It’s not a surprise that the pandemic has significantly influenced the retail and e-commerce business. 84% of US consumers say that their consumer behavior was changed because of COVID-19. There are plenty of reasons for it: Buying online is safer, faster, and does not require any additional effort.

In 2022, e-commerce continues to grow in popularity. More and more products become available online which is opening an incredible number of opportunities to start your own business. With social media and marketplaces, your goods and services get access to a broader audience and more potential clients.

However, there are several things you will have to take into account to be successful in the market. Before getting over the moon about creating an e-commerce business, try to keep it down to earth and get rational about your decision. Here is a quick guide that will help you understand what to do.

1. Choose what you are going to sell

The very first step that comes before anything else is choosing a product or a service that you want to sell. You may think it’s obvious: How can you consider building an e-commerce business without knowing what to sell? However, it can be a really tough question to answer. For example, you can have multiple ideas that can even be opposite to each other.

To find out what will be welcomed by your potential clients, try to find something that both correlates with your passion and interest and has a sufficient level of demand. Once one item meets the requirements, your product is ready.

2. Add value to your product or service

Having a product or service to offer is only a part of the preparation process. There is another side that contributes a lot to your success and it’s the value. This notion describes what is so useful about your offer that will make people buy it. To define your value, answer the following questions:

  • Does my product address the customers’ needs?
  • What benefits will people get from it? (Please note that benefits and features are not the same)
  • How am I different from the competitors?

This stage requires a lot of thorough research, but when it’s complete, its results will set the overall direction for your business and help you stand out from the crowd.

3. Define your niche and target audience

These two notions will be the most influential factors to your project’s success. You should definitely know what your “ideal” client looks like. It will guide marketing campaigns and help you build the right positioning. The more specific you get with it, the higher is your chance to get a purchase action. A good way to do it is to create a buyer persona. It will display the most common traits of your target audience so that you can make your approach more personalized.

4. Validate the idea

This stage will eliminate doubts about the success of your e-commerce project. The best way to understand if your idea is not going to flop is to literally ask the market. You can do it by following some crucial steps:

  1. Think about the hypothesis
  2. Set the expected metrics
  3. Talk to your audience
  4. Run a pre-sale campaign
  5. Collect and analyze the results

If everything goes as you expect, you can start a full-scale business. If the results are not fine, go to previous steps, research what has gone wrong, and fix it before the next validation. 

5. Get all formal things done

This will include choosing a brand name, creating a logo, buying a domain name, and creating a website. Also, don’t forget about the legal side of e-commerce: Depending on what you are going to sell, you will need certain permissions and licenses.

6. Choose a platform

Choosing an e-commerce platform may seem scary. Developing a custom solution is way too complicated and will take an enormous amount of time and money. Talking about pre-made solutions, there are too many of them so the choice can be hard. We would recommend you to limit the options to the most trusted and popular platforms: Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce.

7. Think about customer service

The way you communicate with your customers and help them solve issues is a huge part of any retail and commerce business, and online shops are not an exception. You should pay attention to the potential problems your customers may face and think about the ways you are going to help them. You can have a special phone number, email, or chat window on the website to collect feedback.

8. Display your product

Visual content matters. Whether it’s a full-scale website of your brand or a single page of your product on Amazon, the pictures and promo videos should look great. The best way to prepare high-quality visuals is to hire a photographer who specializes in promo photos. If you want to do it yourself, you can opt for a set of easy-to-use tools to set the correct parameters or remove background from image. Also, don’t forget to update the pictures on time if anything changes so you won’t deceive your customers.

9. Get social and attract customers

It’s hard to imagine the modern world without social media. Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok occupy a lot of our time, and businesses learned to use them. These options are available for you: Creating social accounts for your business will make you closer to your customers and provide you with the fastest feedback. Also, properly managed social media will contribute a lot to your brand image.

10. Evolve

Now, when everything is up and running, it’s time to think about the future. Listen carefully to your clientele’s feedback and adapt to their needs. It will allow you to increase your sales and get more customers. From now on, everything is up to you, your desires, and opportunities.

Summing it all up

With this guide, you will have a deeper understanding of launching an online retail business. Like any other major decision, it requires a lot of preparation and resources. However, if you take all risks into account and will carefully listen to your audience’s needs, your e-commerce project will prosper.

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