Start an ecommerce store

The following are the 10 most important points that you need to consider when you start an ecommerce store.

Start an ecommerce store

Start An Ecommerce Store: First Step

The ecommerce stores sector is booming. Therefore, if your project is special and unique above all, it will be easier for you to differentiate yourself and make your way. However you should know that an idea is around the 10% of a business. Today, with whatever new idea you have, when you look on the internet, you will encounter that there are some people pointing on that product or service already.

Before planning your project, you should do an in-depth analysis giving an initial overview of what you intend to offer and the many factors that influence it.

Start an online store: Study

  1. First specify and describe your offer. It is essential to know what you are selling.
  2. Continue the analysis with your value proposition. Everything that differentiates your product or service from the rest, making your product or service unique, personal and non-transferable.
  3. Think about your customers and personalize your offer as much as possible.
  4. Monitor the competition, what they do and how they do it.
  5. Determine your company’s keywords and study the volume of searches on the Internet.
  6. Feasibility study. Provide the first data to validate previous hypotheses.
  7. On this last essential point, you must know that to bet on your ecommerce store you have to invest.

Long term vision is critical: although most of the time the costs are lower than in a traditional business, start an ecommerce store business is not free.

Start an ecommerce store: Business plan

It is not enough to come up with an idea, you have to know how to shape it and find out to what extent it is feasible.

For this it is essential to make a Business Plan, that is to say, a document in which you explain and analyze from beginning to end your business, its viability and that also serves internally to plan and manage the company.

Among its main advantages and utilities are the planning of the self-employed or entrepreneur, the search for financing, the negotiation with suppliers and the attraction of new partners.

Business plan of your Ecommerce store

Business strategy

This is the first step in the business plan. It is necessary to determine what are the differential characteristics of your project; characteristics that will be determined by the business model.

Think that your company’s strategy will not be the same if the trade is between manufacturers (B2B), if you sell to end customers (B2C), a platform for buying and selling between customers (C2C) or if it is the online channel of a physical store.

SWOT analysis when you start an ecommerce store

You must study in depth your possibilities and the degree of opportunity that your business offers through a SWOT analysis.

You have to delve into the strengths and opportunities but also into the weaknesses and threats.

This analysis has to contemplate the target audience, the offer of the competition and the characteristics of your product or service; the useful life of these, that is to say, the expiration or temporality is a determining factor.

The market and the competition

These must always be taken into account within the framework of the market study.

Your online business project cannot be analyzed in isolation but within a conglomerate, that of ecommerce, which has carved a niche in the global economy and little by little in the national economy.

Therefore, your business plan has to contemplate the size and trends of your market as well as the competition.

Customers and suppliers

Knowing your potential customer is key to respond to their needs. Clarify what they want and not what you think they want. Specify the user profile, local, national or international and even aspects such as age, gender or economic situation.

At this point it is also essential to delve into the relationship we are going to have with suppliers, how many are available and what negotiation policy we will put into practice.

Financial plan

This is the accounting translation of the entire business plan. It gathers all the information concerning the company, such as material costs, design, suppliers, logistics and possible workers, among many other issues.

Remember that as we indicated at the beginning, the implementation and management of an online store is not free and involves an outlay, although sometimes to a lesser extent than that of a physical business, can be high.

The financial plan should include a provisional balance sheet, projected income statement, cash budget, investment plan and forms of financing.

For this last basic aspect in the start-up of your ecommerce store, you can turn mainly to four resources: subsidies, Business Angels, banks and the so-called “Friends, Fools and Family”.

Online marketing plan

It is the set of strategies and tactics that must be carried out to meet the objectives in the online world.

Their main objective is to satisfy customers and therefore the profitability of the business. For its projection it is necessary to contemplate all the previous aspects, product, audience and competition.

The online marketing plan brings together various actions ranging from advertising, social media management, SEO or sales promotion. It is essential to establish the purpose of each strategy and, above all, to measure results.

Trademark registration

The brand is the name or symbol of our ecommerce, therefore our letter of introduction and the best way to be recognized. The corporate reputation of your online store is developed around it, so it is essential that you protect your brand.

Step by Step

  1. Check the availability of the trademark you want to register.

  2. Completing the application form.

  3. Submit the form and fees.

  4. Trademark protection is territorial, so for each country, one registration.

  5. Wait for the grant in a few weeks.

If you do not register your trademark you will not be able to prevent third parties from using it, quantify the value to sell it or foresee if you are committing a trademark infringement.

Also remember that practically all SEO, marketing and online reputation actions reside in the trademark.

If you are starting a new business the trademark registration is not that important but take that in consideration as your business grow.

The importance of the domain

If there is something that denominates, classifies and characterizes us, it is the name and when you start an ecommerce store, the domain, it could not be less.

You must know that the name of your online commerce must represent your business idea and your brand as faithfully as possible.

Given the importance of the domain, it is necessary to establish a series of criteria for a good choice of it. Your goal is optimal web positioning and, by extension, your visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Simple and easy to remember

Do not abuse keywords

Although keywords used to be the panacea for domain choice, the truth is that nowadays they have lost influence due to the latest changes introduced by Google in which the important thing is to create and use your brand.

Register your domain at least with one or more of: .no, .com, .eu, .shop, .net and .org. It is a question of being cautious so that, taking advantage of the pull that your ecommerce store can have, you can protect your brand.

Hosting

In ai4k.eu we offer the best technological options for hosting: a cloud hosting. This guarantees high speed and reliability, while keeping your data and that of your customers, safe in servers in Europe. This hosting is tightly integrated with Elementor, the software with use on top of WordPress. 

Our hosting offer, which comes with any ai4k Website Plans includes CDN, daily backups, SSL, and other top advantages for your website or if you start an ecommerce store.

Furthemore, we offer a website plan specifically designer for ecommerce: the Pro8. This plan have a lot of features that will make your online store the fastest and best positioned on the market.

User Experience

Another fundamental aspect that you must take into account when setting up your online store is usability.

Before projecting the design, think first of your user, because all your usability strategies will be aimed at him or her, and the user will be the one who will finally value it. Empathy is critical here.

So before getting down to work with technical issues, you must study your audience, their profile and their needs.

As for the design of the page, it is important to respond and show your product with the maximum detail, with complete descriptions, images, videos. A good website design is a web design that converts.

Basic principles of usability

  1. Easy and structured navigation.
  2. Easy, effective and consistent design.
  3. Short and clear messages and texts.

It is also important to know the term User Experience (UX). This refers to the level of satisfaction that the user has when using your resources or systems such as your online store website.

The sum of the interactions between the user and your website can make the user have a good shopping experience and become a customer or not and abandon, which will negatively influence your business.

This is why it is important to make the purchase process simple, not to put impediments such as mandatory registration and, in general, that your website is easy to use and meets the expectations of your users.

Related to the User Experience and usability we find the concept of Responsive Web; a responsive website is one that is adapted to have a good display on different devices such as cell phones, tablets, computers or even televisions.

Checking the compatibility with mobile devices in your ecommerce project is essential considering that, according to a Facebook study, 45% of purchases today are made with the mobile. And if we analyze the data at the national level, the figure stands at 38% according to a report by PayPal.

It is therefore almost mandatory to opt for a responsive design.

Accessibility

Put yourself in the shoes of people with physical disabilities and limitations when you have to build your website. For example, if your customers are people of a certain age, the texts should be in a larger font size, easily readable, with larger buttons for example.

Make it egalitarian and so that everyone, without exception, has access to it. Some of the guidelines you should follow are:

  1. Provide alternatives for visual and auditory content.

  2. Use natural language and easy-to-understand text.

  3. Provide context and orientation information.

  4. Provide easy navigation mechanisms.

  5. Structure each page correctly.

 
ECOMMERCE WEBDESIGN ACCESSIBILITY

Platform

Now is time to focus on the management and administration of the content through a content management system (CMS).

What does it consist of? It is the system that controls the database and allows you to create, change and delete content of your website such as text, images, files, prices and other content from a management panel accessible only to site administrators.

On all our Website Plans we use WordPress and Elementor, and Woocommerce only in the Pro8 and when you add a store to the plan Basic4 or Value7.

Logistics

Specialized suppliers

The success of the e-commerce sector has led to an increase in the workload of logistics companies and with it, the specialization of their transport services for online stores. Well, unless you sell digital products like us.

Shipping management is probably one of the most problematic parts of e-commerce.

Sometimes delivery processes are delayed, the shopper gets impatient and your reputation falls because of an unsatisfactory experience. As the person in charge of your online store you have to avoid these situations at all costs, which is why it is crucial to hire a logistics company that covers all your management needs.

Among the possibilities that logistics providers are offering to ecommerce are from product storage, to stock control, picking, sorting and shipping of orders, packaging and packaging and even quality control.

In addition, these companies offer both the seller and the buyer all the information regarding the status of the shipment, from the order confirmation, the time of departure and also the time of delivery.

Shipping costs and return policy

Shipping costs can be an obstacle to your ecommerce sales. Both the customer and you want the best service and for it to cost you as little money as possible.

You should think about options to reduce shipping costs such as techniques to increase the value of the basket to free shipping, opt for subscription strategies to offer advantages or even locate yourself close to logistics centers.

It would also be a good option to offer free shipping, an attractive possibility for the customer but perhaps not very advantageous when it comes to a small company. Remember that you are not yet Amazon. It makes the most sense to use this tactic as a promotion to attract the consumer.

On the other hand, your e-commerce must fight against the disadvantage of the tangible nature of traditional stores. It still generates distrust not to see, touch or try the product so you have to assume in your online store the possibility that the customer returns the purchased product.

As the administrator of your online store you are obliged to provide the customer with information about the return policy with everything related to the right of withdrawal, from the requirements, the form and the deadline for requesting the return (14 days from purchase), its return to the store and even the cost.

Speaking of cost, who assumes the cost of the return? If you have correctly informed your customer about the return policy of your ecommerce, the shipping cost will be assumed by the consumer.

Keep in mind that the latter can be an impediment for the user who wants to make a purchase. For this reason, some large ecommerce companies have a no-cost return policy. But to start with your online store this option may not be feasible.

Payment System

All our ecommerce platforms include one payment system, which is Paypal (Credit and Debit Cards). And you have the option to add any payment system using our product Payments. Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna, Cryptocurrency and local systems.

Our top ecommerce product Pro8 includes all the payments systems that your store need.

On top of that we offer the product Payments Pro, that allows you create recurring payments for membership type ecommerce websites.

The most important thing is your information is always safe and in the best hands.

Management System

When you start an online store and the business acquires a sufficient volume of work, you should consider the possibility of incorporating management systems that integrate and automate the different processes. We are talking about two possibilities with their own name: ERP and CRM.

ERP: Product management

Enterprise resource planning systems, known by their acronym ERP, are responsible for the control and management of production, distribution, logistics, warehousing, accounting and invoicing, all organized by modules. Since the customer is outside this management, ERPs are also known as back-office systems.

ERP functionalities

Coverage of the sales cycle, from offers or quotations, orders, delivery note and final invoice to the customer. It is necessary to take into account the possibility of managing multiple price rates and discounts for quantities and types of products or services, as well as the possibility of making credit memos and corrective invoices.

Coverage of the purchasing cycle, from purchase proposals, quotation, order, delivery note and invoice. The ability to manage suppliers and their respective purchase rates and agreed commercial conditions. Likewise, it must have the functionality to have information of the purchase history and cost management, as well as the automatic purchase proposal.

Coverage of warehouse management. It must manage basic information for each type of product or service and provide information on the traceability of the respective orders to suppliers.

Coverage for the management of customer information. to have information on customers and sales representatives in order to be able to correctly track their spending and identify new opportunities and commercial actions.

Integration capacity with other accounting systems.

CRM: Customers Management

In your e-commerce the CRM will be the software dedicated to customer relationship management. CRM is also synonymous with data synchronization, sales service, user base and marketing among other competencies. You must understand that the possibilities offered by a CRM are aimed at analyzing and adapting your product or service to the customer.

CRM functionalities

  1. Facilitate the work of marketing to identify the customer.
  2. Optimize sales processes through existing information.
  3. Personalize the relationship with the customer.

In this way we offer you a product that will help you with the CRM: Marketing CRM Sales.

If you are ready to start an ecommerce store, or you are just exploring ideas or products and services, we have in ai4k.eu a product for you. So, let’s talk about your new business adventure and let us help with the technological part and the business strategy. Keep in touch for the next content when we’ll talk about the most important thing after you start an ecommerce store: the website traffic.

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