It’s no secret that e-commerce is on the rise. The Internet has made it easier than ever to start an online store, and there are a lot of great resources for new entrepreneurs available out there including how to register an online business in the United States. It’s never been so easy to be your own boss! In this article, I’ll outline some practical steps you can take to getting started with your online business.
Firstly, research your market. You’ll need to thoroughly understand the product and service you’re offering on a granular level before anything else happens. This will give you an understanding of pricing, competition, target audience etc.
You can do this in-depth by visiting forums where people are discussing items similar to yours or find out more about your competition. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be in a much better position to find out exactly what people are looking for and will know how to better meet their needs.
If there is no market or competitor research available, then I recommend that you do as much of it yourself before investing any money into the business.
Source your Products
When you’re ready to source your products, take some time to think about what they offer. How much variation do you want in terms of product type? Do you have a single-product idea or plan on selling more than one thing?
If there are multiple products, then it’s worth considering whether the cost will remain consistent for each item. This will help you better understand your pricing.
There are lots of different ways to source products, so it’s worth trying a few out and seeing what works best for you. For example, Alibaba is an online marketplace with tens of thousands of suppliers from around the world offering anything from toys to fashion items. It can be good because they often have lower prices and the option to buy direct from China. However, it’s worth noting that you may be required to pay a fee for this service which can eat into your margins if they’re too tight.
Alternatively, there are smaller online retailers with better customer service who might offer products at a higher price but will give you more flexibility in terms of what you need. Whatever route you decide to take, it’s worth doing your research first as there are a lot of variables that will make an impact on what prices and suppliers you’ll use.
Select a Business Name and Choose a Legal Structure
You’re going to need a name for your business. Make sure it’s available and has no trademark issues, then do some searches on Facebook Marketplace or Google images just in case the company isn’t what you think it is! Then decide whether you want an LLC or S-Corp. If you don’t know which one to go with, an LLC is the simplest and less expensive option.
You’ll also need to decide if you want to be a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. This will depend on your personal circumstances but it’s worth noting that corporations offer liability protection from individual lawsuits which can make them more attractive than they first appear!
Finalize your Ecommerce Plan
Now that you’ve sourced your product and have a name for your business, it’s time to finalize the plan. You need to know what kind of items you’re going to be selling, how much they’ll cost (or if there will be multiple prices), where people can purchase them from etc.
You should create a unique domain or subdomain for your business to ensure that you have the best possible web address. You should also consider options such as email addresses, website builders and hosting packages etc. Many of these services will be bundled together so it’s worth considering all possibilities before making a decision on what is right for you! Placewise might be able to help you incorporate knowledge and positive aspects of your ecommerce platform.
Create your Online Store
Once you have your domain and hosting set up, it’s time to create your store. Again, there are a lot of different options that you can choose from so be sure to weigh these before committing!
There are plenty of free e-commerce templates available. They allow those who don’t have much experience with web design the opportunity to make their own site.
It’s also worth considering what your pricing model will be. Will you use a subscription model or charge a one-time fee? This is something to consider when deciding on your payment gateway and shipping options too!
Choosing from an established ecommerce platform for your store will always be a good option. There are various platforms available like Shopify, Opencart, WooCommerce etc. where you can set up your online store in an easy way, without having a professional developer’s help. These platforms also offer great help in form of apps or tools to help store owners with increasing their sales. Like Shopify has apps including Tada, Oberlo etc. which provide great support for store owners. All of these platforms offer smooth payment transactions and any technical issue can be resolved by their in-house team.
Marketing and Branding
Marketing is an important part of any business. It’s worth having a plan in place before you start with your eCommerce website so that it doesn’t become too overwhelming and tedious to manage later on.
The first thing I would recommend doing is getting yourself some social media accounts, such as Instagram or Facebook pages where people can follow your business. It’s also worth getting a domain name for your website that matches the same branding!
It can be tempting to try and do everything yourself but it’s important to delegate every now and then so you’re not stretched too thin! Hire an expert designer who knows what they’re doing, or find someone in-house to help you with SEO (search engine optimization).
You can use all of these tools to your advantage and save money for other operational costs. For example, if you’re not an expert at web design but know a little about graphics editing then it’s worth trying out Fiverr – this is where people offer their services for $50!