The eCommerce industry saw a sudden spike because of the pandemic that disrupted our whole system of transactional activities. It is rather safe to state that eCommerce will be the way to conduct business, it is the ‘new normal’ now. Though we have seen traditional brick and mortar shops resume operations with adherence to safety guidelines, ‘cautious consumers’ are still steering clear of any gatherings and are trying their best to keep human contact at a bare minimum. It is imperative to state that now is really a good time to start that little pet project or side hustle of yours if you were contemplating about it during the recent past.
Many people and ‘entrepreneurs’ (as they like to call themselves) have started to jump aboard this rocket to the stars called eCommerce. I would just like to give a few pointers as to how you can actually setup an eCommerce business which will provide you with what we like to call a ‘competitive edge’.
- The Niche
This is a very important aspect that I have seen many people ignore while planning their new venture. I have seen many eCommerce sites that have product categories which have no similarities and logic whatsoever. The Target Group is so widespread that God knows how many shopping campaigns they have to setup to get success.
The key here is to identify a niche that is not overly competitive thus giving you some shot at the market share and also doesn’t lack competition, which actually means that there is no (read as enough) demand in that niche.
- The Model
There are many models that may or may not apply to your business. Base your eCommerce business on the most suitable model and work your way up accordingly. Try to research and find out what other successful brands are doing in the same model. The models are bifurcated in the following manner:
- B2C – Business to Consumer
- B2B – Business to Business
- C2B – Consumer to Business
- C2C – Consumer to Consumer
Value Delivery Methods
- D2C – Direct to Consumer
- White Label and Private Label
- Subscription Based
Platform Based Methods:
- Mobile Commerce
- Facebook Commerce
- The Platform
Many people are still confused about how to setup their online business and which platform they should use. Refer to your budget and the kind of brand outlook you want to portray before cashing in on any platform. Following is a list of platforms, with names of brands currently using them, that you can consider for your ecommerce business (the order of the list do not signify anything and it is a random depiction of the platforms available):
- BigCommerce – SkullCandy, Bliss World and John Paul Mitchell Systems
- Shopify – Hasbro, Heinz and Penguin Books
- Wix – NetMD, Victoria’s Secret and SAG-AFTRA
- 3dcart – Daktronics Inc, Dotmailer and Webimax
- WooCommerce – Analytic Focus LLC, Fresh Realm LLC and Air Lift Company
- Squarespace – Tony Hawk, Airwalk and Lyft Blog
- Magento – Hermes, Christian Louboutin and Oliver Sweeney
- Weebly – Dwarmis, The Readydesk and Wall’ in
- Volusion – polartcenter, Nitecorestore and ansgear.com
- Prestashop – salling, pop-line and Harryfay
- The Registration
I will be focusing on how to register your business with respect to India only. If you belong to any other nationality please conduct thorough research before setting up your business.
- Submit the DIN 3 form on the official website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Just attach and upload the necessary documentation and you will get your Director’s Identification Number.
- You need to have a PAN (Permanent Account Number) and Digital Signature Certificate.
- After getting your DIN you can check for the availability of the name you have chosen for your company on the official website of the Registrar of Companies (ROC) and even on the website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
- Once you get approval for the name you can incorporate your company within six months.
- You also need to apply for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) certification (Shops and Establishment License) which is required for Payment Gateway Integration and Professional Tax.
- The Marketing
The most important piece of the puzzle, the one that will ensure that quality traffic pours in your website and conversions keep raining heavier than peak monsoon. The aspects that you need to focus on to get your marketing straight and make your dreams a reality are:
- Search Engine Optimization also known as SEO – Well this is smart marketing and this rules over anything and everything. There is nothing like getting free, organic traffic to your website by just popping up on the results page with respect to your consumers’ search queries. I may have made it quite a lot simple there but the main point that I wanted to drive through is the fact that there is no harm in investing in SEO. The earlier you start the more advantage you will have over your competitors. You need the help of experts to guide you for this. SEO if executed properly will continue to provide you with returns over a long period of time. The right mix of low competition and high search volume keywords which pertain to your audience will bring the results that you wish for.
- Social Promotion and Advertisements – You can use all the tools at your disposal and invest in social media platforms to drive sales and increase your brand’s awareness. Again your niche and Target Audience will play a vital role in providing you the right results. If you run Ads blindly then you are most likely to miss and burn a hole in your pocket without any returns. Use Facebook and Instagram’s Shopping Campaigns to increase the number of conversions and boost sales for your brand. The manner in which you showcase your product/service will determine the conversion percentage. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your consumers and ask yourself if you would click on your Ad and buy your product/service or not. This will help you to fine-tune your Ads.
- Retargeting – This is a process where a cookie (not the one in your jar) is placed on the system of those who have visited your site and exits without making a purchase. Now if this visitor enters another site which hosts retargeting ads then he/she will get to see ads of your products. Though this is an expensive route to use the rate of positive results is much higher if you use this method.
Those were some vital points which I believe many people do not take into consideration while planning about their eCommerce venture. Wish you all the best and do not hesitate to reach out to us if you are stuck somewhere while planning your next eCommerce business.