The writing on the wall is already clear. Ecommerce is going to take over the traditional businesses anytime soon. Yes, most businesses are now feeling the urge and compulsion to have their own branded online store. People now prefer shopping online more than ever before because of wider range of choices, easy shopping experience and highly competitive pricing. The value proposition is so big and lucrative that traditional retail literally looks dwarfs facing the Goliath of online stores.
According to the report published by Forrester Research couple of years ago, the ecommerce sales until 2020 is expected to increase at a whopping rate of 9.32% per year. As far as the current figures indicate, this prediction is more than over-fulfilled.
So, now that you are convinced of all the lucrativeness of ecommerce business, you might be feeling a little confused about all this. Can you really build an online store and guide it to a success? Yes, you can. Let us explain how to do it bit by bit.
Start with Brainstorming the Ideas
An ecommerce business primarily needs to sale something. So, you need to decide what you are going to sale. You need to have a clear idea about the product and conviction about its demand. If you are starting without any convincing idea, let’s brainstorm and find something that suits your ambition.
Start with your areas of interest. Obviously, a person who never thought of selling fruits, should not consider it as an option. List your areas of interest first. Do you like stylish furniture and have you given their style and utility a lot of thought? If yes, it should be in your list of ideas. Have you been a bookworm once? Do you know a lot about authors of certain categories and certain publishers? Well, bring in that in your list too. Thus you make a list of businesses or products that interests you more than just a consumer.
Now, compare all these ideas without being partial to any of them personally. Think about each of them purely in business terms. Ideally, the best business is the one that you know inside out. But again, think about the typical roadblocks and constraints of that business. Consider the following aspects.
- The market and demand of the product in short and long term
- The competition in the respective business niche or products
- The required manpower and financial resource
- The constraints and pulling factors
- Your knowledge about the business
- The legal requirements
Evaluate the Competition
This is something that every ambitious ecommerce startup should begin with. Make research to figure out how much competition a new brand needs to face to become visible and garner sales to sustain and grow as a business. Can you provide a new and really unique value proposition? How can you reach your audience beating the competition? Initially, it is always advisable to focus on a few products that can easily stand out.
Fix A Business Model
When you have decided about your niche or the products, it is time to figure out how you will earn revenue and how the products will be sold. For this you need to have a business model. Not all business models are successful for all niches and categories. This is why, understand why some business models are more successful for a niche than others. Depending on the product you are selling and the success of the model for your competition, you need to take a call.
Let’s have a look at some popular business models for ecommerce ventures.
- Subscription based business model
- White labeling and brand manufacturing
- Dropshipping or third-party product sales
- Warehousing or bulk reselling
Evaluate the Target Audience
Now, it is time to decide to whom you are going to sell your products. You can precisely target audience which is likely to give your product more value than others. But for this, you need to do a little research on the target audience.
To figure out the target audience, start by creating buyer personas. Which age group and gender are more likely to prefer your offerings most? Why they would choose your products instead of your competitors? What kind of financial capacity and buying behavior your customers are likely to have? All these and many more questions will reveal the buyer persona of customers in full light.
Set up the Ecommerce Store
Now that you have done all preliminary things to know about your niche, products, business model and customers, it is time to set up the ecommerce store. Here we briefly explain the steps
- Choose a catchy and easy to remember brand name that can easily be identified with your product or niche. At the same time, make sure you get a domain with your brand name.
- Now design a simple, attention-grabbing and meaningful logo that can be recognized easily as part of your brand identity.
Understand the Intricacies of SEO
Your ecommerce Store needs to appear in search engine results against the product searches. This is the most important way to drive organic traffic, convert business and create brand awareness. There is no alternative to search engine optimization for an online store.
- Use a quality SEO plugin to perfect your on-page SEO.
- Make SEO audit frequently to find the fault lines and shortcomings.
- Use deep linking and internal linking of contents extensively.
- Build a quality inbound link profile by publishing contents on reputed websites of your niche.
- Make focused social media marketing to bring organic traffic.
- Do social bookmarking and link promotion to reach out across influential channels.
Quality Customer Service
Do you know close to 45% of consumers in US online stores will leave a store without finishing transaction if they are not answered properly. A responsive and prompt customer service for your online customers is of seminal importance for your business. Consider the following things.
- Create a detailed FAQs page with all regular questions answered elaborately.
- Provide a live chat support with an intelligent Chatbot or back office support.
- Publish product reviews and user generated contents to build trust and make positive impressions.
There are obviously a lot more to explain about building an online store from scratch. But we focused on basic and elementary steps here. After doing all these when your store starts getting steady customer footfall, we can talk about ways of optimizing conversion rate or fine-tuning the shopping experience further.
Bio: Atman Rathod is the Co-founder at CMARIX TechnoLabs Pvt. Ltd., a leading eCommerce development company with 13+ years of experience. He loves to write about technology, startups, entrepreneurship and business. His creative abilities, academic track record and leadership skills made him one of the key industry influencers as well.
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