7 Things to Know Before Starting an E-Commerce Business
Ever since the pandemic, more and more businesses have been forced to transition to online marketplaces instead of the traditional brick-and-mortar business model. Who can blame them, though, as today’s consumers are looking for convenience in shopping from their homes and are more tuned to navigate online marketplaces like Amazon, Shopify, and eBay. Big names like these claim most of the market share and make it difficult for new e-commerce platforms to establish themselves. Hence, you need to carefully consider your options before starting an e-commerce venture. Here’s all you need to know.
Any new business venture requires market research before going deeper. You have to ascertain whether or not your business model is feasible. For example, you plan on selling shoes; however, the market may be riddled with high-quality shoe brands at reasonable prices. Why would any conscious consumer want to buy your shoes if they do not hold up to the quality and price of existing ones?
Plus, the product or service you are selling on your e-commerce platform may experience future hurdles of procurement, logistical issues, supply chain disruptions, and even political instability. All these factors govern how your business fairs in the foreseeable future. Conducting a SWOT analysis, forecasting market trends, and calculating ROI is your best bet at facing market challenges before they occur.
Find a Niche
After all your analysis, you may find a particular area in demand that resonates with consumers. Consumers may not even know they need the thing that you offer. For example, when Netflix came out, it completely destroyed its competitor, Blockbuster. That’s because it offered convenience to the user. It offered a subscription model based on online video streaming, which was unheard of before. No longer did people need to physically go and rent videos; instead, they could just watch them online on their television screens.
Setup a Website
It goes without saying that you’ll need a website before you go ahead with your e-commerce business. However, it’s easier said than done. There are a lot of steps before you can even realize the basic framework for your website. Simplistically speaking, you need to register a domain name and subscribe to a hosting service for your website. The actual build of the website may require you to seek professional help before it can go live.
Even after it’s up and running, you’ll need to tweak it for bugs, improve its design, and look for ways to make it secure.
Accompanying website design is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. It’ll form a small chunk of your marketing budget; however, it offers the biggest benefit to your business. Unless you’ve garnered a big name for your e-commerce business, Google is the only way people will stumble upon your website naturally. You can invest in other marketing avenues, like social media, email campaigns, and even ads, but they’ll hit your marketing budget like a truck. Instead, optimizing in tactics that help you rank higher on search engines is a much more cost-effective solution that helps in the long run.
Additionally, you need to incorporate design elements in your website that improve its performance as well. Faster loading times are a metric for ranking in SEO. Heavier graphics, memory-heavy tasks, and back-end code all serve to slow down download speeds for webpages. If not dealt with correctly, they can increase your bounce rate, another metric for SEO.
Security is an important factor in SEO. It becomes an even more essential factor when running an e-commerce business. You’ll be handling the financial information of many consumers, as a result, you’ll need secure ways of processing, handling, and verifying such information. It’ll prevent any data leaks and fraud attempts from malicious actors that negatively portray your business. Plus, having an SSL certificate for your domain name improves security measures, mitigates theft, and is also a ranking factor for SEO.
A big part of search engine optimization is content. Metrics outlined by search engines discern good web pages from bad ones. This process is automated and relies on bots to crawl through the website and scrounge for variables that reflect quality. The higher, the better you rank.
Moreover, what’s important is to keep it updated. That’s because new information outdates any previously held beliefs or facts. Keeping web pages updated with trending updates and news seek to drive in more viewers to your site and help it rank higher.
One way to go about this would be to have a blogging web page. It can help you answer pestering questions for consumers, offer reviews, and showcase your insight as a market leader.
Don’t think of your e-commerce platform as a tool or store for your business; instead, it’s an extension of your brand. Your brand is defined by the public perception surrounding it. Every move you make as a business should be done such that it improves your brand image. That’s what truly cements your standing in the world of e-commerce.
You’ll need to employ policies that portray your brand’s image as a positive one. Think along the lines of what you can do for the community, how effectively you cater to your users’ needs are, and how you present yourself to the world and on social media.
Make sure that you have a space for customer feedback and client service so you can gauge public perception of your brand. Think of ways to improve customer experience, provide convenience, and how you can guarantee customer satisfaction.
Keeping up to date with technological advances is your best option for staying ahead of the competition. You need to look for innovative ways that make your business stand out and provide users with the level of comfort they can’t attain anywhere else.
You might need to look into current technological advances in data science and machine learning to gauge the kind of market you’re attracting. That way, you can mold your business to your needs and expand to other demographics. Similarly, it can help you gauge seasonal trends in sales, direct advertisement strategies, and improve logistics.