How to Start eCommerce Business | How to Setup Your Store

How to Start An E-commerce Business From Scratch in 2021

Daniel Abbott
by Daniel Abbott — 3 months ago in Business Ideas 10 min. read
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If you desire, how to start an eCommerce business from scratch but can’t seem to wrap your head around it, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’ve always been interested in eCommerce or just got introduced to it by a friend, we’ve all heard the term used many times.

I’m sure you’ve noticed the evolutionary change in the business world of late and how so a lot of entrepreneurs are utilizing the internet to stand out in the commerce world. Well, this could be you also.

If you are still weighing the profitability of running an eCommerce business, I had you in mind while writing this article.

Check this out; the U.S Census Bureau reports that the e-commerce sales added up to $154.5 billion, leading to 11.2% of retail sales in the 2020 economy; now that’s compelling enough.

A complete read through will expose you to the various tips and steps to bear in mind on how to start your own eCommerce business from scratch.

Starting from its potential, picking the right domain name, down to the easy to follow marketing strategies to boost your business online, I’ve presented not just wordy but practical things to know about eCommerce.

Why Do You Need to Start eCommerce Business?

By leveraging this field of the commercial world, I can tell you that it comes with many benefits. In order not to hastily assume that you know what eCommerce is, here’s a simple definition.

E-commerce business is a type of business that conveys goods, funds, and services over the internet.

These conveyed commodities may vary in scope and size and can be run on many platforms such as Shopify, Amazon, etc.

When asking yourself how to start your own eCommerce business, you should acquaint yourself with the opportunities you stand to benefit from in the field.

In running my eCommerce business, I’ve harnessed the work flexibility and immense customer coverage eCommerce offers.

Now I bet you love a balanced work-family life as much as I do and not having to stress when it comes to setting up a physical shop space with a stocked inventory. Then that’s enough reason you need eCommerce in your financial life.

Know The Potentials of E-commerce Business

While there are diverse ways to sell to your customers online, the fun potential of eCommerce store is that you get to trade your products anytime and anywhere.

Now, how much more convenient can it be! It feels nice knowing that your customers can successfully purchase your product while on their parlor couches or via your app on lunch breaks, I can tell you that.

Are you thinking of how to start an eCommerce business? Alright, stop thinking; here are some reasons I’ve outlined to convince you to turn to this field and get yourself significant revenue.

  • Quick Market Time: Your e-commerce stores can be running with just a few clicks, unlike in a traditional retail store.

You can make use of eCommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, Squarespace, and Shopify, which provide already-made templates to set up your store.

  • Most shopping Starts Online:  Most product searches take place mostly on online marketplaces.

By placing your brand online, you’re sure to feed your target customers with every piece of information about your brand, thereby attracting a purchase from them.

  • Availability of Customer data:  Imagine offering products to your customers based on what you know they need, psychic, right?

Not really, just another exciting thing eCommerce avails you with. As an online retailer, you can access your customer data, estimate, and act on it to modify your site to suit their needs.

  • Less Cost: No one likes to spend unnecessary cash when you can avoid doing so, I’m sure you don’t as well.

E-commerce allows you to start your business without the rigors and cost of inventory, payroll, and physical storefront.

How Can You Leverage With E-commerce Store?

As appealing as the world of eCommerce sounds, it is also a highly competitive one. Over time, I discovered different software I could leverage to ensure efficient production and customer management. Have a look at these;

#1. Custom

When pondering how to run a successful eCommerce business, there are steps to follow and decisions to make. One of those decisions is the choice to either use a custom or premade solution.

As much as some eCommerce solutions like WooCommerce and Shopify offer lots of benefits, it might not suit every company’s needs.

If you like to have greater control, high flexibility, and scalability for your site, then I’d suggest using custom eCommerce websites. 

Using a custom e-commerce website presents you with the benefit of offering your customers many options to customize their purchased products.

For Instance, if you run a T-shirt store, custom eCommerce websites allow your customers to customize the fonts, colors, sizes on each shirt they wish to purchase.

Using a regular e-commerce system might not fit all these alternatives for a single product, not to talk of all of them. Such complex and complicated orders will need a custom eCommerce solution to manage them effectively.

For instance, as your online store grows over time, you will likely shift from selling items with consistent features to those with more complex features.

The shipping issue then comes into play here, as your customers may want to choose specific courier services for their unique items.

With a custom eCommerce website, you can offer your customers the option of selecting their delivery or shipping services such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL.

A central point for using custom-built websites is the ability it provides for you to include various rules about promo codes and coupons in your store.

#2. Content Management System

Talk of system software that lets you do many imminent tasks on your website. These tasks could be editing, publishing, and changing content to improve your site’s visual appearance.

The primary content source in eCommerce that fodders the management system is the product for sale.

You must have often pondered on various innovative eCommerce business ideas for your online store; having a well managed CMS is a plus.

You can also utilize this software to organize your product catalogs. This software is designed to aid you to upload posts through easy access to the administrative dashboard. Some broad types of CMS include;

#1. Open Source CMS

If you download this category of CMS, it comes at no initial cost and doesn’t require upgrade fees, licenses, or contracts.

However, there are some things you will be required to pay for, like staff training, technical assistance, and the likes.

Some examples of open-source CMS platforms you can use include Joomla, WordPress, and others.

#2. Software as a Service CMS

This is another type of CMS solution you could use for your site. These SaaS CMS are virtual solutions anchored on the cloud, and it uses a subscription model, which could be on a per-site or per-user basis.

They include web hosting, technical support, and web content management software. The price details include ongoing support, data transfer amount, and data and content storage.

You could choose between the two types of cloud CMS which are, Partial and Fully Cloud CMS. They offer various benefits such as low costs, easy accessibility, supplier upgrade deals, and many more.

#3. Property CMS

This CMS software is managed and built by one company. If you are going to purchase this type of CMS, you’d be required to make a license payment and an annual or monthly charge for support or updates.

Some software examples you could use include Microsoft SharePoint, Kentico, Pulse CMS, Sitecore, Shopify, and others.

Pick A Domain Name

By now, I’m almost sure you have decided to set up your online store after seeing the benefits you stand to gain.

When picking a domain name, I usually say you should consider this as one of the vital steps to take to start an eCommerce business.

Selecting a domain name to use for your eCommerce website is a significant decision to make for your business.

The first part of your brand that users will experience is your name, hence picking one that accurately represents your brand.

You’ll need to ensure that the name you’ve chosen is available to be bought and matches the name of your brand.

Domain pricing

When thinking of a domain name to purchase, you’ll have to consult the website of your local secretary of state and the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.

This is to ensure that you are not picking an already existing name. Different registrars offer different packages, and the prices depend on the domain type you wish to use.

Registrars oversee the booking of domain names, and the registration usually costs around $10 and $20 annually.

What Should Be Your Domain name?

If you just asked yourself this question, fret no further as it is a common one asked by most entrepreneurs seeking to expand or start own eCommerce business.

Your domain name is a vital piece of your brand as it portrays your business concept to the potential shoppers browsing the virtual shopping platforms.

When considering a domain name, you should bear in mind the following;

  • Make use of keywords. For instance, if you have a hair extension brand, your name should include the keyword hair.
  • Keep your domain title short and easy to remember.
  • Your domain name should be easy to spell and pronounce.
  • It should be unique to your brand.
  • Create room for future expansion.

Which Domain Extension is the Best for Your eCommerce Business?

When coming up with a domain name, you should critically consider what kind of domain extension makes the perfect sense for your site’s needs. It would be best if you went for a domain extension that boosts your online business branding.

What’s a domain extension? You wonder. It isn’t as complicated as it sounds. It is merely the character combination that follows the period sign in a web address.

It is technically used to assign the country code or category for a website while also indicating that it’s for commercial use. Some Types of Domain extensions Include;

#A. .com

.com is the most commonly used top-level domain. You stand a high chance of getting clicks on your site if you use this extension because of its familiarity.

It was initially used to signify for-profit businesses but recently has become the centerpiece of domain extensions.

When using a domain with .com extensions, you’re sure of more search rankings, enabling you to generate more credibility and interest.

#B. .net

.net is open to everyone just as .com is. This extension, which was initially designated for internet service networks, is currently an alternative to .com.

If you operate a tech-inclined business, you stand a good chance of reaching your users as it is in lesser demand than .com- hence its availability.

#C. .org

If you seek to run an organization, then you might consider going for this. However, if your site is a commercial site, this extension might not get you as many clicks as the previous two.

Initially intended to signify non-profit organizations, its use has become widespread for non-governmental organizations, online communities, etc.

Choosing A Hosting Plan

Having a hosting plan is, I dare say, a step you shouldn’t miss as it helps to provide all that’s required to run a commercial website effectively. eCommerce hosting comprises a web hosting terrace that provides hosting services to eCommerce websites.

Types of Hosting

When searching for the best eCommerce hosting service, you should decide based on your most valued factors. Some types of hosting providers I recommend include;

#1. Bluehost

I recommend this hosting type for you if you are starting up an eCommerce business. Bluehost hosting offers a good uptime of 99.98%, which is perfect for online stores as it ensures the frequent running of your site.

Bluehost Plus ($5.45/month) is accompanied by unmetered bandwidth, unlimited SSD storage, and domains.

Bluehost recommends WordPress, and with its one-click installation package, it is simple to set a WordPress site via it.

When starting with Bluehost, it is recommended to use WordPress eCommerce plans that offer integration with the WooCommerce plugin. You could start with the $15.95-24.95/month WordPress eCommerce plan.

#2. InMotion

Another commonly used host plan you could try is Inmotion, which comes with one-click installation apps, multiple payment processes, and PCI and VPS compliant plans.

Its recommended starter goal is $7.99/month, and its pricing is $2.49-149.99/month. Its benefits include highly trained support-staff and strong VPS plans.

Integrating Your eCommerce Business With Shopify/WordPress

You could achieve extra functionality for your online store when you integrate your business with Shopify/WordPress. Here are some steps I’ve highlighted to achieve it;

  • Signing up to Shopify.
  • The Shopify eCommerce plugin should be installed on your WordPress site.
  • Link Shopify to WordPress by clicking on the menu item that will be added after its activation.
  • You then add your product by clicking the signified button on Shopify.
  • Add Payment Options via the signified button on the Shopify setting in the WordPress installation.
  • Set Up Shipping Options.
  • Include Shopify items to your WordPress site.
  • Add Product Widgets. This can be done by simply going to Appearance>Widgets.

Some blog themes you could utilize to modify your online store are Editorial, Ella, Shella, Ugo, Story, Kalles, Ione, and many others.

How to Make Your eCommerce Business Profitable

If you’ve set up your online shop, you have to strategize how to earn from it. There’s lots of revenue to be made in eCommerce; hence the new companies are rising every day. It’s not enough to set up an online store; you have to harness revenue generation strategies through these platforms.

Ways of Earning Money From eCommerce

eCommerce may seem complicated at first, but as you acquaint yourself with the strategies of earning conveniently through this means, the journey is pretty much straightforward. Some ways you can earn as an online retailer include;

#1. Organic Marketing

If you want to tread the path of attracting your customers naturally without using boosted posts or paid links, this is for you.

It involves the use of direct and intuitive marketing approaches rather than paid marketing tools. Here are some marketing strategies I always recommend to boost your eCommerce business.

  • SEO Tools. Good knowledge of System Engine Optimization aids you to get organic and free traffic to your online site. If you attain the top page of any of the SERPs, you are doing great at SEO.

Using SEO enables you to outrank other competitors and requires you to stay abreast with the latest SEO strategies and modifications.

  • Content Marketing. Did you know you could influence people’s purchase choices even without them knowing it?

Through content marketing, you can create brand-related content on your websites, and it requires thorough research on your niche and industry.

  • Keyword Research. Use the right keywords!! That’s the difference between the high rankers and the mediocre.

This is the act of finding out phrases and words that users are most likely to use in search engines such as Bing, Google, and Youtube.

Keywords serve as a guide for your SEO campaigns as they tell you the direction to go and how much progress you are making.

#2. Paid marketing

With paid marketing, you can target your potential customers based on their intents, interests, or previous interactions.

Paid marketing involves the use of digital channels and SERPs, social media websites, and platforms. It can also be in the form of guest blogs and sponsored social posts.

  • Display Ads. By using this, you can compel your target audience to take the intended actions. They comprise video or image ads, text-based ads to encourage a click from the user to a landing page.
  • Search Ads. We all want our customers to land on our site while searching for a product in our niches. By using these search ads, your products pop up in the SERPs when your customers browse products similar to yours.
  • Social Media Ads. We all use social media, and what better platform to display your ads than on them.

From Facebook to Whatsapp to Instagram, these platforms use relevant ads based on user interactions to give you high sales and conversions at a low acquisition cost.

#3. Analyzing Your Web Traffic

If there’s anything that’s helped me a lot in the eCommerce world, it is this process of ensuring I always analyze my web traffic.

You wouldn’t want to get carried away by the high site visitors that you ignore its analysis to boost high sales. To do this, ensure you;

  • Understand the source of your traffic.
  • Value the time-period users spend on your page.
  • Measure and review your bouncer rates.
  • Aim to attain more pages per session.

Conclusion

E-Commerce is a valuable part of our economy, and it would be wise to take this lucrative field to boost your sales and revenue as an entrepreneur.

The world is advancing towards a digital phase more rapidly, and smart entrepreneurs are leveraging this to stand out in the business world.

Taking steps to start up your eCommerce business could be mind-boggling at times. However, understanding the diverse strategies involved in this field leaves you in a more favorable position than a traditional retail store owner.

The benefits of how to an start ecommerce business in 2021.  I’ve highlighted cannot be overemphasized ranging from the flexibility and convenience it avails to you as a potential online retailer.

Daniel Abbott

Daniel Abbott is editor in chief & research analyst at The Next Tech. He is deeply interested in the moral ramifications of new technologies and believes in leveraging the data scientist, research and content enhancement to help build a better world for everyone.

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