Ways to start an ecommerce business from scratch – eCommerce business plan

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Many new eCommerce beginners or small business owners or home-based business owners focus 1st on building websites or apps to sell products online. That is wrong! People think building an eCommerce website means starting or building an eCommerce business.

These days almost anyone with basic internet skills can create an online store website by utilizing the power of website builders. If selling products just by building a website is that easy why not everyone is able to do it successfully?

It is because eCommerce business is not just about online store websites, domain names, and advertising. It is more than that. And because of it, most business owners invest their money in hosting, websites, and payment gateways without creating effective business and marketing plans.  And in a result get failed in generating sales or making their online store successful.

14 things to consider to start an eCommerce business correctly and successfully 

How to start an eCommerce Business Correctly

1. Own a product

The most important thing to consider is “Can you own a product?” or Manufacturer on your own? That is the most important thing to consider.

Let us say you have a talent for creating handmade jewelry. You have been crafting unique pieces and receiving positive feedback from friends and family. Now, you decide to start selling your jewelry online through an e-commerce store.

Since you are creating the products yourself, you do not have to buy any existing stock or rely on external suppliers. This gives you the advantage of full control over the production process, beneficial in terms of cost savings, maximizing profit margins, and maintaining a competitive edge.

2. Selection of the right product and category to sell

Even if you do not currently own a product or could create one, you still have numerous options to start your eCommerce business. The key is to choose the right product to sell. You can find products that have a high demand and are suitable for online sales.

But do not just choose a product based on your interest. But also consider market demand and profit potential. You can also consider market competition. If there are fewer sellers for a particular product in your area, region, or country you can also consider that product. Also, consider demand and supply.

Alternatively, you can consider selling services, digital products, such as e-books, software, or online courses and consulting services which can be created on your own or sourced from third-party providers.

For instance, if you have a passion for hair care and notice a growing trend in natural and organic hair products, you might consider selling a range of natural shampoos, conditioners, and styling products.

3. Competitor analysis

Having a unique product to sell is great for that you must make people aware through marketing and advertising to create a buzz or demand.

But having competition is also not bad instead important and an indication that the product you have chosen is already in demand in the market and there are sellers.

Now identify the direct and indirect competitors. Analyze their products, pricing, marketing strategies, and customer reviews. This information will help you differentiate your offerings and identify areas where you can outperform your competition.

4. Budget for eCommerce Business

Having sufficient funds is essential for starting any business, particularly an eCommerce venture. While the internet provides free access to consumers, conducting business online requires financial investment. Expenses can arise from website development, branding, payment gateway integration, marketing campaigns, advertising efforts, and stock purchases. Even if you intend to handle many tasks yourself, you will still need money to cover various aspects of your business.

It is crucial to understand the minimum amount of capital required to initiate an eCommerce business. Making informed decisions based on your budget is prudent. However, it’s important to strike a balance, ensuring that your budget is not so low that it hampers essential activities like utilizing payment gateways or conducting effective advertising campaigns. These elements are integral to building a successful eCommerce business.

Therefore, it is recommended to assess your financial resources and allocate funds accordingly to ensure that your eCommerce business can meet its necessary expenses while also allowing room for growth and investment in crucial areas.

5. Consider the initial stock to purchase when starting an eCommerce

Consider the initial stock when starting an eCommerce business. You must calculate the amount of stock you can buy and effectively manage within your budget.

It takes time to build sales and generate a high volume of orders when starting an eCommerce venture. Therefore, it is crucial not to purchase excessive stock or allocate a significant portion of your budget solely to stock acquisition during the initial stages.

While you can make educated guesses or conduct research, it’s important to determine how much you can sell in the first month based on the quantity of materials you purchase. Remember, the key lies in selling the stock rather than merely acquiring it.

6. Build unique branding, marketing, and sales strategy

eCommerce business or building a successful online store starts from marketing not after buying a domain and hosting. The 1st thing is marketing.

Having a good product is essential, but simply relying on its quality is not enough to guarantee sales. To effectively sell your product, you need to build various strategies to reach and attract potential customers.

This involves creating a strong brand identity and implementing effective marketing and sales techniques.

For instance, let’s say you have developed a high-quality line of organic skincare products. While the quality of your products is important and already good. But you also need to invest in branding efforts that communicate the quality, value, and benefits of your skincare line to people.

This includes naming your online store website or eCommerce business, designing a compelling logo, crafting a memorable brand story, and ensuring consistent messaging across all marketing channels.

In addition, effective marketing strategies are necessary to make your product known to a wider audience. This may involve running targeted online advertising campaigns, utilizing social media platforms to engage with potential customers, and collaborating with influencers or beauty bloggers to promote your products.

Finally, implementing strong sales strategies is crucial for converting interested individuals into paying customers. This can include offering limited-time promotions or discounts, providing exceptional customer service, and creating an easy and secure online shopping experience.

Once you outline and create these strategies now the next step is to explore technologies, platforms, and options to create an online store website.

7. Selection of the right platform to sell online

There are various ways to sell products online. You can create your own store website to sell your products online or You can use online selling platforms like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify. You can also utilize Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, and your own blog for selling. The options are plentiful. However, it’s important to consider which option is best and most beneficial for you.

You can consider a user-friendly platform with built-in tools for managing inventory and payments, using established platforms like Amazon, Shopify or Etsy might be a good choice.

But if you want full control, and want to build your own brand, and goodwill in the market then then creating your own online store website is the best and most profitable option.

And if you have a strong social media presence or a dedicated following on your blog, Instagram, or Facebook, or YouTube then leveraging these channels for marketing and selling could be advantageous. Still, you need to build at least 1 landing page on your website where people can buy products.

But overall, you must consider features related to user experience, User interface, target audience, target location, costs, and customization options offered by each platform or channel before you commit to one.

8. Website Design and User Experience

If you decided to build your own online store website to sell products online then it’s important to consider website design and user experience. To achieve this goal there are various ways to build a website.

For example, if you selected WordPress Woo Commerce then you can premium eCommerce WooCommerce themes to make it visually appealing.

Mobile-friendly design (responsiveness), fast loading times, and clear navigation make the buying process faster.

Please read these posts for more detailed knowledge

The Critical Role of UX in Website’s Success

Surefire ways to make a good website for business

9. Option to expand the product line

Depends on your inventory but even if you start selling one type of product such as apple fruit then you can also build the website design in a way so that when in the future when you want to sell another category of fruits you can add them in website, categorize and sell that effectively on the same website.

For a single product type, I will consider the single landing page design. See the example in the below image.

10. Selection of the right payment gateway

Choose a secure and reliable payment gateway that provides a smooth checkout experience for your customers. Popular options include PayPal, Stripe, or Square. Ensure that the payment gateway is compatible with your chosen e-commerce platform and offers the necessary security features.

A payment gateway is a functionality provided by a third party (payment services company) that you have to integrate into your website. Payment gateway companies charge 2% to 3% per transaction. 1st these companies will receive the payment when customers buy on your website through debit/credit card, net banking, UPI or any other method such as QR codes. After a week or holding period, these companies transfer this money into your merchant account.

There are various types of payment gateway companies such as Stripe, Paypal, Square, CCavenue, PayuBiz, etc. Some of these have advanced features and many have basic.

You have to consider almost all methods, especially debit/credit card payment, net banking, QR code scanner payment, UPI, and payment link generation services.

Payment link generation or QR code is very useful if you want to sell on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook.

11. eCommerce Legalities and Approvals

You must go through legal requirements and consultancy with CA or an accounting service provider. Business registration, GST, and any other product-specific licensing are important to run an eCommerce business. Each country or state has its own tax rules and regulations.

For example, if you want to expand your business or want to sell your product in Singapore you must consult with Singapore-based accounting firms to help you in getting business registration or licensing.

12. Cost and profit analysis

Conduct a thorough analysis of your costs, including product sourcing, marketing expenses, shipping, packaging, and operational costs. Calculate your profit margins to ensure your pricing strategy allows for profitability while remaining competitive in the market.

You can also do cost/profit analysis during the budgeting process. But the budget is what you want to invest in certain areas and it’s initial work.

But profit and cost analysis is important so that each month or month wise you know that you’re operating a business in profit or loss.

It helps you to understand how many sales orders you need per month to cover the cost, and how many for profit and growth.

For example, if your monthly operational cost is $1000 then you must know that to make $1000 or $2000 how many sales orders you need per month.

This will help to plan and set up a budget for advertising or PPC campaigns, email marketing tools, team building, and other marketing activities.

13. Publish Policies or terms & conditions on the website

You might generate shipping, returns, exchanges, and customer support policies and conditions with AI writing tools. But I will suggest that you must write and think of these in advance. And you must sign or take the help of accountants and lawyers in this matter. For more authenticity, you can place a condition/policy with CA or Lawyer’s signature at the bottom. This will help in managing customer expectations and avoiding disputes.

For example, what is your policy if the customer wants to return the product or if the product is damaged? or Payment failed during shopping. It means what condition customers should be aware of when they find any problem or dispute.

Doing it effectively helps in branding and gaining customer trust.

14. Team building or outsourcing

This is the most important thing to consider when starting an online store website. Even if you’re technically sound you need assistance in running your online store successfully. Whether it’s marketing or SEO or design, sales, and any other type of assistance. But at least you need 2 to 3 people in your team.

The other way of doing it is that you can outsource the complex work to a related expert or freelancer. For example, if you can’t manage the accounts work on your own you can hire a freelance account assistant to get this done. Or you can use account software that will automate the sales and tax calculation. For this, you have to integrate accounting software into your online store website.

What I suggest is that if you’re technical or non-technical then you must hire a project manager before even you buy the domain name for your online store website. Project managers help you to run a business without you.

But if you’re starting small or want less investment upfront then you can use CRM tools or Project management software to run and manage your eCommerce store.

In another way, if you need to build an online store website then you can hire an eCommerce expert or versatile freelancer who can build and manage day-to-day business operations with you.

It all depends on your business strategy and goals. I can suggest many things but what is more important for you as per your business you know that.

The things to consider are 1000 to start an eCommerce business. Once you start your eCommerce business you will start learning. Consideration is also important because it helps you to avoid mistakes and use the knowledge or experience of others to start a successful eCommerce business.

So I hope the above tips are very useful for you in starting your own online store or eCommerce business.

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