With online shopping quickly rising to be the preferred method of buying items for many shoppers, there has never been a better time to start an online store. This trending moneymaking method is a way to take a brick-and-mortar business to the internet and an inexpensive way to start a business from the ground up. Learning to start an e-commerce business can make for a lucrative side hustle or even full time job.
So, if e-commerce is great, how do you start an e-commerce business? You want to manage your time correctly to launch a successful business soon. It’s a little harder than it looks when you have many things to do, but you can start your brand-new business quickly with the right mindset and strategy. Let’s discuss how you can create your own online business!
Table of Contents
What Is an E-commerce Business?
First and foremost, let’s discuss what constitutes an e-commerce business. According to Amazon, an e-commerce business “is a business model where buyers and sellers exchange goods and services with consumers over the internet.” Not only does Amazon have the right idea about what an e-commerce business is, but they are also the largest e-commerce company in the United States.
How Do You Start an E-Commerce Business?
So how do you start an e-commerce business? Before you go and list anything for sale, make sure to follow these crucial steps.
Decide What You Are Going to Sell
This is the most important aspect you need to consider when you start an e-commerce business. Every step on this list is a decision you will need to start up your store, but this step is the most individual. What you sell will define the other steps down the line.
So, what will it be? Will you sell handcrafted goods like candles, knitted hats, or other creations of your own? Or will you sell goods you ordered to be created by a manufacturer? You might even consider selling products that have already been mass-produced or services you provide as a professional hairdresser, nail artist, or photographer!
Whatever this decision may be, what you sell will define your brand identity, business model, and business plan.
Define Yourself, Your Brand, and Your Business
Now that you have decided on the products you will sell through your e-commerce store, it’s time to take the next essential steps before starting your store. Brand identity and business planning play into how you present your products and services through your online store, so it’s important to figure this out before moving on to creating an e-commerce store.
Defining Yourself and Your Brand for an E-Commerce Business
Your brand identity starts with your target audience. Ask yourself these questions to find your ideal customer:
Who is buying your products? You will need to determine the age, gender, and ethnicity.
Where do they live? Think about factors such as country, state, and city.
What do they do for work, and what do they do in their free time? Determine factors such as their profession, education level, and potential hobbies.
When do they buy your products? Think about the frequency they will buy your products. Will it be monthly, weekly, or one-time?
Why do they buy your products? What will these products do for the customer? Will they help them complete a task faster, make themselves feel better, or are these products a gift for someone else?
This exercise is known as creating a persona. It is described by Marketing Evolution as a great way to find subsections of your audience! You might end up having a very diverse customer base which should be factored into your brand identity and business plan.
Defining Your Business for an E-Commerce Store
Next, it’s time to write your business plan. Come up with a business mission statement focusing on the problem you solve for people. Remember that products and services are purchased for a reason, and your goal is to solve people’s problems or pain points. Decide how much you are willing to invest when you start an e-commerce business at this point, too.
Finally, to complete this step of planning your online shop, choose a logo, name, and color palette that reflects your brand identity, business plan, and products.
Set Up Your E-Commerce Store
Since you have decided who you are, what you sell, and your goals, you can now move on to setting up your e-commerce store. Instead of a physical store location, you are creating an online store location, but you should consider your website your storefront. Your web design and product displays should reflect the brand identity you previously designed to show off your brand to prospective customers who meet your customer personas.
There are many options for you to set up your e-commerce website through. Shopify and Squarespace are by far the most popular e-commerce website builders. Both provide options for your customers to check out directly through the website, allowing you to list your inventory without any hassle.
If you aren’t yet ready to start from scratch and selling homemade products, you might consider setting up a shop on Etsy instead. Etsy is a platform that allows you to sell handmade and unique gifts and requires minimal setup and branding. However, you directly compete with other sellers, and Etsy takes a cut.
Start to Market Your E-commerce Store
There are many different ways in which you can market an online store. Like brick-and-mortar stores, you can market your store online through traditional means. Online or social media advertisements can be effective ways to generate traffic to your online shop, as long as you are marketing to those that match your business personas.
However, these means of advertising cost money whether you are operating pay-per-click ads or running advertisements on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Setting an advertising budget should be part of your consideration when marketing your e-commerce store.
You can also market your e-commerce store through organic traffic, like search engine optimization strategies. These strategies entail tailoring your e-commerce store to appear higher up in Google’s rankings so that when people search for your products online, they find your store. Hiring or consulting with an SEO expert can help start this process.
Ready to Start?
While these steps and the other nuances of running an e-commerce store might sound intimidating, e-commerce is a rewarding side hustle or business. From starting a potential source of side income to beginning life as a business owner, e-commerce is a great way to make money online. As with anything promised to make you money, work is involved, but with hard work and dedication, your profits from your e-commerce site will succeed.
Whenever you decide to get started, just know that you are taking a leap, and the sooner you do so, the sooner you will start seeing rewards!
Cindy started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted to start a meaningful life full of freedom. Cindy took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by teaching them how to save, budget, and invest.