eCommerce has continued to grow year-on-year, with the pandemic only speeding up the process with more and more customers looking to buy products online.
eCommerce revenues worldwide have reportedly exceeded $4.28 trillion in sales and more and more businesses and entrepreneurs are looking at ways to launch an eCommerce site or brand.
The barriers to entry are relatively low – and once you have a good name, product and website, you can be up and running pretty quickly and start making a living. Our guide below is here to help you set up your eCommerce brand in 5 simple steps.
1. Finding The Right Product
A good business begins with a good product. You might start with the product or looking at the demographic that you are looking to target, whether it is homes, babies or pets. Or do you sell essential products that people need, or more luxury impulse purchases.
The last few years of eCommerce have seen a huge emphasis on personalisation, with customers wanting more and more household items personalised for themselves or as gifts for their loved ones.
Popular products include blankets, bed sheets, cushions, towels, mugs, pictures or games. Whether you produce these locally or they are made abroad and delivered to you will be a useful exercise to determine your pricing, packaging and delivery times. Packaging can make or break the brand. Customers are first drawn on to your brand’s design so having premium packaging will allow you to have a huge boost in your business.
Or perhaps, you might look at creating a product in-house and selling this online, such as a bakery business, bracelets or gifts. Regardless of your product, consider hiring a company that specializes in ecommerce fulfillment solutions, as this can simplify a big part of your business for you.
You could also look at eCommerce as a subscription business, whereby you sell an interesting product to a group of passionate consumers every month in the post, including flowers, cocktail subscriptions, coffee, tea or books.
2. Create Your Website
If you are looking to set up an eCommerce website, there are a number of options available. There are many do-it-yourself web builders which can offer the full design, shopping cart and payment process, from the likes of Shopify, Squarespace and Wix.
Each website provider comes with a monthly fee to cover set-up and hosting – and there are often free trials available if you want to have a play around and get a feel for how they work back-end and front-end.
If you have a bit of budget and want to add a bit more design, you could look at using WordPress and WooCommerce to help you scale up your operations.
3. Create a Branding Look and Feel
The look and feel of your brand will be important, to create memorability and try to secure a good sale.
From your logo, colouring and messaging, this should cover your brand values and target the types of customers you are looking to sell to.
Bright colours like orange and yellow are perfect for brands targeting babies and pets, whereas dark blue, green and black might be better for higher end or business products. White is often used for simplicity and luxury products such as jewellery, fashion and homeware.
You can always create your logo using desktop or laptop, or finding logo generators online. You can also look at using freelancers on the likes of Fivrr and UpWork to get multiple logos and designs for your brand – and you can simply pick your favourite!
4. Social Media
Great! You’ve set up the website and have strong branding to go with it. Now we have to generate some sales.
Setting up on social media will be one of your first ports of calls to gaining some exposure. If your business is focused on B2C then using Instagram is probably the best option and you should not be shy when it comes to posting or sharing things in the early stages. After all, you want to look a bit established and not brand new.
Consider adding lots of posts, showcasing your products, use Instagram stories and even giveaways to drum up some interest.
In addition, share your page with your closest friends and consider following lots of people who already follow your competitors – and you should be able to capture a few hundred followers pretty quickly.
5. Paid and Organic Advertising
Using Google for paid and organic search marketing is successfully driving billions in eCommerce sales every year. Paid advertising on Google will come at a cost for every time someone clicks on your advert. Ideally if you can invest a certain amount such as $500 or $1,000 over the course of a month, you can capture some sales and then reinvest this back into your business or into spending more ads. There are always vouchers of around $100 available if you shop around online and you can access Google support for free to get you up and running.
Organic search listings can take several months to appear and can be a lot of work to optimise and make any real ground if you are in a competitive industry. But for the very least, you should consider creating some product pages on your website (known as landing pages) with lots of content, be sure to full up your website with lots of useful guides and reach out for some PR and get the publisher to link back to your website.
Good eCommerce requires a combination of all kinds of marketing – and in the early stages it is best to find out which works for you and to run with it. With eCommerce, repeat business is crucial, so spending a little more in the early days to get customers on board can be useful, if you know that they are going to come back time and time again in the future.