As online eCommerce training sellers become a hype, online enthusiasts are going into online selling, thinking that it is an “El Dorado”– a method to make a quick buck.
However, most people forget that eCommerce is a reputable profession that requires a certain knowledge and skill for it to thrive. Managing a store needs knowledge on areas like web marketing, logistics, accounting, web design, user experience, and most importantly, SEO. Without at least basic knowledge on these areas, you will never be able to thrive and compete with hundreds to thousands of eCommerce websites already existing.
This might sound intimidating for beginners, but know that when starting up an eCommerce business, it is good that you are prepared physically, mentally, and financially in order to push through. Starting up a business only to turn your back halfway your journey, doubting your decisions, and realizing that eCommerce is not for you, will only waste more effort, time, and money.
So before deciding whether an eCommerce business is for you, here are the things that you need to consider first:
1. You will need to invest time, energy and money
The first and biggest step is to invest financially. Having an eCommerce business means you need to build your brand, then your website. There are a lot of e-merchants and marketers who may want to save money on these and in doing so, fail to invest wisely. Startup branding and website will cost you $100-$3000 depending on your needs. You can learn more about the breakdown of startup branding cost by reading this article by TechCrunch.
You also need to prepare your products through product photography and by placing them to a white background when necessary. For such, you may need to hire photographers and editors to do this for you.
These all might seem costly and require a lot of effort. However, you can definitely save more if you have knowledge about design, photography, and editing. Looking for the right people and using tools will also help you achieve all of these without having to spend a lot.
These are the recommended sites and software that can help you start your eCommerce shop smoothly:
- Branding and Website Development: look for designers and developers from Behance or Dribbble
- ECommerce Platforms: you can also subscribe on eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce and invest on themes instead of developing an eCommerce website from scratch.
- Photographers. You can either find someone from freelancing sites, or find professional photographers near you using Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media platforms where photographers usually exhibit their work.
- Photo Editing. You can get your product photos edited by outsourcing professionals from Ephotovn or using remove bg AI tool like Removal.AI to automatically remove the background from your product photos and replace them with a white background.
2. You need to learn the laws of eCommerce
When a visitor arrives at your site, they do not know you. They’ll usually look into your Terms & Conditions, Shipping Terms, About Page and other legal notices to find out more about you and how you do things in your business. You need to have these pages ready so that your customers will know your and their obligations when completing a purchase.
You must also allow your visitors to manage if they want to share their web cookies with you as a directive to protect their privacy. It’s important to learn all the laws surrounding the matter to stay out of trouble and be an upstanding example to others.
3. You will need to devise a long-term strategy
With the advent of dropshipping and Facebook traffic, new e-merchants with no long-term plan are at a disadvantage. Most individuals grow their Facebook traffic, discover a winning product, “scale” or raise their advertising to improve sales, and then sell the business a few months later.
The fundamental issue with this method, which we will call the “hit strategy,” is that if there is even the tiniest difficulty with Facebook advertisements, the turnover may plummet to zero overnight. This is an ineffective technique. You have a plethora of marketing options at your disposal; use them!
If you really are interested in running a website, as we have seen, it will cost time and money, and you will need a strategy. Know where you’re going and what you’ll need to get there. You would then have a clearer picture of your site and will be able to build it more easily.
4. You need to define your target customers
Decide the product or service, and find the target audience around you. Know their behavior as to how they buy. Do they use mobile devices or are they still common to browse personal computers? Know your cultural and geographic preferences, as well as their differences to better serve your needs.
Knowing your public can help you design an effective strategy for your ecommerce business, otherwise you can offer products together with discounts without any profit results.
5. You will need to create a checklist and a marketing plan
In order to structure your project well and don’t forget anything, it is recommended that you make a plan and checklist. You need to list all the actions you need to take to launch your online sales website and even afterwards. Therefore, you need to develop a checklist and marketing plan for at least one year.
It is important to note that the marketing plan will not be static, but will depend on the problems that arise along the way. Act as your marketing compass. The preparation phase is as important as following the plan.
6. You will need to Outshine Competition
If you are selling an item that everyone else is selling, you will have a little chance of someone coming to buy from you. Choose a product with less competitors, or not already selling at any marketplace. You have to study the market to ensure you have customers before you start creating a website.
To produce their output, a lot of eCommerce sites build their own brands. Having unique products has a better impact and value to buyers. This way, you can achieve 30% of your turnover on your brand.
On the other hand, having a plan and strategy of developing awareness for your brand is essential, otherwise, like your site, no one will purchase it because no one will know it.
You can also offer a personalization service. By adding personalization to a product, you make it unique to the buyer and you can also sell it for more. Offer a better commercial service than your competitors
7. You will need to learn SEO and work on your site’s SEO before launching
If you have a website, learning SEO is a must. Search Engine Optimization will help your website rank on search engines and eventually acquire traffic and conversions.
Conducting SEO does not only offer advantages for your website but for your business as well. By learning how to search for the right keywords and exploring more websites through link building, you can possibly stumble upon more ideas and strategies on how to improve your products and business.
8. You will need to train yourself
As mentioned, managing an eCommerce business requires knowledge in many areas. You must therefore train and engage yourself in learning these things so you can hopefully save time, money, effort in managing your website.
With the Internet, information is everywhere for anyone who knows how to look. How things function change so often, that it’s important to be updated all the time. Take online courses if you need to, follow blogs and influencers of every skill, go to events, join Facebook groups. You have to be willing to learn and be curious.
9. You should always prepare for the worst and do not be discouraged
You absolutely must not be discouraged! The life of a business is not a long quiet river. A business is an emotional roller coaster, and even more in e-commerce. One day you’re going to make the best sales you’ve ever made and the next day you’re going to make nothing. That’s just the reality of the situation.
You should not be discouraged at the slightest drop in turnover because you will experience it. Some days you will see your traffic increase but not your sales and sometimes it will be the other way around. The goal is to alter the false presumptions of the beginner e-merchant, and broaden your mind on all of the elements to be mastered before starting out.
10. Analysis and constant improvement
Starting your online store is just the first step; now you must be constantly implementing improvements to maximize customer satisfaction and increase the profitability of your business. Tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console will allow you to obtain valuable data about your users: geographical location, browser and device they use, behaviors, through which search they found you, duration within the site, bounce rate, etc. Based on this information, you can make key decisions to optimize your strategies.
Also, you may start your business in a very basic way, which is perfectly valid to reduce the time and cost of the process, but that does not mean that you should always stay that way. Little by little it improves and integrates more powerful tools; your customers and your business will thank you and reward you.
Managing an eCommerce business is never easy, but it does not mean that it’s impossible. Although you need to overcome many obstacles along the way, every challenge will all be worth it.
By focusing and training yourself to become a full-fledged entrepreneur, you will find yourself learning more than what you asked and find that the internet is full of possibilities and opportunities.
Use this knowledge wisely, and you can enter the fray confidently and emerge victorious.