How to get your eCommerce business off the ground – Alexa Wang
Back in the day, if you wanted to sell anything you’d either have to do it from home or rent shop space and hope your target audience either walked by or saw an advert for your produce in a local shop window or paper – after all, marketing was much more restricted before the internet became mainstream.
Nowadays, however, you can simply go online and use an eCommerce website builder to get your business off the ground. It’s quick, easy and usually cheap, but if you’re new to e-commerce activities, here’s a quick guide to get your eCommerce business off the ground.
What is e-commerce?
Firstly, it’s important to understand that e-commerce (otherwise known as electronic commerce) is a hassle-free way for people to sell or buy products or services over the internet via a website. Essentially an e-commerce store is an online shop where everything from shoes and jewellery to alcohol and food (both supermarket and takeaway favourites) can be bought with just a few clicks of a button. Well-known companies that fall under the e-commerce category include Amazon, e-Bay and ASOS, but even companies which have a physical offline presence tend to have an online arm including Ikea, Waitrose and Debenhams.
Who can open an e-commerce shop?
The great thing about e-commerce is that it opens up new and exciting opportunities for almost everyone. E-commerce is a highly profitable business model with low overheads, as the digital nature of it all means you don’t have to worry about renting shop space or finding money for staff and bills. If you sell digital product you won’t even have to find storage space making the prospect of an e-commerce venture highly appealing.
What do I need to get started?
If you like the idea of setting up an online shop there are several things you’ll need to get started:
A product to sell:
First and foremost, you’ll need something to sell via your website. You can use both online and offline suppliers but bear in mind that if you’re selling physical products over digital ones you may need somewhere to store them, so keeping a close eye on inventory and order numbers is a must.
A place to sell:
If you don’t feel confident creating a website from scratch, ask a professional to do it for you making sure it includes an easy-to-use content management system and a shopping cart which will allow people to buy your goods. You’ll also need a reputable web host which will store your site on one of their servers allowing it to be seen by internet users and a professional domain name – otherwise known as your web address.
When you run an e-commerce store you’ll also need a payment gateway as money won’t be transferred directly into your account. The two most popular payment processors for WordPress users are PayPal and Stripe. You’ll also need adequate security in place before you can take card payments, so make sure you’re fully compliant to save problems down the line.
Once your website is up and running you can then start to market your business. Social media is a great way to get the word out, but if you want your site to appear in search engine results pages you can firstly look into handy SEO strategies for organic growth, or you could go down the paid route where you bid for keywords. Using this sentence – Marketing is one of the best idea’s when tying to get your e-commerce business off the ground, purely based on the results. When looking for a marketing comapny make sure that they are very well respected, Bird marketing are great at what they do take a look i’m sure you won’t be dissapointed. Check out some SEO manchester services to get your business off the ground, SEO can really help project your business.
Unlike a physical store where customers pluck their goods off the shelves, e-commerce requires an excellent shipping strategy. Your customers expect their purchases to reach them in tip-top condition, so whether you opt for your suppliers to deliver them directly to customers, or you make the most of shipping start-ups such as Cloud Fulfilment, you should certainly have a plan in place.
E-commerce is simple when you get to grips with it, but it’s important to know the business model inside out and be dedicated to selling your items.