely to be visited. But if you’re struggling to capture that spot, don’t worry! Many users prefer clicking on more than one result, so if you’re not at the top, your site may still be clicked if your content is up to date and you rank on the first page.
Once you acknowledge your competitors and you understand that your product has nothing new to offer in this inundated market, you need to figure out a unique selling point that would attract your customers.
For example, if you’re selling a regular moisturizer, you can emphasize the biodegradable packaging that would naturally disintegrate and decompose.
On the other hand, if it’s jewelry, clothes, or shoes, and you want to provide a percentage of your earnings to charity, that would be your unique selling point.
Selecting The Right Platform
Selecting the right e-commerce site development platform is essential in order to boost, attract and retain customers.
When choosing an E-commerce site development platform, make sure it is user-friendly and can easily be set up. In addition, also ensure that it is secure enough for you and your customers to use without worrying about scams.
Once you’ve selected your platform, you can manage your e-commerce websites through them. You’ll then be able to engage with your customers, process your sales and payments, track orders, view order history and respond to their queries.
Effective Marketing Plan
Marketing strategies are vital and an essential part of your business plan. It can help create brand value and brand awareness of your products and services.
As mentioned above, use SEO to drive traffic to your website by improving the quality of your page and keeping it updated regularly.
Another effective marketing strategy is to use social media to your advantage. Social media is one of the best ways for small businesses and up-and-coming businesses to market their brand, products, or services.
Email marketing and telemarketing can also be done if you are determined to attract your customer’s attention. This is where those data collection techniques will come in handy where you can directly advertise to your target market based on the products they search.
Maintaining Interaction Regularly
Engaging with your audience ensures that they can trust your products and service to be of good quality.
In addition, you’ll receive feedback or criticisms regarding your product. Politely handling complaints and responding to their feedback makes the customers feel special. It also gives you a chance to alter your products or services in a way the customers like. This one-on-one bond will help you retain customers and help in building long-term relationships.
Ensure Customers’ Accounts Safety
When you start developing your webpage for your e-commerce business, the first thing you need to ensure is to keep your customers’ accounts and information safe.
When that’s done, the next step is to convince your clients that their information will be safe and secure with you. Mention the safety guidelines on your webpage so they feel more confident in placing their trust in you.
Include Video and Written Contents
When selling your products online, you’ll, of course, have to provide images along with descriptions and the price of the goods.
Video content, on the other hand, is a great way of promoting your product and, if accompanied by creative well-chosen words, you’ll have a number of potential customers clicking on your site in no time.
If you’re selling outfits and dresses, you can hire models to pose for the video. If it’s gadgets, electronics, toys, etc., you can have video tutorials explaining how to operate them.
If it’s something like jewelry, you can provide makeup tutorials or go live on social media to show your customers the quality of the product by using them on yourself or someone you hire.
Another latest ongoing trend is the “unboxing” experience. You can ask your customers to show that on their video and feature it on your page or site for all other potential customers to see.
Networking Is Vital
Even if you are a budding e-commerce entrepreneur, you need to go out there, attend exhibitions, gatherings and parties and get to know your competitors. These opportunities give you a chance to place your product in the trading game and you also get to learn a lot of tips and tricks from other experienced e-commerce entrepreneurs.
As the famous adage goes, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.”
Have Patience (Lots of it!)
There’s no doubt about this. Any business, whether online or physical, takes time to build and develop. Once you decide to enter the business world, you need to change according to the trends to stay in the game.
One form of strategy may work once, or twice but may become redundant sooner or later. Thus, you need to follow what your audience is looking for and change accordingly. In other words, always keep a look out and don’t be afraid of change.
Take the pandemic, for example, many businesspeople went bankrupt because they were unable to get customers into their stores. Some businesses caught on and started to take orders by opening an online store and using social media to promote their business. Those stores are still running while many others have died down.
So, don’t worry and accept change, because sometimes it can be a good thing.
Learn From Mistakes
It’s quite natural to make mistakes when you are a newbie in the business world. But it’s something else entirely if you keep continuing.
Poor planning, incomplete instructions on products and on the website, responding harshly to customers, mistakes in taking orders, and delivering wrong orders are among the few that can happen when you are new.
But learning to accept your mistakes, apologizing, and making sure they don’t happen again can go a long way in building trust with your customers.
Such an attitude also adds to your repository of valuable experience and helps you constantly grow and evolve.
In a Nutshell
E-commerce businesses have boomed all over the world. Now, when you do decide to step in, you’ll have to face a lot of competitors. But some crucial things can help you succeed in the e-commerce sector if you seriously keep them in mind.
Other than that, just maintain interaction with your customers on a regular basis, and remember to have patience! The rest will take care of itself