How to Start a Successful eCommerce Business

Starting an online business can be a profitable endeavor. Set yourself up for sucess with our comprehensive guide dicussing the important tasks and variables to consider when launching, and growing a profitable e-commerce store.
Jon Cogan
October 3, 2022

Are you looking to capitalize on the opportunities online shopping provides but don’t quite know how to start a successful eCommerce business? This post will share a few tips for eCommerce start-ups, providing you with the information you need to create strategies for eCommerce success.

How to Build a Successful eCommerce Business

As an aspiring entrepreneur considering launching an online business, you need to understand that creating a thriving eCommerce enterprise requires more than a digital storefront. Here are a few tips that will help you know how to start a successful eCommerce business.

Do Not Rush the Launch

Your eagerness is understandable, but one of the biggest and most common mistakes unsuccessful enterprises make is rushing the launch. Avoid unveiling your business until you have laid the substantial groundwork.

Figure Out Your Operations

It is important to know what your operations will look like. Here are just the more important questions you will want to know the answers to before proceeding with your eCommerce business:

  1. Which platform are you going to use for your eCommerce website? Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce are great for start ups, and you can scale nicely with these as well. Perhaps you want to own more of the tech, in which case you can use a platform like WooCommerce or build your own. There are many options here.
  2. How many SKUs are you selling? How are you obtaining your products? Are you manufacturing the product yourself? Are you using a retail model?
  3. How will you handle your orders when they come in? Will you fulfill them yourself? Use a third party logistics (3PL) company? Dropship? 
  4. What does your product packaging look like?
  5. How will you handle customer service inquiries? How will you staff this department? Will you outsource or hire internally?
  6. What will your rules be around returns and exchanges? Are you going to offer a free trial period for your products? 
  7. Will you offer subscriptions for auto-replenishment? 
  8. What forms of payment are you going to accept? Have you qualified and secured a merchant account?  
  9. How will you handle overstock, out-of-stock, backorders, fraudulent orders.
  10. How are you securing your data?
  11. What kind of reports do you need to run for your business? Can this be handled by something simple like Google Analytics? Or do you need something more custom?
  12. Once you figure all this out and plan for it, you need to come up with a number for your operating expenses (OPEX). This is important to know when figuring out the unit economics for pricing your products.

Price Your Products

Margins are the basis for pricing in today’s current DTC climate, but there are a wide range of variables to consider when crafting your product pricing strategy. Your product pricing strategy determines your overall profitability, positioning in the market, and how your product is perceived by potential customers. 

Along with being financially informed, other key factors to take into account include; sales channels, audience, competition and your unique value proposition. For a more in-depth look at popular strategies and important variables, read our Product Pricing Strategy Guide for eCommerce.

Focus on the User

When building your business, set it up in a way that favours your target market. This includes anything from appropriate pricing and free shipping to streamlining user experience with easy checkouts and simplified shopping carts.

Start by Growing a Niche Audience

It will be very difficult for your small start-up to compete with established businesses right out of the gate. As such, start by building a strong, loyal, and passionate core audience. Additionally, ensure you have the means to engage with them, either through social media or email marketing.

Pick the Right Marketing Strategies and Tactics

Speaking of engaging with your audience, marketing is essential. Only putting up a website in the hope that people will come is not going to work.

Fortunately, several marketing strategies can help you sell online. Deploying the right mix is essential to the success of your new eCommerce venture.

Every eCommerce business should consider the following mix of strategies and tactics:

  1. Content marketing: Organically advertise your brand through original and engaging high-quality content like blog posts, infographics, podcasts and more. Content marketing raises brand awareness through developing a clear and consistent brand image/voice. 
  2. Paid advertising: Paid advertisement advertising is an efficient way to drive traffic to your website. With targeted ad campaigns,  it is easier than ever to get your ads in front of the right people.
  3. Email/SMS marketing: Email/SMS marketing is ideal for cultivating long-term relationships and customer loyalty. Communicating with the customer directly provides the opportunity to introduce sales, ask for feedback and follow up on abandoned carts.
  4. SEO / SEM: Search engine optimization refers to the process of making an online store more visible on a search engine result page, resulting in increased traffic.
  5. Influencer marketing: Influencer marketing is the process of using  influencers to deliver brand messages to their audience. Along with increased visibility, influencer marketing also builds credibility and trust. 

Be Strategic with Capital Allocation

Poor resource allocation can kill a business. Strategic capital allocation involves ensuring your inventory aligns with demand and only investing in additional features when customer interest is there.

Be Keen on SEO

With eCommerce experiencing rapid growth, businesses will continue to enter an already crowded space. How can you stand out? By paying close attention to search engine optimization and content creation.

Capitalize on Social Media

When operating an eCommerce enterprise, social media is your business's heartbeat because it offers you a glance into the lives of potential customers. Capitalizing on this platform will enable you to know how best to position your business and marketing strategy.

Add Social Elements to Your Site

Include social elements to your website, such as follow buttons, product reviews, and testimonials. These elements not only help you engage with audiences but also help streamline the conversion funnel.

Continue Evolving

One of the best tips for eCommerce businesses is to continue evolving. Customer tastes and preferences will change, so be sure to keep evolving to maintain your success in a variable market.

In Conclusion

While these tips can help you learn how to build a successful eCommerce business, The Ecommerce Quarterback is happy to provide you with the resources you need to achieve and maintain your success.

Contact us today for your free consultation, and let us help you learn how to start a successful eCommerce business.

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