Starting an ecommerce business is something that many of us dream of, with the flexibility and potential profits of running your own operations being something very appealing, especially in times of uncertain employment. With the whole of the world wide web out there, and online shopping booming, it can be a very tempting prospect, and yet many ecommerce businesses fail to gain enough traction to sustain themselves. Building up a profitable brand is a little more complex than simply reading a guide to dropshipping and registering a domain. You need a solid plan to drive traffic to your platform and then convert it into sales.
Research Business Models
Just like in a bricks and mortar operation, there are different models of online business that may provide a better fit for you. You could work a service-based business, set up an online boutique, focus on digital product sales or buy in digital stock. Dropshipping can be a really smart way to get up and running without having to sink too much into purchasing and storing stock of your own at the beginning. Or some prefer to take an all-or-nothing approaching and set up with a warehousing model from the beginning. The choice is personal, and it won’t do to get caught up in procrastination, but take the time to think through all the options before taking the plunge.
Find Your Audience
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised just how many businesses flounder because they simply haven’t done the research into their target audience prior to launch. Going into business with a fixed idea of what you’re going to sell only works if you’re already sure there is a market for it. Otherwise, it takes some careful research first to identify a niche that you can make your own. Do some competitor analysis in the area you’re interested in – if there’s no competition, it could well be that there is no market either. Picking just one product category to focus on, at least initially, usually works well. You can then concentrate your marketing plan and budget around this one area and learn what works, rather than spreading yourself too thin.
Start Building A Brand
Once you’re sure of your target demographic, and the offer you have, you can begin to build a brand. This step is important, because in a world of global competition and consumer choice, brands are what people connect with. A good brand that resonates with customers will keep them coming back, and give you more to compete on than price alone. Outlining a company vision and values and deciding what is important to you is a good first step. You can then choose a brand look and feel that communicates this. Register your domain, email and any social media handles you need to market your company with. At this point you want to develop your ecommerce business plan – this will act as your guide for going to market. With all these things in place, you’re ready to launch and have the best chance of success.