The Internet has revolutionised the modern world. It greatly changed the way we interact with each other, consume information, and even how we do business.
Because of continuous advancements in the digital place, more and more people started to venture into ecommerce—and it’s easy to see why.
Ecommerce stores have low barriers to entry, trillions of dollars of global transactions, and skyrocketing digital growth forecasts—the potential truly is astounding.
In the past, a store’s customer base is limited to people within the area. Thanks to the internet, stores these days can cater to customers at the local, national, and international levels all at the same time.
This in-depth guide to ecommerce aims to help beginners like you know the basics and set yourself up to success as you start your ecommerce store.
Let’s start with the basics.
Ecommerce—short for electronic commerce—allows people to purchase goods and services over the internet through a website. In the simplest terms, an ecommerce store is an online shop.
Big online retailers such as Amazon, eBay, and Etsy all fall under the ecommerce category. Many businesses—such as Ikea, Walmart, and American Apparel—that started with brick-and-mortar stores also started creating their own ecommerce arm.
If you have ever purchased anything online, you already understand how ecommerce functions from the perspective of a customer. This guide aims to explain ecommerce from a business perspective.
You must have a product or service that your customers want or need. Even if you have the most perfect product in the world, if no one actually wants or needs it, sales won’t come in at all.
This approach is also known as the customer-centric approach. You start by identifying a gap in the market and then create an offering that closes that gap. What do people need at this time? What do they want? What problems are they trying to solve?
Conducting market research is crucial to answer those questions. Make use of social media to do surveys or create Facebook groups to get insights from your target market. Know their opinions, thoughts, and feelings because these are usually the main influencers of their buying behavior.
Once you have an offering that people want with a proposition that clearly communicates how and why they need your product or service, whatever it is that you are trying to market will sell itself.
There’s no single entrepreneur who knew it all right off the bat. Even those who had new technology and products that sold like hotcakes with minimal efforts had to continue learning so they can sustain sales and establish long-term profitability.
Prioritize learning marketing to the fullest extent because it can really make or break your business. As mentioned earlier, ecommerce stores have low barriers to entry. This is good for new entrants but will also be a challenge in the long run.
Competitors sprout like mushrooms on a daily basis. If you don’t know how to make your business stand out, you will drown. Start learning marketing by taking as many online courses you can find.
Learn how to create an ecommerce website that converts, how to effectively promote your products or services, how to set and hit marketing goals, how to maximize several marketing channels, and more.
The bottom line is you must be willing to invest in yourself upfront. It’s normal to rely on your personal savings when you are just getting started.
Another top advice to all new ecommerce entrepreneurs is to put profitability at the top of your priorities. Yes, revenue is great, but if your expenses grow even bigger and drive your business to the edge it’s time to revisit and review your business model from top to bottom.
Around 30% of small businesses fail because they run out of cash. A lot of small businesses are actually losing money and only a few are profitable.
Most people believe that businesses—especially those that are bootstrapped - can’t be profitable right from the start. But this is not true. Prioritizing profitability will help sustain your business even as you go through some inevitable low points.
Related to tip number three, prioritizing profit means maintaining low expenditures and religiously abiding to the lean startup model.
It’s understandable to feel really excited and ecstatic once money starts to come in. You might think that expensive business meals or salaries for you and your partners are now doable.
However, remember that payroll is one of the most expensive costs among startups. Until absolutely needed, do your best to put money back into the business as much as you can. Put off nice-to-haves and prioritize sustainability at this point.
This tip is also useful if you intend to raise money long-term. Investors would love to hear you talk about how your bootstrapped business was able to save cash while you were still in the building process.
Every cent counts. Now is the time to get creative. Challenge yourself to offer trades and build relationships without spending costs here and there.
Ecommerce types are basically similar to the different types of business transactions. You have Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C), Consumer to Business (C2B), and Consumer to Consumer (C2C).
More and more people started to prefer buying online versus going to physical stores. Online shopping provides convenience and wider selection to buyers. Having an ecommerce site will help you capture this customer base. There are different ecommerce builders you can choose from when you finally decide to create a website for your business.
Before you start building your website, make sure you have considered the fundamentals in identifying the best platform. Your top consideration should be how the platform can support the product or service you are selling. Can it support inventory tracking? What about multiple product options?
After the basics, you can now check the design options, security, integration, payment gateway, and pricing. Here is a review of some of the best ecommerce website builders to help you get started.
Aesthetics alone will create an impressive website. The true measure of a good site is its usability and user-friendliness. If your customers cannot figure out how to navigate your site, then it’s all for nothing.
Make everything guiding and intuitive. There are a lot of other shops online so your goal is to make the shopping experience in your site quicker and more convenient so they don’t have the chance to switch to other shops anymore.
Armed with this information, you should have everything you need to get your ecommerce business off the ground. If you want to see more ecommerce tips or check out the top ecommerce website builders, contact PageKits today.