How to Start a New eCommerce Business
There are so many reasons to start a new eCommerce Business. For many it’s becoming modern and going online. For others, its a great new idea or opportunity. Whatever the reason, if it’s your first time starting an online business, it may feel overwhelming.
Every great business starts with a plan. Take the time to research and understand the important, key points to an eCommerce business. Last, find the easiest way to implement your plan and do so with growth in mind.
Follow our guide to help grasp some key points that will give you the base you need for success. We will help you with costs (hidden and obvious), typical pitfalls, management concerns, as well as marketing tools that will help you be successful.
Simple Checklist to Start Your eCommerce Business
When you begin thinking of your eCommerce business, start with the basics:
- What technology will power your website?
- What is your monthly budget?
- Plan for your first order!
- Growth requires planning and probably a cash investment.
- How will you scale your eCommerce business?
Technologies to Power Your eCommerce Business
When planning to launch a new eCommerce business it’s important to choose a technology that both fits your budget and current setup. The first key question a website developer would ask any business owner is, “do you already have a website”? The second question is, “What is your budget”. The next sections will describe your options and help you find a path to success!
Lets assume you already have a website, the next question is if you run a WordPress website. If you do, great! If you don’t, that is ok too, but you should look into Shopify or similar and keep your shop separate from your website. For those with WordPress, you should look closely at what you need for your site and what budget you have to build your web store.
For those on a shoestring budget, there is no easier way to get an eCommerce store off the ground than WP EasyCart. It offers everything you need to do build just about any product, ship to anywhere, and charge taxes for anywhere on Earth.
Key Costs for a New eCommerce Business
It’s important to plan ahead and avoid unnecessary cost within your new eCommerce business. Here is a quick list you should consider:
- Hosting – Although you can go with Godaddy or Bluehost, which are the cheapest, you should consider that speed on your store is crucial to maximizing sales. Your customers will bail on your checkout if its too slow. Consider options like Linode, WP Engine, or an optimized for WordPress hosting plan with Godaddy or Bluehost. That 1 extra sale per month will make up for the added hosting costs!
- SSL Certificate – This is starting to fade away finally, but some may still charge you for an SSL, this depends on your hosting system and everyone needs one.
- Credit Card Fees – Almost all processors now charge 2.9% + $0.30/transaction. Shopping systems offer varying fees based on plan levels. Even Shopify charges fees upwards of 3.5% on some plans (on top of standard fees). If you are on a super tight budget and want to try a business before going all in, WP EasyCart helps! The Free Verison of the cart does ass 2% fees, but consider if you do not want to spend $69 for your first year, you would have to sell $3,450 of merchandise before you hit the break even point. For most, the $69 is a small investment each year to unlock features and remove fees. For others, the fees are an easy way to enter a business with nearly no financial risk.
- Shipping – Although costs vary wildly, your customers may bail if you charge the rate the shipper charges you! Think about building at least some of the shipment cost into the price of the product, customers will appreciate the low shipping costs and typically are willing to pay a couple of bucks more to shop with anything but the big names.
- Packaging – Boxes, bubble wrap, tape, etc… If you are shipping real items, you want to look professional and build confidence with your customer! Invest in the packaging the both functions as you need and brands your shipments.
- Software – You will likely need a shopping system that charges a yearly fee, maybe a monthly fee. Some platforms keep it simple, like WP EasyCart or Shopify, others are more complicated and unknown like WooCommerce. Do your research and pick the best option for your budget and needs.
Managing Your eCommerce Business Sales
Managing a store once launched sounds easy, but what happens if your business explodes! In a viral, social media driven world, it just takes a single tweet, post, or ‘gram to launch your business to the Moon! How do you handle shipments? What about returns? How about customer support? These are all big questions and typically connecting with third party applications are the way to go. Here are a few good options:
- Ship Station – Manages shipments, labels, and costs.
- Zendesk – Handles chats, support tickets, and manage your responses. If you grow quickly, the only way to track your customer interaction is with a support tool!
- MailChimp – Retarget customers with ease with their eCommerce 3.0.
Tools for Growth – Prepare for Greatness
You are all setup and ready to go, now what? Marketing, that’s what! It’s important to plan for growth and the tools you leverage are just as important as the knowledge you have in business. Here are a few tools we recommend:
- Google Analytics – Keep it simple, they have some of the best tools to track your traffic, sales, and more! Connect easily with the cart using the UA or G code in your Analytics account. Sales and cart data are automatically pushed into your account.
- Google Ads – Still one of the best ways to push your products, spend what you can each month to push new traffic to your site.
- Facebook Ads – Be sure to build pages that target customers, with images and content optimized for your ad. Use tools like Yoast to take care of this.
- Instagram Ads – Same deal, but if you have a visually appealing product, this may be the ticket for you!
- Canva – This is an awesome tool to help build your ads, image cards, and featured images. These images automatically pull into social media and are great to market a clickable image to customers.
- Yoast SEO – Just download and setup if you use WordPress, it will save you time and optimize your site.
- MailChimp – Use the eCommerce 3.0 to retarget customers.