Everything you need to know to start an ecommerce business

Learn everything you need to know to start an ecommerce business. 

Identify a niche market

You will struggle if you want to sell products cheaper than everyone else.. A competitive environment will find bigger businesses will undercut you until you disappear. The way for a small business to succeed in a highly competitive world is to identify a niche industry segment, providing the information that niche would like and selling the products they require.

Determing your product pricing

You need to make a profit on your items, and your pricing needs to be competitive. You will need to consider what percentage you pay to your payment gateway, typically 3%., but a transaction fee of 50 cents may impact on low ticket prices. You also need to consider freight, advertising, and overheads like rent, electricity and website costs 

Advertising Costs

Advertising costs should align with your turnover, such that you have a return on investment.. Some businesses spend between 20% and 50% off their turnover on advertising, so you need a big margin to cover the upper end of that. If advertising does not produce a return on investment, then have you identified an appropritate market . Advertising costs may include advertising on search engines, or investment in search engine optimisation, or advertising on other popular websites, social media channels, or in popular newsletters.   

Freight Costs

How much will you charge for freight? A successful freight rule should be easily understandable by your customers. This means that you may need to subsidise some of your order delivery. A popular freight approach is to charge $5 per order, or free delivery for orders over $100. Such an approach attempts to cover the freight costs on small orders, while encouraging bigger orders to boost your turnover. On average, you may find that such an approach means that freight comprises 5% of your product price. It can be worth subsidising the higher freight costs to access other markets. What you charge your customers for freight does not need to match actual costs, but generally speaking, you should be subsidising the freight fee out of your product margin.

Branding / Design

Before you think about getting a website, you should first consider your brand. Have you got a logo and brand guidelines, like colours and fonts. Your brand will impact your signage, your product packaging, and your website design. 

Website Design

The website world platform makes it pretty easy to create a website yourself. There are many themes to choose, and you can upload common brand elements like banners and logos, and select your own fonts and colours. If you want a really professional look, then you should engage a professional web designer. If you want a lower price quote, it would be a good idea to do as much of your website setup as you can, so that your website designer is not faced with lots of content creation. When your website designer knows that you can already load your own products and other page content, then the designer knows that they can use their professional time to focus on the overall design, and you will get a sharper price on design. 

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is a special skill. You can do quite alot yourself if you learn the basics and think about how people search, and how search engines work. Basically, every product, category and page on your website is a change to catch a different fish, with a targeted search phrase. Think first about a phrase that someone will use to find your website, then make a page or category just for that person. Add content that is relevant to that phrase. Then add products or enquiry forms that will turn traffic into a conversion. You can pay professionals to do your SEO also. SEO is labour intensive, and it will cost more in advance than just paying per click for advertising. But in the long run, investment in SEO will produce ongoing benefits for a long running business. 

Order Fulfillment

Processing orders is a time consuming task. You need to locate the goods in your storage. Pack them safely for a courier. Order a courier. You need to notify the customer of the order tracking information. A good ecommerce platform like website world will make it easy to pick stock, manage inventory, automate courier label printing and notifications. 

Customer Ratings and Reviews  

Customer reviews will help you sell more products, by encouraging other customers to feel safe shopping and to know they are choosing the best products. You should followup with your customers to identify if they received their items and are happy with their purchases. Customers are usually most positive on satisfaction surveys if you send the survey request after allowing enough time for them to receive their goods. Website World allows you to automate the sending of surveys to customers after so many days after delivery. 



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