April 25, 2018

7 Questions Answered About Starting an eCommerce Business

There’s a lot of appeal to starting an eCommerce business of your own: be your own boss, set your own schedule, work from the comfort of your home. Before you invest in a website though, you want to consider what it requires to successfully launch and operate an eCommerce company. You probably have a few questions about the process of starting an eCommerce business.

What do I need to start an eCommerce business?

You don’t need much to start an eCommerce business. The most important items to have when you launch your eCommerce site is:

  • A product to sell
  • An idea for your domain name
  • A web hosting account

There are intangible assets that aren’t required to start an eCommerce business but help significantly, such as a knowledge of digital marketing strategies, graphic design practices, and business management standards. Luckily, a lot of the information you need to understand these areas is available online in the form of eBooks, webinars, blog posts, and other educational resources.

Should I do any research beforehand?

It would help you considerably to conduct market research before starting an eCommerce business. This means looking at other eCommerce businesses to understand the supply of similar goods as well as the competitive landscape.

Additionally, you’ll want to look into the demand for the products you will sell. For example, are people going online to purchase custom-printed t-shirts or do they prefer to buy them in-person? The better grasp you have on the market, the stronger your initial effort can be straight out of the gate.  

How do I generate sales for my eCommerce business?

Just like any business, you have to market yourself. Since your eCommerce business is based online, begin with digital marketing strategies such as search engine optimization, blogging, social media, and email. You also want to consider the marketing funnel and create the content that will convert leads into paying customers.

What costs are associated with starting an eCommerce business?

That all depends. For instance, if you are using WordPress as your eCommerce platform, you’ll have to pay for your domain name, web hosting account, and the WordPress theme you want to use. You’ll also have to factor in the costs of any employees you bring onboard to assist you, as well as the expense of sourcing or making the products you sell on your site.

Should I use an existing eCommerce platform, such as Shopify or Etsy, for my business?

There are benefits to working with organizations like Shopify or Etsy, such as additional exposure, but there are also disadvantages. These platforms charge a fee to host your eCommerce business with them because of the increased visibility offered and available tools. Establishing your own eCommerce business on a WordPress site can minimize your overhead costs, give you more control over your site, and cuts out an unnecessary middleman.

How should I ship items that I sell from my eCommerce business?

Before you launch your eCommerce company, you’ll have to research shipping options, as you’ll probably charge a fee to get your items to buyers. Ascertaining shipping costs prior to starting your eCommerce business gives you time to stock up on packaging materials so you’re ready to send out goods as soon as someone makes a purchase.

What kind of customer service should I offer?

While you don’t have the resources that Amazon has on-hand, customer service is still an important part of your eCommerce business. Customers should have an easy way to contact your business about your products and their orders. Contact forms and branded email addresses should be used for customer service.

You can also offer shoppers a number to call if you are comfortable addressing questions and concerns over the phone. Remember to include the hours customer service is available via the phone, so you’re not getting calls at all hours of the night.

Ready to start your business but need some help building a WordPress eCommerce site? Contact our WordPress experts today about creating and maintaining your eCommerce website.