Small and mid-sized enterprises stand to gain a lot from adopting an eCommerce business model. Whether you have an existing business setup or intend to start one from the ground up, ecommerce can well and truly help you achieve your goals. It is no surprise then, that small businesses from a wide range of industry segments have taken to ecommerce like bees to honey. From clothes and furniture, to digital products and services, businesses of all kinds are operating online today.
This trend has picked up steam in the recent past for good reason. Not only is eCommerce a profitable way for business owners to sell merchandize, but also the preferred way for customers to buy what they need.
A Quick Checklist to Starting Your eCommerce Business
Here are a few important things to keep in mind while planning to make the switch to eccommerce to get your online business started.
Different states have different laws that govern businesses. It is essential that you find out everything there is to know about these laws, rules and regulations before getting started. Depending on where you are and what the nature of your business is, you may require to acquire various certifications, permits and licenses. Consult your legal advisor about tax liabilities and business compliance requirements for your type of business. There may be laws regarding import, export, shipping, etc., so understand all the implications that may be relevant to your ecommerce business.
Unlike the era gone by, it is fairly simple for anyone to set up an ecommerce business today. With numerous user-friendly tools and software available to business owners, it is no longer necessary for you to create your own ecommerce website from scratch. Instead, you can choose to use any of the following ecommerce platforms:
Shopify is one of the most popular all-in-one ecommerce platforms out there. With an easy setup and hundreds of ecommerce templates to choose from, Shopify offers a range of customization options. With excellent back-end support and secure payment integration, it is also amongst the most reliable platforms. Here are some of the key features and functionalities the platform allows you to explore:
- Select your own domain name
- Customize the look and feel of the template you choose
- Create a structured product catalogs
- Organize SKUs
- Track and manage orders
- Post and manage content easily
- Make smart decisions based on eCommerce analytics
2. Magento Commerce
Affordable, customizable and trusted by hundreds of B2B and B2C enterprises, Magento is ideal for businesses. With flexible and extensible ecommerce options, you can create a unique shopping experience using this platform. The salient features of Magento Commerce include:
- Cloud hosting and deployment
- Seamless third-party integrations
- Customer segmentation and personalization
- Content staging and preview
- Inventory and order management
- End-to-end support
- Business intelligence tools
Here is a great alternative to creating and maintaining a full-fledged website for your ecommerce operations. eBay Shop enables businesses to showcase their offerings in one place. The customization options, allow you to use eBay’s staggering customer reach (millions of buyers worldwide) to draw attention to your own merchandise. It is essentially a digital marketplace that charges a small fee for every new product you list. Some of eBay’s standout features for eCommerce businesses are:
- A customizable storefront
- Easy product listing options
- Branding and personalization options
- Assign and organize SKUs
- Content management and promotion
Hey, whoever said Etsy was only meant for creative businesses and artists was not entirely correct. Etsy doubles up as an online marketplace that enables you to list your products alongside other sellers. With a massive customer base, it provides a phenomenal option for businesses who do not want to spend a fortune on marketing.
- Easy account and store setup
- Fully customizable storefront
- Streamlined product listing options
- Handy sales tools
Apart from the platforms mentioned above, you could also consider other similar options such as Yahoo Small Business, Yola, Volusion and BigCommerce. All these platforms offer ecommerce as a service at reasonable rates and are extremely user friendly.
Some of the factors that small businesses must consider when choosing a platform to host their ecommerce operations are:
- Affordable starter packages
- Data security
- User friendliness
- Conversion and marketing tools
- Order fulfillment options
- Shipping support
- Easy third-party integration
- Customer relationship management support
- Accounting support
While you may invest a lot of time and effort into streamlining your ecommerce business on the platform of your choice, it is also important that you bring qualified traffic to your online store. Make sure you do your research about what kind of marketing strategy is best suited for your business type. You can explore targeted online marketing options such as:
- Email marketing
- Paid marketing
- Social media marketing
- Pay-per-click ads (PPC)
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Video marketing
Gone are the days when you would rely solely on a brick-and-mortar store to conduct business. eCommerce is the present and future of businesses. This business model allows you to reach a wider audience base, market your offerings easily and sell products and services to your customers in any corner of the world.
Make sure you check off every pointer mentioned in the checklist above to work your way towards creating a successful ecommerce business. If you need a partner who can help you create and maintain your eCommerce store, check out our dedicated services.
QualDev is the frontrunner in ecommerce development solutions for businesses in the United States. Whether you want to set up a new ecommerce store or manage your existing one, we can help you. Get in touch with us today!