Businesses all over were forced to close their physical locations due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. These closures lead to a significant increase in eCommerce sales, resulting in the eCommerce industry exploding with potential.
Consumers and business owners are adapting to shopping online, enjoying its convenience, flexibility, and accessibility. As shopping online becomes more of a necessity, you may be interested in starting an eCommerce business of your own. But before you move forward with launching your eCommerce store, there is critical business information to grasp and leverage to be successful.
Here are seven things you should know before starting your first eCommerce business.
7 Things to Know Before Starting Your First eCommerce Business
You’ve made the right first step seeking knowledge about what’s most important to know before starting your first eCommerce business. Thoroughly studying different elements of your eCommerce business aids its longevity and seamless launch.
Let’s dive into seven things you need to have down pat before starting your first eCommerce business.
The ins and outs of your target audience
Many new business owners are so excited about the products that they fail to prioritize knowing who they’ll sell those products to.
If you don’t know who you’re target audience is, you can’t understand what they struggle with on a day-to-day basis and what challenges they’re eagerly trying to solve.
Create buyer personas to replicate how some of your ideal customers would cycle through your buyer’s journey. Ensure you’ve identified things like:
- Where they make purchases.
- How they like to make purchases.
- Their marital status, cultural background, and financial landscape.
- Where they get their news and information from.
- How engaged they are on social media.
The depth of your competition
First, you should make sure that there is some actual competition in the market you’re after because lack of competition could mean there’s no real market for your product or service.
Identify companies that are already successful in your market. Also, highlight up-and-coming eCommerce businesses that could be significant competition in the future. Note some of their successful marketing techniques, how they’re collecting customer data, information about the products/services they offer, and their brand consistency.
Thoroughly research your competition, so you know where your business fits in and how you’re going to set yourself apart from them.
The current state of your market/industry
The eCommerce business market is booming right now. Consumers buy more items they’d purchase in-store online, like bathroom necessities, grocery items, and transportation.
It’s crazy to think that at one point, the internet was such a surreal concept and that purchasing on the internet didn’t come until sometime after its initial creation. We’ve since transitioned into the age of technology, where 72% of businesses are aiming to sell solely online in the future.
It’s best practice to research current trends in your market/industry, keep up with those trends throughout your business life, and implement any suggested strategies to accommodate these trends.
The details of your proposed product(s)
Starting your first eCommerce business to sell various items with no real focus is a costly mistake. It’s best to niche down your product line so that you can focus on selling to an ideal customer.
Once you’ve identified who you’re selling to, you can fill your eCommerce store with products that appeal to them. Evaluate all of your products carefully and get a feel for the product yourself.
Knowing your proposed products’ details can help determine their viability, identify any potential problems, and prepare customer service scripts to answer common questions.
How to set up and maintain your website
You should prepare precisely how you plan to set up and maintain your website. Create a detailed outline with information on:
- Using color schemes related to your brand and the emotions you wish to evoke from visitors.
- Your payment methods.
- The payment process.
- What hosting platform you’ll be using.
- What website builder you’ll be using.
- How you’ll obtain original illustrations or photography.
- How visitors will navigate your site.
- User experience specifics like appealing shopping cart designs.
Once you’re satisfied with your outline, begin constructing your website step-by-step. Test your navigation structure, payment process, social media icons, and other website features consistently before your official launch.
How to market your business
Before launching your eCommerce website, you’ll want to put together a marketing strategy for your business. You want to identify the best ways to get the word out about your eCommerce business and connect with your ideal customers.
Choose which vehicles are best for marketing based on your target audience. These could include:
- Social Media
- Paid Advertising
Once you’ve settled on the best platforms for your marketing strategies, you’ll want to develop messaging, media, visuals, and other marketing materials that best resonate with your target audience. Ensure you’re giving special attention to producing engaging, informative, valuable content.
Your launch plan
You should have already created a detailed business plan, but ensure you’ve got the details of your launch figured out as well. You need to specify when your launch date will be, how you’ll prepare the world for your launch, and what you’ll do leading up to launch day.
You’ll also want to triple-check that all of the behind-the-scenes tasks are taken care of before your launch.
For example, if you’re starting a business after bankruptcy, you’ll want to ensure you’re correctly organizing and maintaining your financial records this time around. You want to make sure your website is ready for the amount of traffic your expecting, that your customer service system is set up, and that all of your vendor, supplier, and distributor information is well kept.