How to Build, Launch and Grow Your E-Commerce BusinesS
Entering the e-commerce industry requires thorough decision making and hard work to yield a successful harvest. Are you ready to take that big leap in your business journey? Read on to learn how to build, launch, and grow your e-commerce business!
With the rise of different innovations in technology, e-commerce is now being considered as the “next big thing” by entrepreneurs. But, what is e-commerce and what is it about?
Electronic commerce or e-commerce is the facilitation or trading of products or services or any type of business over the Internet. E-commerce started in the 1960s through EDI or electronic data interchange where companies carry out electronic transactions. Then, in 1979, Michael Aldrich invented online shopping, and the rest is history.
One way to successfully build, launch and grow your e-commerce business is to master it. To get started, we’ll delve deeper into the basic facts you must know about e-commerce.
Examples of Electronic Commerce
Although e-commerce is popularly known for buying and selling goods or services on the Internet, e-commerce is not limited to online shopping. Any business transaction carried out electronically is e-commerce. Other examples of e-commerce activity include:
- Electronic payments. When purchasing goods and services or when paying bills online, electronic payments come in the picture. Through different payment processors and gateways, payments are made more convenient.
- Internet banking. With e-commerce, banking operations and transactions can now be done at your time and convenience even without visiting a physical bank branch.
- Online ticketing. Long queues at ticket stores can now be skipped through online ticketing. Any kind of ticket can already be booked online such as concert tickets, airline tickets, play tickets, sporting tickets, train tickets, and many more.
The E-Commerce Business Models
E-commerce can be classified depending on the types of participants involved in the business transaction. Below are the different e-commerce business models:
- B2B | Business to Business. In B2B e-commerce, both participants are businesses such as manufacturers, retailers, traders, and the like. B2B companies aren’t engaged in public consumers. Instead, they electronically sell their goods or services with other companies.
- B2C | Business to Consumer. B2C e-commerce is the most popular e-commerce model. B2C companies sell their goods or services via through the Internet to end-consumers. A widely-known example of a B2C e-commerce site is Amazon.com.
- C2B | Consumer to Business. In C2B e-commerce, the consumers are the sellers and the companies are the buyers. Consumers would post their products or services online while multiple companies would post their bids. Elance.com is the first C2B model website.
- C2C | Consumer to Consumer. C2B e-commerce is another popular e-commerce model where consumers can sell goods or services online to other consumers. ebay.com is the most well-known example of a C2C e-commerce website.
The Road Map to E-Commerce Success (aka How to build, launch, and grow your e-commerce business.)
Now that you have learned the basic e-commerce facts, what should you do next? Below are tips and guidelines to get started in building, launching and growing your e-commerce business:
- Find a product or service to sell. Figuring out what product or service to sell is the first and most crucial step in starting an e-commerce venture.
Determine what you can give your consumers more than what you can get from them. Although profit should be one of your goals, offering value and providing the consumers with the solutions to their needs are the factors that can make you successful and last longer in the e-commerce industry.
Ask yourself the following questions to give birth to business ideas and get started:
- What niche or industry are you most passionate about?
- What niche or industry are your targets most interested in?
- What are the most common problems you face daily?
Problems are one of the best idea generators for finding a product or service to offer. If you offer the best solution for a consumer’s daily needs, you’ll succeed. You can also get product or service ideas from Kick Starter, the largest crowd-funding website for projects and inventions. Popular trends can also help you find a product or service to sell.
Once you have your list of product or service ideas, you need to evaluate and see whether they’ll sell or not. You have to weigh down the pros and cons. Also, you need to find yourself either a manufacturer, supplier, or dealer.
- Conduct in-depth research. Conducting an in-depth research is a must for building a strong foundation for any business. One research you must employ is a competitive research to better figure out which competitors you’re up against – their products and services, rates and pricing, marketing strategies, etc.
With the rise of social media marketing, you also have to see how your competitors move around the different social media channels. Here are a few of the things about your competitor you must consistently look out for:
- Shared fan interests
- Social networks they’re into
- Number of posts per day
- Type and frequency of posts
- Audience and fan profiles
Familiarizing yourself with your competitors’ movements can help you strategize and plan even better. However, to complete your market research, you also need to have other assessments including:
- Keyword research. Conducting keyword research through the Google Keyword tool can help you determine whether your product or business is in demand. It can also help you visualize the amount of people searching for your product or service idea over a given time period.
You need to be armed with a comprehensive research to increase your chances of finding success in the e-commerce world. Research will also help you create your business plan much easier.
- Set-up your e-commerce start-up. In setting up your business, you need to determine your business name and domain name. After finalizing your business name and registering your domain, you now need to create and design your logo for your new e-commerce business.
What’s next? You need to determine which e-commerce builder to partner with in building your e-commerce store. You can choose among PinnacleCart, Shopify, Bigcommerce, Volusion, Wix, 3dcart, and Magento. These e-commerce platforms are amongst the best choices. But, the majority of online merchants prefer PinnacleCart or Magento for their unique open-source features. More than that, it is also SEO and m-commerce ready.
After that, you also need to study and understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO) to make your business more searchable on Google and other similar search engines.
You can also rely on tools for a much easier e-commerce start-up. But, if you are looking for convenience, you can hire web designers and developers to do most of the design and development works for you and your business.
- Prepare for your official launch. As you ready your business for launching, you have to finalize everything. Recheck and re-evaluate your e-commerce site’s contents, photos, product descriptions, inventory, etc.
You also have to prepare all your social media channels’ profile and cover photos. Other essentials you must finalize may also include shipping and delivery options, payment gateways, and email marketing campaigns.
Most importantly, you have to define your key performance indicators (KPI’s). These metrics are essential for you and your business to help keep you on the right track. KPI’s can also help you in evaluating and improving your e-commerce strategies. Here are some of the key performance indicators you should track:
- Monthly sales reports
- Sales conversion rate
- Cart abandonment rate
- Average order size
- Page views per visit
- Website traffic
- Unique and returning visitors
- Traffic sources and referrals
- Social media fans and followers
- Newsletter subscriptions
Before officially launching your e-commerce site, make sure your online shops working smoothly. You can’t risk and ruin your business’s big day.
- Drive sales through marketing. After launching your e-commerce site, your primary goal is to drive sales and increase the consumers’ awareness of your brand, products, and services. It’s now your turn to put your business plan into action. The pressure is on. You need to get your first sale.
There are several ways to drive sales. But, before driving sales, you need to drive consumers to your e-commerce site first. Once you’ve established your audience and online following, it’ll be much easier to convert them into shoppers which will further lead to sales. You need to devise marketing strategies to drive web traffic and convert that traffic to sales.
Here are the most efficient examples of marketing tactics and strategies you can get started with:
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
- Visual marketing
- A/B or split testing
- Search engine optimization
- Paid ads
- Traditional advertising
- And many others
Experiment on different marketing strategies and see what works best for you and your business. Evaluate your strategies once in a while to see if they yield positive results.
As Benjamin Franklin says, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Follow and observe the above tips and guidelines to prepare you building, launching and growing a successful e-commerce business today!
Do you have any tips on how to build, launch, or grow your e-commerce business? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!