9 Steps to Starting an E-commerce Business

8 Min Read

Starting a business, whether it’s a brick-and-mortar retail shop or an e-commerce store, is never easy, but the online forum has never been more crowded. The vast majority of businesses are starting online these days. If you want to survive in any business, you need to have an online presence. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, it is crucial to properly market and promote your business digitally.  

Whether you make a product or provide a service, your business should use all of the tools at its disposal to grow and advertise to your target demographic. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, if you can properly market your ecommerce business you will be able to sell products and services to people who want and need what you’re offering. Below are a few steps to start an ecommerce business.

Find Your Market

Before you even get started, you should start by doing the research to find your market and target demographic. It is important to do the necessary research that determines what you should sell and who you should sell it to. When you’re working in the digital space, it’s crucial to figure out how to best sell your product or service.

Where will you source your materials? Who will be interested in what you are doing? Using graphs and spreadsheets to determine your best case scenario will guide you towards growing your business as you get going. Doing your research beforehand will help you lower your overhead and figure out how to increase your bottom line. When you put in the hard work, you will be able to start your ecommerce business off right.

Start Branding

Once you have decided what your business will do and who you will sell to, you can begin branding. With an idea, you can create a name. You should begin by creating the structure of your business. What is your philosophy? What are your goals?

Coming up with a name is a great way to think deeply about how your business will market itself to your customers. Choose a unique name. Check to see if that domain name is available. As you begin creating your digital infrastructure, consistent branding will help you create a cohesive and original platform. Branding is everything, especially when your business exists mainly online. Creating a memorable brand changes the whole game.

Consider the Legal Structure of Your E-Commerce Business

Whatever your business, the legal structure has important implications for your business. Consider your financial and legal operations of your e-commerce business. Decide on a sole proprietorship, general partnership, LLC, or corporation, but pay attention. Go for the structure will help your business thrive. 

Next, you can consult a legal professional for advice to find the best options for your business. A sole proprietorship or general partnership, it won’t be required to register in the state where your business operates. Associating your business under the individual name means that you will be interacting with the government under that name. Branding can also help with your legal engagements.

Employer Identification Number

Then you should apply for an employer identification number (EIN) for your ecommerce business. While every business isn’t required to get one of these numbers, it can help you separate personal and professional finances. If your business is a small online start-up, it is absolutely necessary to allocate funds for the company and separate them from what your salary is. Keeping these finances separate is very helpful.

E-Commerce Permits & Licenses

It depends on what business you’re in, but if you need to obtain a permit or license you should do so immediately. Some common types include professional and trade licenses as well as sales tax, health, safety, environmental, signage, and construction permits. Since your e-commerce business may be based in your home, you won’t need as many permits. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to an online business, but if you are aware of what aspect of your business will need a permit or license, look into it today.

Start a Website

One of the most important things to do is to create a great website for your ecommerce business. Work with SEO professionals who can help you land your site on Google with keywords, metadata, and blogs to frequently post on your site. A website is often the central switchboard for an online business. Take it seriously by spending the extra time and money to create a great site. Beyond your website, you should make sure to be active on social media.

Choose an E-commerce Platform

Next you will need to choose an e-commerce platform for which you will do business. You’ve probably heard of Shopify and Squarespace. They are user-friendly and accommodating, with specific plans for online businesses. You can use Squarespace to both start the site and as an e-commerce platform. Other platforms like WooCommerce and Magento offer their own benefits and drawbacks. While it depends on who you start your website with, an e-commerce plan platform should work for you and your needs.

Source & Inventory Products

Whatever you’re selling, you should list your product inventory and services. Once you have all of them in the same place, organized and detailed on documents, you will be able to manage your inventory and work towards ecommerce fulfillment. When you have your inventory in line, you will be able to start storing, selling, receiving, packing, and shipping your inventory.

Market your Business

When you have everything else in its right place, you can begin marketing the business. If you’re ready to start increasing sales and growing your company. Marketing is vital in the digital age. Spending the money on advertising and digital marketing will make all the difference. Investing in SEO marketing services will help you stay at the top of search engines and work towards expanding the business.

Getting an ecommerce business started isn’t easy, but there is a clear path towards doing so. If you go through these individual steps and do your due diligence before you start the company, you will be prepared for success.

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