The business of ecommerce has taken over the world. Just a few short decades ago, no one would have imagined how popular it would become. In this article, we are going to explore the ecommerce business completely, including everything from affiliate marketing to opening your own online retail store or ecommerce website. You will understand the way the business works, the platforms behind it and everything you need to know to start an ecommerce business.
What Is An Ecommerce Business?
An ecommerce business is basically any group, company, organization, person or website that sells items primarily online. If you want a Master Class in the ecommerce business, all you have to do is look to Amazon. Amazon revolutionized the way that ecommerce was done and they are the go-to store online for just about everything that you would want to order – and they often have the lowest prices as well.
Benefits of an Ecommerce Business
There are definitely some advantages to going with an ecommerce business. First of all, the entire buying and selling procedure can take place literally in seconds. This is much faster than a retail store and much faster than direct sales where you have to convince the consumer to buy; a process that often takes days, weeks or even months.
But with ecommerce, you are providing something that the customer was going to buy anyway. You just happen to be the place where they bought it. Another advantage is that you are able to keep your store open 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week and 365-days-a-year. You also don't have to pay employees or any of the normal cost of a brick-and-mortar business like insurance, rent and utilities. Ecommerce businesses also reach a lot more customers because there is no geographic limitation. In addition, ecommerce businesses are easy to start and extremely easy to manage.
Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind under disadvantageous as well. For one thing, there is a great deal of competition and lots of ecommerce sites have experience and expertise. Customers aren’t as loyal to ecommerce businesses either and you are always going to be at risk for hacking, stealing of customer information or other common problems that come with doing business online.
How to Start an Ecommerce Business
So, you want to start an ecommerce business. How do you go about doing that? Below, we are going to go over each step of the process.
The first step in starting an ecommerce business is to determine what your passion is. If you can build a business around your passion then you are going to enjoy your work a great deal more.
Choose your products. Before you even get to your domain name and decide what business structure you want to go with, you need to choose what products you want to sell. You also need to find out if there's something that you can sell out there that goes hand-in-hand with your passion.
Next, you want to name your business. This is when you go and register your domain name and figure out what you're going to call your business. You can base it on the products if you want, as that will certainly help people find it through organic search when they're looking for that product, but you don't necessarily have to. You can name it whatever you like and worry about creating URLs with product names in them later.
Once you have secured your domain name see, you are going to need to choose a web host. You want to make sure that you choose a host that allows you to have unmetered traffic and plenty of storage, and allows you total control over your website. It might also be a good idea to go with a web host that allows you to have more than one domain hosted on the same account.
Next, you are going to have to decide what type of business structure you want to go with. For example, are you going to have an ecommerce business where you sell things that you physically have on hand and then ship them out yourself? Perhaps you plan to use a drop shipper where the customer’s product gets sent out from a third party after they order it from you. You could also do affiliate marketing and list Amazon products on your website.
Your next task is going to be to determine how your website will be set up. Most web hosts will have a variety of options when it comes to setting up your site. WordPress can be a really great platform for ecommerce as long as you have the right plugins and theme, but it won't work for every type of product. There are also third-party websites and tools to help you get your store set up like Shopify.
Next, you want to take care of all of the little legal details and financial matters. For example, you need may need to obtain a business license or a permit to sell your particular product or service in that area. You may need to apply for an employer identification number, especially if you plan on having employees. Of course, you were also going to need a method for collecting payment such as PayPal. All of these details need to be worked out before you can actually open your store.
Finally, if you have determined who your vendors going to be or if you're going to sell affiliate products, it is time to start setting up your store. But there is something that you should be doing at the same time, which we will cover in the next step.
Marketing is going to be a huge part of getting your name out there. You can start marketing early while you are still setting up your store. In fact, this is a great time to build an email list so that you can send out emails to potential customers when your store opens. You will have to figure out a way to build buzz for your ecommerce website and get the word out.
Finally, it is time to maintain your store. Check your analytics regularly, do marketing as often as you can afford it and make sure that you are making small corrections that will improve your business. Having a successful ecommerce business doesn't require a whole lot of work to maintain it, but the more work you put in the more money you were going to make. At some point you may wish to change your products, expand into different areas or any of the myriad of other options that are available when you have an ecommerce website.