How Do I Start An Ecommerce Store From Nothing?
There is nothing odd about you wanting to explore new and cool methods of earning.
A business opportunity online is a perfect choice, given how the pandemic
has increased your chances of drawing more people in.
You will have to keep in mind that progress will not be an overnight phenomenon.
Rome was not built in one day, especially as you are starting out.
But the odds are in your favour. Even before COVID-19, online business
platforms were growing at a rapid speed. When the pandemic hit,
the online platforms became massively popular among literally everyone.
Even the ones who were not enthusiastic about online purchases before
had no choice but to adapt because physical stores had to be closed
under the circumstances.
This is why eCommerce stores are a viable option, no matter what you
are trying to sell. The doubling of online retail sales in recent
years has encouraged more business owners to up their game.
(Read more about the increase in retail
Once you decide on starting an eCommerce store, there are some great ways to go about it.
Try following this easy and concise guide.
1. Figure Out The Product/Service You Will Sell
If you have had a dream of starting a business for a long time,
you will probably already have a certain product or service in mind.
If not, the first step of starting one is to think about what you want to sell.
There might be multiple things on your mind. To make things easier, note each of them down.
These are some of the questions that will help you decide your path.
- What do I like?
- What am I good at?
It is proven that people are more productive when they do something they love.
Keep this in mind when you pick your service/product area.
Listing down what you are thinking can help you create a clear business plan.
- You can find your business interest within yourself.
- If you like baking, you can sell baked goods.
- If you are a great writer, you can start a content writing service online.
Whatever it is that you are interested in, you can try and create a market for it.
If you are hoping to start a retail business, remember that sky's the limit.
Try and narrow down your focus by learning about the latest trends and consumer patterns.
Your preference aside, there is an equally noteworthy concern when it comes
to selecting your product type. That is:Gross Profit Margin
have an option between choosing to sell recurring consumables and non-recurring products.
But what do these two types mean?
Recurring consumable products: These are products that the customers
will have to replace frequently. Let’s say you are selling handmade soap,
which is a recurring consumable product. Customers will return to purchase more.
Non-recurring products: Here, recurring customers are a rare possibility.
An example would be a business that sells electronics like TVs and computers.
Once a customer purchases a computer, the need for replacing it will not
arise for at least five years.
The bottom line is, the product type you select determines your profit margin.
Even though selling TVs doesn't guarantee recurrent customers in the near future,
the profit margin per product is higher. As for recurring consumables like clothes,
cosmetics and food, the profit margin per product will be much lower,
but you will have returning customers.
2. Pick A Name For Your Business
This may sound fun and exciting to you, and guess what? It is!
It is a lot of fun if another business hasn’t already taken your name.
There are millions of businesses all around the world, and there
is a possibility the name you chose might be someone else’s.
This is why we advise you to write down all the business names you think of.
That way, you will have plenty to choose from.
What should I think about when choosing a domain name?
Web design is a keyword that appears in the name, immediately indicating
what type of service we offer. Similarly, you can include a related keyword
in your business name to make it stronger and easier for web crawlers to detect.
Now that you have some domain names in mind, you must check whether the domain is available.
You can simply do a domain name search. Type in the name you have in mind and press
“search” and you will find out if the name is taken. Do an extended search
to scrutinize different platforms like social media and national databases to make sure
that you are not unknowingly stealing someone’s registered business name.
3. Get Your Business Registered
After deciding on the product/service area, you can now move on to registering
your business. The first step to doing this is by doing a quick search to
find out what rules your region has regarding the business you are hoping to start.
Your state may have specific rules regarding online platforms as well,
which you will have to get straightened out first.
Then, go ahead and file a business declaration page. This will be the
step towards reserving your business name.
In doing so, you are required to give the basic details of your business. These include:
- Name of your business
- Type of your business
- Declaration dates
- Partnerships (if any)
- Details about the partners
- Authorizing information
Do your research to find out the accurate procedure based on where you are located.
In addition, be mindful of the fees you have to pay when getting your business registered.
When you build your business plan, don’t forget to include these expenses in the budget too.
4. Create A Logo, Choosing A Tagline, And Picking A Colour Design
After registering your business, it is time to let your creativity flow.
Now that you have a business name, the next step is to decide how to present
it to attract potential customers. Logo design, taglines, and colours
play crucial roles in the branding process. These are the elements that customers
will remember your business by. These are the unique identifiers that set
your business apart from others.
Getting creative with the branding may sound like an excessive step.
But it is a well-known truth that the effort you put into it has the power
to make or break a customer’s perception of your business.
Most business owners use online apps to get their logo created, but
this might not be the best thing to do. These template-based logo design
platforms generate thousands of logos for business owners each year.
Your logo might not look unique. It will instead resemble several other
business logos. This is why we highly recommend hiring a professional designer
to create designs and taglines for your brand.
A logo created by a designer who has experience in graphic designing
will help build your business image in a creatively unique way.
Taglines, sometimes known as slogans, are not a must. However, adding
a tagline can give your business sophistication and finesse. A tagline
should be short, catchy, sensible and creative.
Colour schemes can characterize your business and represent what it
stands for. Choosing a colour theme to stick to can solidify your branding process.
Before deciding, you can do basic research on warm and light colours
to determine what suits your brand, business image, ideologies, and clientele best.
Choose between warm, cool and neutral colours based on the ambience you are going for.
E.g: If your brand incorporates eco-friendly concepts, consider adding
green hues to accentuate the association with nature.
You can use the selected colour scheme in designing the logo, website,
flyers and advertisements, social media accounts and printed material.
5. How To Choose The Perfect eCommerce Software?
Be it an existing business or a brand new one you wish to bring online.
It is absolutely vital to choose the right software for your eCommerce store.
1. Think About The Positives And Negatives
Each business model is unique. Choosing between eCommerce platforms
is a complicated task, given that your business needs are different
from someone else’s. This is why it is important to compare the strengths
and weaknesses of choosing eCommerce platforms.
Whether to choose
Shopify or WooCommerce will be a matter to be considered after carefully identifying
what your business needs and goals are.
The best way to go about this is by making a list of your business requirements.
As different eCommerce platforms are made to address the varying needs
of business owners, make sure to find a fitting option. The initial step
towards doing this is by figuring out what you want to achieve through your business.
How big or small is your product range? Are you aiming for a local or global market?
Are there any special features you want to include on your website?
Think about questions like this before you decide which platform to go with.
2. Pay Attention To Fees
Most eCommerce platforms come at a cost. This cost is a collective of
maintenance expenses, and upfront and backend costs. To get the better of it, you can adjust the prices of your products and services accordingly.
How are you going to manage shipping and handling expenses? Will you be including
them in the price of the item or add them separately?
The case with most eCommerce software is that they charge monthly or annually.
As you are starting out with your business, the two platforms that are largely considered beginner-friendly would be.
3. Shopify and WooCommerce
Shopify is a hosted software, which means that there is no need to pay
separately for hosting and security. Shopify also comes with apps and
hosting services that enable easy management of content. Cool features
like Multichannel Integration (allows you to sell on other channels like
Facebook and Amazon) 24/7 support also highlights. But again, Shopify is comparatively more expensive.
WooCommerce, on the other hand, is free open-source software. Due to that,
you will have to find a separate hosting service. WooCommerce is easier
to use than Shopify, whereas Shopify takes care of most technical matters
on its own. As you are just starting out, managing WooCommerce will not be
difficult if you don’t have the technical knowledge. Nonetheless, WooCommerce is considerably cheaper, and also provides great value for money.
It is up to you to choose a fitting eCommerce platform. Lots of
people tend to use WooCommerce over shopify. Here are some reasons
why not Shopify as your eCommerce platform.
Maybe you are thinking of paying for a hosted eCommerce software.
Maybe you are hoping to build your site using WooCommerce, or similar
free software. Either way, make sure you select a pricing program that
aligns with the magnitude of your business. Simply speaking, if you
are selling handmade candles, you should be paying less than a large
firm that sells high-tech electronics on the same platform.
What about transaction fees?
Regardless of the fact that the eCommerce platform you selected is
already charging you through their annual or monthly pricing system,
you will still be required to pay a fee per transaction. This means
that there is a small fee charged from you with each purchase.
Payment Gateways facilitate this process.
Cash transactions are out of the question anyway. Every transaction
that happens in an eCommerce store will be through credit and debit cards,
and other e-paying systems such as Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
and Automatic Clearing House (ACH).
This is probably the most crucial part of your transaction with the customer.
This is also one of the main aspects of providing a satisfactory service.
You can think about different delivery options, based on how your eCommerce store operates:
- You have the products in your warehouse. You have to send it to the consumer.
- You are a third-party, which means that the product you are selling is not in your possession. It must be sent by the manufacturer to the customer.(dropshipping)
- You are a fulfilment seller, which means that the product is at a warehouse, and you are directing the order to a different company that handles the sale.
Your delivery options depend on the type of seller you are.
You can assess your budget and the target you wish to cover before deciding
which type of delivery option you need to choose.
Canada Post has a special e-Commerce package for small business owners.
Once you sign-up with canada post, they have a plug-in for WooCommerce that
you can install to your eCommerce store. This plugin will bridge your eCommerce
shop with Canada Post database so that all the shipping costs are calculated
Inventory management might be the business of the warehouse employees, but this does not
mean that you can detach yourself from the responsibility. Being able to keep track
of the real-time product count is a must. It is highly advised that you choose an eCommerce platform
that has an inventory control option.
The majority of eCommerce platforms provide features that help you with inventory management.
An example would be the “low inventory notification” feature, where you will get notified
when your inventory is running low. This way, you can restock before products run out completely.
Both WooCommerce and Shopify have this feature.
There are several apps that can be used conveniently for inventory management, too. Such
apps are another option for easy and approachable inventory control.
Is everything clear so far?
Got questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!
Digital Marketing For ECommerce
The backbone of any online business is the marketing strategy. No matter how well thought-out
the rest of your business plan is, it all comes down to the choices you make in order
to market your products and services.
Digital marketing is a broad area. Search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertisements
such as Google, and social media marketing are only a few, off the top of my head.
No matter what strategy of digital marketing you choose, you will have to invest both
your time and money into it. Some methods, obviously, are cheaper than others.
How can you choose the right digital marketing strategy?
The best way is by hiring a professional.
It is best if you can get the assistance of a digital marketing expert. If your budget
allows it, hire a digital marketing team that is capable of bringing your business
into the radar of potential customers. Nobody knows online marketing better than experts
themselves, so there is a high chance of improvement right off the bat.
Given below are some of the ways you can follow in order to get your eCommerce store
closer to your goals for success:
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the method of increasing traffic to a website.
SEO will rank your eCommerce store higher on the result pages of search engines. SEO is
the most common and successful way of driving organic traffic to your site. The results
of SEO do not become apparent overnight. It is a process that takes time, but the results
will be worth it all.
Some of the common SEO techniques include:
- Keyword optimization
- Link building
- Readability optimization
- Quality content
- Product descriptions and meta descriptions
- UI and UX design
- Mobile responsiveness
- Image and video optimization
Using SEO effectively and appropriately can help your website rank higher
on search engines like Google and Bing. SEO can benefit social media marketing as well.
The right eCommerce SEO professionals can
help your business rise to new heights.
2. Social Media
Social media was originally meant for communication. However, it serves a multitude of purposes now.
The number of people that browse social media to buy products and services hasincreased
dramatically. Understanding this, business marketing has become one of the main ways
social media platforms earn money.
You must not forget that not every social media platform is the same. Each platform
has its own demographic. The ideal thing to do is to study which social media platforms
are popular among your clientele.
The social media business account you create for your business needs to detach itself
from your personal accounts. You can boost your presence online by using this business page
as a marketing funnel.
Like I said, keep your personal and business pages separate.
Facebook, for instance, discourages users from running businesses on personal accounts.
They offer special features and tools for business accounts to help them navigate business
and easily interact with customers.
3. Paid Ads
Paying to get your business advertised can cost more, but it definitely has its perks.
It offers a higher ROI (Return on Investment) ratio and increased targeting options.
Traditional promotion methods like posting flyers and postcards cost way more than the
online rates for pay per click or view.
Did you know that Google’s daily search count amounts
to a staggering 3.5 billion searches?
As you can see, people are moving further and further away from traditional methods of communication.
You definitely have a better chance with online modes.
All your digital marketing strategies, including social media, email, paid advertising and SEO
are all connected by the single motive of promoting your business. Thanks to the marketing options now
available on social media and email platforms, you have way higher reach than before.
How can I measure my Success?
You know what?
ECommerce holds promise. It is an industry that will not go away anytime soon.
Even if you are trying to build a permanent career out of selling online or just looking for some extra money,
eCommerce will provide a solid ground. If you are wise with your decisions, everything
will turn out fine. The secret is to choose your product/service area right, and to be
passionate and committed about it.
Now that you have a basic understanding of how to start an eCommerce store, you might
be wondering what the measurements of success are.
How can you determine that you are actually making a profit? How can you know whether you
are bearing losses? How can you know whether or not you are improving?
Analytical data is the way to find out.
1. Pick an eCommerce Software that provides Analytical Data
An eCommerce platform that offers analytical data is going to give you a summary of your
website and its performance. Analytics are able to tell you the number of people that
clicked on your sounds, that bounced back, that browsed through your content. This
numerical evidence is solid and trustable.
You can use this data as a point of departure to figure out
how many of these customers actually made purchases.
Now that you have the data, it is time to help increase the conversion rates.
One way of doing this is through Google’s retargeting campaigns that
allow you to reach out to visitors that checked out a product but decided not to buy.
Shopping cart recovery tools can persuade customers to rethink their
decision of abandoning their cart. What happens in this process
is that you send a prompt marketing email to the customer with regard
to the abandoned items. This way, even if you can’t always persuade them to buy,
you can at least get consumer opinions on why they decided not to continue
with the purchase. This feedback will be incredibly important in improving
2. Make Use of Google Analytics
Analytics offered by eCommerce platforms are not broad enough to provide
an overall insight to your progress. That is when Google Analytics
comes into play.
Google Analytics will tell you where traffic is generated from. It is an
ideal tool to know the location-based traffic flow to your eCommerce store.
Going along the lines of this information on high and low traffic locations,
you can then start condensing your target audience.
In addition to that, Google Analytics offers information about the visitors’
interactions with your content, bounce rates, traffic sources and the duration visitors spend on the site.
3. Integrate Stats gathered from Social Media Business Pages
Social media platforms have their own system of analysing data. Data extracted
from social media analytic systems can be used to improve and refine the ad
targeting programmes for your business.
Social media data analytics will also offer insights into people’s responses
to the ads you display.
ECommerce - A Window To The Future Of Business
Being aware of the basics of starting an eCommerce store will help you a lot
as a business owner. Nevertheless, you may find it really difficult to commit
your time and energy to build an eCommerce store on your own.
Experienced professionals can help you begin your journey as an eCommerce business
owner with confidence. With the right blend of experience, creativity and technology,
they will get your eCommerce business to flourish while showing you what the
best practices are, so that you can eventually learn to manage your own website
Intrango Web Design can promise and deliver all these and more.
With an abundance of eCommerce platform options to choose from, we offer the
best custom eCommerce websites in Vancouver. After understanding your specific requirements,
budget options, business sizes and marketing goals, we make and execute strategic and detailed plans that cover web design, content, SEO, branding, marketing and more.
Call our team and voice your concerns, and we will offer you a quote after assessing
the size, scale and budget of your project.
Bring your plans and dreams to us. We will guide you towards them from the get-go.
How do I expand a Brick and Mortar Store into an eCommerce Store?
If you already own a business and hope to extend it towards online platforms, good for you!
Your presence will be expanded, and your sales are most likely to boost quickly.
Simplicity is a key feature to consider when you choose an eCommerce platform to
move your business to. Shopify, for example, will suit the majority of business
and marketing models. Shopify is easy, and requires little to no prior experience.
You can get it set up on your own, which is highly beneficial if you are looking
to build your own website without the help of professionals.
If you are looking to create a stability as a brand online, WordPress is a better
option than Spotify. WordPress has wider options for customization, and its foolproof
method of integrating creativity with technology can guarantee a wholesome experience
for you as the owner, and your customers .
Maybe you only associate eCommerce stores with retail businesses. This is obviously
not a surprise, as eCommerce features are largely used for the retail industry. With the latest
advancements of technology, eCommerce has become much, much more inclusive than that.
ECommerce stores provide business opportunities for entrepreneurs, service providers,
restaurants, and small businesses. It is pretty easy to start an eCommerce business,
and with the right kind of assistance and tools, it is pretty easy to succeed as well.
Services like healthcare, beauty, and fitness can use an eCommerce store to manage
their bookings and payments. For entrepreneurs, the purpose of an eCommerce store
might be more than just offering a convenient alternative for customers. Entrepreneurs
can use their online space for brand building. Restaurant owners can integrate
online platforms to popularize their menus and allow customers to buy gift cards,
make requests/complaints and place orders online.
In the case of bringing a traditional business successfully into the internet,
the best option is to hire a professional. There are multiple factors to consider
in order to convert a brick and mortar store into an eCommerce store without
jeopardizing your existing sales, customers, and brand quality.
1. Do Market Research
Your research matters just as much as your ideas. Doing industry research before
you dive into your project is a must, especially if you want to have strategic
goals towards success.
Market research is what makes you study the ways in which similar eCommerce businesses
have followed, and the pros and cons of those ways. This helps you decide what
the best methods would be. You can try and find answers to these questions when
you do the industry research:
- Who are the competitors you have in the niche you selected?
- What are the features of successful competitor websites that you can adapt for your store?
- What concerns have customers raised in their reviews?
Looking into these issues will make you rethink what you want to include in your
eCommerce store. You can use successful tactics used by your competitors, and
also avoid the mistakes they have made.
2. Check For Domain Name Availability
This is a tricky part. As you are an already established business, the domain name
you choose might already be under someone else’s ownership. In that case, you
can first check whether the domain owner is willing to sell it. Afterwards, you
can possibly purchase the domain from them, if the price is manageable.
If this is not a possibility, you are left with the option of slightly altering your
domain name. Make sure you do not make drastic changes to the brand. You must make
it apparent to your customers that it is still the same business they trust.
KnowEm is one of the free websites that offer a domain name checking service.
All you have to do is to enter your brand name, and KnowEm would skim over domain services and websites
to let you know which domains are available.
Keep these in mind when you register a domain:
- Pick a simple and memorable name
- Include keywords
- Build your brand stronger by registering domains that that are similar
- Try not to include numbers
- Don’t use lengthy domain names
Using .com is advised if you want to sell globally. For a local business that seeks to
build a local market, the country-level domain (.CA) is more beneficial. Using a local domain
narrows your business down to your country, thus increasing the possibility of showing up more
frequently in local search results. Web crawlers will instantly identify your website as a locally
operating business if you have .ca domain. Selecting .ca over .com as the domain name gives you lots of advantages if you are a Canadian Business.
3. Build the eCommerce Store
An eCommerce store must not be given any less attention than a physical store. In addition to
gaining new customers, you must be very mindful to keep the existing customer base satisfied as well.
Overcomplication is a huge turnoff, because most users are not comfortable with going through
long and tiring purchasing processes.
Before you start introducing new products and services, stick to what you already specialize in selling.
If you are confident with your products, you can rely on your professional designers to correct the
designs and marketing strategies.
The interface of your website has to be designed to appeal to the target market.
A professional designer would know how to match colours, layouts and other
aesthetics based on the type of product or service you sell. For instance,
if you are aiming for younger audiences, adding more colour and bling to make
things interesting would work. The same strategy would not attract mature audiences.
Additionally, younger audiences are the ones most likely to use their
mobile phones and tablets to visit your online store. It is wise to
integrate your eCommerce store with a native app, especially as you are
trying to gain stability online. An app will better manage customer interactions,
product entries, and the overall buying and selling experience.
4. Think About Rebranding
If you ever thought of rebranding, the moment you decide to start an online
store will be a good time to put your thoughts into action. Transitioning
from a traditional store to an eCommerce space is a decisive moment. The
rebrand you have in mind need not to be something massive, it could just
be some tweaks to your theme colours. It could also be something bigger
like altering the business name and logo completely.
Why is rebranding a good idea?
Starting an eCommerce store is different from owning a physical store. Some
things need to be done differently in the online space. However, you need
to be cautious with the changes you are making to your business.
Rebranding is helpful in making changes to the ownership of your business (if any),
giving your business a fresh beginning, creating a clientele around your brand,
and adjusting your business to fit the latest trends of eCommerce.
5. Get Ready To Launch Your Ecommerce Store
Launching a new eCommerce store is a huge deal. Take pride in launching it.
Investing on the launch of your eCommerce store is definitely going to pay off.
The first impression is the strongest, therefore spending on advertising
your store is a wise move if you want to keep your existing and potential
customers hooked. As content marketing is one of the major aspects of getting
your eCommerce store out there, you can rely on the assistance of a professional
to help get your store set up, promoted, and launched. Some
of the digital marketing methods of doing this that are commonly proven successful are;
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Paid ads
- Display advertising
By announcing your online launch loud and proud, you will let the customers
know that you plan to stay long and strong in business for years and years to come.
This helps build confidence, and you will be perceived as an aspiring business
owner with the enthusiasm and commitment needed to succeed in the digitized
marketplace. Now that you have a brick-and-mortar eCommerce store, your
foundation is more secure.
Not everybody responds equally to online shopping. Try to make your eCommerce
store as inclusive as possible with new trends by allowing your clientele to try out different
ways of purchasing. Some consumers need time to get used to an eCommerce store,
so be as helpful and understanding as you can right from the start.