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10 Things to Do Before Starting an Ecommerce Business

Updated on May 2, 2014

1. Be Realistic

Be realistic. There is some possibility that you were allured towards the online business by seeing the colorful picture from a distance and you were totally unaware of the problems, difficulties and obstacles you can have. You need reality check every after a while. But, reality checks doesn't need to be dream-shattering.

In reality check, do:

  • Market research
  • Customer and region research
  • Gather knowledge about competitors
  • Know the most common obstacles and ways to eliminate them
  • Marketing intelligence
  • Hire professionals

2. Find our your expertise

This step is about to finding out the best of you. You need to look into yourself and know what you can sell the best.

For instance, Amazon.com started as a book-selling online retailer. After some spur, they began to sell CDs, DVDs and other stationary stuff. Today, they are selling everything which could be sold online. Following the similar pattern, the Indian online giant Flipkart.com also started as a book-seller.

3. Brain Storm Ideas

If you are going to sell online, that's nothing new. That's already happening since the inception of the internet and people have mastered many fields of the eCommerce.

If you are aiming for a fantastic start or a long-lasting website doing serious business, you need to come up with new, fresh ideas which attract people towards your website and make them happily agree to buy things from it.

They are going to get the same product at different websites at same price. But, what will make them to buy at yours? Do you have such reputation, or lowest price, fastest delivery, unique products, rewards or gifts? What will make the buyers especially search for your website and make a purchase?

Unique ideas could easily make you the leader. You just search out for the customers' requirement in general and fulfill them in the way which puts you on the front-line in customer's mind.

4. Have a Business Plan

This is a big, time and brain consuming step. You really have to have a business plan. It should comprise all the factors and facades you are going to operate with or you will have to deal with.

A great business plan could comprise a detailed synopsis about company's financial strategies, supply chain, logistics, target audience and region, use of resources and adjusting them while keeping the competitors in mind. A good business plan also answers you about how much help the online business will bring to your current local business.

5. Check out the Legalities Involved

It is not like you will get involved in legal activities for sure. It is just a precaution to know most government laws regarding to online business.

Such knowledge guides your business plan and marketing strategy in legal terms and makes sure you don't end up selling any illegal product which is banned in your country or are missing out to fulfill the required terms decreed by the government.

6. Stay aware of your reputation from the beginning

In online business, reputation is essential. Your firm reputation as a good service provider will convert the visitors into customers eventually. It is inevitable.

The reputation-damaging factors are also numerous including the bad-mouthing by the competitors, bad reviews, false news, bad services, bad customer care response, etc. Such factors could cause a damaged reputation but you can rectify them with countermeasures and proving yourself better than those allegations. Robust service is only way to make a good reputation among the customers.

7. Be ready of the additional/unexpected costs

In conventional business type, such unexpected costs are there but aren't much bigger threats to profits. In eCommerce, they are big pain.

eCommerce opens up the opportunity to do business globally. With that lure comes different types of customers, sellers, situations, regions to understand. And most probably, you will understand them only after getting some heat.

The additional/unexpected costs could be such as:

  • Product replacement, returns or damage (a big headache for new business)
  • Damage through security holes
  • Damage occurred by shipping companies
  • Online Fraud
  • Seasonal losses

8. Have a strong marketing strategy

Customer acquisition and retention will make you work really hard.

Traffic generation is one of the essentials. As many as people visits and revisits your website, the chances of buying at least one product increase. You will need to do extensive online/offline marketing.

Though, it is a hard-call as there are many options available fo customers as big, already established companies in market. One way, already said above, is coming up with excellent ideas. Other technical ways are:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Backlinks
  • Online/offline advertisement
  • Special offers
  • Using different web-tools (Google AdWords, for instance)
  • Emails

9. Know that the perfection is illusive

Your website is never improved enough even if it looks fantastic after some time. Because, the market keeps changing. New technologies come, ideas improve and thing which were considered as advantages could get outdated with time.

Improvements are always necessary in:

  • Aesthetics side of the website
  • Adding new Features
  • Enriching the Ranges of products
  • Always coming up with new offers
  • Trusted Sellers
  • Brand Refurbishing
  • Adding new Payment Options
  • Improving Shipping Methods
  • Adoption of new technologies
  • Updating Terms, Conditions and Policies

You are never out of requirements of improvements. Because, when no improvement is required, it means it is perfect. And everyone knows that there is no such thing as perfect.

10. Be explicitly clear in your rule-books

It is advisable to be explicitly clear about your terms, policy and conditions.

Most of the times, nobody's going to even click on the link for Terms and Condition. But, sometimes people do. Mostly, when they are doing a big purchase, or are suspicious about something.
That's an important time for you to win over their trust in a snap. If you are crystal clear with positive attitude, and they found your explanations convincing, they will begin to trust you.

These are some ideas to perform in your online business. 101eCommerce don't give you a guarantee of a successful online business (success solely depends on you), but surely lessens the chances of a failure with big margin.

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