Starting an Ecommerce Business Is Easy. Succeeding Is Difficult
How to be an ecommerce entrepreneur by tomorrow. No kidding!
Are you bitten by the ecommerce bug? Do you want to set up an ecommerce website, but do not know where to start? This article will help you in starting an ecommerce today. But that does not mean the business will thrive, or even survive.
The objective of this exercise is not to come up with the ideal ecommerce business. On the contrary what I am trying to do here is to get you out of your paralysis, and get an ecommerce business going.
Once you run it for a little time, you can learn your lessons and start over if needed.
So what do you need to get an ecommerce business going?
- a brand name
- a unique selling proposition
- a website
- ability to collect payment
- ability to deliver the goods
- qualified Traffic
If you have all of the above, then you have an ecommerce business. Depending on the choices you make, you could start generating a small revenue right away. From that point on, you can continue to tweak various aspects of your ecommerce business, to optimize your earnings.
A note of caution: it is not easy to make a profit. So, though you will possibly make initial revenues, your expense will quite likely be greater. Make sure that you have the financial discipline to cut your losses when needed. Especially make sure that you are not over-ambitious in your expenditure on pay-per-click advertising.
Come up with a brand name
In most cases, the brand name and domain name are identical.
So make sure that you use a brand name that customers are able to identify with your product category and positioning. And before you finalize your decision, find out how to choose a domain name.
Why should people buy from you?
There must be some reason for people to buy from you. There are just too many me-too ecommerce sites to justify one more.
This gets down to creating your ecommerce marketing plan. Do not spend too much time on this for now. It is impossible to hit the winning formula on your first go. Take an approach that appeals to you, and tweak it as you go along.
Set up the website
If you are conversant with online technologies, you already know how to get an ecommerce website going. If not, this step might seem like the most intimidating. Since we are attempting to get an ecommerce business set up in a day, it makes sense for you to consider a hosted ecommerce solution such as Shopify.
Select Your Product
Though you could sell virtually anything online, in keeping with the one-day deadline to get your business going, here are some quick options that could work:
- Choose something available locally to you, which could be marketed elsewhere.
- Choose a digital product, such as an ebook. Ideally, it should not be available elsewhere, but that is not something you can manage in a day.
Setting up a payment gateway
Gear up for logistics
Since we are in a hurry, we cannot set up an elaborate fulfillment plan.
So your alternatives are:
- If you have chosen to sell digital goods, then your hosted solution quite likely provides you with a mechanism to deliver them automatically.
- Since the initial volumes are likely to be low, you could consider shipping the goods yourself; once a day. Most third-party logistics providers will offer you options for pickup too. With low and infrequent sales, you will not manage to negotiate a good price initially. But that will change once your volumes pick up.
Get your math and budget in place for pay per click advertising
If you read several articles on the Ecommerce GuideSite, you will learn about many methods of marketing, e.g., affiliate marketing, referral marketing, SEO, link building, among others. But for now, you can hit the ground running by getting a PPC campaign going.
That is just the beginning
Once you have done all the above, you should start getting some traffic on your ecommerce website. Depending on the decisions you have made, and the appeal of your offering, you could start converting some visitors. And with that starts the eternal journey of increasing your conversion rate.
The process described above is far from exhaustive, but it will get you started. From that point on, it is up to you to learn the ropes and keep improving. Welcome to the world of ecommerce. May your baby steps turn to giant strides of success.