One of the easiest ways to start a business today is to set up an online sales company and start e-commerce business. Indeed, the internet commerce sector has been growing exponentially for several years now.
Training, products, services … now, almost everything can be sold on the net. So how do you get started with creating an ecommerce site and quickly generate sales? Discover our practical advice to create your online store and develop your business on the web!
While there are some notable differences between starting an ecommerce business and starting a physical business, there are a number of similarities as well. Many of the planning steps and legal steps that you will need to take will follow the same process (more or less) as with any other business.
However, once you start your business, you will see how different starting an ecommerce business can be.
Table of Contents
- How much does an e-commerce site cost?
- Choose your product or service carefully
- Do your competitive intelligence and write a business plan
- Choose a suitable e-commerce solution
- Work on the design and concept
- Work on SEO of your Ecommerce Business
- Reassure your customers by inspiring trust
How much does an e-commerce site cost?
Among the factors that influence the cost price of a sales site we note:
- The technique: site development, maintenance, updates, graphics (logo), hosting, payment solutions …
- The product: the purchase price, transport costs.
- The workforce: the publication of articles, the creation of product sheets by a writer, inventory management, customer service, the cost of a verified review platform …
- Marketing: advertising, social media posts, creating white papers, organizing webinars …
A profitable e-commerce website is therefore a site whose sales cover the costs mentioned above, including the working hours provided by the owner of the site.
Once this breakeven point is reached, it is advisable to maximize the profitability of the site. The idea? Create a maximum of turnover with a minimum of actions to accomplish. For this, we will work on increasing the average basket, the reputation of the site, the product margin, etc.
Choose your product or service carefully
You may have the best store in the world, but if you don’t sell the right product, you won’t make a sale. So before even thinking about the design of your website, you need to find the right idea that will get your project off the ground.
10 tips for finding the perfect ecommerce product
Before even launching an e-commerce site, you must already bet on the right product: the one that will sell easily and allow you to generate profits quickly. A good product to sell online is a product:
- Profitable: it generates a comfortable margin and maximum profits.
- Fast to ship: be able to prepare many orders every day.
- Lightweight and small in size: to reduce shipping and packaging costs.
- Timeless: it can be sold at any time of the year.
- Simple: it must meet simple needs and its usefulness must be immediately understood.
- Trend: unearth the idea or the product that everyone is going to tear up.
- Robust: the less after-sales service, the better your online store will be.
- Attractive: it must arouse the interest of buyers at first sight.
- Unique: your product should only be able to be bought from you and not elsewhere.
- Niche: no need to go into the mainstream, find a niche product or offer and get started!
Evaluate your product idea before selling it online
You have finally succeeded in finding the rare pearl (s) on the web, that is to say products that are sure to hit the mark in your store. So now you are going to have to evaluate this idea with your future buyers. Do not hesitate to test your products in your personal and professional circle or with test customers.
You then need to assess the true potential of your offer to be sure you’ve chosen the right product.
To do this, there are two essential tools:
- Competitive Study: Who Are Your Competitors? Are they known? What are their prices? Can you line up? Where are they at the organic backlinking level? Are they present on social networks?
- The business plan: Will selling this product be profitable? This is the sinews of war!
Do your competitive intelligence and write a business plan
Even for an online store, it is absolutely essential to conduct a serious competitive intelligence and develop a complete business plan before starting.
How to succeed in your competitive intelligence?
The best way to launch your ecommerce store is to know the competition inside out to know what they are selling, how they are positioned and how you stand out.
Start by identifying your top 5 competitors. Nothing could be easier: all you have to do is select the 5 best-ranked stores or brands in Google in relation to your keywords.
For each of the competitors that you are going to select, you must be able to answer the following questions:
- How do they communicate about their offer?
- How are their products showcased on their e-commerce site?
- What are their prices compared to yours?
- Are they present on social networks?
- How do they interact with their customers?
- How is their store built and where are the call-to-actions positioned?
- Is their site optimized for mobiles?
- What marketing tools do they use to generate leads?
Then to always learn more about your competitors, do not hesitate to use online monitoring tools such as SEMRush, SimilarWeb or Whois.
Some tips for carrying out the market research of your online shop
Writing a business plan before launching your e-commerce site is an essential step if you want to be successful on the web. Building this market research allows you to take a step back and see things in the long term, in order to be able to put in place an effective growth strategy.
The business plan is a roadmap that sets the course, sets goals and helps achieve more results.
Here are the essential elements to work on in this document:
- The operational summary which summarizes the essentials of your business plan.
- The description of your company which gives a complete overview of your products and offers, your competitive advantages and your marketing pitch.
- The market and competition analysis that you have previously carried out.
- Your operational plan.
- The organization of your company and its management.
- The precise description of your offers, products and services.
- Your goals in terms of marketing and sales, as well as your strategy for reaching your customers.
- Your projections in terms of budget, turnover and profits for the first years of the year.
- Your financing plan.
You Are Also Advised To Read our guide in detail on How To Write a Business Plan To Start an Ecommerce Store?
Choose a suitable e-commerce solution
To get started in e-commerce, it is essential to find the online solution that corresponds to your needs. It must be simple to use and require as little technical development as possible, to limit maintenance costs.
You must also choose a powerful e-commerce solution that has a qualitative design. Don’t forget to look at how your online store is set up and especially if you can administer it yourself. How easy is it to create your sales pages? Can you easily upload new products? Can you manage without assistance?
Are there any solutions proposed to reduce cart abandonment on this e-commerce solution?
What are the most successful e-commerce platforms?
Here are the most popular e-commerce platforms in World:
- Shopify is currently one of the most popular solutions, especially with small businesses. It is acclaimed for its ease of use and free themes. Even though there are fewer customization options than its competitors, Shopify is a very good choice to start dropshipping.
- Prestashop: here is an open source e-commerce solution made in France. This CMS makes it easy to create an online store. In France today, nearly 50% are powered by Prestashop.
- WooCommerce: If you already have a WordPress site, this is the ideal e-commerce solution. This plugin allows you to easily create your shopping area on your website.
There are many other e-shop alternatives like Magento, Big Commerce or osCommerce. It’s up to you to compare the features, pricing and options offered by each platform.
Work on the design and concept
The web offers many sales opportunities for companies and brands. However, if your online store and your concept are not perfectly thought out, sales will not take off!
The design and the user experience must be considered to promote navigation, loyalty and the act of purchase. Show real creativity to stand out and establish your brand against the competition.
To create a working online store, you need to:
- Work on your brand image and your branding.
- Reassure the customer with an ergonomic site that works and where you can find all the information about your company, as well as the general conditions of sale.
- Build your project with SEO in mind: all the content on your site (home page, product sheet, category, blog, etc.) must be optimized to stand out in search engines.
- Set up a simplified and fluid navigation.
- Highlight your products with beautiful images and constantly update your offers.
Work on SEO of your Ecommerce Business
SEO is the optimization of a website to make it visible in the organic results of a search engine like Google.
We advise you to use a specialist service provider. Indeed, even if e-commerce solutions easy to learn exist, it is better to be accompanied by a professional during the design and launch phase.
Make sure that your service provider is aware of organic backlinking requirements or works in collaboration with an SEO agency specializing in the optimization of the organic backlinking of an Ecommerce site.
Indeed, according to the branches of activity, the competition can be tight and the movements in the SERPs can surprise. And watch out for SEO scams! Make sure you are working with an experienced SEO who can provide you with a good SEO strategy for your ecommerce site.
Reassure your customers by inspiring trust
On the internet more than elsewhere, if the customer does not trust, he does not buy. Know this, one of the first fears of the consumer on the web is to be the victim of a scam. If he does not know who is hiding behind the merchant site he is consulting, he will not take action.
He must therefore be certain of being able to contact someone at any time, before, during and after the sale.
Offer contact solutions to your customers
On the homepage or on the contact page of your site, remember to clearly show:
- An easy to use contact form.
- The customer service phone number.
- The address of your eshop’s head office.
You can also install a chatbot solution to provide basic 24/7 support. You can also post a very complete FAQ, where your customers can easily find all the answers to their questions.
Finally, if you publish articles on your e-commerce site, consider promoting your blog on social networks. This will boost traffic and increase your brand awareness among consumers. Being active on social networks and having a community there is important to guarantee the success of your online sales site.
E-reputation: publish the opinions of your customers and offer a space for expression
According to an IFOP survey, 88% of Internet users consult consumer reviews before buying. So publishing your customers’ comments on your ecommerce can reassure future buyers about the quality of your products or services. Working on the online reputation of an e-commerce site will have a positive impact on its image and on sales.
Additionally, many consumers like to have their reviews posted and shared. Apps like Trustpilot can let you view your customers’ ratings and reviews. Publish absolutely all comments, whether negative or positive, because Internet users are very sensitive to the transparency and honesty of commercial sites. A site with 100% 5* votes won’t inspire more trust than a 4* site with a few mixed reviews.
Remember that a negative review is not necessarily a handicap. If you respond to them quickly and with pedagogy, you can on the contrary reassure consumers even more. They will be able to see how you react to a problem. Respond to each negative comment in a personalized way and by offering a solution to the unhappy buyer. It proves your professionalism.
Secure the purchasing process
On an online store, the finalization of a purchase can generate stress for the buyer, if he does not feel that the transaction is completely secure. Throughout the purchasing process, the customer must therefore be supported and reassured.
He must be able to access his basket at any time to consult the summary of his purchases, easily add or delete an item and know the price of his order.
The following information must absolutely appear clearly on the basket page:
- Designation of items.
- The exact amount of the basket.
- Delivery fees.
- The total amount to be paid.
You must also indicate the delivery times and the means of payment available.
Thanks to strong growth, the e-commerce sector offers many opportunities to entrepreneurs. However, it is important to think carefully about your strategy so as not to miss the launch of your merchant site. Now it’s up to you to create your online store, by finding the right concept that will allow you to make the difference!