Editor’s Note: Without going into much detail, we put together the essential information on how to start an online retail business in six steps. And if you are determined to profit from online sales, our team at ScienceSoft will be happy to provide further ecommerce consulting services.
In 2019, worldwide ecommerce sales reached $3.53 trillion, and revenues are expected to grow even further, up to $6.53 trillion by 2022. Powering this growth is an expanding army of online consumers. In the US alone, about 227 million people shop online on a regular basis (representing around 70% of the population), and the tendency is upward.
Thus, starting an online retail business promises a good profit if you are ready to do it right to gain a toehold and prosper. Building on the experience of our team in all-around ecommerce services, I will walk you through the key steps of launching an online retail store.
1. Find your market niche
Success in online retail largely depends on whether you can find a sufficient target audience for your products or services. That’s a strategic question that must be settled before taking any steps towards the business opening. I can think of several ways to understand whether there is consumer demand within your planned market:
- Commercial keyword research to estimate potential search volume.
- Competitor analysis (both across the web and social media) to see an average scope of businesses in your market segment and start thinking about competitive advantages to stand out.
2. Organize manufacturing and supply chain
Once you have decided on the market niche, you can start planning a supply side of your business. If you have products manufactured in-house, you need to set up the procurement of raw materials, secure production facilities, and organize storage and transportation for end products. If you resell or distribute products from multiple manufacturers or wholesalers, take time to research potential vendors and negotiate win-win purchasing and shipment terms.
3. Create a business plan
Whether you are planning a small online retail business or have grand ambitions, coming up with a thorough business plan is the first never-to-miss step. Its purpose is to have all short- and long-term goals set and ways to achieve them elaborated and framed into actionable steps and techniques.
When working out a launch strategy, make the most of the resources you have now or plan to acquire. Resources include financial capital, human resources, raw materials, digital real estate (websites, social media profiles), and everything else that can be put to work to generate profit. In fact, launching a business successfully requires finding ways to connect the available resources to the specified goals.
4. Build an ecommerce website
You don’t need to go into details of web development, just team up with competent developers to take on the process. To be on the same page with them, grasp some key requirements to introduce.
- Don’t belittle visual design – an appealing website look is a shortcut to customer trust.
- Prioritize user experience by making the shopping process quick, simple, and convenient.
- Give your products the center stage by using high-quality images and detailed descriptions.
- Personalize the digital experience of customers to show that you value their time and serve the best-suited content first.
5. Launch the web store
Next, you should make your website go live. You can celebrate the event and promote it beforehand via ads. While your business doesn’t have a solid reputation so far, you can attract first-time customers with special deals, which better be time-limited to prompt first buys.
6. Plan a marketing strategy
Marketing is a set of tools for acquiring new customers as well as engaging with them ever after. Determining a target audience and finding the best ways to communicate with them is essential for marketing success. As marketing techniques and channels are numerous, I’m giving a list of the most popular ones:
- Advertising (both traditional and digital).
- Email marketing.
- SEO and content marketing.
- Social media marketing.
- Influencer marketing.
Become an Online Retailer Today
Ecommerce is definitely an industry worth investing in. And though I’ve only briefed you on the most important steps, you can conclude that it is not hard to get started therein, especially if you have expert support. ScienceSoft offers consulting and development services for entrepreneurs planning to benefit from an online business presence – contact our team for details and guidance.
Are you planning to expand your business online? We will translate your ideas into intelligent and powerful ecommerce solutions.