Starting an online business from scratch can initially seem daunting, but there are plenty of resources available to help you launch.
Everything from designing your logo and brand, deciding on what product to sell, creating the content for your website and attracting a loyal customer base might seem difficult at first.
This guide shall briefly look at those important aspects and more and provide you with some basic knowledge that can help you become a savvy online entrepreneur whilst growing your ecommerce business successfully.
Logo and Branding
The stronger and more memorable the branding, the more often customers will choose you over the competition.
Over time, this leads to sustainable growth and once customers recognise and prefer your brand, they are more likely to become loyal customers who trust you and your product and will even support you during economically tough times.
A big part of branding is the creation of a logo, but hiring a graphic designer can be expensive, which is why using a logo maker to design your logo yourself is becoming so popular.
The logo is the face of your overall brand and the design is usually based on one of the five types of logos which are:
- Word mark and Letter mark logos which predominantly use the company name, for example NASA or Coca Cola.
- Abstract mark and Pictorial mark logos usually include an image to reaffirm the brand, such as Apple
- The Combination mark can use both company name and an image, for example Adidas or Nike
With many ways to create a logo these days, these logotypes are often intertwined, but whichever type you choose, the most important factor is to make sure your logo is memorable and serves as a visual reminder of what your ecommerce business is all about.
Ecommerce Business Models
There are a wide range of business models or structures that you can choose from, but no specific model will guarantee success or work for all people. This is where excellent research comes into play and the more time you invest researching, the more you eventually get out of your ecommerce business.
One model that is popular right now is where you choose to focus primarily on a single product in a niche market that is high in demand, meaning that you can focus your attention and efforts into driving sales and monetising traffic to your website as well as using affiliate marketing to supplement your revenue.
Other ecommerce models include selling digital products, services or subscriptions, drop shipping, print on demand, or apps.
Owning your own warehouse and physical products will require much more investment initially, and so will creating a new product, which requires research into the white labelling and manufacturing model.
The research here is crucial as you want to invest in a business that interests you and gives you motivation to improve and carry on when times are difficult.
Find a Niche in the Market
Ultimately, with such a vast array of products available that you can use for your ecommerce business, a good place to focus on first is a particular niche or product category that has few major competitors already in the market.
There are tools online that show what consumers are looking for and what products are currently hot in the market. This ultimately means less work to do when attempting to drive sales, and as long as there is a demand and with the right marketing, customers will come to you.
It is important to avoid major brands, as they often have a monopoly on that market already. Therefore, we would suggest reading this guide on how to find your perfect niche market.
With the logo, branding, business model and niche market area decided on, the target audience will be the next focus before you decide exactly on the product you wish to sell.
This concept applies to every piece of marketing material your business uses to connect with customers.
For example, if you use social media such as Instagram, the message and branding must appeal to your target audience in the same way as your website content and even offline advertising such as posters, radio ads, TV ads, and billboards do.
Knowing who your customers are and their behaviours is important to succeed and having a consistent brand image is often a way to establish yourself for the long-term.
Questions such as – What does your store represent? Who is your ideal target audience? What are they buying at the moment and where from? Are all valuable to see if there is a potential gap you can exploit in your chosen niche market.
Business Plan and Launching the Online Store
Once you reach this step, you should have a good idea of what it is you want to sell and most of the aspects mentioned previously should be more or less in place.
Completing the business plan will confirm certain financial aspects that cover start-up budget, loans that might be needed to purchase inventory, projecting income and expenditure and more.
There is also the need to decide on website plans and security and this all adds to the total cost.
When finishing the design and launching your online store, the important aspects that ecommerce entrepreneurs need to consider include offering different payment gateways, SEO marketing and web development, ensuring the website is user-friendly and functions correctly and that sales traffic is directed correctly to your store.
However, building a website is a feat in itself. Consider outsourcing to an eCommerce website development company if you are out of your depth.
There are many more resources available online which cover these topics in greater depth and this requires more research that will undoubtedly hold you in good stead in the long run as you begin to embark on your ecommerce journey.