Starting an e-commerce business: A beginner’s guide

Today’s guest poster is Robert Cordray.

If you’ve always dreamed of running your own store and being a business owner, an e-commerce business is a great way to start. These businesses are easier to open and maintain, plus they don’t require nearly as much capital as your average brick-and-mortar store. It still takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but this guide can help you get started toward your dream of owning your own business.

Getting started
First of all, you need to decide which type of e-commerce business you are interested in starting. A good idea is to look at your interests and determine what you would love to do every day for a living. You should also look into niches that you think will be popular with customers, but it’s critical to choose something that you enjoy; your passion for your business will show through to your customers — and your bottom line — if you do.

Building your online store
You will obviously need to develop an online store if you are going to sell your products online. You might choose to use a popular selling platform, but many find that it’s a better idea to create their own website and platform. There are Web developers out there who can create your online store for you, but you can find out more about helpful programs and critical codes if you want to attempt to do it yourself.

Payment methods
You want your customers to feel safe when ordering with you, so make sure that you handle payments in a way that they will understand and appreciate. You can opt for a merchant services account so that you can take credit cards, and it isn’t a bad idea to take payments via popular processors like PayPal.

Fulfilling orders
Once your orders start pouring in, you have to know how to handle them. At first, this might be easy, but it will become more challenging once you start receiving more and more orders. You need to develop a system for fulfilling orders, such as filling them as soon as they come in or designating certain dates and times for handling them. Warehouse automation can help you with every step of fulfilling orders and more, but you may choose to start small in the beginning.

Acquiring your merchandise
If you’re going to be selling items online, you need to have items to sell. Therefore, you have to determine how you will stock your business. If you are going to be making homemade items, you may want to stock up on supplies ahead of time in case there is a greater demand than you think there will be. If you’re going to be buying items and reselling them for a profit, you should shop around for the highest-quality products at the lowest prices; this will help you increase your bottom line.

Storing your merchandise
Along with acquiring your merchandise, you also have to figure out where to store it. You might be planning on storing it somewhere inside your home, but this probably won’t be sufficient for long. In time, you might need to invest in warehouse space. This will make it possible for your company to grow and for you to keep enough stock on hand at all times, and warehouse rentals aren’t as costly as many people think. If possible, you should consider automating your warehouse so that you can handle quality control, order fulfillment, inventory and more with ease.

Advertising
You will obviously need to advertise your new e-commerce business if you want it to succeed, but there are tons of options for you to try. First of all, you can use search engine optimization, paid advertising and social media as a means of spreading the word. However, you shouldn’t forget about local advertising; you might find that it’s a great way to draw support from your community.

Starting your own e-commerce business can help you achieve things that you probably haven’t even dreamed about, but it does require a lot of work. Following these steps will help you get started and will help ensure that your e-commerce business runs smoothly and successfully.

About the author: Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. He currently resides in the Southern California area and spends his time helping consumers and business owners alike try to be successful. When he’s not reading or writing, he’s most likely with his beautiful wife and three children. He may be reached at crodrayrobert5@gmail.com.

 

1 comment

  1. This is very good guide especially for starters.

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