For some mums, starting an ecommerce business can be a total game changer. Female entrepreneurs are pouring into the digital space and e-commerce technologies make it possible for women to balance their family demands with a flexible and profitable, business.
Thinking of starting an ecommerce business? Plan your strategy carefully, work hard and pick a product or service that your target audience wants and you can build a sustainable business with the potential to grow. But you’ll need to learn as you go. These essential steps will get you started.
Every business needs a solid plan if it is to be successful. For example, you will need an excellent website and a clear marketing, logistics, fulfilment and customer service plan to run an ecommerce business. It doesn’t have to be a long document, but it must be thorough. Know your product, know your customers, identify your competition and work out how you will create the best possible website with a clear, simple user experience.
Run the numbers
The pre-planning stage requires a lot of research and you will need to run plenty of numbers to create your financial plan. Know how much you have to invest in core areas such as your website and any app development. Be clear about the best method for order fulfilment, whether direct or through a dropshipping model.
Buy your domain
You’ll need a unique identifier and it will be your domain name for your website. Choose one that can brand your business and make it brief, memorable and easy to spell. Buy it directly through a domain registrar or a hosting company and purchase all relevant top-level domains (e.g. .co.uk, .net, .com etc.)
Get your hosting service
Every website needs to sit on a server and the configuration is key to overall performance. Find a good hosting provider, which will often be the same company that sells your domain name. Look for reliability as well as the service plan cost. Look also for a provider that will grow with you.
Pick an ecommerce platform
This is a hugely important decision. Review available platforms and pick one that will best meet your needs, because it will be difficult to move later on if you change your mind. The leading platforms will offer every feature that your customers need, from payment options and easy carts, through to security and performance statistics for you.
Look for bundles which saves you money on key services such as security certificates through to hosting and performance metrics. Major providers include Shopify and Magento, but there are others out there too.
Get your SSL in place
Show your customers that your site is reputable with a secure certificate on your website pages (your web addresses will begin with https://). Most ecommerce package providers offer this as part of their overall services, but you must otherwise buy an SSL certificate when you buy a domain name, from a provider such as Symantec or Thawte.
Develop a great website
An ecommerce website must offer a superb customer experience and be easy to navigate on a variety of digital devices. Optimise it for mobile use and choose the right ecommerce payment methods such as PayPal, Google Checkout, Apple Pay and basic credit card payments which are PCI SSC compliant.
Many website hosting services offer everything from website templates through to full enterprise ecommerce platform solutions with integrated payment technologies for a seamless experience and easy set-up for your business.
Create your marketing plan
You’ll need to develop a brand that resonates with your target audience and have a rollout strategy to launch it. Think about digital marketing activities such as online advertising with PPC that offers an instant clickthrough if you set up your campaigns correctly. Don’t think you can do it all on your own. It really does pay dividends to invest in working with an SEO agency on your ecommerce store for long term gains. Look to get positive PR about your business and integrate a reviews platform into your website to encourage customers to share positive experiences.
There are plenty of business courses for entrepreneurs, and many are run by nonprofits with links to grants, funding and other sources of government support to get your business off the ground. Keep learning and consider attending courses in person so that you can grow your network and connect with other like-minded people.
Are you thinking of starting an ecommerce business? If so, wishing you the very best of luck and I hope the above tips help you get started. You may also find these tips on starting a business as a mum useful or read about the founder of what2buy4kids journey here.
*This is a collaborative post