The eCommerce business industry is exploding. Many Brick and mortar stores that temporarily closed may never open again.
Shopping online used to be a convenience and a pride, now – its a necessity. The eCommerce businesses that I work with can’t keep enough products stocked. Ecommerce has been growing for a while, and the numbers below don’t account for the recent events leading to an increase in eCommerce sales
Future of Indian Ecommerce
▪ India e-commerce will reach US$ 99 billion by 2024, growing at a 27 per cent CAGR over 2019-24, with grocery and fashion/apparel likely to be the key drivers of incremental growth.
▪ Online penetration of retail is expected to reach 10.7 percent by 2024, versus 4.7 percent in 2019.
▪ With growing internet penetration, internet users in India are expected to reach 835 million by 2023. As of 2019, internet subscribers in India stood at almost 718.74 million.
▪ Each month, India is adding approximately 10 million daily active internet users to the internet community, the highest rate in the world, thereby supporting the E-commerce industry.
▪ Online shoppers in India are expected to reach 220 million by 2025.
▪ India’s digital sector is expected to increase by two-fold and reach US$ 335 billion by 2025.
▪ Through its ‘Digital India’ campaign, the Government of India is aiming to create a trillion-dollar online economy by 2025.
▪ The Indian online grocery market is estimated to exceed sales of about Rs 22,500 crore (US$ 3.19 billion) in 2020, a significant jump of 76 percent jump over the previous year.
7 Steps to Start Ecommerce Business from Scratch
Online retail is a booming business. But I’ve seen too many ecommerce businesses struggle to get traction. It’s taken me years to learn everything included in this page. Use the information here to set up your ecommerce store, protect yourself legally, get your finances in order, market and sell your product, and start building your store.
There’s nothing more rewarding starting a business from nothing and watching it grow. You build it up and no one can take it from you.
Building an ecommerce business takes more than choosing a brand name, writing product listings, and starting to sell products online. Even the best business ideas can flop if you aren’t driving enough traffic to your site. Prefer a step-by-step video course? Check out Internet Business Model
Step 1: Research eCommerce Business Models
Beginning your research is the first critical step. Don’t operate off of a hunch. Growing any online business is an investment. Treat it as such.
There isn’t a single business structure that works for everyone. Service-based business, software, digital products, and physical products are just the tip of the iceberg
Before you can decide on what to sell online, you need to understand the different business models available.
It’s not rocket science, but it does impact your business structure.
This is something I’ll help you figure out in my Internet Business Model
If you want to turn a profit without touching your product or investing heavily at the start, dropshipping is a smart choice.
If you like the idea of having your own warehouse full of goodies, you’re investing more up front and working with a wholesaling or warehousing model. Have a business idea for the perfect product idea or a favorite product you wish you could sell under your brand? Look into white labeling and manufacturing.
And then there are subscriptions, where you carefully curate a set of products or a single product to be delivered at regular intervals to your customers.
The ecommerce business model that attracts me the most is a single product category that you supplement with affiliate marketing. You can control the content marketing and branding on a focused product and focus the rest of your energy on driving sales by monetizing traffic.
Step 2: Start eCommerce Niche Research
It pains me when people email me their eCommerce site and it’s filled with hundreds of products, dozens of categories, and no real focus.
Unless you have a massive budget, you can’t be the next Best Buy or Amazon. You have to niche down to run a profitable ecommerce store.
Choosing your niche is the most important step in opening your online business. Start this process by identifying successful companies already working in this space.
Make sure that the area is competitive – an absence of competition usually indicates that there’s no market, either.
Don’t pick an overly crowded niche, however, and skip anything dominated by major brands. If you’re having trouble with this, drill down further on what you want to do – the more specific you are, the less competition you are likely to face.
Niche-ing down also gives you the benefit of having a lot of “shoulder” niches, related to what you do, but not identical. You can work together with business owners in those niches to cross-promote, become (or acquire) an affiliate, and grow your customer base.
Pick a product category with a minimum of 1000 keywords and focus on a niche that does well in social media, where publishers in the area are affiliates on Amazon. If you can nab a few affiliate marketing opportunities, you won’t have to worry about shipping as much product, but you can still make a profit.
Step 3: Validate Target Market and Product Ideas
Now that you’ve identified a niche and business model, you might be tempted to start hunting for products to sell.
Don’t. Before you think about product ideas, think about personas. You can’t expect people to buy your product if you don’t know who you’re selling to.
Who are you? What does the store represent? Who are your ideal customers? You need to project a consistent brand image (a journey that starts with your brand name). An organic seed company that started selling conventional fertilizer wouldn’t last very long.
Once you’ve identified the image you want to project and the customer you are catering to, it’s time to come up with product ideas. I suggest starting with one – you’ll invest less at the start, and if you want to offer more you can test the waters with affiliate marketing.
In the example of an organic seed company, you could find popular organic products on Amazon and create content to send traffic to those affiliate products. If something catches fire, you can consider making your own brand of that product. If you’re not 100% sure what to sell, you can use affiliate marketing to validate your idea.
Before you invest in the product, though, evaluate it carefully. Even if you choose a dropshipping model, you want to test it carefully and get a feel for the product yourself so you can identify any potential problems and prepare customer service scripts to answer common questions.
Step 4: Register your eCommerce Business & Brand Name
If you want to start a successful business, you need a brand that connects with your persona. Identifying your persona makes building an ecommerce brand easier. You might avoid girlie colors and images if you are selling products to corporate businesswomen interested in living a sustainable life.
But before you set up your store and get into the nitty gritty of building a brand – there are some basic steps you’ll need to take.
Register Your Business.
Choose a business name and register your company. There are legal protections and tax benefits for incorporating, so don’t skip it. You can register as a Proprietorship (or) Limited Liability Partnership (or) Private Limited based on your business size and Investments
Pick Your Store’s Name
The name of your site and the legal name of your business don’t need to be identical, but keeping them consistent has its benefits. Make sure whatever you choose fits your niche – you don’t want to pick a brand name at the last minute.
Get Your Certificate of Incorporation
If you’re not familiar with this process, approach a Chartered Accountant (CA) near you live on and take advice based on your business idea. CA’s can help you to get registered in your company. Find a mentor who is walking the talk who can guide you on right path as you progress on your business, Am more than happy to help you as a mentor
Open a Current Account
A Current Account is usually opened by business entities in order to carry out their banking transactions. Having a current account helps to collect the payments from customers and business partners. All banks offers a start-up account for new businesses with many useful facilities
Setup Payment Gateways (RazorPay/Stripe/PayPal)
Payment Gateway’s like Razor Pay, Stripe and PayPal these are the best companies offering to collect the payments. It’s easier than before to open a/c with these companies. Razor Pay is useful to collect the payments with in India, when it comes to abroad Stripe or PayPal is much adviced
Step 5: Finalize Your eCommerce Business Plan
By now you should have a great idea of what your business will look like. You have your target market, your product niche and your brand name.
Now is a good time to step back and put your business plan on paper and determine your startup budget and monthly expenses.
The most important aspect of a business is the financial one. Figure out your break-even point, both in unit sales and duration (in months). Any real business is an investment of resources.
Yet, I am sad to see that many entrepreneurs don’t take the time to project their revenue and expenses.
The business planning phase is also when you want to iron out details like your staff, product sourcing, logistics and marketing budget.
Step 6: Create your Store
Once you’ve legally registered your business and started thinking about design, you need to register your domain name and any redirect URLs that might be relevant. You’re going to need the design info you settled on in the last step now, when you finally build your store.
Whatever design you chose needs to be compatible with your ecommerce software, too.
There are literally hundreds of ecommerce shopping cart platforms. Choosing the right ecommerce software is not easy. You need to carefully evaluate things like loading speed, features, compatibility with different payment gateways, compatibility with your business structure, your web developer skills, SEO-friendly features, and more. I’m putting together reviews and comparisons to help you pick the right one.
Once you decide on your ecommerce solution, don’t hire a “CRO Expert” or expensive development company. Just use a theme. You might need to pay a small fee of $100 or so to get a good template, depending on the shopping cart you choose and what they offer.
Step 7: Send Customers to Your Store
Apologies to any Field of Dreams fans, but if you build it there’s no guarantee they’ll come. You need to market your store.
When you chose your cart, I told you to think about search engine friendly features. They are NOT all the same.
The keyword-stuffing days of the early 2000s are long gone, but SEO is alive and well. You need to keep keywords and search terms in mind on each page of your site, in your URLS, and in your ad campaigns. You also need to think about driving traffic to your site.
The best eCommerce sites invest heavily in online marketing. If you don’t have the funds
Will you use sponsored content, social media, pay-per-click ads, or a combination of strategies? How will you monitor what campaigns are driving traffic to your store? If marketing your site seems overwhelming, will you hire help?
Your site isn’t the only thing you need to drive traffic to. The product(s) you choose also need to be included in your marketing budget.
Your mission is to sell products, not drive traffic. To sell products, you have to think beyond your site and look for expansion areas.
Ready To Start Your Online Business?
Did this post answer your questions about starting an ecommerce store? If so, please give it a share. I’ve spent years helping business owners like you. Running a successful ecommerce website doesn’t have to be a struggle or pricey.
If you’ve got the elbow grease and time, you could launch a profitable online store for a few hundred dollars per month.
To avail the advantage of getting quick and start the business with out loosing any hard earned money check out my ultimate course Internet Business Model