The growing success of ecommerce sites around the world has made the entrepreneurial lifestyle more realistic than ever. Whether you are looking to supplement your monthly income, start-up a full time business or just share your products with the world, an ecommerce is the perfect platform to make your dreams come true.
At Payfort we want to see you turn business ideas into business realities and with ecommerce in the Middle East expected to grow to $13.4 Billion by 2020, we don’t want you to miss out. That’s why this week we’ve put together a brief overview of what you need take your ecommerce from the drawing board to the web.
Choosing a product
When starting your ecommerce there are many aspects that need to be considered, but the most important question you’ll need to answer for any ecommerce venture is what you will be selling.
The ecommerce space is competitive so look into areas where you have an advantage. This could mean selling a product you create, selling to a niche community, or picking up on new trends early. Ensuring you have a viable product from the beginning will help lay a strong foundation for your ecommerce.
Developing a business plan
Developing a clear business plan is critical to establishing a successful business and just because your ecommerce is online doesn’t make it an exception. Your business plan needs to include a strategy for financing, marketing, and advertising the business.
You need to establish a clear idea of how you’ll reach success and what milestones you need to hit along the way. The most important outcome of this stage is to develop a long term plan of what you would like your business to become.
Setting up your ecommerce website
If you have the technical background building your site from scratch is always an option, but odds are you’ll want to take advantage of pre-existing resources to create your online store. With sites like Shopify and Squarespace Commerce you’ll be able to purchase your own domain name and use their tools to build a custom website from the ground up.
Once the technical parts of the site are set up, you’ll need to think about the overall design of your website. You need to set up the theme, headers, and organize your products into easy to navigate categories. You’ll also need to complete your store’s About Us section and decide whether you’ll be using a company blog.
Inventory & shipping
In addition to deciding what you’ll be selling, you’re also going to need think about building up your inventory. If you’re not going to be manufacturing your products yourself, you will need to get a supplier or find a solution that allows you to distribute through reselling.
Shipping is another consideration that can make or break your business. If you choose an inexperienced shipping partner your customers could suffer a poor experience leading to negative reviews. Take the time to understand what different logistic companies can provide and if you’re unsure, ask for advice.
Marketing your website
Once you’ve established your business, built up your inventory, and worked out all (or at least most of) the bugs on your website, it’s time you start thinking about the official launch of the business.
How you launch your site will largely depend on the resources you have available. If your business is small, be sure to leverage social media to advertise your site. After the launch your marketing shouldn’t end, make sure you are using Google Analytics to better understand you customers and their habits. To be effective you’ll need to consistently grow your customer base.
Maintaining the business
Once everything is up and running, your only job is to keep it running. Try to stay on top of all technical aspects and continue weeding out any bugs on the site. You’ll also need to stay on top of the company inventory, make decisions about new and discontinued products, and provide customer service to keep your customers happy.
Have you started an ecommerce of your own? Let us know what advice you’d give up and coming entrepreneurs in the comments below or via our twitter @payfort.