Checklist For Starting an E-commerce Business

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Martina Petrina

Content Writer

What is, actually, an e-commerce business? It’s a booming business, based on a good idea initiated by a small entrepreneur.

There’s nothing more rewarding than starting a business from nothing and watching it grow.

Launching an e-commerce business can be challenging as it requires many steps to be fulfilled and decisions to be made at the right time. Here is a guide to follow to make it happen.

Planning an E-Commerce Business

When thinking about your business idea, first and foremost, you need to figure out what you do best. The questions you could ask yourself are: What am I selling? Who do I want to sell it to? How am I sourcing my product?

Once you have selected a product to sell, make your brand the most attractive option for your target audience. To be sure that the existing targets are reachable and clear, each one should be set focusing on SMART goals. They are easy to use by anyone, anywhere, without the need for specialist tools or training.

Make your goal SMART, following these criteria:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
  • Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive)

However, planning an e-commerce business, without constructing a business plan can be tempting. Therefore, putting your ideas down on paper can help you set clear goals for your business from the outset. What you should hope to get out of a business plan is knowledge.

In other words, a better sense of what you know and more importantly, what you don’t know. You should also get a better overview of the resources you’ll need to make your online business successful, such as partners, money, and employees. Once you write your business plan, you should have a better sense of the viability of the opportunity.

Related: 5 Ways How to Improve Your E-Commerce Site

Step by Step Guide to Starting an E-Commerce Business

If you’re starting an e-commerce business from scratch, it’s time to start ticking off things from your checklist, so here it is.

Step 1: Choose your e-commerce niche

Choosing a niche is the most important step in starting an online business. It’s suggested to start this process by identifying successful companies already working in this sphere. Thus, nor the most competitive or the least competitive market area is a good choice.

If having issues with this part, narrow it down and make your niche more specific.

When narrowing it to micro niche marketing, you can rank your content for related keywords more easily. The benefit is also having a lot of “shoulder” niches with whom business owners can work together in order to grow the customer base.

Step 2: Research business models

We’ve already talked about the importance of the business model, so now the goal is to find a type of commercial model that works the best for your business.

Business models that are available are categorized into:

  • B2C Business-to-Business | B2B: Sales and purchases are made between different businesses, rather than individual customers. For example, you are selling to corporations, organizations and non-profit organizations.
  • Business to Customer | B2C: In this business model, you are selling to individual consumers rather than businesses.
  • Marketplace: You are bringing businesses and customers to one website.

Step 3: Personas and product selection

Sometimes, before developing the idea of your business, is even better to think about the personas of your brand. Who are you? Who are your customers? What does your business represent?

The persona of your brand has to match the expectations of your customers and the products you choose to carry.

You need to project a consistent brand image because your goal is to gain a lot of targeted traffic in your business. To expect people to buy your product, you have to know who you’re selling to. In this case, surveys are a quality source. Through surveys, you’ll get a better insight into the factors that keep your customers buying again and again. That way you can find people who are genuinely interested in your brand.

Step 4: Establish your brand and business

Once you’ve identified the image you want to project and target group for your e-commerce business, it’s time to start with product ideas. Whatever you go for, remember that often less is more.

Before you invest in the product, evaluate it carefully. Almost anything on your website that affects visitor behavior can be A/B tested. 

Also, start with investing less. If you set a too low price, though, you could face a fail to have a return of investment. On the other hand, if you price it too high, a lot of your customers won’t likely be able to afford it.

Step 5: Create your online store

When choosing an e-commerce store builder, consider price, features, support, ease of use and performance. In this phase, you will need to start thinking about the design, registration of your domain name and any redirect URLs that might be relevant. However, it doesn’t mean you will have to hire a development company. It would be enough to use a theme. In that case, depending on your business brand, you might only need to pay a small fee to get a good template.

Step 6: Attract customers to your e-commerce store

The best e-commerce sites invest a lot in online marketing. If you don’t have funds, there are many other ways to increase publicity. This is individual, though, and depends on whether you will use sponsored content, social media, pay-per-click ads, or combination of them all. Once you decide, keep monitoring what campaigns are driving traffic to your store. However, consider hiring help if marketing your site seems overwhelming.

Step 7: Marketing your products online

Track the flow of the traffic on your site. You can use analytics tools to help you monitor and optimize every step of the sales process.

If you notice nothing is selling, although you’re driving traffic to your store, take a close look at your product listings and carefully improve each page. There are thousands of marketing metrics for tracking your e-commerce business success, but only a few of them, directly represent the state of your business and can be turned into actionable insights that help you grow.

These are the eight most important metrics we believe every e-commerce store owner should track:

(1) Sales Conversion Rate, (2) Email opt-ins, (3) Customer lifetime value, (4) Customer acquisition cost, (5) Revenue by traffic source, (6) Average order value, (7) Shopping cart abandonment rate and (8) Net Promoter Score.

Wrapping Up

After all this, you are probably asking yourself:

“Should I start an e-commerce business?”

Well, I guess the answer is clear. Most definitely!

It does take careful planning to get your e-commerce business from zero phases to the launch phase, but once you start selling, you can build a successful e-commerce business. Moreover, you can follow the steps pointed out here to cement your own understanding of the market and your business. Do not hesitate to take advantage of lucrative opportunities.

Do you still have any concerns? Share your thoughts with us!

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Checklist For Starting an E-commerce Business was last modified: May 21st, 2019 by Mislav Raguz
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