How to Start an eCommerce Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Paresh Sagar
blog updated dateUpdated Date: May 22, 2024

Starting an eCommerce Business from Scratch

If I‘ll tell you the number of eCommerce websites, you will get surprised and probably think of abandoning the idea of starting an eCommerce business due to competition. Across the world, there are 12 Million to 20 million eCommerce websites which are divided among multiple businesses. That’s huge! Isn’t it?

But you don’t have to worry about the competition in the eCommerce industry. Out of millions of businesses, less than 1 million websites generate more than $1000 per year, so there is plenty of room for growth for those who want to start an eCommerce business.

There are some interesting stats on eCommerce that further encourages brick-and-mortar store owners to have a presence over the internet. Here are a few of them.

  • The eCommerce industry is expected to rack up $4. 5 trillion in sales annually in the coming years.
  • Approx. 67% of Millennials today like to shop online.
  • Around 56% of Gen-Xers prefer online shopping for their daily needs.
  • On average women spend $151 per transaction as compared to men, who spend $220 per transaction while online shopping. (Yes! This is surprising)

These stats clearly indicate consumers’ clear inclination towards online stores. This doesn’t mean that the brick-and-mortar store is of no value and should be shuttered. But businesses should adopt an omnichannel approach while thinking of starting an eCommerce business from scratch.

Do you want to know how to start an eCommerce business? This article will help you figure out how you can get into an online business.

How to Start an eCommerce Business?

Starting a business in eCommerce is not as hard as you think. With proper guidance and a foolproof plan, you can easily start your online business. We have described a step-by-step procedure. Let’s get started,

 Start an eCommerce Business

Step 1: Generate an Idea

A million-dollar product is the result of a unique idea.

Jeff Bezos had a novel idea behind the One-click checkout approach. So unique that hearing this idea many other booksellers tried to implement this strategy into their online business. But it was late for others as he already patented it during the early days of Amazon. Now, his competitors could apply a two-click or three clicks approach but on one click.

In short, you have to come up with an out-of-the-box eCommerce business idea and strategy that caters to more customers. Know whether you want to provide services or products for your business. Carry out research for finding your niche and target audience. Also, understand the demographics, age group, and purchase behavior.

Step 2: Choose A Suitable Business Name

People will know your business through its name and it must be unique and catchy. Whatever the name you choose, you must cross-check it through the Local state secretary. Is your business name the same as any other business or not? Decide a name that inlines with your product or service. Also, trademark your brand’s name to the united states patent & trademark office(uspto.gov).

Since you want to start an eCommerce store, you will need to decide your Domain name (the web address of your site) also. Make sure you select a business name that has its domain name available.

Step 3: Partnership or Solo?

This could be one of the most vital steps in starting your eCommerce business. Before you step forward in the online business, you need to decide on business structures. If you do not want to jump into partnership at this stage, then you could go for a solopreneurship or LLC (Limited Liability Company) business structure.

There are two other legal entities you could go for partnership and corporation. Remember, the legal entity you choose will have major legal and financial implications for your e-commerce business. Go through their advantages and disadvantages for better business management.

If you think that deciding on a business entity is overwhelming you can hire an attorney that will help you understand this process.

Read Also: Web Development Trends

Step 4: Get Licence & Permits

Every business needs legal permission from the state or local level authority to run a business. If you are starting your eCommerce business, you should too get a license and necessary permission to get started.

However, it is not necessary that in every kind of business, you will have to get permits and licenses. For example, If you are operating as a sole proprietor or have a general partnership, you don’t need to register your business with the state if you file a DBA to legally operate for the e-commerce business.

One of the main benefits of operating an online store is that you won’t need many licenses and permits as needed in the Brick & mortar store. Remember, sometimes the license requirement varies according to the location you are operating. Go through your city or state’s website to find out important information regarding the business license.

Ready to Elevate Your Online Business?

Step 5: Decide an eCommerce platform

Till now, you might have found the process to start an eCommerce business to be the same as setting up a Brick and mortar store. However, this is the stage where the process differs. In a physical store, as you would find a physical location and start constructing your brick and mortar store, here you will need to get an Internet address, space for storing your website data and start an eCommerce site.

As a novice, you may not be aware of any eCommerce store-building platform.

In simple terms, eCommerce Platforms are software applications through which you can build and monitor your daily sales operation, inventory, manage content management systems, and more without any hassle.

Some of the most popular eCommerce platforms are Shopify, Magento, WoCoomerce, and Squarespace.

This platform allows you to handle your online store without any technical knowledge. If you have a knack for understanding how these platforms work you can set up your store by watching a few online videos also. Otherwise, you may need an expert at the initial level for setting up the store.

Step 6: Start a hunt for eCommerce Development Company

As I have explained above, you might not be able to set up the eCommerce Platforms by yourself. Also if you are referring to starting your Customized eCommerce website, you should without a doubt go for a custom web development company.

These companies will help you build an engaging and high-performing eCommerce website that can drive you more sales. Keep in mind to include common features eCommerce websites should have to be successful among competitors. Some of them are mobile-friendliness, Real-time filtering and sorting options. Easy check-out process, Multiple payment integrations, SEO friendliness and more. Most probably, your eCommerce solution provider company will help you understand the best functionality you need on your eCommerce website.

What if you don’t want to build an eCommerce website from scratch? Is there any other way you can start an eCommerce business within less time? The answer is yes!

You can start your own eCommerce business within a week using ready-made eCommerce solutions like Amazon clone or eBay clone available in the market. Some companies provide you with ready-to-launch eCommerce solutions that do not include only websites. But they provide you with the admin panel and a custom Android and iOS application.

Also, you cannot only start a single-store eCommerce business with these solutions, but You can also start an eCommerce marketplace like Amazon and eBay where you don’t have to sell anything. You just create a Platform for multiple vendors and customers to buy and sell on that. This is perhaps the most amazing way of getting started in the eCommerce business in your city.

Step 7: Don’t Ignore the Delivery Service

Bigger and more successful eCommerce brands will have seamless delivery services for their customers. They always make sure that their customers come first in the business. So, they would set up a team of delivery boys who will provide the product to the customers’ doorstep within a few days. If you are selling a product, then you should incorporate the delivery service into your business. In a single vendor eCommerce business, it is not necessary that you make a mobile app for delivery people. In the future, as your business expands, you can do that.

On the flip side, If you want to start an eCommerce platform like Amazon, then you must provide delivery boy applications (iOS and Android).

SEE ALSO: eCommerce Mobile App Development

What is the Cost for Starting an eCommerce Business from Scratch?

While deciding the eCommerce business cost, you should keep in mind multiple factors, like; license & permit fees, Domain name and Hosting cost, Ecommerce website and app development cost, Inventory, and many. But these are the main factors that have a major part in the final cost.

Here are the expected charges you will have to take into consideration while starting an eCommerce business from scratch.

  • License & Permit- Between $5 to $50
  • Domain- $1 to $16 if you customize your website, $0 if you build on platforms like Shopify, and BigCommerce(They include it into their per-month subscription charge)
  • Hosting- Average $30 per month if you are custom building your website, $0 if you use platforms like Shopify, and Bigcommerce
  • Development Company Charges- $8k to $16k for single vendor eCommerce
    $10k to $22k for Multi vendor marketplace like Amazon
  • Inventory- $1 to $1000 for single vendor eCommerce, $0 for Marketplace
  • Marketing & Advertisement- 7% to 8% of your gross revenue

Conclusion

In the last decade, people’s buying and selling patterns have changed. They prefer mobility and convenience in their every purchase. Their transactions have also become cashless.

To start an eCommerce business could be your best bet in this scenario. We hope you have understood the vital steps to get into the eCommerce business. Do you want to know more about ready-made eCommerce solutions? Let’s Connect!

Paresh Sagar
Author
Paresh Sagar, the innovative CEO of aPurple, is renowned for his passion for experimenting with new business models, technological aspects, and software solutions. His knowledge and insights are a must-read for entrepreneurs, tech experts, and avid readers alike, offering valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving landscape of business and technology. With a keen eye for innovation and a dedication to sharing his expertise on business digitalization, Paresh continues to inspire and inform professionals across the globe.

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