with an estimated global population of 7.7 billion people, that’s about 25 per cent of the world’s population shopping online. This has made e-commerce a very predictable and profitable business to venture into in the 21st century.
Do you seek a profitable business to start with very minimal business capital, then look nowhere because this article is here to walk you through how to start one of the major businesses of the 21st century which is no other than eCommerce.
What Is E-commerce
E-commerce means electronic commerce. It is an online business model that allows a virtual store to display products and permits anybody registered and authenticated to shop and pay for anything they desire.
The platform managers get the information and process the delivery right to the customers desired location.
Ever since the dawn of the internet, e-commerce has become increasingly popular and also become a business model of the 21st century that has generated millions in revenue for business owners.
The funniest thing about the e-commerce business models is that you do not need to have everything to sell everything.
All you just need is to reach out to people who have those Items and reach an agreement with them and the deal is done.
A commission can also be added alongside sales of a product.
E-commerce Stats You Should Know.
Looking to venture into an e-commerce business of yours? Here are very few stats to guide you.
1. There will be 2.05 billion global digital buyers in 2020.
2. E-commerce is expected to make up a whopping 17.5 per cent of retail sales worldwide by 2020.
3. 85 per cent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase online.
4. Only 1 in 34 website visitors buys something.
5. Mobile e-commerce is expected to account for 67.2 per cent of digital sales in 2019.
6. Younger people spend more time shopping online than older people.
How To Start An Ecommerce Business
Are you interested in becoming a sales powerhouse in your desired location? This detailed guide would help you get started.
1. Choose A Business Niche.
Choosing a niche helps you to be able to decide on how your business should be operated.
Also, choosing a niche has a lot to do with research, most of which would answer the various questions such as;
1. what kind of product do I intend to sell, physical or digital?
Most people have products that are not physical such as; eBooks, music, images, subscription and other software products, these products are categorized under digital products.
2. What product category do I intend to focus on?
Most eCommerce websites are based on a single category; such as Fashion, electronics, agriculture and many others.
You can decide to take one out of everything or engage all categories on your website.
2. Choose A Business Name and Setup A Legal Entity.
The next step to take when you decide to start an eCommerce business is to pick up a business name that would represent your business online and on legal documents.
Maybe, you don’t intend to expand your business, then you may run a business as a single person, which will limit the potential earning capacity of your business.
Getting a business name also ensure that your business complies with the laws of your country, and also increases the amount of money that you can make as a business.
There are so many ways to get your business registered in your country, but if your business is located here in Nigeria, all you need do is visit the official website of the Nigerian government to get started.
If your business is located elsewhere then you may need to consult your government.
3. Buy a Domain Name and A Host.
A domain and a host combined makes your platform accessible online throughout the entire world.
Also, when buying a host make sure to purchase an unlimited plan because your website in no time would be very busy and you don’t want it crashing all the time when important activities are being carried on the website.
2. Choose the Proper E-Commerce Engine.
An E-commerce engine is a software framework built specifically for the sole purpose of Buying and selling.
An E-commerce engine should be able to list products and display prices, and process payments. There are various E-Commerce engines, with their various Pro’s and Con’s a few of them are.
One thing I love about software is the ability to reuse an existing solution. Software developers all over the world are trying to make sure that business software solution is available for reuse.
One common business solution that has become very popular is E-Commerce, right from the success of Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, you can see that E-commerce is a business solution that will not leave mankind for a very long time.
This article is going to focus more on E-commerce solutions that help you handle your business solution right from inventory, to accepting payments.
Here are some of my very few picks when it comes to choosing a hosted E-commerce solution.
1. Big Commerce.
BigCommerce is a privately held technology company and provides a SaaS e-commerce platform. The company was founded in 2009 and has 600+ employees with headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Its features include customer groups and segmentation, search engine optimization, web hosting, and more. Big-commerce is quite new, but I must confess that over the years that they are doing quite well.
They are the most open SaaS e-commerce platform on the market – open APIs, zero transaction fees, and an open partner ecosystem.
However, there is a slightly higher learning curve than a more basic tool like Wix.
Brands like Ford, Toyota, Skullcandy, and others in the Fortune 1000 use BigCommerce just so that you know. Their themes are fully responsive and optimized with conversion in mind.
Here is a link to an article to help you get started with Big-Commerce.
TRY IT NOW – BigCommerce.com
Shopify Inc. is an E-commerce company based in Ottawa, Canada. One of the main reasons for its platforms is to help small E-commerce businesses and solutions to work better.
Dissatisfied by existing mobile apps and e-commerce products on the market, Tobias Lütke, Daniel Weinand, and Scott Lake built their open-source web application with Ruby on Rails and launched it after two months. Shopify has three plans ranging from $29 to $299. Additionally, its enterprise Shopify Plus platform offers its custom pricing.
The basic Shopify plans come with the following features. Free SSL, multilingual support and even 24/7 support.
TRY IT NOW – Shopify.com
Wix.com Ltd. is a web development company based headquartered in Isreal. Wix allows you to be able to create an awesome website with its inbuilt drag and drop tools, which makes It very easy for a newbie to start to use it very fast.
Wix is a fast-growing website builder that allows users to upgrade to full e-commerce functionality for $20 per month.
You can also get started with Wix using their mobile app on various stores on Google Play and Apple app store respectively.
With the Wix basic plan, you get 24/7 supports, free templates usage. free SSL, multiple payments options and even global tax and shipping. This functionality mentioned above makes it very easy to get started with Wix.
TRY IT NOW – Wix.com
4. Woo Commerce.
WooCommerce is an awesome plugin built for WordPress users. Woo-commerce powers over 74 million stores all over the world bringing the total percentage of over 25% of online stores on the Internet.
I love Woo Commerce because it was one of the first E-commerce tools I got exposed too and I can fully recommend it to anybody at any time.
WooCommerce is completely free, all you need is an existing WordPress website, and that settles it all. You can also choose to extend its basic functionality by subscribing to paid plugins.
TRY IT NOW – Woocommerce.com
Weebly is another web hosting and online builder platform that helps you get started with E-commerce also.
It has over 700K paid subscribers all over the world. Another unique functionality offered by Weebly is the built-in marketing tools you get when you get signed up. With Weebly, you don’t have to seek out things like Email marketing and so on because it all comes built-in.
Their eCommerce functionality begins with their $25/month Business Plan, which also provides a free domain.
TRY IT NOW – Weebly.com
Sellfy is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that was created to solve all your online sales challenges such as physical and digital sales.
Sellfy was initially launched in 2001, to date has over 270,000 creators, and over 2 Million products presently hosted on its platform.
Sellfy gives you the full capacity as a creator to monetize all your digital products such as eBooks, music, design assets, videos and many others.
Sellfy comes with a lot of exciting features, and customization, most of which includes; Digital products and sales of all kinds, subscriptions, the ability to design a beautiful storefront, unlimited marketing options, embedded options, world-class payment integration.
With just $19/Mo, you can get started with a simple plan on Sellfy.
TRY IT NOW – Sellfy.com
Ecwid is a cloud-based eCommerce tool that allows you to build your online store. Just like Shopify, Sellfy and big commerce Ecwid allows you to set up ‘catalogues’ of products, and add photos, pricing, weight etc. for each item.
You get the opportunity to define shipping rates, accept credit card payments and so on you also get the key pieces of stuff that are required on an eCommerce platform.
Configurations on Ecwid does not require you to use additional software as everything is done on your web browser.
One unique feature Ecwid brings aside every other eCommerce cloud platform is the fact that, in the early years of its existence, it does not allow you to create a standalone eCommerce website. All you have to do is design your eCommerce store using cloud-based technology and add it to an existing website or online presence.
In a move to upgrade, Ecwid has added some new functionality, called ‘Instant Sites’, that allows you to create a basic, one-page standalone page.
Ecwid also works by giving you a ‘widget’ that gets placed on other sites hence its name: it’s short for ‘Ecommerce Widget’.
Once already set up, you get a few lines of HTML code to add to an existing website or social media profile, and your store is displayed wherever you successfully placed this code.
Ecwid comes at affordable pricing that lets you sell up to 10 products at $0 up to $99 which lets you sell an unlimited number of products. Need to get started with Ecwid? Follow the link below.
TRY IT NOW – Ecwid.com
3. Give Your Platform a Proper Design.
User interface and User Experiences are one part and the future of Internet business in general. Your users are going to vary in their kinds so be sure to give your website an outstanding design that will be attractive, easy to navigate and understand.
If you intend to use The Woo Commerce Engine for your online store, I’ll recommend your purchase a premium theme from Themeforest.
4. Optimize Your website for search engine visibility.
SEO means Search optimization, Optimizing your online store for search engine visibility is an awesome plus and added advantage necessary for growth. When users are searching for an Item via Google they should be able to get to your website that is the sole importance of SEO.
Here is an article I wrote in properly understanding search engine optimization
5. Upload and List Products.
Now you have connected as many vendors as required, or you intend to run it as a single business, the next task is to upload those products from your vendors or the ones that you own personally to your intended platform. This involves uploading product names, descriptions, images and prices.
Just in case you are starting and don’t know how to go about getting products then here is an article I recommend that you read.
6. Logistics and Delivery Services.
An E-commerce business entails that you move products purchased by customers from one place to the other in a specific region or location.
Another important aspect to consider alongside your E-commerce platform is the need for logistics. You can create your very own logistics or subscribe to the service of an existing logistics company.
In this section, I would recommend a service called Deliverr for those of you intending to start a business in the US
When starting an online eCommerce business, one of the most important things to consider is shipping.
Deliverr.com is a dynamic shipping and fulfilment startup based in the US. It delivers products for its clients, which are namely eCommerce brands, super fast.
It integrates with With massive online marketplaces like Amazon Facebook, Shopify, Instagram, Walmart, BigCommerce and WordPress.
Deliverr rivals Amazon Prime by providing fast (1-2 days) shipping to online sellers.
Deliverr can ship your products so quickly because they rent warehouse space across the United States. But, best of all, they stock their warehouse shelves in each location based on what’s selling well in that specific area.
Deliverr‘s is efficient because it stores your products in regions across the country, thereby reducing shipping costs.
Deliverr also enables customers to pay just one fixed rate for its service.
All you have to do is create a free account with Deliverr, connect your sales channels (e.g., eBay, Shopify, etc.), and tell Deliverr what you want to send, and Deliverr determines which of its warehouses to send it to.
You can send to Deliverr’s warehouses as much or as little stock as you like. Then, as orders come in, Deliverr picks, packs, ships, your products directly to your customers.
Note: Deliverr does not work outside of the United States.
TRY IT NOW – Deliverr.com
7. Build an App.
This process is not entirely necessary but in most cases, it is needed if you want your business to scale as fast as possible. An app is simply a Mobile-only version of your website which is available on Smartphones and Tablets.
You can create an app for IOS and Android app to retain user engagements and reach out to more genuine users
8. Promote Your E-commerce Brand.
Now that you have created your E-commerce brand there are chances that you are going to face so many competitors in the same business as you. Here is are just some very few ways to help you give your E-commerce business a boost.
1. Inform your loved ones (Friends and Family).
Like I always say, the first set of customers that your business is likely to engage are your friends and family. So, therefore, you should do yourself a favour by letting them know about your new startup.
2. Social media.
The next place to spread the good news is via social media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are very good places to start with marketing and promotions.
Here is an article I recommend you read to help you start hacking your fortune via social media.
Writing search engine optimized content can bring you tons of potential customers. There are so many factors that surround writing very good content.
Here is an article I recommend you read to get started.
Just before diving deep into the basics and hardcore part of owning a website or running a blog, allow me to assume that you at least have a basic knowledge of how a full website or a blog should run, so therefore it’s time to stop talking and start doing.
I decided to drop a dedicated article on how you can own an awesome domain name and a cheap web host with BlueHost and I recommend that you study and do what is advised in the article below.
Afterwards, you may return to fully digest the part you need to get started and stay on top of your game.
Here is a link to the recommended article.
4. Email Marketing.
This is by far one of the best marketing media any business model can subscribe to. I suggest you start building a list from day one to make marketing a lot easy Here is an in-depth guide you should read on email marketing.
Just before going to consume the above-recommended content on email marketing I usually like to ease the stress of my reader to allow them to benefit as quickly as possible, and one way that I usually make this happen is by introducing the best way of doing things to them.
It is my custom and tradition to always conduct a full forensic investigation on any online program and give my users feedback, this is more reason why I am recommending GeResponse as your official email marketing software.
I have used GetResponse and I must tell you that it is indeed an amazing company that is constantly innovating and building great products.
I highly recommend that you read this article below to learn more about how you can also benefit from this amazing product and scale your email marketing campaigns to success.
Current e-commerce statistics state that 40 per cent of worldwide internet users have bought products or goods online via a desktop, mobile, tablet or other online devices. This amounts to more than 1 billion online buyers and is projected to continuously grow
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