How to start an eCommerce Business

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Starting an eCommerce business can be a profitable business venture and is great for someone who has always dreamed of being their own boss. However, it can be difficult to determine how to start an eCommerce business since there is so much information to sift through these days. That is why we put this guide together to help any budding entrepreneurs with how to start their eCommerce business.


Research eCommerce Models

There is a lot of terminology for different types of eCommerce businesses, so it is important to get an idea of which one you want for your business. These are the four eCommerce model types:

- Business-to-business (B2B): A B2B eCommerce business sells its products and services to other businesses. These tend to have recurring purchases.

- Business-to-customer (B2C): B2C is a common eCommerce business model where your business sells to consumers. This can be anything from homemade jewelry to shoes to furniture. These often sell different brands under a single umbrella.

- Customer-to-business (C2B): With a C2B business, an individual sells their products or services to companies. For example, a freelancer is a C2B model.

- Customer-to-customer (C2C): A C2C model is usually an online marketplace that connects consumers to exchange or sell their products and services. This type of business model includes using sites like Etsy and Craigslist.


Write a Business Plan

One of the most important things you need to start your eCommerce business is your business plan. It will detail your objectives for your business, and you can use it as your road map to getting your business going. If you are going to be seeking a loan for your business, you will need to have a good business plan to share with whatever organizations you are seeking funding from. Some of the things you need to include in your business plan are:

- Executive summary: Break down your overall goals for your eCommerce business.

- Business description: Describe in detail your business.

- Product and services: What products or services will your eCommerce business be offering?

- Competitor analysis: Who are your competitors, is there room in the market for a business like yours, and how do you plan to beat your competition?

- Marketing plan: What is your plan for marketing your eCommerce business?

- Sales strategy: How do you plan to sell your products?

- Financial planning: What are your startup costs? Do you need any help with financing? What is your financial planning for the next few months and years of your business?


Name Your eCommerce Business

Every business needs a name that tells people who you are and what you have to offer. Choosing your business name can be fun, but make sure it reflects your products. Before you officially name your eCommercebusiness, make sure that the name is available both as a domain and on social media. You want your name to be identical on social media and your website, so making sure it is all available so you can make it uniform across platforms is crucial. Claim the domain and the social media names right away to ensure nobody starts a business with a similar name and takes them before you get started.


Register Your eCommerce Business

Once you have your business name, you will need to choose a legal structure for it. The legal structure will determine the financial and legal guidelines of your eCommerce business. The legal structures are:

- Sole proprietorship

- Partnership

- LLC

- Corporation

Take the time to research the business types and consider consulting a lawyer about which one would be the best for your company.

You will also need to get any permits and licenses your city and state require to get your eCommerce business started.


Apply for an Employer Identification Number

An employer identification number (EIN) is a tax ID that you can do on the IRS website for free. If you are going to have employees, you will need to have an EIN, which will be used when your employees file their taxes at the end of the year. An EIN can also help you separate your business finances from your personal finances. With an eCommerce business, you might not have employees in the beginning, so you may not need to do this until later when you are ready to have employees.


What are your products?

You probably have a good idea of what products or services you plan to offer your customers, but now you need to begin developing them. You want to have enough inventory to last you through the first few months, so you can work at your own pace as new orders come in. Do you plan to make your own products, or will you be working with a wholesaler for them?

Come up with unique names for everything you will be offering and take professional quality photos of each item to put on your website when it is ready for launch.


Where will you store your inventory?

Depending on exactly what you are offering, you might need a warehouse to store products, manage inventory, and ship out orders. You can custom-build a steel warehouse for all of this and include space for product development if you are developing it yourself. A steel building is going to be much more affordable than one made from traditional materials. You can leave room for overhead cranes and have plenty of space for everything you need. Plus, steel is so strong that you will not have support columns taking up valuable floor space in your building.


Create the Website for Your eCommerce Business

You know what you are selling now and should have prototypes of everything you will be selling, so now it is time to set up your website. Your eCommerce website is one of the most important things for your business since it is literally where your customers will be coming to shop.

You can set up your website yourself on a platform, or you can hire a web developer to design your website for you. WordPress and Shopify are the best website platforms for you to DIY your site. They both have a lot of customization options and are designed to make it easy for anyone to design a website.


Marketing Your Business

Since you are starting an eCommerce business, marketing is going to make or break your business. Digital marketing can be a time-consuming process, so it is recommended that you hire a digital marketer to help get your marketing going. This is because you need to focus on running your business, and there is a lot of work behind the scenes for digital marketing, especially in the beginning.


Ready to Launch

At this point, you should be ready to officially start your eCommerce business. Put together some promotions for your grand opening that will help entice customers to visit your site ” your digital marketing team can help you with that. The beginning of a business might not run as smoothly as we want it to, so it is important to have some contingency plans in place in case anything goes wrong.

 

About the Author

Auz Burger is a freelance writer and an expert in steel buildings. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade. 

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