A few years ago, the high cost of renting, setting up, and maintaining a physical store and warehouse could have discouraged people from starting their businesses. But increased activities in eCommerce have changed much of this and truly opened small businesses to the global market. This is especially true now that we live in a “global village” made possible by the internet.
The future of e-commerce is incredibly promising. However, starting an e-commerce business might appear tasking. In this article, we will share easy tips to start an eCommerce business from scratch.
What is eCommerce?
The word eCommerce is formed from two words – “electronic” and “commerce.”
According to Investopedia, eCommerce refers to a business model that allows individuals and companies to buy and sell over the internet. This could happen over smartphones, tablets, and computers.
The latest estimates from Oberlo suggest that more than two billion people (and increasing) engage in internet commerce as of February 2021.
This reveals an enormous potential for small businesses and retail services to grow and scale their business online.
Types of eCommerce
There are different types of eCommerce. However, we will look at the four most common types of eCommerce:
Business to Business (B2B)
Often abbreviated as B2B, it’s online transactions that happen between businesses. Partnerships between large companies usually characterize it. For instance, Nike’s online store may partner with PayPal to integrate the latter’s payment infrastructure into its website for a small fee.
Business to Consumer (B2C)
This is the everyday interaction of businesses with consumers. So, for example, whenever you pay for a service online or visit a website to order a book or apparel, you’re engaging in B2C with you as the consumer and where you get the services/goods, the business.
Consumer to Business (C2B)
The C2B ecommerce model involves business transactions between the consumer and businesses. In this interaction, the user offers services and goods to the business and not the other way round.
Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
Some businesses occur between consumers without any business entity playing a significant role in the process. For example, this kind of business model is adopted in auctioning (for example, eBay) and crowdfunding businesses.
From this classification, you will realize that the types of eCommerce we have are determined by the interactions of those involved in the act of buying and selling.
Consumers, businesses, and administrations perform different roles that provide the dynamics we see in eCommerce businesses today.
Why you should start an eCommerce Business
If anything should compel you to start an online business, it’s the fact that there are millions of potential customers looking for where to buy things you have to sell. Besides this, eCommerce businesses are easy to set up, and often they require nothing more than a pre-configured website to display your merchandise.
Some platforms, such as OpenCart, even help retailers monitor delivery systems, inventory tracking, accounting, and all aspects of business that may seem difficult for those new to eCommerce business.
Another reason you should consider opening an e-commerce business is to secure the future of your business. Some people run successful brick-and-mortar stores and may not consider eCommerce important. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is a tragic experiment that reveals how powerful eCommerce can be.
How to Start an eCommerce Business
Starting an eCommerce business doesn’t have to be difficult if you have a clear plan and the proper guidance. Here are a few easy tips to help you start your e-commerce business:
Choose a market niche
Before you get started, have a market niche in mind. What eCommerce business idea would your like to work with? What kind of products do you want to sell? Is it apparel, jewelry, footwear, or gadgets?
Keep in mind that you need to have a solid understanding of trends, pricing, and consumer behavior. Conduct thorough research on various niches paying attention to their sales growth, pricing, market opportunities, and so on.
Once you’ve settled on what to sell, the next important thing to figure out is where to sell it.
Choose a marketplace
There are hundreds of platforms and marketplaces online where people can efficiently market their business and attract customers. Some of them may require you to pay a percentage of your profit to them. Most of them charge you for storage fees and other expenses you will need to consider.
We will consider three of these platforms:
This is an open-source platform for creating an online presence for your business. It has a robust set of features that can take your business to the next level.
OpenCart offers a free functional website for you to sell your products. An eCommerce website design may usually cost a lot of money, But with OpenCart, you can cut costs and reduce setup time drastically.
The website offers as many as 36 payment methods in most of the top currencies globally, sales analytics, and an impressive shipping system that partners with FedEx, Royal Mail, UPS, and a lot of others.
Shopify is one of the most popular websites that help retailers set up their eCommerce business. As of April 2021, there are over 1.56million eCommerce websites built with Shopify in 175 countries.
Unlike OpenCart, Shopify is not free, but it offers a free trial for those interested in testing its features. It helps you to, among other things, generate a business name, get free pictures to make your eCommerce website design beautiful, and buy the perfect domain name for your online store.
Much like WordPress made blogging accessible to everyone free of charge, WooCommerce is doing the same thing. It already powers 3.9 million websites with its ready-made web pages for online stores and businesses.
Brand your eCommerce business
So you’ve ticked the first two items on the steps to start your e-commerce business. You’ve got a great eCommerce business idea and a platform to build it in.
Next, you want to consider branding your business as well. Branding is not something that should be done only by bigshot companies. To truly stand out online and connect with your consumers emotionally, it is very important to invest in your business’s brand. After all, like an e-commerce business owner, your brand is the first product potential consumers will interact with. So why not make it a great experience for them?
Consider these branding tips:
- First, choose your business name and create a logo that best represents your business and connects with your customers.
- Choose a brand color or template and maintain consistent use of color on your website and social media pages.
- Finally, adhere to accessibility guidelines on how websites should appear on your chosen ecommerce platform.
Speak with an expert
Guidance from business coaches is essential when starting an e-commerce business. You need to surround yourself with experts in eCommerce that can help guide you through the process.
At Khorrami Consulting, you can get quality practical tips to grow your online business. In addition, you can get educated and access business opportunities that allow you to thrive in the eCommerce industry.