Learn how to start an e-commerce site. This 9-step guide will give you helpful tips and ideas to get your site started.
Eli Smith is a professional eCommerce specialist teaching people how to effectively sell and brand.
Worldwide eCommerce sales are likely to hit $6 trillion by 2024. What was once a game dominated by big companies is now approachable thanks to powerful entry-level eCommerce tools and strategies. So, if you want to know how to start an eCommerce store in 2022, check out our guide below.
We’ve broken down the process into nine steps:
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of how to approach each step. Regardless of whether you are a beginner or an eCommerce veteran, you’ll find tips using the latest eCommerce data.
Your goal as a new or experienced seller is to find products with high selling potential. But if you don’t focus on individual niches and products, your strategy will be unfocused and ineffective.
A niche refers to an entire group of products. For example, kitchenware is a niche while a spatula would be a product for that niche.
Having a niche is important because it allows you to focus on the needs of a few potential customers. Creating strategies catered to those customers will let you appeal to them easier.
To find a good niche, here are some excellent research tools:
It’s important to focus on products that meet your needs. As a new seller, an ideal solution would be to look for trending products with long-term potential.
Competitive research allows you to see how others are performing. When starting an online business, it’s best to know who your competition is before selling.
Ideally, you’ll want to target a low-competition high-demand area. This means you need to look at the current competition and see where their products lack. To do this, you can look at customer reviews and the list of products your competition offers.
Identifying an underserved portion of the niche allows you to find a product to focus on. You’ll also want to see what competitors in your niche do to find success.
Looking at past promotional material and the ways competitors describe their product can help. Your goal is to identify weaknesses in the competition you can exploit.
To do this, address some of the biggest complaints of a product or niche. Presenting your product as a solution to a known problem competitors aren’t addressing can help your eCommerce business grow.
Once you know how your products can dominate the market, you need to choose a platform. Often, the platform you choose for selling can change your strategy.
Below are some popular platforms you can use:
These platforms are sales channels. As you get comfortable with eCommerce, it's best to have multiple channels.
Your business model dictates how you will sell and source your products. Here are your options and some quick pros and cons of each:
The best business model for you depends on your goals and initial investment. Among these, private label sales typically offer the best long-term potential.
Once you establish how you want to sell, you need to find product suppliers. Below are different ways you can get find good product suppliers:
Regardless of the supplier you choose, it’s best to get a product sample before committing. The sample will give you a good idea of product quality, giving you more confidence in your supplier.
In addition, take the time to check public reviews on them. If the company is new, just know you are taking a risk by working with them.
Shipping ensures you can get products to where they need to go. For business shipping and handling, you have one of two options:
Option one has two levels of DIY, where you handle the packaging and warehousing. However, you’ll hand off the second half to another shipping company. Alternatively, you can build your own shipping network, which is pretty expensive.
Outsourcing is often the best starting point for new sellers. If you sell on Amazon, you can use the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) service to leverage Amazon’s existing logistics network.
While outsourcing decreases your profits, it’s best to focus on your strengths. Unless your goal is to create an excellent fulfillment network, focus on building your eCommerce store in other ways.
There are many business licenses that you need to do business online. Below is a quick roundup of what you’ll most likely need:
Check with your state’s requirements from their official government website to see specific needs.
A good business operates like a well-oiled machine. As your eCommerce store grows, you’ll be about to hire and outsource to new employees.
During this process, it’s important that you establish internal business processes for people to follow. That is why TIMIFY is here to help you manage your and your employee’s times effectively.
TIMIFY provides you a simple way for efficient team collaboration and resource management. Through a working system built on TIMIFY, everyone knows what to do with no need for micromanaging.
Ultimately, your goal with any business is to set it up so you don’t have to be involved. By establishing processes and management controls through TIMIFY, you are one step closer to that goal.
With businesses, it’s easy to set everything up and forget the last step: bringing people to the page. With advertisements, you can do this, but it's tricky to start.
Below are a few advertisement methods you can consider:
When you start, it's best to focus on people who already have asked about your product. Retargeting campaigns perform ten times better on average because the customer already has some interest in your product.
You also want to start with many, small ad campaigns with slight variations. A/B testing is where you change a single element between the ads (often the title) to see which is more effective. Doing so allows you to eliminate ads that don’t work.
As eCommerce approaches the $5 trillion mark, now is an excellent time to start a business. Using these tips and steps, you’ll get a good start on creating an effective business.
As your business grows, be sure you have plans for scaling. To aid you in that process, use TIMIFY’s retail management tools to build an effective process.
Eli Smith is a professional eCommerce specialist teaching people how to effectively sell and brand. He has three degrees (including an MBA) in Business Administration and experience across many industries.