STARTING AN ECOMMERCE BUSINESS – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
E-Commerce is growing dramatically in recent years and it will surely become the trend of the future. If you are looking for this article and other similar ones, and if you have little intention of starting your eCommerce business, then you have taken the first step on the road to conquering challenging and interesting eCommerce industry. Now, before you learn about how to increase sales, build your app, optimize your website, CO-WELL Asia will give you some background knowledge and what do you need to know before you get started?
What is eCommerce?
According to Wikipedia: “E-Commerce (electronic commerce) is the activity of electronically buying or selling of products on online services or over the Internet.”
The most common type of eCommerce that we have already known and joined is online retailing, where people buy and sell goods via the internet or any platforms. E-Commerce also comes in the form of electronic markets and online auctions.
Before starting an eCommerce business, you should know that there are 3 popular eCommerce business models:
- Business to Business (B2B): the sale of goods or services between businesses.
- Business to consumer (B2C): this is the most common and traditional business model where the sellers sell goods or services in demand for the buyers, usually in small amounts.
- Consumer to consumer (C2C): When you don’t want something of your own, a book for example, and you resell it to your friend, that’s where C2C happens.
Why starting an eCommerce business?
- No more geographical borders: For the traditional physical store, you can only serve the locals. But for your eCommerce business, the only border is your will to do.
- 24/7/365 available: No longer an open at 8 and close at 10 store. Now with eCommerce stores, your store is always available and there is no time limitation for your customers.
- Targeted audiences: “Data is gold”. For online businesses, there are many sources for you to access your customers’ data. You can also track the emerging trend on the market.
Starting an eCommerce business – The basic steps
1. What to sell?
This is pretty basic to understand that whenever you start a business, you need to think of what to are going to sell first. Also, you need to find out your SWOT (Strengths – Weaknesses – Opportunities – Threats) to sell it.
To the customers/markets, it’s essential that you sell what the customers desire and what fits in a growing market.
To your business, you need to choose products that could return in profit to help you expand your business in the future.
2. What to research before starting an eCommerce business
The research step, to be exact, along with finding out what to sell, needs to be done in parallel.
“We’re all blind birds if we do without researching”
There are many things to research before starting an eCommerce business. But basically, what you need to look at are your:
- Competitors: selling the same products, being in the same platform, having the same brand orientation
- Customers: what they expect your products would deliver and cost, what are their opinions about you and your competitors
- Pricing strategy: Profit is important, but your products price needs to base on customers’ expectation and its competitiveness
- Unique selling points: what makes you and your products stand out from others
At this point, after you already grab a decent amount of information, you can start to make a plan to visualize your path, how big your business can grow, who you can cooperate with, what are the opportunities and possible obstacles.
3. How your customers would talk about you – Brand identity
When you have potential products that could be profitable, along with a clear overview and details about the market, it’s time to think about how your customers would look at and talk about you. They are your brand name, your logo, and slogan, your website, your app icon in the app stores. Differentiate your brand right at the beginning help you save time to impress your customers and save your effort to compete with your competitors. Here are a few things about brand identity that you should know:
- For your slogan: Keep it short and simple so it can stay in your audiences’ mind (not longer than 9-10 words). For example, Nike’s slogan “Just do it” is one of the most impressive slogans, because it’s short and easy to remember.
- For your logo and app icon: Design your logo and app icon with bold shape and minimal colors to make it appealing. It should express your brand and what you do. Look at Puma’s logo with a black jumping panther. Its 2 contrast colors (black and white) and the panther symbol strongly express an athlete’s spirit: speed, strength, suppleness, endurance, and agility.
4. How you would sell your products?
There are 2 ways for you to set your online business:
- Build your own eCommerce site: This way, you can build your store from scratch, anything of your site will come from your idea and be made with your decisions. Your site would become completely customizable. However, this can be pretty pricey, and developing a site may need the help of professional developers. So think about this when you have achieved the business scale that you desire.
- Build on an off-the-shelf platform: This is a more encouraging way to start with as you can build your store with existing themes and extensions. Magento is now the biggest eCommerce platform that can surely help you with this starting an eCommerce business process. This can be cost-saving and time-saving. But of course, since built on existing themes, your site can hardly be customizable.
5. Look for an eCommerce solutions partner
As we have mentioned, either you develop an eCommerce site on your own or build on a platform, professional developers are required. Starting an eCommerce business can be pretty overwhelming and you may consider an experienced partner to help you along the way.
We – CO-WELL Asia, have proudly become a Magento business solution partner. With our experience, we have the confidence to accompany you to your eCommerce business success.
Find more details about our eCommerce service here.