Then let’s start with how you can open an e-commerce business in just 07 easy steps
So let’s understand what is e-commerce in a layman’s terms before diving deep into opening a store?
E-commerce refers to selling or buying products/services on the internet to a wide number of customers, and we will be more concerned with selling products to our target customers.
Now you will be thinking we all know this why don’t you start with the 07 easy steps for building e-commerce?
So my main motive to define e-commerce is, to make you understand the essence of e-commerce before entering into the battlefield of e-commerce.
In the definition, I have highlighted one of the most important pillars of the e-commerce store is, its Loyal customer which is very imperative for every business to get succeed in the competitive market.
Before getting, started I want to you keep one thing very clear that whatever market your target just make sure that your product/service adds value to the lives of customers. If your product created value for the lives of the customer and your customer is satisfied with your product no one “can hold hands of your e-commerce business.”
Let’s move on to 07 easy steps for opening an e-commerce store.
- Deciding business model
- Niche [which market segment you will target?]
- Product/Services [which will add value to their lives or solve the customer problems]
- Choose an e-commerce platform for making a website?
- How to deliver the product? or which Logistics to select in the beginning.
- How to market your e-commerce store?
- Obtain license and permits for the business
1. Deciding business model
The first and foremost thing you have to select is which business model you will opt for your e-commerce business.
The business model is divided into 6 major categories:
- Business to business (B2B)
- Business to consumer (B2C)
- Consumer to business (C2B)
- Business-to-Administration (B2A)
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
1.B2B eCommerce business model
Primarily concentrates on providing products from one business to another. Still, many companies in this niche are service providers. You can find a software development company, call centre, HR firm, accounting and bookkeeping services, etc.
2. B2C eCommerce business model
The B2C domain is what most people think of when they imagine an eCommerce business. It represents the most in-depth market. B2C sales are the traditional retail model, where a company sells to individuals. In the eCommerce case, the business is settled in the online world instead of in a physical store.
3 .C2B eCommerce business model
Although C2B is increasing in prevalence, it still represents one of the types of eCommerce businesses people don’t immediately think of when exploring this topic and market. C2B means that a consumer is selling goods or services to businesses. C2B is different from traditional eCommerce business models.
4 B2A eCommerce business mode
eCommerce is also referred to as the business to government (B2G) eCommerce. The other types of eCommerce business models represent the essential and most frequently used eCommerce retail structures. However, B2A (or B2G) also implies transactions with businesses or consumers, even being a bit different.
5. C2C eCommerce business model
While B2B and B2C types of eCommerce business models are pretty intuitive concepts for most, C2C is a bit different. Consumer to consumer represents a business model that enables commerce between private individuals. Consumer-to-Administration (C2A) – Amazon, eBay
I would recommend if you are starting an e-commerce business with a low budget start with the B2C model that is the most widely used in the e-commerce industry.
2. Find your Niche
After selecting the business model the next most important step is to find your niche.
what is a niche, and why it’s so important?
A niche refers to the specialized segment of the market for a particular kind of product or service.
Ex- In our city, every product/service has a dedicated area in the market if anyone has to purchase the product has to go into that market area.
Niche is like the same dedicated area in the online market which we have to select and target so that a particular audience related to that product/ service can come there.
It’s important because if you have not decided on the niche you won’t be able to find the product you want to sell online and the most important thing you will not get an understanding of customer problems.
Many e-commerce businesses get succeed in the market because they have targeted a particular market segment.
If you try to sell every product in the e-commerce store there are high chances that your business get inefficacious
So, before getting started just make sure that you finalize your niche.
3) Find out the product /service for your store
After you have decided on your niche that’s very appreciated! the next thing you have to search is the customer problem in that niche or the needs of the customer.
Now you would be thinking about how you can get to know about customer problems or needs?
So you can perform the following activity:-
Take the survey- Make a survey form and send those forms to the targeted audience and give them a small giveaway for the filling of form
Check your competitor’s products review on amazon or other e-commerce platforms and find out loopholes in their product and make sure that your product eliminates them.
Now many of us have a question in mind that:-
- How can we know that our product/service in the market will get successful or not?
- How can we get the contact number of the wholesaler?
1) So for this, we have to perform a sample method in which you will take some goods from the wholesaler as samples and will see how it respond in our e-commerce store if the result is positive then we can think of buying the product in the bulk.
2) For this we can search products on indiamart.com and from there you can get the wholesalers number.
One thing you have to always make sure that the product/services should be customer-oriented in other words it should create some value or solve problems in the life of the consumer.
And one more key point if you are starting your e-commerce store make sure you have funds for maintaining inventory because in starting you have to sell goods only on COD(cash on delivery) to develop trust in the mindset of the consumer.
4) Choose an e-commerce platform for making the website
At this point, you have completed your search for the product to be sold on an e-commerce store. In this way, the majority of our steps thus far have mirrored the process of starting a brick-and-mortar business.
Now, however, instead of searching for a location and preparing to set up up your physical store, you’ll start creating your website and online store.
Like a physical storefront, this website will be the face of your business — it’s what your customers will see first and what they’ll use to browse and purchases your products or services. With this in mind, creating your website will be one of the most important parts of starting your e-commerce business. You’ll want to consider a few different points as you develop your online storefront:
First, you’ll want to think about your domain name, as we mentioned above. You’ll want your domain name to (at least closely) match your business name. Along these lines, and perhaps your most significant decision will be choosing an e-commerce platform.
Whether an all-in-one software, like Shopify or an open-source platform, like Magento, your e-commerce platform will be the base you use to build and develop your online store
Most e-commerce platforms not only allow you to create and launch your online store, but also customize your design, add your domain (or purchase one), manage inventory, take and ship orders, receive payment, and more
Although there are hundreds of these platforms available on the market, you might consider any of the following popular solutions for starting your e-commerce business are:
Shopify – Perhaps the most well-known and popular e-commerce software out there, Shopify offers an all-inclusive, user-friendly solution with a variety of add-ons. You can purchase a Shopify subscription in one of four plans, starting with Shopify Lite at $9 per month (this plan doesn’t include a full online store).
Woo-commerce – If you already have started a WordPress site, or are familiar with the platform, you can download WooCommerce to start selling on your WordPress site. This plug-in is open-source, free to download and includes the full range of e-commerce features. Compared with Shopify, however, WooCommerce is best-suited for business owners who have some technical knowledge to take advantage of its open-source nature.
Squarespace – Most often thought of as a website builder, Squarespace also offers e-commerce capabilities and is known for its modern templates. You can choose from two eCommerce-specific plans from Squarespace — Basic at $12 per month or Advanced at $40 per month.
Magento – Finally, if you want to be able to customize every aspect of your online store, you might choose to use the open-source version of Magento. With this e-commerce platform, you can manipulate every element and customize your site — but you also must have the technical skill (or pay for it) to do so
In my recommendation, if you are new or beginner to the website building so you should prefer going for Shopify the best and easy to use e-commerce platform
5) How to deliver the product? or which Logistics to select at the beginning
That’s the important question which comes to everyone mind that which courier service will deliver my product?
So you will get the answer to this question in the coming explanation.
Let’s understand how choosing the best logistic company can make your e-commerce business earn more profit:
Using a good eCommerce shipping process can help you become a more transparent organization, internally and towards your customers. You know exactly at what stage of shipping your product is and you can also keep your customer updated with the latest information. This also improves brand value and creates a positive image of your brand in the consumer’s mind.
Reduced Over Head Cost
Using systematic inventory management and demand forecasting, you can easily customize your shipping process and tasks such as shipping schedules, medium of shipping, packaging details, etc. This helps save time and money for the business.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Offering improved processes such as timely eCommerce delivery solutions, safe payment options, multiple eCommerce delivery options, cost-effective charges, and constant transparency ensures that customers will be satisfied and keep coming back for more.
A great eCommerce shipping service plan can help in streamlining your deliveries. A consistent strategy and good fulfilment rate can help you get an edge over your competitors, as customers prefer companies that offer the best services.
Increased Business & Sales
Now that everything is in place, you will get more customers which will increase your business and sales. Thus, your logistics solutions go a long way in increasing sales in the long-run
So there are multiple courier services available which you can opt for, by your business and objective.
With its reasonably competitive prices, FedEx is considered to be one of the best courier services in India for every e-commerce venture. The only drawback with FedEx is that they do not cover a wide area for delivery, which might be a problem with e-commerce companies as they may receive an order from any part of the country. Other than that, they have wonderful reviews about their pickup delivery services. Also, it is renowned for its international shipping model and comes with a variety of shipping options for its sellers to choose from.
DTDC has been in the shipping business since 1990 and has an extensive network covering almost all parts of the nation. Though the services are reliable, they may not suit the requirement of a small e-commerce business because of their price. The DTDC courier charges are slightly on the higher side, for an established e-commerce venture they are still pretty affordable. Although it originated from India, it has spread its reach across the world to 220 countries.
eCom Express is a newbie in the e-commerce shipping market, but it is considered suitable for those looking for both shipping and logistics services. They have the best service delivery in terms of express delivery and returns. Their rates are very affordable, and they have shown tremendous potential with their service quality and response time.
Blue Dart is a well-known name in shipping and logistics operations in the country. Their prices might seem high, but you get the option to bargain. Their high customer satisfaction rate is enough to make use of your persuasion skills.
Another emerging player on the list is Delhivery. Even though they are fairly new, they are good enough to meet the shipping requirements of a new eCommerce business looking for an affordable yet reliable shipping partner. The delivery services online offered are top-notch and they are growing rapidly.
For nationwide coverage and steep pricing, there can be no better alternative than DHL. They are reliable and are readily available to accommodate the needs of any eCommerce platform. Also, they have DHL eCommerce, a branch dedicated only to eCommerce businesses. They provide a seamless international eCommerce delivery service with proper transit times and customs clearances. The courier charges in India are slightly high as compared to other local carriers.
If you are looking for a shipping service provider that has the most extensive coverage across the nation, then India Post Service is the most reliable name. Even regarding prices, they are among the most affordable options that you would ever see. They have also been vouched for their reliability in sending the package even at the remotest of the location.
First Flight Couriers
The first flight is slowly but increasingly strengthening its position in the competitive shipping sphere. They have spread themselves across the nation and are highly affordable for new e-commerce ventures. They ship to over 220 countries and have over 10 offices across the globe. Their pin code coverage is near 4500 pin codes across India.
GoJavas is no longer a new name in the e-commerce shipping industry. Earlier they were working for Jabong only, but now they are offering services to other e-commerce platforms as well. Their rates are competitive, and their services are reliable for delivery as well as pick up from an e-commerce business point of view.
If you’re looking for a solution that offers the cheapest courier services at discounted prices, then go for Shiprocket. We have partnered with FedEx, Ecom Express, and 17 other courier partners to provide seamless shipping to eCommerce businesses.
It is an automated solution that allows eCommerce businesses to choose a delivery partner for every order. You can decide from the carriers based on the price, pick up or delivery region and their preference. Moreover, companies can also get to sync their orders from all channels and ship them from one platform.
With such options available at your disposal, you can choose the cheapest courier partner for your store and improve sales.
In my recommendation skyrocket is the best if you are starting your e-commerce store.
6) How to Market your E-commerce Store
The most important step without this step it’s very difficult for your e-commerce store to create a presence in the online market and bring sales. Imagine if you are making a very unique product or giving a unique service that can add value into the lives of the consumer
But no one knows about your eCommerce store so there will be no sale for that product/service so marketing is very important for an e-commerce store to make it visible to the vast consumer.
So you have to choose a social media platform for promoting your e-commerce store and for this you’re time given for niche selection will help you a lot.
In the selection of niche, you have chosen the target market when we decide the target market we simultaneously decide which product to be sold on e-commerce store and we try to get information about our consumers that at which social media they hang out the most and that data is very essential for promoting e-commerce ads.
So I am sharing some tips, how you can promote your store.
1] Integrate social media
Integrating social media is the best idea to promote your store and interact with your target consumer. Making your presence known on popular networking sites such as Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn is a recipe for success.
How can you utilise social media marketing for your e-commerce website? Here are some examples:
- Create a social media page and share links to your website.
- Post quality images and videos on networking sites like Facebook or Instagram.
- Incorporate social share buttons and plugins on your website.
- You can get customer feedback about your product or service.
- You can create a poll and can know about customer opinion about the existing product and the new service/product you want to start you can ask about whether they want or not.
- You can run the Ads on multiple social media platforms to get the traffic on your e-commerce store.
In my recommendation start with Facebook ads has the best conversion rate start with low investment don’t invest too much in FB ads in the beginning just see the response of your FB ads for one month you will get the result as well as you will be able to know more about your consumer.
So Email marketing is the best marketing strategy and every e-commerce store try to build its tribe on email now if you don’t know about tribe so tribe in simple term is the mix of potential buyers and Actual Buyers of that product its the best way of promoting your shop catalogue.
So how to make a tribe through Email Marketing:
- Make sure you registered the email of everyone who visits your site I know people won’t sign up with their email so easily give them something in return so it can provoke them to sign it
- Send Emails to the existing buyers who have purchased from your e-commerce store send them catalogue in mail discounts exclusively for them.
3] Create Quality Content
Aside from promotional ads, creating informative content is the key to gaining more customers. Not only does it help in grabbing your audience’s attention, but content marketing establishes your brand’s credibility. By providing engaging content based on your products and services, you’ll help your customers understand the nature of your business.
7) Obtain license and permits for the business
Now when we have completed all the 6 steps and the business start to grow so the next step in the process is applying for an e-commerce license and permits.
Now many of you would be thinking that this step should be in the starting why at the end I have kept?
Because I don’t want you stuck at a step and thinking about licenses and permits only many people in e-commerce did not start their e-commerce store because they see this step as a headache so I have kept at the end, that you start your e-commerce store first then as the demand for the store starts to increase we can fulfil all the legal formality.
So for the business to become a separate entity you have to apply for EIN(Employer identification number) It will help you to keep business and personal finance separate.
Although not all business entity types are required to have an EIN, this nine-digit number can be useful to help you separate your personal and business finances. Plus, you can apply for an EIN from the IRS, for free — either online, by mail, fax, or phone. Since you’re learning how to start an e-commerce business, you’ll very likely want to apply for this business tax ID online, and once you do, you’ll receive your number instantly.
After you’ve applied for your EIN, you’ll now want to obtain any business licenses or permits needed to operate legally within your city and state.
As we mentioned above, if you’ve established your e-commerce business as a sole proprietorship or general partnership, you don’t need to register your business with the state — unless you’re filing a DBA to legally operate under a specific business name.
For the other business entity types, however, you will need to register your business with your state and receive a general operating license. Depending on where your business is located, you may also need to acquire a local operating license as well.
Generally, because most e-commerce businesses are home-based, they do not require as many business licenses and permits as brick-and-mortar stores. However, you’ll want to determine what the specific requirements are in your area — you can usually find this information online via your state or local government website.
For example, most locations require that home-based business owners receive a home occupation permit to legally operate. This type of permit simply shows that by operating your business out of your home, you aren’t adding traffic, noise, or problematic conditions to your location.
Additionally, if you have any doubts or want my help in anything related to eCommerce, feel free to shoot me an email here at [email protected] – and I will try my best to help you out.