A Comprehensive Guide to Creating an E-Commerce Business
If you are one of those people who would rather set up your own business than work for someone else, there are indeed many options. Selling products online has helped thousands of Australians set up their own enterprise, and while it might seem like a tall order, creating a shopping cart website is easy if you know what you’re doing.
Choosing a Line of Products
This will be the most important decision of all, get this one wrong and you will waste a lot of time and money, so it is vital that you carry out extensive market research to determine products that are in high demand. If there is a particular thing that interests you, you could incorporate that into your selection, but make sure your products are of top quality and eco-friendly, as people are looking to reduce their carbon footprint in any way they can. Avoid cheap products as this will not give you a sustainable income, as people will quickly realise your products do not stand the test of time, and you don’t want to be associated with inferior quality products.
Of course, you will need to enlist the services of a leading web designer, and with applications like Magento, you can design a professional looking shopping cart website that will be a reflection of you and your business. You will also have to choose a domain name and register that, providing, of course, the URL is not already in use, and this is something your web designer can handle on your behalf. There are certain aspects that you need to have; fast page loading is essential, as the online consumer expects super-fast page loading, which can be achieved with a good bandwidth.
Product Images & Description
All your product images should be of the highest quality, with professionally written descriptions to attract site visitors, and if your budget is on the small side, take a loan from Nimble, an Australian online lender who has helped thousands of Australians set up their own business. This would help to pay the cost of professional photography and product descriptions, which are essential.
So, you have a great website that showcases your product line, but without digital marketing, the online shopper will not even be aware of your existence, and this is even more important if you are moving into a competitive industry. There are numerous digital marketing strategies to drive traffic to your platform, which include search engine optimisation, a service that makes your website more visible within a Google search, and if you thought you could manage without investing in SEO services, think again, as this is critical for the success of any e-commerce business.
This is a very powerful tools for any shopping cart website, and if you enlist the help of a leading SEO company, they would have a team of social media marketing specialists who can create a large social media following. Whatever your product line, be prepared to invest in SEO services, and this needs to be an ongoing thing, if you want to enjoy a high number of site visitors, which every e-commerce platform needs. Here is some further reading on online advertising, which is recommended reading for all would-be entrepreneurs.
Third Party Logistics
From the moment a customer clicks on ‘buy now’, the clock is ticking and the only way to guarantee speedy delivery is to outsource your logistics to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. If you send your products and your packaging to the 3PL company, all you have to do is forward orders and they will be fulfilled in a timely manner, and you do need reliable delivery, regardless of what products you are selling. If you would like to make contact with an established 3PL provider, an online search will bring up the website of a local company, and with their help, you can offer an impressive delivery service.
Dealing with Wholesalers
Of course, you will have to source a reliable supplier, one that can handle a large volume of orders, should your marketing be successful, and you might be lucky and find a wholesaler who will give you a line of credit for 30 days, which really does help. In many ways, you are totally reliant on your product supplier, so do your homework and choose a wholesaler that is established and has the resources to meet large orders.
As you will be accepting online payments, your website needs to be secure, and by investing a few dollars, you can obtain an SSL Certificate, which is symbolised by the ‘s’ in ‘https’, and this gives customers peace of mind that their financial details are safe. If you want to be absolutely sure that your critical data can’t be hacked, talk to a cyber-security provider, who, for a small fee, can make sure that your digital platform is safe and secure.
It is important that you are completely legal, and on that subject, here is some Australian government information on setting up a business, which you should read. Talk to an experienced business lawyer who can advise you on the best way to set up the business, and there are numerous ways to do that, with sole tradership, a partnership or even a limited company. You should also look into insurance, which can protect your business, and by talking to a business lawyer, you can find out what policies are best for you and your new business.
You will need untold amounts of enthusiasm and determination, as you will encounter obstacles, but if you work hard and cover every angle, there’s no reason why you can’t make a success of your online store. Digital marketing is very much the key to reaching your sales targets, so be prepared to make an ongoing investment in search engine optimisation and you will enjoy a large number of site visitors, which should result in lots of sales.