The below graph depicts the retail e-commerce sales worldwide for the period 2014-2024, the amount mentioned is in billion U.S Dollars.
In 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 4.28 trillion US dollars and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022.
Online shopping is one of the most popular online activities worldwide.
With a full proof plan of action and with the help of some tools one can build their own brand and start their e-commerce business in no time.
The below mentioned process will be your route map to launch your e-commerce business:
1) Finding the right product to sell: The first and foremost step in building an ecommerce business is to know what product or service you want to sell to your customers. Most often this is the most challenging part of starting an online business. The key is to understand the customers needs and desires and accordingly selecting the appropriate product or service you want to sell online.
Assess your idea: Once you have narrowed down on what product or service you want to sell the next step is to understand if that product or service will sell in the target market which will include a detailed competitor analysis, research on the demand of the product, primary market research and trying to sell the product or service to the apt target market.
Procure your products: Once you have conducted the research and have a strong product idea, the next step is to figure out from where to get the products, or should the products be manufactured by own, or should you do a wholesale distribution of the products.
2) Research and Business Plan:
Finding your Target Market: As you have now gathered information on products, it is the time to study your target market which includes who is your customer base, what are their characteristics, what is the ideal age of the customers in this market etc all these will help in setting up a successful marketing plan.
Deciding on how to procure your product: This step will help in understanding from where your product will be sourced and how it will reach the end customer. Either you can make the product by yourself or you could partner with a manufacturer to manufacture your products, purchase, wholesale and resell the product, or drop shipping of products which is partnering with another company who will delivery our products after receiving the order.
Competitor research: The next step post finding the apt product or service to be sold is to conduct a competitor analysis. This step will include keeping an eye on the competitors in this market, understanding the trends, seeing how the competitors are marketing and reaching their products to customers, the pricing strategy of the products and its marketing.
Writing a business plan: Along with the competitor analysis, it is the right time to write your business plan. A business plan is like a route map which will help in bringing you’re all your ideas and thoughts under a single roof. This will contain your mission, vision, scope of work, marketing and sales strategy, securing funds, employment details etc.
3) Setting up your business and legal structure: A suitable name for your business: Apart from selecting the apt product to sell online, yet another challenge is choosing the appropriate name for the business, brand name and appropriate domain name. A brand name is important as it shows what you are selling, and it represents your business. An attractive and catchy brand name will attract more customers which in turn will help in increasing your sales online, so keep your business name simple, creative and be original. Once you have selected a brand name it is important to get it trademarked so that no one else can use the same name.
Selecting what kind of business legal structure, you would like to commence: It is important to select the appropriate legal structure which is as follows:
- Sole Proprietorship
- General Partnership
- Limited Liability Company
Applying for licenses and permits: Once your business legal structure has been registered and brand name and logo has been trademarked, the important aspect is to get all the government approvals, permits and licenses for the product you are selling. According to each government various products and services have various approvals and permits which needs to be taken and kept ready so that everything is clean and neat.
Creating a Logo: Once the brand name is selected and registering for the domain name it is the time to create a logo for your business. A logo is more than just letter, symbols, and colors, it is more a brand identifier of your business. A survey showed that more than 60% of customers are attracted by the logo used by various business. So, a great logo will help in attractive more customers.
4) Sales and Marketing Plan: This is the most important aspect of any business; a proper marketing strategy is the foundation of a well written marketing plan so that all the goals are achieved. A well laid marketing plan consists of a plan for promotional activities, advertising activities and marketing activities for the business. There are various marketing strategies that can be used such as google ads, social media ads, word of mouth etc. Once you start receiving orders from your e-commerce platform then accordingly you will want to change your marketing plans.
Choosing the right sales channel: The best way to reach customers and sell your products is to choose the sale channels where the customers already buy their products. There are various sales channels that can be used such as personal selling, sales outsourcing, retail showroom, direct to customers, business to business, general marketplace, auction marketplace, social media, etc.
5) Operations and Logistics plan: This plan will layout all your requirements with regards to office space, technological needs, warehousing needs etc.
6) Financial Plan: This is a critical part of any business; from where will you get your funds or capital for starting a business? There are various ways and methods of getting finances such as loans, self-funding, get venture capital from investors, get funding from business incubators, etc. And also, a proper financial plan which includes an income statement contain a breakdown of sources of revenue and expenses, a balance sheet showing all your assets and liabilities and a cash flow statement which will give the real time expenses and income of your business.
E-commerce has undoubtedly become an import part of our society today. Successful companies in the future will be those who will take e-commerce seriously and invest resources for its development. E-commerce is a helpful tool which will be a steppingstone for any business which will give a customer base to business across the globe!
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