eCommerce Business Blueprint: How To Set Up, Launch and Grow Your Online Business

Like starting a company, it is not always easy to learn how to create an eCommerce business. However, establishing, launching, and managing sites that are more accessible than ever for creators, designers, and entrepreneurs of all kinds to sell their goods - can be as easy as A-B-C.

eCommerce companies that circulate products, services, and cash around the internet, range in size from behemoth level such as Amazon down to artisan websites with quality products known to specialized audiences.
Online shopping is one of the few industries that have witnessed considerable development during the past five years. Online spending is on the rise for more than an entire decade now, and its share as part of all retail sales is on a steady growth.

Depending on your ambitions, starting an eCommerce business might make great sense. Online companies provide greater flexibility, affordability, and potential to many entrepreneurs. They replace the inconveniences inherent to the traditional ‘brick and mortar’. So how do you effectively establish an internet company? We hope our extensive eCommerce guide will help you get there with the least amount of hiccups.
We will break down how to build, launch and grow an eCommerce business in simple and easy steps – so that you receive all the knowledge you need to leverage your business online in no time.

Why should you start selling online?

The eCommerce website is one of the newest and most successful online marketing industries. It has rocketed forward in developed, more rapidly in recent years, and the prognosis is about even more growth. ECommerce websites allow companies to develop quicker, more conveniently, and with less supporting resources.
From the point of view of end-users, websites for eCommerce are convenient for online products and services. The procedure is frequently quite fast as customers can place orders in a short time without coming to the store. In addition, clients may buy from multiple companies without losing time to go to each shop’s location. They all are a click away.

All potential online buyers can receive a great deal of information about products and have a great buying experience. They can get anything they want, comfortably and at any point of the day. Running a physical shop 24/7 takes a lot of energy to run. You don’t need such firepower to do the same shop online.
Enabling customers to purchase at all times for the convenience and comfort of their homes can optimize sales conversion rates and perhaps client loyalty. More significantly, eCommerce sites allow a company to keep consumers satisfied by continually adapting to their lifestyles.

How much is the cost of starting an eCommerce business?

The cost of launching an eCommerce business varies considerably. Your business size and goals dictate the choice for a platform. For as little as $30, you may establish a modest eCommerce site with a limited product inventory. Starting an online business seems pretty challenging at first sight, but only if you are confused about where to start.
Below, you’ll find the step-by-step guide to help you build, launch, and grow your eCommerce. Let’s get started.

How to create, launch and grow an eCommerce business?

Choosing a profitable niche and develop a business plan

As we all know, building an online business is undoubtedly a fantastic concept with many potential prospects. It takes you to financial independence one step closer and provides you an opportunity to generate greater freedom for yourself.
Creating an online business is a no-brainer with the number of eCommerce tools and services accessible today. However, without a clear business plan, you will spend your energy in vain.

Creating a robust digital strategy for your business is an intimidating chore, but a long-term plan will yield a lot of saving in time and money.
If you’re considering getting into eCommerce, you must first choose a niche and thoroughly research it. This preliminary measure should ideally be something reflective of your particular interests and personal experiences. Your business idea should decide the required resources. Do not let available resources and technology force you to adapt to what is possible through their benefits.

Conducting SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is an abbreviation of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. We believe it’s one of the most effective yet simple ways to analyze product ideas and niches thoroughly.

Business SWOT Analysis

Converting your offline abilities into an online business is an excellent method to get into an industry, and SWOT analysis may assist you.

Finding the gaps and gray areas

If you do not want to bother with complex market statistics, there is another alternative for you if you still want to create a profitable internet business. Analyze the eCommerce market thoroughly to discover the shortcomings to profit on.
Working within your niche, you can actively participate in groups and forums - this is what customers are looking for these days. Using Google Trends is an excellent idea if you want to learn about the industry’s newest trends.

Analyzing the persona of your customer

The most clever ideas for eCommerce products arise at the confluence of necessities, preferences, and interests within the target audience. It would help to use the two sorts of data, demographic and psychographic, and build a group of ideal buyers.

Choosing your business model

When researching your potential customers, it is essential to identify where your targeted audience purchases products and which way is best to reach and engage with them.
Following is the list of business models you can choose from:

  • B2C eCommerce
  • B2B eCommerce
  • Dropshipping
  • Selling your products on an online marketplace
  • DTC

Selecting a domain name for your eCommerce website

A domain name is your distinctive consumer identification. Besides leading people to your online business, the appropriate domain name may help increase the awareness of the brand you are about to create.

When choosing a domain name, you best keep a few things in mind:
The domain name must be unique. Avoid using creative spelling or unfamiliar words because customers will have trouble remembering that. You can also use keyword-rich domain names since it will bring more people to your store.

Choosing your eCommerce platform

There are plenty of eCommerce solutions available in the market. When you’re new in this industry, it can become challenging to determine which website builder is your right option. Therefore, please keep in mind the following set of questions when you’re looking for the best eCommerce solution for your business:

  • Is this platform scalable?
  • Can this platform support my business when there’s a sudden spike in traffic?

It would help if you considered all platform-related factors: cost, security, features, functionalities. All these core elements play a significant role in the success of your business. They also need to complement each other for maximum effect.

You can also build your store from scratch – website builders can simplify the process and save time.
Here, we have bunched up some of the most popular eCommerce website builders:

  • BigCommerce
  • Magento
  • Shopware
  • Shopware
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce

There have already been plenty of side-by-side comparisons between Shopify vs. WooCommerce, BigCommerce vs. Magento, Shopify vs. BigCommerce, Magento vs. Shopware - this list is endless.
Each eCommerce comes with its own set of pros and cons. It’s your job to analyze each of them in great detail to find your ideal solution.

Designing the visual appearance of your eCommerce store

As mentioned above, eCommerce website builders like Shopify, BigCommerce, or Shopware 6 provide a wide range of unique, intuitive, and dynamic website themes.

Theme availability for Shopware 6

Select a template that best matches your needs and then adapt it to the branding of your company. You can customize the text sizes and fonts to make your store more enticing.
Adding high-quality visuals like images, videos, GIFS, animations, etc., is also very essential. Do not forget to embed all your social media accounts and content. Try out different layouts and product listings types to give a personal touch to your store.

Adding all your products to your eCommerce store

To make shopping and goods easier to locate, put up product category pages, produce fantastic product descriptions and submit product photos to sell.
A convincing product description addresses the customer’s pain points, explains the product’s qualities, and underlines the principal benefits of selling.
Also, add high-quality pictures of the product. For this purpose, you may always employ a professional photographer. Consider also taking photographs of 360 degrees for things of higher worth, such as equipment and furniture or specific types of clothing.

Business owners report an increase of 5 percent to 40 percent in online sales, according to statistics provided by Webrotate 360, after integrating 360 product viewing features to their website.
The third most important element is product categories. Product categories are essential for catalog presentation and inventory discovery.

Men’s, women’s, accessories, new in, and sale

Larger stock eCommerce sites provide different categories to help customers find their target. Categories are hugely dependent on consumer search terms or seasonal searches. If your target audience demands it, you maybe add “gift categories” right before Christmas.
Add more filters to product category pages to assist buyers in choosing. Add categories size, price range, color, material, etc.

Choosing a payment gateway

eCommerce involves payment gateways, so your business may benefit from services such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square. Online payment solutions are the backbone of online shops. Some eCommerce systems, like Shopify, provide their platform payment processing mechanism, while others enable you to integrate into your own payment processing system. In most cases, the price you pay in your business is around 2.9 percent plus $0.30 for each transaction in general.

Set up inventory and shipping

Inventory and delivery expenses might vary dramatically depending on what products/services you’re selling and where you’re selling them. However, out of all of the expenditures mentioned thus far, your first inventory investment will most likely be the most expensive item of them all. Purchase inventory with caution, especially when you’re just starting out.

Avoid investing in products that you find challenging to sell out.  You may expect shipping prices to vary depending on your sales volume, the shipping services you employ, the number of items you ship, and the delivery speed choices you provide to consumers, among other factors.

Market your eCommerce business

Before you introduce your brand to the market, you need to create hype about it among the audience. This move will get you plenty of active visitors at the launch stage.
To drive traffic to your new eCommerce store, you need to create your presence on different eCommerce marketing channels.

Social media marketing

Social media is one of the best online marketing platforms. When your website is in the process, introduce your brand on social media. You can share product previews or teasers and use these to build anticipation among your targeted audience.
To steer some more engagement, share your launch plan with your social media audience. You can offer some special promos/discounts to your followers to drive urgency.

Run paid advertisements

People discover the brand through various channels. Such discovery could happen through targeted campaigns on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. Like in other performance marketing methods, the apparent advantage here is that you only pay for relevant actions – clicks, visits, requests, sales.

Email marketing, just like search engine optimization (SEO), is a more long-term type of maintenance and promotion. Both time and money are needed to “take off.” But the sooner you come up with a robust SEO strategy, the faster you will feel a positive pull.
Also, add a subscription form on your landing pages before you launch your eCommerce store, as it will help you later on in growing your email list.

Launch your eCommerce store

Before you launch your store, make sure to check every component to ensure everything is in place properly.
Test all the CTA buttons and forms. To avoid any issues in the future, do test your checkout method and all the payment gateways to see if they’re in working order.

Go through the content added to your store thoroughly to avoid any spelling or grammatical errors. Make sure all the media files are well-optimized so that your page loading speed stays in the green.
If you’re offering any discount codes and coupons, check them as well to see if they’re really working. Also, check all the links and inventory listings. If everything works well, you’re all set to launch your eCommerce store in the market.

How to grow your eCommerce store

After launching your eCommerce store successfully in the market, you need to grow and expand it immediately.
You can either spend unimaginable amounts of money or do it organically. To boost your store’s conversion rate and grow your business, you need to take care of the following things:

  • Provide high-quality content to your readers. It should be reader-friendly, informative, and unique
  • Once you start adding content and media files to it, the page loading speed will be affected, so optimizing your online store’s loading speed is essential
  • You can offer discount/promo codes to lure more and more customers. Offering a referral bonus or reward can also help
  • Engage with customers to understand them better. Stay active on social media and observe their expectations. It will help if you offer them something they will gladly purchase
  • You can also take advantage of free marketing tools to grow your online business
  • Some popular marketing tools which we highly recommend are Google My Business, HubSpot, etc

Conclusion

Starting an eCommerce store is easy and challenging at the same time. It depends on how you play your main cards.
Start with laying down your business ideas. Visualize your ideal customers and make an accurate profile of them. Your domain and website façade must represent your brand and intention. Choose your platform and payment options – look for what your customers prefer to use to pay for your goods.
The mission becomes more challenging once you go live. Staying alive becomes a challenge. It takes a lot to grow an eCommerce and promote it. Social media can work wonders once you manage to tap into the right communities. Once you first publish your web store, there are many paths you can advance your business. We hope this comprehensive eCommerce guide will be of great use when you are taking on the task.

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Author

David Dorr, Head of eCommerce

David is the Head of e-Commerce at CodeCoda where he is responsible to lead several teams of eCommerce specialists. In his previous role as a data scientist for London Metropolitan Police, he was developing deep learning NLP algorithms as part of the Crime Prediction initiative. He then switched over to combine AI with e-Commerce.
He received a B.Sc in Physics from the University of Surrey, Guildford in 1996. With this scientific background, he switched relatively early in his life towards Neural Networks and e-Commerce and has ever since been fascinated with what AI and Machine Learning can do for Online Commerce.