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The E-Commerce industry was exploding even before the COVID-19 pandemic raised global havoc. Brick-and-mortar stores that closed during the lockdown may never open again. E-Commerce stores offered online shoppers convenience, and they considered them a luxury. However, they are becoming a necessity in 2020 and beyond.

Are you ready to learn how to successfully set up an E-Commerce store from scratch? Congratulations, because you’re in the right place.

Here are 8 things you should know before you set up an E-Commerce store from scratch:

1.    Decide What Type of Business You Want to Launch

When setting up an E-Commerce store from scratch, the possibilities are unlimited. You can find all sorts of things online in different markets under general and niche categories. Depending on your business scale and marketing, your E-Commerce store has a potential audience of 2.05 billion shopping online. To boost your online business, you must set it up and decide from the get-go what you want to sell.

There are four main categories of things E-Commerce businesses sell:

  • Physical goods via shipping/delivery
  • Digital goods, such as software, ebooks, apps, multimedia, etc.
  • Services
  • Subscriptions and memberships

One of the benefits of setting up an E-Commerce store is selling any of these simultaneously. However, after deciding what you want to sell, you must decide whether you want to become a retailer or wholesaler and whether you want to offer your products locally, nationwide, or even internationally.

2.    Niche Research

You may have come across tons of E-Commerce sites with hundreds of products with many categories by no real focus. Not everyone can be the next Best Buy or Amazon, so you have to niche down to run a successful E-Commerce store. Choosing your niche is one of the most important steps you need to take before starting your online business.

There are two ways you can go about this. You could choose a blue ocean business where there’s no competition. However, you need to be careful because an absence of competition often indicates that there’s no market either.  For example, Mississippi is one of the least vegan-friendly states in the US. So, opening an E-Commerce store for vegan products might not be a good idea.

Secondly, don’t choose an overly crowded niche (red ocean business), especially the ones that major brands are dominating. If you choose to go down this lane, try to be more specific in what you sell and how you sell it. By doing your own thing, you can also nab a few affiliate marketing opportunities, where you won’t have to worry about shipping, and you’ll still be making a profit.

3.    Define a Target Market to Sell a Specific Product

Once you’ve identified your niche, you may think it’s time to look for products to sell but before you do that, think about branding and marketing. You could have a great product or service, but you can’t expect to make any sales if you don’t know who you’re selling to.

People should know who you are and what your E-Commerce store represents. More importantly, you should know your ideal customers, and the only way you will know this by consistently projecting a brand image and defining a target market.

You can define a target market with market segmentation. This involves dividing your audience into various groups based on characteristics such as age, gender, income, religion, geographic location, and education, etc. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to come up with product ideas. We suggest you start with one and build from there.   

4.    Incorporate Your Business

Incorporating your E-Commerce store depends on local rules and regulations. Whether you opt for a form of a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company, having an incorporated business will authenticate your E-Commerce store and allow dealing with other companies and third-parties easier.

More importantly, it will build trust in your customers, especially new ones, when checking if your business is legit or not.

5.    Name Your E-Commerce Store

Naming a business is a fun, creative process but requires your utmost attention. Picking the right name can have a tremendous impact on your brand positioning in the market and your audience’s perception of it. This also involves market and keyword research with clearly defined goals.

When choosing a name for your E-Commerce store, your first goal should be to give your customers some impression of what you sell or your business domain. Giants like Apple, Google, and Amazon have done well with abstract names, but picking names that are unique but straightforward gives you more chances in the modern business world.

6.    Pick an E-Commerce Platform

An E-Commerce platform is the operating system of your online business. Today, we have thousands of viable E-Commerce platforms out there, but not all of them are optimized for different users. However, there are go-to platforms for popular scenarios.

For instance, if you’re looking to choose an E-Commerce platform for general-purpose like selling shippable goods or digital products, Shopify or WooCommerce should serve you well. If you intend to sell digital products only, you can use platforms like Wix, WordPress, or Gumroad.

7.    Choose a Store Design and Showcase Your Products

Picking a design for your E-Commerce store is vital, but it goes beyond choosing something visually attractive. Your design should reflect your niche and product line. Here’s where paying attention to what your competitors are doing can come in handy.

When showcasing your products, you need to ensure you have their descriptions and key features listed. Secondly, ask manufacturers to provide photos and videos that help customers make purchase decisions faster.

8.    Learning Different Digital Marketing Practices

Once you’ve set up your E-Commerce store, it’s now time to promote your goods and services. This can be intimidating for new entrepreneurs, but over time, they get used to it. There are hundreds of digital marketing strategies, but they all fall under two categories, paid and unpaid.

Paid strategies include Search Engine Marketing in which you run keyword-based ads on Google and social media. You can also run promotional campaigns on podcasts, emails, and text marketing. Unpaid online marketing strategies include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), blogging, Social Media Posting, or starting a YouTube channel.

Need Help Setting Up Your E-Commerce Store?

We understand that starting an online business in 2020 and beyond can be difficult. If you need help setting up your E-Commerce store to boost your sales or online presence, we recommend that you try the services of Business Marketing Solutions Group.

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