Create Your Ecommerce Business Plan
You got an ecommerce business idea. That’s good. But that’s not enough.
First, you have to analyze that idea and validate it. The first step must be to finalize your niche and create a business plan that properly defines your ecommerce business model.
Once you decide your niche and the type of products/services you will offer, you can start focusing on other important questions. Such as –
- Where will you find the right vendors?
- What licenses/permits will be required?
- How much capital is needed?
- How will you market your product?
- What will be the billing method?
Your business plan must be able to answer all these questions. In addition, it must offer insight into what you need to know and do in the first few months.
Establish Your Ecommerce Business
to set up your company:
Decide The Company’s Name
Choose a unique business name that is relevant to your products. Check the local secretary of state’s website and the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to ensure the name is not already taken by another business. You will also need to purchase a domain name for your website. So, check for its availability and options too.
Decide the Business Entity Type
Every business structure has its pros and cons. Discuss with your business attorney what entity would suit your business best.
Obtain An Employer Identification Number (EIN)
An EIN is not mandatory but can be quite useful, especially while separating your individual and business finances. You can get it for free.
Find out which licenses are required considering the products you sell. For services, you may need an occupational license as well as a business license.
Opening Business Account
Open a commercial bank account for your business and ensure all transactions take place in that account only.
Source or Develop Your Products
There are three options you can choose from –
- Develop your own products
- Work with a manufacturer
All these options have their pros and cons. If you make the products yourself, your overhead costs might be a bit higher. When working with a manufacturer, you have to order products in bulk. This will increase the upfront spending, but inventory management will be easier. And you can pack and ship your own products.
Dropshipping is cost-effective as you only order a product once you get an order. However, it is hard to manage the inventory if you get multiple orders for different products.
For services, you can mention a list on your website with your availability.
Develop Your Ecommerce Store
Your ecommerce store is the place where all the actions happen. Customers visit your website, get familiar with your products, and purchase.
It must provide a good user experience to online shoppers. It also reflects your brand. Therefore, you must be very careful while choosing the ecommerce platform to build your online store.
A good ecommerce store builder must come with hosting support that offers pre-built functionality. In addition, it must provide integrations for various functions in your site, such as managing payments and maintaining inventory.
Ongoing maintenance is also necessary, so the site keeps functioning properly. Hosted platforms like Vimmi have dedicated developers who take care of the maintenance for you.
Deciding On Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment within the expected time is imperative for a good customer experience. You must be very conscious about shopping costs and delivery across different countries.
Many ecommerce platforms provide the facility to print shipping labels. You can mention the shipping costs during the checkout. Or you can offer free shipping if customers order above a certain price range.
If you choose dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about order fulfillment. However, if you’re doing it yourself, do all the research for shipping rates. If you can’t ship to a specific location, highlight that on your online store too.
Promote Your Ecommerce Business
Once the site is set up with all the products and you figure out the shipping, all that’s left is to attract customers to your ecommerce business. There are multiple ways to do ecommerce marketing. However, we recommend that you start with the following –
- Social media marketing to find customers where they hang out the most
- SEO to attract visitors who are looking for your products or something similar
- Omnichannel commerce means listing your products on marketplaces like Amazon (can be provided by your ecommerce platform)
- Email campaigns to build loyalty
- Influencer marketing to build trust quickly and efficiently
Starting an e-commerce business can be overwhelming with all the technical aspects of setting up an ecommerce website and marketing on different platforms. Hence, we have some useful tips to relieve your stress –
- Start with a simple website. Do not stuff your ecommerce store with hundreds of products. Test with a few first. Understand how ecommerce works and once you see some traction, you can introduce more products. Choose an ecommerce platform that allows you this flexibility.
- Focus on omnichannel selling. List your products on sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Amazon. These platforms can give you the most reach that you need in the beginning. Keep tracking to learn where most of your customers are coming from. Then, focus your efforts on those platforms.
- Build a community of raving fans. To sustain, you need repeat buyers. You need people who use your products constantly and promote them in their circle. To do that, you must create profiles on different platforms. Engage with your customers and focus on building a solid brand. Take feedback and work on them to make your products better and improve customer experience. Use email campaigns to keep in touch with your customers. You can also offer loyalty points and discounts to your biggest fans.