How do I Start an Ecommerce Business?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

To start an ecommerce business, you must first obtain a business license, have a site built, and get products to sell. You can do this in a variety of ways, but these three components are needed by virtually any ecommerce business. If you intend to have a catchy name for your new online store, then you may have to have it registered to ensure that it is available and pay a fee to use it. Once your store is up and running, you will also need to market it to potential customers.

You can likely start an ecommerce business a little more easily than a more traditional brick and mortar retail store, but you will still need to get all the necessary licensing and registration before you can open shop. This can be done at your local government offices, or sometimes using an online business licensing agency. During this time you will also name your business.

Once you have your licensing taken care of, you will need to determine what you will provide to consumers. In order to start a successful ecommerce business, you must provide customers with products that are not easily found at more conventional stores. You can make your own products, such as arts and crafts or inventions you have developed. More commonly, however, ecommerce companies sell products through a drop shipping business. This is a company which offers products to businesses for the purpose of selling them to consumers.

Drop shipping is an easier way to start an ecommerce business because you do not have to keep items in stock or have an inventory. You simply choose which items from a manufacturer or drop shipper to sell, stock them on your site, and make sure they are shipped directly from the company. This allows them to make money because you are selling their products, while you maintain all profits on the retail markup.

After you have chosen which items to sell, the most obvious step is to build a website from which to sell them. There are several ways you can do this. You can use a site builder provided by a web hosting company, build the site yourself using specialized software, or hire a professional designer. If you are not selling many products, a site builder may do well, but once you have more than a few dozen items for sale, you will likely need a more sophisticated site. A web designer can be an indispensable tool if you can afford the cost, because you will get technical support when you need it and an ongoing source for upgrades and maintenance when they come up.

Before you can take advantage of any web design options, however, you will need to choose your domain name and purchase a hosting package. Your domain name will be the name thatconsumers type into a web browser to find your site. A hosting package refers to the amount of space you will need to purchase from your web host. To start an ecommerce business, you will likely need a large amount of space from which to sell your products.

Marketing is the last step in getting ready to start an ecommerce business. Marketing is simply the act of letting customers know you are ready to do business. There are many techniques used by online marketers, so you will need to either educate yourself on them or hire an professional marketing consultant to help you get your site noticed. Your primary goal is to get a high ranking on the main search engines. This can be done through search engine optimization (SEO) on your site, through articles and blogs, or through social networking sites.

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