Are you thinking to start your own eCommerce store? It will include many things from developing an online platform to delivering the product to the customer’s door.
Success in the world of eCommerce involves everything from building a unique brand to taking care of your eCommerce order processing and fulfillment. Getting every element right can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. All it takes is a bit of planning, perseverance, and luck.
From customer research to estimating profits, here are five tips you need to know when launching an eCommerce business.
1. Know your customers
Before you begin your eCommerce adventure, you’ll need to know who your customers are and what they want. To do that, you can conduct surveys, interview customers, research competitors, identify trends, and much more.
The end goal of all of the research is to determine if there’s a viable market for what you want to sell. If there is, then you can move on to developing a business strategy for how to do it.
2. Define your brand
Most likely, other brands are selling what you’re selling. That’s why it’s so important to stand out with a unique brand identity. You can do that by defining what you stand for and embracing what makes you different.
Ask some essential questions about what you’re doing and why. What is your brand’s mission? How will that mission be perceived by others? Answering questions like these can inform practical actions like logo design, color schemes, and social media handles.
3. Select an eCommerce platform
After identifying your customers and defining your brand, you’ll want to build an eCommerce platform that reaches those customers. Generally speaking, there are three types:
- Complete eCommerce platforms such as Shopify and BigCommerce – These all-in-one solutions provide you with the software needed to set up and grow a business.
- Websites with pre-built templates such as Squarespace and Wix – This allows you to easily build a site by dragging and dropping website elements.
- WordPress plugins such as WooCommerce – Easily added to an already existing site to optimize it for sales.
Each has its ups and downs, so it’s important to determine what your needs are before choosing one.
4. Find the right manufacturer
Finding the right manufacturer is essential for eCommerce success. That’s why it’s important to define what you’re looking for by asking a few questions.
Do you want to make your own products or connect with a supplier? Do you want to work with local or global manufacturers? The answers to these questions will help focus your search. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful of manufacturers rather than a hundred, you can properly vet each one to make sure they have what you need.
5. Calculate your profit margin
As best as you can, try to estimate your profit margin – how much you’re likely to make versus how much you’re likely to spend. Although not perfect, it can be helpful when deciding if you want to go forward with your business plan.
Add up all the costs – manufacturing, marketing, shipping, etc. – and subtract that from your selling price. If it costs you $40 to make shoes that you sell for $100, then you have a $60 profit.
That $60 represents 60% of the selling price, which is a good percentage to set your sights on achieving. If you get much below that, it can be hard to expand your business.
Keep these eCommerce tips in mind as you find your customers, build your brand, and put your best (digital) foot forward.