Ecommerce blueprint: eight steps to launch a business
Nowadays ecommerce is one of the most profitable and vastly growing spheres in online business. More and more people are thinking about launching their own stores; but remain wanterpreneurs for years, just because they don’t know where to start. Here are some tips to help you make the first steps on the way to success.
- Choose the products you are going to sell. Pick something you know really well and feel passionate about. For instance, if you live and breathe with fashion, clothing and apparel webstore could be a comfortable niche for you. If you identify yourself as a geek, follow the latest trends and tendencies in modern electronic devices – start selling them! Play on your field and turn hobbies into income.
- Select a domain name for the future shop. It’s one of the most critical decisions you’ll ever make for the business, so take your time and do some research. Ask yourself what feelings and emotions should the store’s name bring up? What name will stick in the customers’ head in relation to your product or brand?
When the idea strikes and you come up with a name that identifies your webstore and what you’re about, turn to sites like RegisterCom or GoDaddy and purchase the domain. It will cost about $ 10-15 for a .com URL.
- Hiring a web developer is a smart choice to launch the site in a professional and timely manner and avoid frustration of building a webstore from scratch. Feel free to ask a candidate for a portfolio and references from other ecommerce business owners. This info will help you make sure you employ the right talent. It’s also wise to discuss a timeline and a roadmap for the project with a web developing specialist. Therefore you both would know exactly what and when needs to be done.
One more thing. Do not. Hire. An amateur. It might seem a good way to save your budget, but creating an ecommerce site is a complicated process and you need someone you can depend on; a professional who would help to choose a suitable ecommerce platform and theme and put it all together.
- Choose the right ecommerce platform. This is a quite daunting decision. Dozens of options are available on the market offering various functions and sets of features. Look into the most popular platforms to narrow down the selection. For instance, Magento has about 26% of the market share; free Community edition will save your budget and with the help of different plugins you can customize the catalog, polish the checkout process, run effective marketing campaigns and much more.
- Selecting a website theme is the fun part of creating a webstore. A theme determines how your shop looks for a visitor. There are tons of ready-made templates, both free and paid. Get creative and find something that matches your business idea and demonstrates passion for what you do.
- Take the website live as soon as possible! Creating the catalog, adding images and writing all the texts is a time consuming work. But you only need an ‘About Us’ page and contacts to maintain the initial online presence. Let search engines index your site at the early stages and use the two functional and informative web pages as a visit card to show partners and vendors that you really mean to run a store, and it’s more than a cherished dream.
- Make your business legit. Select a suitable business structure and register it. You have multiple alternatives: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, an LLC or a corporation. Every option has pros and cons, so you definitely need to consult with a lawyer before making a decision.
No matter what you choose, you would still need an employer identification number to open a business bank account and pay taxes in a proper way. Remember to keep your personal assets apart from the business matters.
Finally, apply for all licenses and permits that are required for ecommerce enterprise in your country, city or state.
- Choose a payment gateway considering the four major aspects: transaction fees, card types, on-form payments, and recurring billing. These factors vary in different systems, so pick one that meets your budget and requirements.
When all the mentioned checkpoints are crossed out of the list, rocket start the sales!
Feel free to share your experience of launching a webstore in comments. Discussions are absolutely welcome!