Electronic commerce also called ‘e-commerce,’ is a business model where consumers buy products online and get their orders delivered without ever having to connect with sellers physically. As you know all transactions are done online, and the whole business revenue is dependent on that.
People from the 21st century are pretty much familiar with drop shipping-commerce products and e-commerce sites. This is majorly due to the emergence of online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and many others.
Note that, an e-commerce business is not limited to a particular business model/type. Any legit business body (or) organization can eventually build their own e-commerce stores and sell whatever they want.
Ecommerce as a business can be operated in all major market segments like:-
- Business to business
- Business to consumer
- Consumer to consumer
- Consumer to business
How does ecommerce work?
- Firstly as a customer, you order something online, and that order will be registered in the database. You will be given a tracking ID to track that order, which will be created in the system.
- While all this happens in a database, businesses need to buy their own cloud servers to create a site and store all that data
- For your every order, the data is shared with the seller (or) with the individual who will fulfill your orders.
- Next, as the seller receives your order, the invoice is generated within the system, and the product from the inventory is packaged along with your invoice, packing materials, and shipping details.
- Once the packing is done, your order is taken on board with shipping. Meanwhile, the online transaction done by you will be on hold until the delivery is successful
- In this process, a shipping partner (or) the logistics partner is responsible for the delivery, on order completion seller gets his money deposited and the order is marked as completed
- Usually, sellers bear all the costs for shipping and taxes, and they are responsible for updating this info in their legal docs.
- If ecommerce business is done through Amazon and eBay, then sellers will be charged additional costs like Amazon fees and eBay fees.
-Research your niche and find products
As you go along with running your e-commerce store, you do need to continue your research which requires innovating the products, doing effective marketing, and selling them.
Therefore, get ready to do a lot of research and in fact, it is something that many love to do, and there is a possibility that you might spend way too much time only on research.
So to conquer that and come up with a good research strategy.
1) Settle on one business model
Today internet has made it easier to start any business online but at the same time, it also leaves us with multiple options to choose from.
As currently, every industry is jumping into e-commerce. Be it selling saas products, physical products, or any other digital products. The options to sell something online have become endless.
Let’s say if you want to sit at your home and operate a complete e-commerce business without touching any products. Then drop shipping is for you. For records, there are already thousands if not millions of people doing dropshipping.
Well, per se, if you have an excellent product idea and want to sell it to people with your own branding while letting the manufacturers do their work. Then white labeling is the e-commerce business model for you. This e-commerce model is considered by experienced drop shippers.
If both dropshipping and white labeling is not for you, then you can create (or) manufacture your own products, may it be any digital (or) physical product where you take care of everything from manufacturing to shipping. The particular business model will come under wholesaling and direct selling business.
- Dropshipping (If you want to start and operate an ecommerce business from your home)
- White labeling (If you have a good product idea and wanna sell it through your branding without ever having to manufacture it by yourself)
- Whole selling (or) direct selling (If you like creating the whole product from scratch and wanna take full responsibility of everything from manufacturing to selling)
Even though the success rate for dropshipping isn’t high enough, but it is considered one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get into e-commerce.
2) Toggle around to find your niche and products
Right now, on the internet, there are multiple places where you can start your research on products and niches.
But people always seem to get distracted in this research phase, and they also often fall prey to starting an e-commerce store with multiple categories and selling multiple products on one store.
The secret sauce to your first e-commerce store success is finding a promising and profitable niche.
- Google Trends (research on products)
If you know anything about e-commerce (or) dropshipping, then you’re most likely to have heard of Aliexpress. It is the hub for most e-commerce products globally.
-Validate your business idea and know your target audience
The two best places to validate your e-commerce business ideas will be:-
- Facebook Ads
- Your own circle/network
How to use Facebook ads to validate your ecommerce idea?
Facebook ads manager is a great place to research and validate any idea because Facebook is among the world’s top five most visited websites and it has all the data you need, and there’s your opportunity to validate.
How to use your circle/network to further validate and test your product?
If you don’t want to risk it all by starting your e-commerce business way too soon and also if you wanna avoid stuff like setting up your website, placing a checkout page, generating traffic, etc before knowing whether you would get real/actual sales.
To test your idea and get some sales before launching your actual e-commerce business, you can approach someone within your circle, who fits right into your target customer persona and ask him/her whether they would be interested in buying from you?
-Legalize and protect your ecommerce business
E-Commerce is for the people who are in this for the long haul, and there is nothing better for any business than building its own brand to stay and sustain itself for the long term.
Your brand should be something that resonates with your products and needs to get identified by your customers.
To start a real e-commerce business, you need to legalize and protect your e-commerce business by following a few steps before launching it online.
Let me tell you, this guide on how to start an e-commerce business is incomplete without this phase.
This phase requires investment and time commitment; the following steps will help any new e-commerce business stay as a legal entity.
Firstly, Register Your Business
In any part of the world, this is the very first step that any e-commerce owner has to take.
Get a Business Licence
Get a store name, logo, and application for trademarks
-Build your own ecommerce website
Because if there has been one e-commerce platform in the news ever since the lockdown, then it was Shopify. The company reported revenues of $2.9 Billion in 2020 and people who use Shopify know how simple, easy, and effective it is to build an e-commerce website using Shopify.
Step 1: Sign up for Shopify and name your store
Step 2: Choose your site’s theme
Step 3: Add products to your store
Step 4: Set up a Domain name for your ecommerce store
Step 5: Integrate your payment gateway
Step 6: Launch your store in the wide open
-Market your products to get traction
The most tricky part of any business is marketing. No matter what sort of product you sell, you need to have a marketing play in hand, and it should be something that complies with the current user base online.
Doing marketing in the right way is really crucial as you can’t expect to get sales if you keep on implementing decade-old marketing strategies, which doesn’t make sense with today’s internet user base.
Therefore you’ll create that sense of need and emotion with your product.
You need to warm your target audience by showing up your products more frequently and sharing the Unique Selling Points (USPs) of your product to let them realize what’s in it for them.