The COVID-19 pandemic might have changed the way people do trade and business but it has not stopped the e-commerce trend from booming. Since more people choose to stay home to reduce the spread of infection, more people are also turning to online shopping – statistics say so.
From July to September, US consumers spent nearly $200 billion online with retailers, which is a 37 percent increase from the $145 billion for the same quarter in 2019, according to figures from the Monthly Retail Trade report of the Commerce Department.;
Apart from reducing the risk of contracting COVID-19, online shopping offers many perks for customers:
- They can opt for next-day deliver
- They can order from the comforts of their home
- They have access to more product information
- They have a more personalized shopping experience
For these reasons, it’s no wonder that the e-commerce trade is growing. And if you want to take advantage of it, NOW is the best time. Whether you’re offering specialized food or professional jewelry photo editing services for e-commerce shops, take advantage of 2020 and start your shop.
From scratch, if you have to.
How to Start Your Online Business from Scratch
E-commerce may be a booming business but there are still many businesses struggling to get traction. There is more to building a business than just choosing a name, writing listings and selling products and services online.
You need to follow the following steps to ensure your e-commerce business will soar in 2020 and beyond:
Step 1: Learn more about e-commerce business models.
Research is the critical first step. Just because you’re starting from scratch, it doesn’t mean you have to operate off a hunch. Start your business off with a structure. Before you decide on what to sell online, learn more about the different business models available.
For example, if you want to own a warehouse full of products, warehousing or wholesaling is your retail model. If you want to turn a profit without investing heavily or touching the products, go for print on demand or drop shipping. What if you want to sell a favorite product under your brand? Look into manufacturing and white labeling.
Take your time in learning more about these business models. Compare them mentally and decide which one matches your marketing strengths and resources well. Also, consider where you want to sell. Do you want to start selling on Amazon or on Shopify?
Step 2: Learn about your niche.
Many e-commerce websites house thousands of products under dozens of categories and zero focus. Unless you have a big budget, your business cannot be the next Amazon. You need a niche to narrow down your target.
Start by identifying successful companies working within your industry. For example, you want to focus on selling and/or building a gaming PC, determine the companies working in the same industry. If there is plenty, this means your industry is competitive. If not, you might not have any market.
Refrain from choosing a niche market with heavy competition and stay away from those dominated by major brands. If you need more insight, delve deep into what you want to focus on. Get specific because this will point you to a market with less competition.
Step 3: Register your business and brand name.
You need a brand that connects with your business’s persona. Identifying the persona paves the way for the building of your e-commerce brand. But before you set up shop, consider the following steps, too:
- Register your business. Choose a business name and register it. There are tax benefits and legal protections for incorporating, so skipping shouldn’t be an option.
- Get your business license. If you’re not familiar with business licensing, the Small Business Association (SBA) offers plenty of resources to help you get started, which include courses on small business basics and a mentor-protÃ©gÃ© network. They can also offer guidance for acquiring small business licenses.
- Find the right vendors. You’ll have plenty of competitors selling products online, so prioritize finding products that are of good quality and come at the best prices. Shop around until you find a trusted vendor you wish to do business within the long run.
Step 4: Create your store.
Now that you’re a licensed business owner, register your domain name, as well as finalize your website. Whatever web design you choose, make sure it’s compatible with your e-commerce software.
People are changing the way they shop in 2020. And it is making online shopping here to stay, turning it into the future of buying. Take advantage of the shift by adding an online channel or moving your business today on the web and watch it grow further beyond 2020.