Starting Your E-Commerce Business: Key Points

Tag: Entrepreneurship

Starting Your E-Commerce Business: Key Points

Starting Your E-Commerce Business: Key Points

Worldwide e-commerce sales is projected to grow to $4.5 trillion* by 2021. That’s almost double the current value. While at the face of it, the value seems mind boggling but it doesn’t come as a surprise because globally, e-commerce has been witnessing staggering growth, propelled by the sprouting of various e-commerce startups across the world.

Considering the growth of the industry, it is a lucrative proposition to start an e-commerce enterprise. Hence, if you have an idea and are willing to navigate through the challenges of building and running your own e-commerce enterprise, here are the key points you need to keep in mind:

  • Name & Registration: Choose a name for your business that separates you from the competition. Do a corporate name search to ensure that the name you have chosen is not in use. You would need to register the name and select a business structure for your startup, it can be a sole proprietorship/partnership/LLC/Corporation.
  • Domain name & Website: Ideally, your business name should be the domain of your e-commerce site. If the domain is not available, chose a domain name, that’s easy to spell and pronounce.
  • Banking Regulations & Identification number: Make sure you have your company’s identification number, as per the respective country’s law and ensure that you open up your company’s bank account. These are generally for tax & corporate records purposes.
  • Business Licenses and Permits: Check the operating licenses that you require to run an e-commerce business in your country and ensure you have all the licenses in place before starting business operations.
  • Find the right vendor: If you are going to running a marketplace, then you wouldn’t need a vendor for products that you would sell. But if it’s a standalone e-commerce platform, you would need a long term commitment from a vendor for supplies/raw materials or products.
  • Inventory: Make sure you have stocked your inventory. It would help tremendously, when your orders come through. You should be able to provision for x number of order and ship on time.
  • Logistics and Delivery: It is imperative for any e-commerce to have the logistics and delivery sorted. It is not only delivery for your customer orders but the delivery of your supplies that need to be streamlined as well.
  • Technology & Software: Having the right shopping cart plugin or building your own shopping cart is a must for any e-commerce site, the experience of your customer while shopping on your site, depends on your cart. Additionally, you need to ensure that you gradually invest in productivity software such as email marketing, CRM, etc…
  • Marketing: To start off with, use all digital marketing mediums, especially social media to spread the word about your business and drive sales. Prepare blog posts and social media properties well in advance.
  • Compliance: Your business will grow at the speed of light, but you must be mindful of the fact that you follow the regulations as per compliance, i.e. reporting annual results or quarterly results to regulators. Even the annual fees for your business permits and licenses. Do not ignore any aspect of being a compliant and legal e-commerce site.

Last but not the least, for transactions to occur on your e-commerce site, you would need a payment gateway to be integrated with your website. Sign up for a free demo to unlock the value that we can provide for your e-commerce venture, as a comprehensive payments solution provider.

*Data Source: Statista

7 Tips for E-Commerce Success

7 Tips for E-Commerce Success

The 2016 Pitney and Bowes Global Online Shopping study estimated 66% of online consumers are international. This percentage is likely to grow in the coming years.

Having said that, before you jump the international e-commerce bandwagon, it is important that you focus on certain areas for long term success. As we provide you with the following tips, you would need to be mindful of the fact that the e-commerce race is a marathon and not a sprint!

  1. Don’t Hurry: Launching your e-commerce site shouldn’t be done in a hurried fashion. There is only one shot you have in launching your site. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all functionalities of the site are working properly. Do a thorough testing. You can purchase a domain name and create a pre-launch page on the lines of “Coming Soon”, but until you have done significant groundwork in terms of content, technology, functionalities, SEO, paid advertising planning, don’t launch!
  2. Consumer is the King: The user or the consumer should be the focus of your e-commerce venture. Notwithstanding the recent advances in augmented reality and artificial intelligence, the big shortcoming that you would have to deal with is the fact that the consumer cannot touch, feel and smell the products before buying. You can compensate this by offering better prices, free shipping and more importantly, simplified shopping carts and a hassle free checkout with a seamless payments solution.
  3. Testing: At every stage of your e-commerce business (pre-launch, launch and growth), you should test everything, right from functionalities to user experience and user interface. Hence, it is imperative to invest significantly in testing and analytics.
  4. Social Focus: Do not outsource social media marketing at the starting phase of your e-commerce venture. It is indeed the heartbeat of your business. Through social media you can gain valuable insights into prospective customers. As an entrepreneur, you would need to be hands on with your social media. You can employ a community manager but you need to keep a close watch on your social media marketing. Include social elements on your e-commerce website. Small elements like reviews, social login options and follow/sharing buttons help in conversion.
  5. Mobile: Way back in 2014, Goldman Sachs had predicted that global mobile commerce will account for nearly half of e-commerce by 2018 amounting to a figure in excess of $620 Billion*. If you aren’t building your e-commerce portal with a mobile first approach, then there’s no point in venturing at all.
  6. SEO: Over time, Search engines have evolved to be more valuable for e-commerce sites. In fact, most of your traffic will come from search engines as people are increasingly searching for products on Google, Yahoo or Bing. Therefore ensure that you stay on top of SEO to stand out among competition. You may need to hire an agency to help you out with SEO in the beginning.
  7. Information and Evolution: Make it a point to collect as much of customer information and build databases to aid future launches of different versions, categories or a new sister site. Lastly, evolution is a critical element because technology, trends and consumer tastes/preferences change over time.

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*Source: Digicommerce 360