o, you’re thinking of going into business for yourself? Perhaps after some personal development courses, you’re feeling motivated and want to finally upgrade from your refurbished cell phone and get something nicer (without breaking the bank). Maybe you want to monetize a skill or trade by offering your goods and services online! Starting your own e-commerce store is an excellent idea and here we present you with a step-by-step guide toward a successful web-store launch!
Before You Launch Your e-Commerce Store, Do Your Research!
Cornerstone to the successful launch and longevity of your e-commerce store is the research that you do in preparation. Starting a business on any platform is an investment and any matter of money is an important thing. As a business owner, perform your research diligently.
Your research should yield the following results:
- Leave you with a working knowledge of the basics of the e-commerce marketplace.
- A thoughtfully identified niche.
- A strategically identified target market, and the product(s) and service(s) to be offered.
Now that you have decided where you will operate competitively and to whom you will sell your select products, you are ready to incorporate.
Six Steps For Launching From Scratch
Name your business and Choose your legal structure
First, you’ll want to choose a name that is creative, related to your niche, and memorable to customers. Once you have settled upon a name, you will need to consult The US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure that your name is available. If your chosen name is not available, then you will need to decide on another to establish any trademarks.
Based on your current financials and your future goals, you will want to decide the legal form that suits your situation. Your form of business determines which income tax return form you must file. The most common forms of business are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and S corporation. Determine which of these makes the most sense for your unique situation and move forward with your plans.
Apply for Employer Identification Number
The next order of business is for you to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). It’s true that not all business types require an EIN, but having one is a really effective means of insuring that your business and personal finances are separated.
Accounting for e-commerce companies is something you’ll want to research when managing your business. Hiring a good bookkeeper to track your cash flow and income statement and balance sheet means you have more time to focus on other action items concerning the health of your business.
Obtain Appropriate Permits and Licenses
Once you have applied for an EIN, you will need to acquire the appropriate business permits and licenses required for your small business. Your predetermined business type will indicate whether you are required to register with your state or not. You can expect to find this information at your local and state government website.
As a general rule, since most e-commerce businesses are home based, they require fewer registrations. The industry that you operate in, products and services that you provide, as well as your location can require specialized registrations and licensing. Always ensure that your required licenses are up to date to avoid costly negative regulatory actions.
Decide on Your e-Commerce Platform and Develop Your Website
Deciding on your e-commerce platform can be a daunting task given the seemingly innumerable options. It is a good idea that you refer to data-driven reviews on the various platforms and that you analyze where your competitors are having success and then make the decision that is best for your situation. All of these platforms have accessories and plugins that further assist in running your online store.
Your website is how you create your first impression. It’s the place where your customers will engage with you, browse your merchandise, and purchase your products and services. With these things in mind, creating your website is a very important task. Make sure that your domain name is identical to or as close to your business name as possible. Be sure to include engaging content with calls to action that convert your site traffic to subscriptions, sales, and more money in your pocket!
Source, Produce, or List Your Products and Services
With some of the heavy lifting done, having completed your website and chosen your e-commerce platform, now it’s time to get the products that you intend to sell. Hopefully you’ve covered this in the research phase of your plan. Maybe you are a creator and you intend to make pieces for sale.
Now is the time to go into production mode and create the inventory that you’ll need for a successful launch campaign. If you are using your e-commerce store to provide services like life coaching or virtual cooking classes, then you simply need to list and describe your offerings.
It’s Time to Market Your e-Commerce Store
You’ve completed the steps toward a successful launch and you check them all off of your list. Now it is time to spread the word about your website and services. You have options when it comes to the types of digital marketing campaigns that you choose. Search engine ad campaigns, social media marketing ads, and word of mouth are all reliable options. Note that the best campaigns usually incorporate a combination of these to successfully market a business. Be sure to utilize your platform’s SEO functions and plugins to track your site’s performance and optimize your marketing materials.
You Can Do It!
For far too long you’ve toiled over to how to turn your creative thoughts and processes into profitable action. Well, here you have it! A step-by-step guide to starting your e-commerce store and getting your handmade goods to people all over the world. Perhaps you’re a life coach and an e-commerce store increases your ability to consult the world virtually. No matter your progression into the world of e-commerce, these steps are sure to get you where you want to go.
Interesting related article: “What is e-Commerce?“