In the wake of the novel Covid-19 crisis, while many businesses crumbled, the e-commerce industry thrived. The shift from brick and mortar stores to online marketplaces has been unprecedented, just like the global pandemic and is clearly a green signal for all those small scale retail businesses who were on the fence about making the switch to e-commerce.
Even as e-retail giants like Amazon struggled with limited deliveries and personnel, Covid-19 has contributed to an overall 6% traffic increase on retail platforms worldwide between January and March 2020.
Industry experts say this is the best time for businesses to go all out and explore the green pastures of online marketplaces, and many have taken up the challenge and, armed with a strong product idea and business model, are set to take the ecommerce market by storm.
Do you want a piece of the cake but don’t know where to start?
In this blog we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide of how to start and scale an e-commerce business in 2020.
Roll up your sleeves and dig deep! The e-commerce market is filled with brands, each one trying to carve a niche for itself. To gauge the competition you are up against you’ll have to research how brands have managed to establish a niche for themselves in a crowded marketplace.
A competitive market is good but you’ll not want an over-crowded one, lest your brand gets lost in a sea of other already successful brands. Extensive research will help you drill deeper and become more specific about what you want to sell and how.
Before you decide which product or service you wish to sell online, you’ll want to understand what e-commerce business models are available to you.
Once you gather enough information about the successful business models out there, you can finalise on your product. Of course, if you already have a product idea in mind, you can decide on an e-commerce model that will best fit your product.
1.Not looking to begin with heavy investments or be a touchpoint in any way? The drop-ship model would be the ideal choice.
2.If the idea of owning a warehouse filled with your products excites you, be ready to invest big.
3.Interested to sell an existing product idea with strong digital branding and marketing or have the right business model for the right product idea? White labeling and manufacture could be your go-to business models.
4.There’s also the classic subscription model, where you curate a set of products and sell them to your customers at regular intervals.
5.You can leverage the digital marketing landscape, and go for the single product model, where as an affiliate you focus on content marketing and branding for an existing product that interests you and channelise your energy and resources to drive sales by monetising online traffic.
Once you have your product idea and business model in place, it’s time to set up shop.There’s more to setting up than just choosing the product you plan to sell and giving a name to it. This is where your patience for administrative tasks is tested. Make sure you register your business so that you can benefit legally and obtain tax concessions. You’ll need to apply for a business license and permits for your ecommerce business, get your Employer Identification Number, create a logo and find the right vendors with whom you’ll want to have a long-lasting association with.
Remember, you’re selling an idea before you sell the products. Think about it, before you sell a slimming machine, you are selling the idea of effective, painless and quick weight loss and when you’re selling an idea, people matter most. And that’s why it’s advisable to start with identifying the personas you want to target, before you finalise the product idea. Who are you? What does your e-store represent? Who are you selling to? What is the brand image you are looking to project? These are some valid questions which you’ll need to answer before you pick your product.
You’ve got your products and your model, now all you need is a bit of math to make sure you get your money’s worth. Determine your monthly budget and expenses, calculate your break even points and estimated ROI. Resource planning and financial allocation must take centre stage at this point; you’ll want to work out the finer details like staff, logistics, marketing budgets and product sourcing.
Start with building a website. And before you do that make sure you choose the right e-commerce software for your website. There are a number of deciding factors that will help you choose one—loading speed, compatibility with payment gateways, SEO-friendly features and many more.
Your website is the face of your brand, it’s the first thing consumers will come in contact with and you’ll want to make sure it’s impressive.
Easy navigation, readability, stellar content, design that’s easy on the eyes are factors which decide whether your visitors will stay long enough to make a purchase If website development is an uncharted territory for you and you’re looking to take your store online quickly, you can choose from some WordPress plugins or can start by selling on ecommerce software like BigCommerce and Shopify.
But if you’re in this for the long haul, you’d better get a website developer for yourself, so that you can just focus on your bottom line.
You’ll also want to cash in on the benefits of a strong email marketing campaign and automation before you start getting traffic. You’ll want to convert warm leads and for that an email marketing campaign supplemented with a strong customer support is the way to go.
You’ve spread your fishing net, now all you need to do is lay the bait. When it comes to digital marketing it can get a bit overwhelming. You’ll want to have a plan in place. Check out which social media channel will help you reach your target audience and which are tools you can use to create and publish content on a regular basis.
Blogs, social media posts and SEO will help you drive traffic to your site. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You’ll need to think beyond traffic, you’ll need to strategize to create conversions. Remember, you’re selling products not driving traffic.
.Email and social media campaigns backed by sweet giveaways and gift coupons will help create the buzz you need.
.Partnering with retailers who can increase your brand presence for commissions could also be another way to go.
.Giving freebies to bloggers who write reviews and influencer marketing are also great ways to spread the word faster.
Starting an ecommerce business doesn’t have to be expensive or tedious, all you need is a roadmap and you’ll find your way to ecommerce success.