E-Commerce (or electronic commerce) refers to the buying and selling of products or services over the internet. The transfer of money and data to execute these transactions is also part of e-commerce. The term can also be used to describe any kind of commercial transaction that occurs in the digital space.
The first e-commerce transaction took place on August 11, 1994, when a man sold a Sting CD to his friend via his website NetMarket (an American retail platform). Over the years e-commerce evolved, making it easier to find and purchase products or services through online stores like Amazon or Takealot.
And e-commerce isn’t just for big brands. Small businesses and independent freelancers have also benefited from e-commerce. It enables them to sell their products and services in a way that is not possible with offline retail.
How To Start An E-Commerce Business
Thanks to the power and versatility of the internet anyone can launch an e-commerce business. But building your business will take a little more work than simply choosing a brand name, listing products and selling them. Even the best business ideas can fail if you don’t have a plan to follow. Luckily we’ve got you covered. Here are a few simple steps to help you start your own e-commerce business.
Deciding What Product/Service To Sell
Deciding on a product or service t sell is the first step to building an e-commerce business. It’s often the most difficult part of starting a business and there are a few things you need to consider. You need to find your niche but it also has to be something with a large global demand. Do your research into the latest trends and blend it with what you’re good at. Because the key to owning a successful business is being interested in, and having an existing knowledge about the products or services you’re selling.
Form A Business Plan
Once you’ve decided on a product and sourced a good manufacturer, you’re ready to write up your business plan. Start by researching your competition. This way you’ll know what you’re up against and can differentiate your business accordingly. Once your research is done complete, it’s time to start on your business plan. This plan will serve as the blueprint that brings your thoughts and ideas together. A business plan helps you to manage your budget, prioritize tasks and reach new customers.
Finding A Manufacturer
If your business is selling a product (or a variety of products) you need to find a manufacturer. While most e-commerce business owners’ start by manufacturing their products themselves, as your business grows you will need help to keep up with demand.
Processing Orders and Shipping
You need to decide if you’re going to manage the processing and shipping of orders in-house. This is usually largely dependent on the type of product you are selling and whether you can manage the volume of orders on your own. If you’re making and selling small items (like candles) in-house processing and shipping can be done easily. But if products are manufactured by a third party, you can process the orders and have the manufacturer handle the shipping.
Develop Your Brand and Online Presence
When deciding on a brand name you need to pick something which appeals to your target market. This will make the name more memorable. The name also needs to have an available domain and social media handles. You don’t want to pick something that can be easily confused with another site or brand. Once you have your brand name, website and social media platforms it’s time to focus on design. Brainstorm ideas for your logos, website layout, and social media headers. You can design them yourself or with the help of a freelancer.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
Once your website and products are ready you need to figure out how you’re going to get the word out about your business. You need to market your products in places your target audience is most likely to see it. There are lots of paid and unpaid digital marketing options for you to choose from. Launch a Facebook ad campaign or use influencer marketing to help drive traffic to your website. It’s also important to ensure that your website is SEO complaint so that search engines will give you a good ranking.
Launch Your E-Commerce Store
Once you’ve followed all the steps mentioned above, your store will be ready to make its mark in the digital market place. It may take a minute for business to start booming. The trick is to always look forward and never give up. Never let the fear of failure get in your way. Some of the most successful business people failed many times before getting a win.
If you’re in the media industry and want to open your own business then you should really enrol in our Entrepreneurship Course For Media.
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