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Everything You Need to Start An eCommerce Store

A desk equipped with two monitors and a keyboard, providing everything you need to start an eCommerce store.

Running an eCommerce store has become a trendy business idea over the past few years, with more and more people opting to start their own companies selling products online from the comfort of their homes.

Thanks to easy-to-use, budget-friendly eCommerce platforms like Shopify, starting your business selling products to people online has always been challenging.

If you're contemplating the idea of starting a business from the comfort of your home, eCommerce could be a great option for you to explore. With a growing number of people preferring to shop online due to its convenience and the availability of a wide range of products and deals, there's a lot of demand for eCommerce stores. However, to start and run your own eCommerce store from home, you need to keep certain things in mind. These include factors such as the essential requirements, operational aspects, and other crucial considerations that will determine the success of your venture.

Laptop or Computer

If you want to run an eCommerce store from home, you need a suitable computer first. Whether you plan to use a service like Shopify to design your own eCommerce website or are considering hiring a designer to assemble a unique one, a computer or laptop will likely be something you will use daily while running your eCommerce store.

There are lots of options to consider. Some people prefer a desktop PC, but a laptop is better if you want more flexibility and freedom to run your business from anywhere. You can use laptops that are designed for running a business. Or, if you are on a budget and want your computer to serve a business purpose and be a personal device for you, consider considering these Lenovo gaming laptop options. A computer that is powerful enough to run the latest games can be a good idea. You can also easily use it for power-heavy business tasks like editing photos and videos for your website.

eCommerce Business Model

Once you have a suitable PC or laptop to start your business, the next step is to determine how you will run your eCommerce business. What you decide to do will have an impact on many of the other things that you will need to run your company, so it’s a good idea to start by writing a detailed business plan that outlines how you are going to source and sell products, where they will be stored if needed, and how you are going to ship them to your customers.

An online store runs much like a real-world store, but there are differences. As a traditional business leader like David Shulick, you can bring your management and other business knowledge skills to getting an online store up and running if you are willing to learn new skills.

Exploring the integration of your online store with established platforms like eBay and Etsy can offer a simple yet powerful way to enhance your eCommerce business. With the help of an eBay to Etsy integration app, business owners can bridge the gap between different marketplaces, allowing for a seamless flow of products, information, and sales across all channels. It widens your customer base by tapping into the distinct audiences of eBay and Etsy and simplifies the complexities of managing multiple storefronts. By incorporating this type of integration into your business plan, you can unlock the potential for increased visibility and sales, while ensuring a cohesive and efficient operation. 

In addition, for people who run an eCommerce business from home, dropshipping can be an attractive option since this takes a lot of the logistical work out of running this kind of company. With drop shipping, you only need to list and sell the items on your website. When a successful purchase is made, the product will be sent directly from the drop shipper to the customer, cutting out much of the work you must do in between.

Warehouse Space

Of course, there might be better eCommerce business ideas than dropshipping for everybody. If you are selling unique products that you make yourself, for example, then dropshipping isn’t going to be something that works for you. If you expect to be holding an inventory of products to sell in your eCommerce store, one of the main things you will need to set up is somewhere to store them.

Depending on how many products you expect to hold in your inventory at any one time, you may be lucky enough to have the space in your home for storage, such as in a garage, spare room, basement, or maybe even some larger self storage. However, if this isn’t the case, you must consider a suitable storage area for your items. Storage units are a good option if you do not need considerable space, or you may want to consider using a warehousing and fulfillment service.

Fulfillment centers can be a good option since they will also take care of packaging and shipping once you have sent your inventory to the warehouse. This is a good idea when selling general items but for things like electronics that require specialist packaging, your best bet is to handle this yourself. Work with a company like Argolin Ltd that can provide your special packaging and then ship the products yourself. Wherever you store your list, ensure it is insured against any damage that might occur.

Shipping and Sending

One of the best things about eCommerce these days is that you can often buy products online and get them within a day or two. When starting your own eCommerce business, you may be aware that you are up against big names in the industry, such as Amazon, where customers can have some products delivered to them the next day or even the same day they place the order.

While this might not be possible for a smaller eCommerce business, it’s essential to focus on making sure that your customers will be able to get the products they order as quickly as possible. It may be a good idea to check out different shipping companies and the plans they offer for trade customers to streamline your shipping and ensure that your customers are able to get their items as quickly as possible to ensure satisfaction.

Communications

As a smaller business, new potential customers might have more questions and interests regarding your products. It helps to have someone ready to pick up the phone, which isn’t always realistic for such a small business model. Some businesses might entrust their customer calls to call centers, meaning you’ll always have someone trained and ready to answer calls about your business and your products. Note that these systems aren’t always flawless, as even call centers are prone to call center overflow. There are only so many people working at a call center, and it’s essential to be aware of when there will be higher congestion and traffic for your customer’s calls.

eCommerce Website

Once you have a good plan for how you will source, store, and ship your items to customers, it’s time to start thinking about putting your eCommerce website together. There are several options to consider when building a website for selling products online. Suppose you are feeling creative and have a good eye for design. In that case, there are many different eCommerce website-building platforms that you might want to use, such as Shopify, where you can get access to lots of different themes and templates that you can customize to suit your website and brand.

On the other hand, if you want a more unique and professional finish, consider hiring a website developer or designer to do the work for you. Unlike anything else online, they can code your website for an impressive result.

Branding

Business branding is another essential aspect to consider when putting your website together. By now, you have probably come up with a name for your business, and one of the first aspects to focus on is your visual brand, including your logo and brand colors. These will appear not only on your website but also on any other communications for your business, including flyers, letterheads, social media, online advertisements, and more. Please keep your visual branding as consistent as possible and use wording and images that accurately depict what you do to drive more brand awareness.

Don’t skimp on choosing a name either. This is very important as you want to make it clear what you have to offer as soon as someone hears your name. You can use a free app for finding names, to find the perfect business name for your brand. After which you can buy a matching domain and you are all set!

Your Target Audience

Once you’ve put your brand and site together, it’s time to get to know your primary target audience before successfully reaching them and advertising. You may already have some idea of the type of people who might like to buy products from your store, but there are several things that you can do to further your knowledge. Surveys, focus groups, and other kinds of market research are excellent ways to learn more about the types of people interested in buying from your eCommerce store and the demographics they fit into.

Advertising

Advertising your eCommerce store is essential to get more visitors to your website and encourage them to purchase your products. There are many different options for promoting your eCommerce website, but some of the most important include search engine optimization and social media advertising. With millions of people using Google to search for different things daily, ensuring your site is optimized to appear as high as possible in search results for relevant keywords is essential.

While there are lots of tools out there that you can use to improve your SEO and Google ranking, you may want to consider working with an agency that can help since they will usually be able to get results faster and will help you avoid making novice mistakes that could end up being costly for your business. Along with this, it’s a wise idea to work on building your social media presence as much as possible since social media is also used by millions daily.

You can set up pages and profiles for your business on the social networks where your target audience will most likely be. The type of customers you hope to sell to should give you a better idea of whether Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or even TikTok and Pinterest will be the best social network to focus your efforts on.

With online shopping only growing, there are many reasons to consider eCommerce if you want a business idea to start and run from home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best computer or laptop for running an eCommerce business?
While business-specific laptops are recommended, any computer or laptop with good processing power and capable of handling multiple tasks at once would suffice. This could include gaming laptops that can handle heavy business tasks like photo and video editing.

What is the role of a business model in eCommerce?
The business model determines the type of business you run, including sourcing and selling products, inventory management, and shipping strategies. It impacts every aspect of your eCommerce business and hence should be thoroughly planned.

Is dropshipping a viable option for eCommerce businesses?
Yes, dropshipping is a viable option for those who prefer not to hold an inventory. It involves listing and selling products on your site, and upon purchase, the items are shipped directly from the supplier to the customer.

How can I manage storage for my eCommerce business?
If you are holding an inventory, you can use space in your home such as a garage, basement, or a spare room for storage. Alternatively, you can consider renting storage units or using warehousing and fulfillment services, depending on the size of your inventory.

What are the options for shipping in an eCommerce business?
Several shipping companies offer plans for trade customers, which can help streamline shipping processes and ensure quick delivery. You can also consider fulfillment centers that take care of packaging and shipping.

How can I manage customer communications for my eCommerce business?
For smaller businesses, hiring call center services might be beneficial. These services handle customer calls, answering queries about your products and services. However, be aware of call center overflows and plan accordingly.

What are the options for building an eCommerce website?
You can use eCommerce website-building platforms like Shopify if you are comfortable with design. However, if you desire a more professional look, hiring a website developer or designer might be the better option.

How can branding affect my eCommerce business?
Strong and consistent branding helps your business stand out and be recognizable. Your logo, brand colors, and overall visual elements play a significant role in creating a unique identity for your business, helping to attract and retain customers.

How can I identify my target audience?
Market research, surveys, and focus groups are great ways to identify your target audience. Understanding who is interested in your products and their demographics can significantly enhance your marketing and advertising efforts.

What are the best ways to advertise my eCommerce store?
Search engine optimization (SEO) and social media advertising are two effective methods. SEO helps your site rank higher in search results, while social media advertising enables you to reach your audience on platforms they use regularly. Hiring an agency for these tasks might be beneficial, especially for SEO, to avoid costly errors and improve results.

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