Building Blocks: Creating a Strong Foundation for Your E-Commerce Startup
Wed 16 March 2016 - 3:05 pmBusiness Tech | Digital | Digital | eCommerce | Growing | Marketing | Marketing | Retail | Retail | Sales | Small Business | Starting | Startup | Tech | Tips | Advice
You’re tired of the daily grind. It’s time for something different. E-commerce seems like the right move. It’s easy to get set up, and it’s a proven business model. Here’s how to get started.
How To Find A Good Market
It all starts with product research. Actually, it starts with market research. If you don’t understand your market, you don’t have a chance at selling to them. Most entrepreneurs who start an e-commerce site try to start off by selling what they think should be a good product.
This is a huge mistake. First, you want to pick a market, research it, and find out what that market’s needs and desires are. Then, try to find a product or products that fill those needs.
If you need to write a sales letter, you should do that after you’ve researched your market, and after you’ve researched your products and product category.
This is the most challenging part of setting up your new business and getting started online. But, once you’ve nailed the market and the product, you can move on to setting up the more technical side of the business. EcommerceGuide.com can help.
How To Evaluate Your Idea And Set Up Your Business
Once you’ve got a product in mind, you need to test it against what people are actually buying. Read interviews done by journalists to your target market. For example, if your market is golfers, read interviews done by journalists who interviewed famous golfers and find out what those golfers have purchased in the past, what they tried that worked and what they’ve actually tried that didn’t work.
This will let you hone in on the specific products that worked for them, you can tweak your own product offering to match that.
Research Your Competition
What is your competition selling? You don’t necessarily want to copy them. But, you do want to make sure you’re offering something they’re not. Fill the void in your marketplace. You can do this by getting on your competitor’s email list, checking out their product offering, speaking to a segment of the market that they’re not, and by filling a need that they’re not.
Study your competition’s ads. What do they keep running? What ads do you only see once. If you see the same ad running over and over again, that’s the control piece. That ad is working. Use it as a template to sell your own stuff.
Setting Up Your Business
At some point, you need to set up your own business structure. Speak with a lawyer about the corporate structure that will work best for you. Outside of that, you’ll want to get hooked up with a vendor, a drop shipper, and an e-commerce platform that will make running your business easier.
Write a business plan that spells out what products you plan to sell, how much you plan to sell them for, where you will get financing, how your operation will run, who will be involved, and what your revenue and profit targets will be.
Contact a local trademark attorney and work with him or her about finding a business name and logo that’s not trademarked. This is important. If you don’t spend the time to do this right, you could find yourself at the wrong end of a nasty lawsuit.
Open Shop And Market
You’re going to need to focus on cheap advertising and referral marketing to get up and running. Stick with low-cost pay-per-click ads, referrals from non-competing businesses, and linkbuilding strategies to get found in the search engines.
There is no secret to this. It’s hard work. Use sites like Backlinko.com if you need an education in linkbuilding, SEO, and marketing.
Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to other blogs and offer samples in exchange for a review. This takes guts, but it can pay off in the long-run. One good review from a blogger can set you over the top and really bring in a lot of traffic – traffic that’s high quality and converts into sales.
About the Author
Evie Newman is a business consultant who works primarily with e-commerce start ups, both small businesses already established in the tangible world and those starting a whole new business venture. She writes on e-commerce topics for various business blogs around the web.