How to Start an E-Commerce Business Online

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Industry experts predict that over 200 million people will be doing their shopping online by the end of 2019. It is, therefore, the right time to start an online business. Setting up an e-commerce platform is very much like setting up a brick-and-mortar business.  It requires that you have a business plan ready, clearly highlighting what your goals are, and what you hope to achieve.

But, having a business plan is just one step.  We will explore other factors you need to have at the top of your mind in setting up your ecommerce platform.

1. Do your market research

Starting a Business online s requires so much more than a product or service.  You need to do due diligence to understand what the market is like.  Some of the factors to consider are how your product is different from what is already available.   You will need a good understanding of what your competitors are doing, and how you can do it better. And most importantly, you will need a good understanding of your target audience.

2. Develop a Business Plan

A business plan helps you answer the important how, why, where, and when questions.  All this will help you plan the different aspects of running your business.  Such include having a proper objective, deciding on the financial elements, timelines, among others. Doing a SWOT analysis will help clarify many of the issues that you will cover in the business plan.

3. Develop a Marketing Plan

Starting an online business, just like a physical one, requires that you have a proper marketing plan. You will need to spread awareness of your product or services using cost-effective strategies.   You have the advantage of having social media platforms to help you directly target your audience base.  A well-thought-out plan, using the right channels, will give you the impact that you need to launch and propel your business to the next level.

4. Decide On a Business and Domain Name

A business name is an essential part of any company; whether online or offline. Fortunately, there are many online tools you can use to help you generate the right name.  Platforms such as Shopify are a great resource to use when brainstorming for a business name.

Ensure that you get a memorable,   easy to spell, easy to pronounce name.  It should also communicate what your business is about.  You will need to run a search to ensure that no one else is using the name.  If it is available, go ahead and register it so that no one else can take it from you.

When you use the Shopify name generator tool, it will also suggest available domain.   You need to get a domain name that is easy to spell.  Many people lose business because the domain name is complicated and hard to remember.

5. Get a Website

Think of your website as the brick and mortar store if it was an actual shop.  Pay attention to the design aspects of the website. If you feel that you do not want to spend too much money, many online tools can help you with the process of setting up a site.  However, we would recommend that even if you do the bulk of the work; get an expert to check that it looks good.

Pay attention to the web host provider you choose.  The whole thing about an e-commerce store is the user experience.  You will lose visitors to your website if your pages are slow loading.  A poorly designed website will also not encourage people to log on to it.

6. Register Your Company

You will need to register the business, and you have several options available.  You can register as a sole proprietor if you have a partner; register it as a business partnership.  You also have the option of registering it as a corporation or LLC.    Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and so you need to do your research well to have a proper understanding

7. Networks Are Important

Anyone who is doing business on the online platform will tell you how important it is to join the right networks.  You get to learn a lot from those who have already been in the business.  You also get a lot of referrals for your company.

Conclusion

Starting an online business requires the same level of effort you would expend when setting up a physical store. You need to do your market research and develop a business plan to guide your activities. You will find a lot of competition on the online platform, and positioning yourself well is vital.  Invest in ensuring that your customer service is top-notch because there are a lot of choices online.  It is, therefore, very easy to lose customers to your competitors.

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