Have you considered starting an online business or taking your existing brick-and-mortar company online? You couldn’t have picked a better time.
In 2021, eCommerce sales generated $4.92 trillion and were projected to raise $5.545 trillion in 2022. More importantly, eCommerce is forecast to account for 95 per cent of all international purchases by 2040.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- The requirements for starting an eCommerce store
- The best eCommerce store ideas
- eCommerce best practices
- Steps to creating your eCommerce store
In addition to everything else, you should know how to take advantage of the ongoing retail revolution.
The Requirements For Starting An eCommerce Store
Before we get into the details of starting your online business, there are three basic requirements for starting an eCommerce website:
- A computer
- A domain name
- A website builder
The cost and requirements of building an eCommerce store have gone down significantly over the past few years. Today, you can get started for under $20 with some platforms. But, it is important to remember that the cheaper the platform, the lower its performance.
It is not necessary for you to have prior experience running an online business or to have advanced training or technical skills. But, there are a few other essential requirements you will need:
You will need to decide whether you wish to keep your inventory or opt for dropshipping. This will determine how much you will need to invest in building your inventory before launching your store. Each option will have its advantages and disadvantages.
You can control and customise your products’ packaging with your inventory, which helps build your brand and identity. You can include customised messages and even handwritten notes with your products.
To begin stocking your inventory, we recommend investing at least $1,000 from your budget if you’re buying from a supplier outside of your state or country. Having at least a week’s supply on hand will ensure your business runs smoothly in an emergency.
If you choose to have your inventory and buy from a local supplier, you’d require an investment of at least $100. Storing your inventory incurs the following costs:
- Storage space
Dropshipping is a form of retail where you don’t hold any products in stock. Whenever a customer places an order on your online store, you send it directly to a supplier. The supplier’s responsibility is to deliver the product to the customer. It saves you the cost of renting a storage facility, packaging the items, and delivering them.
Your new eCommerce store requires a marketing budget for displaying PPC (pay-per-click) ads via Google AdWords or Facebook. It is recommended to work out a reasonable budget before you begin to advertise on these platforms.
Top 3 eCommerce Store Ideas Of 2022
1. Custom-Made Apparel
The apparel market is on a surge and is estimated to grow to $2.25 trillion by 2025. T-shirts, hoodies, socks and other apparel can be custom-made with slogans and unique designs, making them great eCommerce ideas.
2. Toys And Games
Different kinds of toys and games have a large and growing market. In addition, the market share is expected to grow by 1.7 per cent by 2025.
Toys made from natural, environmentally friendly materials, educational toys, and art & craft supplies are all excellent ideas for eCommerce stores in this current market.
3. Eco-Friendly Products
By 2030, it is projected that the market for eco-friendly products will reach $74.64 billion. Starting an online store that sells eco-friendly versions of everyday supplies is a great idea, given the growing awareness and preference for green and sustainable products.
Select an eco-friendly product from among various options, and remember to promote the environmentally sustainable attribute.
eCommerce Best Practices You Should Adopt For Your Store
1. Optimise Home Page’s Loading Speed
According to Google’s research, users are highly likely to leave a web page that’s slow to load. When the page’s load time increases from one second to 10 seconds, bounce rates increase by 123 per cent. Most site visitors will leave the site within three seconds if the page hasn’t loaded, so optimising your website’s speed is a must.
Here are some of the best practices to speed up your store’s home page:
Compress Large Images
One of the major reasons for a slow loading page is large image files. You can use compression tools such as Website Planet or Smush to reduce these files.
Optimise Your HTML
One way to improve the speed of your HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is to remove redundant code and shorten it where possible.
The browser can remember site elements like photos and logos by enabling caching. As a result, pages load faster because the browser retains the features and doesn’t have to reload them every time.
2. Enable Easy Search And Navigation
Searching for specific products and navigating your eCommerce store should be fast and easy. It is essential to include an in-site search bar on your store’s home page.
The search bar, other menus and toolbars should be positioned where the users are accustomed to finding them. An intuitive, logical website design enhances user experience and conversion rate.
3. Highlight Your Best Selling Products
Having well-known products on your store’s home page lets users know that they’re on the website of a great brand. This results in users shopping for the most popular products and browsing the rest of the catalogue.
4. Find A Profitable Business Idea
Unless you want to take your existing brick-and-mortar business online, you have to find a profitable business idea. You should identify your target market or niche first. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of success is to pick a niche that you enjoy or have worked in in the past.
After you select a niche, you should look for a business idea that meets the following criteria:
- Solve an unmet/unresolved demand/problem in your niche.
- Sell a product/service that the consumers will be willing to pay for.
- Make your product affordable for your target consumer demographic.
It is highly recommended to avoid picking a business idea that does not meet these criteria.
You can identify a productive business idea by studying your niche’s current and projected trends. A good example is disposable gloves — the fastest growing eCommerce category in the US after the onset of COVID-19.
eCommerce products can broadly be divided into three categories. The three groups are:
Tangible objects are among the most popular, lucrative eCommerce product types. These require a manufacturer/supplier, a physical warehouse for storage, and shipping arrangements. If you choose to sell physical goods, you must consider all the operational costs when estimating the profit.
Various digital products include e-books and online courses (audio, audio-visual, and text-based). Unlike physical products, these don’t need to be delivered or stored. As a result, the margin of profit is higher.
The most significant consideration when selling digital products is pricing them correctly. E-books, for instance, often cost a fraction of the price of hardcovers. But, customers often consider them less valuable.
Researching the costs of similar, successful products in your niche is a clever way of putting a price tag on your digital products.
Today’s most popular eCommerce products include online coaching, hobby classes, and professional consultations. Experts in any field can profit by customising their services for online consumers.
As you can only extend services for a set number of hours each day, there is typically a small profit margin associated with selling a service.
5. Familiarise Yourself With Online Business Laws
Online businesses typically require fewer permits and licenses than brick-and-mortar businesses. But the laws can be drastically different. So, before you start creating an eCommerce online store, look into these legalities:
- Licensing and permits required to operate your business
- You need to determine which legal structure is best for your eCommerce business — a corporation, a limited liability company, or a sole proprietorship.
- Inspections that your products or services must pass
- If a sales tax license is required
- Regulations regarding the hiring of staff or contractors
If you plan to sell your products or services internationally, you’ll need to check their eCommerce laws.
6. Research Your Niche Market
Researching the market will help you validate your business idea. You’ll also understand your product’s demand, competitors’ products, and pricing.
Start by checking the search engine result pages (SERPs) for the product or services you wish to sell. Pay attention to the top businesses and the content with the highest ranking.
As a result, you will be able to gauge your competition and gather information for developing your marketing strategy. By identifying the type of content your target customers prefer, you will also improve your site’s SEO.
Next, you should research your competitors. Look specifically at their primary products or ventures, the amount of money they are making and the customers’ reviews. This will help you identify the best products, set realistic sales targets, and avoid your competitors’ mistakes.
Another crucial aspect of market research is keeping track of the top-performing keywords in your niche. Here are some of the best keyword research tools you can use:
7. Define Your Target Customer Base
When you have a clear understanding of your customer base, you can tailor your product’s presentation, pricing, etc., to fit their preferences. To do this, you will need two types of customer data:
This includes your target customer’s socioeconomic traits such as ethnicity, age, gender, job, salary, etc.
In this category, you’ll find psychological traits such as interests, values, beliefs, etc.
A combined study of these two will help you identify the customers’ budget, preferences and purchase triggers.
8. Source Your Products
Before creating a website to sell a product or service, you must make all the arrangements to ensure it is ready to be designed.
There can be no compromise on quality. Ensure the quality is optimum for your price range, whether you are manufacturing yourself, dropshipping or working with a wholesaler.
9. Define Your Brand
Your business’s brand includes everything from your company name, values, and logo to the voice and tone of your communication.
Clearly defining your brand will help you achieve visual, tonal and ideological consistency in everything from your product’s design and packaging to its marketing. It is vital to make your brand recognisable and gain the customers’ trust.
When defining your brand, you must pay attention to these factors:
- Goals and values of your business
- Demographic and psychographic information about your target market
- Choosing the right style for your products/services
For example, if you sell skateboards, your brand’s visual and conversational style should be exuberant and casual. But, if you are offering an online literature course, then your brand’s visual style and tone should be educational and formal.
Once you’ve clearly defined your brand’s style and tone, make sure it’s reflected in these areas:
- Your brand’s logo
- Photos and graphics
- Colour scheme
- Page layouts
- Promotional materials
- Onsite content
- Blog and social media content
10. Build Your eCommerce Store
You can build your eCommerce store using an eCommerce website builder or opt for an eCommerce platform. An eCommerce website builder allows you to create your online store without professional coding. The output is an intuitive, functional website that satisfies the varied needs of eCommerce. While this is an excellent option for beginners, you will want to consider custom programming for your website as your store grows.
On the other hand, an eCommerce platform is a good solution for selling your products or services online. It has all the features of the best eCommerce website builders. eCommerce platforms are also typically more flexible in customisation and have more advanced security systems.
Website builders for eCommerce are more economical than eCommerce platforms. So, if you’re looking to create a budget-friendly eCommerce store, we recommend you opt for one of these website builders:
If you don’t have a budget limit and desire greater customisation and support, we suggest choosing one of the following top eCommerce platforms:
- Wix eCommerce
11. Build Your Product Catalogue
Once you’ve selected a website builder or eCommerce platform and picked a theme, you’ll need to create your product catalogue. Be sure each product has a unique, detailed description. And incorporate keywords relevant to each product in the content.
According to Semrush, up to 8 per cent of users report a lack of confidence in eCommerce stores that have poor content, product images and descriptions.
Here are some ways you can improve the content of your store:
- Use high-resolution product images
- Include the image zoom tool
- Include product images from different angles
- Use thumbnails with product details
- Include original, accurate product descriptions
- Use bullets for summarising the main features
- Include the brand name and product name in the descriptions
- Include recommendations for the product’s care and use
- Include user reviews and ratings
- Mention technical specifications and size guide
12. Set Up Shipping Method
Fast, reliable shipping service is imperative to the success of your eCommerce store. Free shipping is the number one reason users shop online, with 85 per cent preferring it to regular shipping. Additionally, shipping costs are one of the leading reasons for cart abandonment.
Offering free shipping will boost your sales. Customer perception of your store can also be impacted by delayed deliveries and unfavourable impressions of the delivery personnel. To avoid such issues, we suggest partnering with a reliable shipping service.
Now that your eCommerce store is ready for launch, triple-check all the pages and features. Take the following steps:
- Every page loads quickly and looks good on different devices (mobile devices, tablets, and desktops).
- The eCommerce store works appropriately in different web browsers
- All buttons are clickable/operational. They should also link to suitable applications.
Testing your eCommerce store with a QA specialist is a reliable option. However, read every page, product, and word if you’re on a tight budget.
14. Drive Traffic To Your Store
Quality traffic coming to your online store is the difference between success and failure. Without these conversions, you won’t make sales. Traffic can be driven to your store using these channels:
PPC (pay-per-click) advertisements are one of the fastest ways of increasing brand visibility and recognition. If your budget allows it, displaying ads in online search results and on popular social networks is a great way to build your brand awareness.
Social Media Channels
Establish dedicated pages for your brand on popular social networks such as YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Creating communities on these sites will help you expand your reach.
A partnership with a prominent social media influencer is another excellent way to promote your brand. Be sure to select an influencer whose style/voice matches your brand’s.
Creating Your eCommerce Store
Following these steps will ensure your eCommerce store has the foundation for a successful launch. Remember to keep up with the trends, focus on delivering the best quality and customer experience, and you’ll be set for a fruitful future.
As Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither is your online store. So take your time and be patient with yourself.
Don’t hesitate to contact our team if you need assistance building an eCommerce store, keyword research, or content marketing. We have helped small businesses grow and reach their full potential throughout the years, and we would be delighted to help you.
For this guide, good luck with your new business venture!