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Starting an eCommerce Business

By
Joshua Weatherwax
Table of Contents

If you're starting a business in the 21st century, it's probably an eCommerce business.

In 2019 alone, consumers spent more than $601 billion online with U.S. merchants. The worldwide numbers are nearly triple that amount.

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Whether you want to start a B2B ecommerce company or a DTC business, there's a lot of money to be made. To help, we've put together a comprehensive guide on how to build and run an eCommerce business.

Read on to learn the basics of starting, growing, and running a successful online company. Let's take you from having eCommerce business ideas to having a thriving business.

What's eCommerce Business?

An eCommerce business is a company that sells its products or services over the internet. It can be a B2B business or B2C, there are many types of eCommerce businesses. All that matters is that the majority of their sales are made online.

Starting an eCommerce Business from Scratch

If you're looking to start an eCommerce business from scratch, you need determination, patience, and money. With these three in-hand you can start building a successful eCommerce business.

Oh, and don't forget to pick up an eCommerce business license or this new venture will be short-lived.

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How to Start a Successful eCommerce Business

Setting up an eCommerce business is one thing, but making sure it's a success is another. The best way to do so is by following a few steps when starting the business.

Steps to Launching and eCommerce Business

Here they are:

  1. Choose a product or service. Whatever you come up with, make sure there is a market for it. If not, you'll likely never get your eCommerce business off the ground. Maybe you want to sell a coffee bean subscription, or homemade jewlry.
  2. Research the competition. You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your future competitors. This will tell you the best way to market your business and what features you should or should not include to make your customers happy.
  3. Write an eCommerce business plan. With your ideas and market data in hand, the next step is to create your business plan. This will serve as your roadmap to success and give you a valuable tool for swaying investors.
  4. Build a website. The "e" in eCommerce means nothing if you don't have a website. There are many options for building an online storefront. If you are launching a B2B business, look at using a B2B ecommerce platform or B2B marketplace. For wholesale food vendors, the BlueCart Digital eCommerce is the ideal choice. It's the best eCommerce platform for SEO for food suppliers.
  5. Launch your business. With the storefront built it's time to get your business going. Start making sales, fulfilling orders, and growing your bottom line. Make sure to also open a bank account for eCommerce business so you have a place for all your new money.

How to Build an eCommerce Business

Building your eCommerce business is tied to building a loyal audience that connects with your brand. Spend your early days positioning your business as the answer to your target market's needs.

Research their problems, market your business, and make them understand that you care. This will build your business on a solid foundation and set the stage for sustainable growth.

How to Grow eCommerce Business

Once your eCommerce business has been established, you can focus on growing your sales.

Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Personalize your content. This is a major trend in eCommerce and it pays dividends. By adjusting product offerings for different customer segments and tailoring marketing emails to the recipient, you can grow your sales quickly.
  • Use shoppable social media. Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have integrated shopping abilities. This allows you to market your goods and have them added to a cart in one fell swoop. It's a great way to turn prospects into customers in a single step. You can easily make your feed look attractive and saleable like a line sheet.
  • Build SEO value. Google is the key to growing an eCommerce business. If you focus on the search engine value of your site you can get your brand in front of more prospects every day. BlueCart Digital Storefront is optimized for search engines out of the box.
  • Acquire UGC. User-generated content (UGC) are images of your products or services shared on social media by your customers. More than 80% of millennials and 70% of baby boomers say that UGC has an impact on their buying decisions. It's even free for you, so it's a win-win.
  • Focus on marketing. Creating engaging marketing material can make your new business stand out and grow an audience. Just remember, there are differences between B2B vs. B2C marketing, so make sure your efforts are aimed at the correct audience.

How to Run a Successful eCommerce Business

Successful eCommerce businesses need leaders who are continually working on maintaining and growing the business. There are a few ways they can do this.

Here are five tips:

  • Treat it like a business. Many people mistake eCommerce for being easier to run than a traditional business. That's not the case and won't lead to success. An eCommerce store needs to be treated as though it's already a big business. That means investing in eCommerce accounting software and picking up eCommerce business insurance to protect your money.
  • Pick the right tools. A successful business owner needs to review tools and software regularly. Don't waste your money on a B2B eCommerce platform that isn't doing what you need it to. Identify challenges, make a budget, and find the tools that fit your needs.
  • Listen to the data. Every sale and site visit provides insight into your customers and trends. Use this data to adjust your plans and better serve your market.
  • Turn customers into marketers. Word-of-mouth marketing is more impactful than ever. Testimonials from your satisfied customers can grow your business and convert people who are on the fence.
  • Smooth out the checkout process. The last place you want to lose customers is in the checkout. If they made it that far and fell off, there's room for improvement. Add in an eCommerce payment gateway, limit unnecessary screens, and see your conversion rate increase.
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Let's Take It Online

Starting an eCommerce business can be daunting, but by following the steps above and working hard, you can grow a successful company. Focus on using data and helping your customers. In turn, this will grow your bottom line. For more information, read our full guide on how to start an eCommerce business or, if you're interested, how to start a coffee company

If you're looking to start an eCommerce food wholesale business, BlueCart is the best tool for you. It is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that helps food wholesalers acquire new customers and grow their businesses

We also recommend picking up some of the best eCommerce books and reading an eCommerce blog or two so you know the current trends and things to avoid.