So you’ve decided to start your e-commerce store. Great! Now what’s the next step? Here’s a bunch of stuff you need to have:
A Business Model- Need less to say, this is the first thing you need to have in order. You may have already decided what to sell and where to get it from but have you worked out the details? For example: what margins are you looking at? Would you be willing to offer discounts? How will you deliver the products? Where can you deliver the products? Etc. You need to have a proper business plan to chart out your growth for the future.
Domain Name and hosting – You need to find a store name that is small and memorable, something that can be typed easily on any kind of digital device and still relates to the products. Think long and hard before you make a decision.
Supply partner – You need to have a clear understanding of the quantity and type of products that your supplier can provide to you within a given space of time. You don’t want to be ambiguous with this lest you end up with inventory shortage.
Logistics Partner – You need to collaborate with a logistics provider and clearly understand their speed and geographical delivery limitations along with their charges. Don’t sell to customers in the country if your logistics services only deliver in urban areas.
Software – You also need to decide on the shopping software platform you are going to use. There are many of these softwares on the market such as Shopify and Magento. They all have different advantages and disadvantages. Some have more marketing and other tools while others are lighter, cheaper and easier to use. Take all factors into consideration while making the choice but remember that you need to be extremely comfortable with the software you use.
Website design – The shopping software you use will help you design your website through the many templates that they have. The templates can be customised to suit your needs. If you need more flexibility you could hire a web designer to build the web site for you. Remember, the site needs to be as user friendly as possible.
Upload product details – Get accurate descriptions and crisp images of your products for the site and use the shopping platform to upload them. Try and keep the product description interesting. Don’t limit yourself to a factual description of the product, try and tell a story that will interest customers.
Marketing – As a start up with a limited budget your best marketing option is social media. It is a great way to promote your store to the appropriate audiences. You have a variety of platforms such as face book, Instagram, Pintrest etc that will allow you to create a page and promote your store for free. As you generate revenue you can look into paid advertising options such Google ads , facebook ads and affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is a great way of reaching out to a relevant and targeted audience rather than other online adverstisements.
Broadly speaking these are the steps that you will need to take when first beginning your online store. However no one can actually tell you about the exact challenges you will face. Going into business for yourself is an immense learning experience that is different for every entrepreneur. So get cracking and pursue your dream.