You can never be ahead of the game if you do not keep up with the pace of technology. You have to keep an eye on the recent successful trends and try to implement them yourself.
Today we are talking about giving your brick and mortar store an upgrade by launching an Online shopping website for the same. Jeff Bezos’ story from rags to riches in a short span of time leaves no doubt that E-commerce is the biggest market and is flooded with customers and profits.
Building a website is child’s play nowadays but do not rush into it. You must make sure you are ready for such huge addition to your business. There are many aspects you need to analyse before jumping in the online market. Though the idea sounds luring but without being ready beforehand will prove to be a headache. So, we are going to discuss a bunch of things you have to make sure before launching an E-commerce business.
1. Find your Niche
The first step to building an ecommerce business is to know what products you want to sell. Without having confidence in your product your business can not go far. You should rely on the data and plan your ventures according to it. For eg. you have an offline store of a product that is making average profits. Now, when you build an online website, you can try other products you have confidence over.
From choosing a product, evaluating it, validating the market, sourcing inventory, building your online storefront, marketing and fulfillment, there’s a lot to learn. To give you an idea, below are some steps to find a product to sell:
- Build an Interesting and unique Brand
- Identify and Cater to Consumer needs
- Follow Your Own Passion and put in efforts
- Utilize Your Own Experience and Expertise
2. Register Your Domain and get permits:
As you secure your domain name, you have to register your domain from a domain registrar like Godaddy, Bigrock, etc. You have to enter your details like name, address, email, phone number etc. When it gets registered, you receive an email for confirmation.
For operating an Ecommerce business, it is necessary to have certain business licenses and permits. For getting those licenses or permits, you need to check it with your country, city or state about what sort of sales tax licenses you need and get those approved before you start operating.If you are starting an Ecommerce business in the United States or U.S. Territories, you will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to open a business bank account to file your taxes.
3. Research and Prepare
Now that you have got your product and authentic paperwork to run your business smoothly, it is time to chart out a plan based on the market conditions and rivals present. You’ll need to research your competition thoroughly so you know exactly what you’re up against. You need to ensure that you have an edge over your competitors in any aspects, whether it be quality of the product, customer services etc. These smart moves keep you one step ahead of everyone.
With your competitive research complete, it’s now the perfect time to write your business plan. A business strategy that will be your road map that helps bring your ideas and thoughts together.
4. Start Marketing early
Your product should reach out to the target customers with your marketing efforts. There are a lot of options and many approaches to reach to the customers. You can utilize social media to generate engagement and interaction, boost traffic to your website, and develop a larger base of customers. Another effective way of reaching out to your customer base is through email marketing.
The work done in promoting the product should never be underestimated. So, without any delay start marketing your website and your brand in the early stage and build a reputation in the market with your performance.
5. Make a lasting first impression
You can leave no stone unturned in increasing traffic to your website but if the Homepage of the website is not attractive enough, most of the customers will show no interest in viewing your products. So before you launch the final website you can do some additions and tweaks to your first few pages you can guide those customers through your site.
Your interface should be interesting, customer-oriented and have features to make online shopping simpler. You can focus on the following points to ensure the customers like what they see:
- Include a nicely designed logo
- Links to the most popular products
- Display any specials, promotions or free shipping options
- Make sure the site works on all browsers and devices
6. Sufficient Inventory level
Once you switch to online selling, you are catering your products to million people at once. If your product is worth it and your approach is systematic, your site will be flooded with orders within the blink of an eye. To ensure the demand is fully met you need to have good connections with the suppliers and backup options too.
You must be ready for any scenario, your inventory should have an optimum number of products so as to fulfil the demands of a specific time which is equal to the production time of the product. This will enable you to deliver the order on time and refill the inventory if needed or wait for the stock to clear out and then do the same. Strategic planning is essential for a successful online business.
Having a good inventory management system in place can take your business to next level.
7. Master the delivery process
One of the most vital components of an online store is the timely delivery of the products ordered. Customers love fast delivery and flexible schedule. All this is possible when you have a reputed and trustworthy Delivery partner. Tracking of the product delivery is also an essential feature nowadays.
Other factors of the delivery process consist of packing of the product, cost of delivery per product. You will have to deal with returned orders frequently and you must have a fixed procedure for that as well. You need to have a robust banking and finance system as well to refund the amount ASAP in cancelled cases.All in all, you must build many networks before jumping in the Ecommerce world.
8. Set Up an efficient Customer-service department
Customer service is one the important factors that determine the popularity of any online shopping site among customers. Acknowledging customers’ feedbacks and acting on them accordingly is the characteristic of a good Ecommerce platform.
When you excel in this department of the online shopping, it automatically increases the customer base that you have in the market. You should use e-mail as the simplest form of communication and interact with your customers on the social media as well. It looks good when you take care of queries and issues of your customers.
Time for some action!
A lot of effort goes into preparation for the e-commerce website. You have to be ready in all the aspects, financially, mentally and strategic-wise. Do consider the above-mentioned points before launching an e-commerce site. With the basics done right, your business could be the next best thing in the market. All the best!