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Business Tips eCommerce

How to Start an eCommerce Business in 2021

02/11/2021

This might just be your lucky year!

The internet has given us tons of opportunities and has improved our lives in a way that one could never have imagined before. Now, anyone can easily start a business with only a few bucks and build a website. That’s exactly the reason why more and more people are taking advantage of the internet to pursue their dreams.

Many people dream of becoming their own boss – and one simple way of achieving this goal is by running your own eCommerce business. With eCommerce, you don’t need to be wealthy to build a store. Rather, you only need to have a few extra bucks to build a website, the right mindset, and a proper strategy to execute your plan.

In this blog, I’ll be giving you exclusive tips on how to start an eCommerce business, so you can be guided every step of the way.

Kinds of eCommerce Businesses

Now, if you think that eCommerce is just about having your own products and selling them, then you’re wrong. There are several kinds of eCommerce business models that you can choose from depending on your needs and capability. For starters, we’ve listed below the kinds of eCommerce businesses that you may choose from.

Before building your eCommerce store, you should already have a business plan in mind, which will become your ultimate guide as you make small decisions along the way. This includes knowing the kind of eCommerce business that you want to operate.

Aside from basic retailing for both B2B and B2C businesses, there are also other classifications for eCommerce including the following:

Dropshipping – The simplest form of eCommerce with no inventory. Here, you only need to build a storefront and act as the middle man between the manufacturers/suppliers and the end-consumers. In this business, every order that you receive is directly forwarded to the suppliers who in turn deliver the items directly to your customers. Dropshipping rewards you by getting margins from the base price.

Subscription – This is one of the hottest eCommerce business models today. In subscription, customers sign up so they automatically get regular product/service replenishment. One good example of this is the Dollar Shave Club.

Wholesaling – This eCommerce business model lies on the upper spectrum and requires quite an investment. In wholesaling, you need to manage inventory and stocks while keeping track of your customers’ orders. Plus, you’ll also need a warehouse, which is an additional cost. One example of wholesaling business model is DollarDays.

White Labeling – This eCommerce business model enables you to capitalize on existing products already manufactured by a third party wherein you’ll just need to rebrand the same products to make an impression that you manufactured them yourself.

Private Labeling – This eCommerce business model is one where a retailer utilizes a third-party to produce its products and sells under its own brand name. Here, the retailer has full control over the manufacturing of the products including its specs, packaging, and the items to be used for production.

STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE IN STARTING AN ECOMMERCE BUSINESS

Know your eCommerce Offering

The first thing that you should determine is to know what you will sell. In choosing your product, make sure that you pick a niche that is highly marketable, in demand, and has ample profit margins to ensure the profitability of your business.

Know Your Competition

Once you have an idea of which niche you want to dive into, you need to do some digging and check the current market. Is it dominated by a single large player? Is it a saturated market? Or is there a chance for new players to penetrate and establish a presence? This is essential since you don’t want to get into a niche that is not any more open to new players – unless you will change the status quo of the market.

Choose Your Business Model

If you’re already decided on the business that you want to establish, you now need to choose which type of business model will fit right into your requirements and preferences. There are four kinds of business models that you can choose from including sole proprietorship which is the simplest form, LLC, which is the most popular form of business, partnership, and corporation for bigger businesses. For startup entrepreneurs, forming an LLC can be your best option since it’s relatively easy to set up and provides you with liability protection.

Register your Business

To legalize your business, you must take the necessary steps to register and apply for selling permits accordingly. You don’t want to take this for granted since it may cost you a fortune for fines for not following the right process of setting up a business.

Design your Marketing Elements

Upon completion of the basic foundation of your business, it’s the perfect time to create your branding elements including your logo design, official colors, and other aesthetics. All of this will serve as the personality of your business, which will be visible across your brand messaging.

Find a Supplier

In case you’re not producing your own products, this is the part where you should look for suppliers that can offer you great quality products and high-profit margins. If you’re looking at drop shipping, you must carefully select which suppliers you want to work with since fulfillment is the most important part of drop shipping, and having an unreliable supplier will only cause you losses.

Plan your Customer Order Process

To ensure maximum store conversion, you must design your ordering process as simple as possible. You don’t want to bombard your customers with tons of pop up offers that just hinders them from checking out easily. This is extremely important since you don’t want to lose your customer’s interest.

Write your Brand Policies

Every business needs to be efficient to have a steady flow of income. This is why it’s essential to have your policies and protocols laid out on your website and made available to your customers. By doing this, you can be sure to prevent future misunderstandings since your customers should be well aware of your standard protocols before completing their purchase.

Set up your Webstore

Once you’ve completely defined your ordering process, the next step is to build your web store. This is where you put everything altogether and lay it out nicely on a website. You can build your store from scratch by getting web hosting and registering your domain or you can take the easy way, which is to sign up for an eCommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, etc.

Design a Marketing Strategy

After you finish setting up your website, the next thing to do is to make a Marketing plan, enough to attract customers on your store. This is especially important upon launching since you want to offer exclusive and new deals to drive in customers to try your products.

Create Social Media Profiles

Your eCommerce business is not complete if you don’t take advantage of social media. Social Media is by far the greatest amplifier for any online business today. By integrating social media into your marketing campaigns, you will certainly get the exposure that you need in getting the word out to your target market. Just look at the successful eCommerce brands today like MVMT watches and Kylie Cosmetics – the common ground between them is that they utilize social media platforms perfectly.

Launch your Online Store

After you follow these steps, you can now launch your store and start selling!

The simplest form of eCommerce: Drop Shipping

If you’re still unsure which kind of eCommerce business you want to have, then my recommendation is to try drop shipping. Drop shipping is the simplest form of eCommerce since you won’t have to setup your own warehouse and manage inventory. These things are handled by your supplier directly. Hence, your focus should only be on selling.

With dropshipping, what happens is when a customer submits an order to your store, you receive it and send it directly to your supplier. In turn, your supplier will take over and deliver the products directly to your customers. Simply put, you work as the middle-man between the actual manufacturer/supplier and the end-consumer.

So, if you want to put up an eCommerce business without managing all the logistics that come with it, then dropshipping is the best choice. Dropshipping is perfect for those with sales and marketing background or even if you’re a non-technical person because you can focus more on selling and marketing your products.  Moreover, you have the potential to earn way bigger than that of a traditional retail store due to your minimal overhead costs. To get a better understanding, here’s everything you need to know about dropshipping.

If you don’t know how to start in the drop shipping business, here are some of the best products that you can choose from and a list of the best suppliers.

Key Takeaway

Starting an eCommerce business is simpler than many people thought. With all the available tools that we have today, one can already build an eCommerce store within minutes. With the eCommerce industry’s potential and available technology, there’s simply no reason for you to not push through with eCommerce.

The eCommerce sales are projected to reach a new high in 2021 with an estimated 265% growth rate, from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.9 trillion in 2021. In fact, by 2021, it will account for 17.5% of the total global retail sales. (source: beeketing.com)

Furthermore, if you’re looking at running an eCommerce business that can earn up to 7-figures with no inventory required and with a minimal capital requirement, then my recommendation is to get in the business of dropshipping. If you want to know more about this, check out this eCommerce dropshipping masterclass.

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Author’s byline

Trevor Fenner is the founder of eCommerceParadise.com, a blog about eCommerce and high-ticket drop shipping, a lean business model he has perfected over the last decade which allows him to travel the world as a digital nomad and working anywhere. Trevor owns multiple eCommerce stores selling high-ticket items in the USA while living in southeast Asia most of the year while his team of over 10 virtual assistants around the world manage everything from operations and management to research and marketing for him. Trevor teaches entrepreneurs just like you how to start and grow your own profitable online business. If you want to learn more about this exciting online business model, read his article about What Is High-Ticket Drop Shipping. You can also find Trevor on Linkedin, Facebook, and Instagram.

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