To start eCommerce marketing business or not to start has never been my thought. I have always wanted to start eCommerce marketing business and scale it high. Following my years of research in digital marketing and eCommerce marketing business, I realised to start eCommerce marketing business involves more than just building an eCommerce store and selling stuff online.
When you start eCommerce marketing business, you need to research and create your own niche, and then build your online eCommerce marketing business one brick at a time or rather one bit at a time. Having total clarity on your niche and the demographics of your buyer avatar plays a vital role in eCommerce marketing business once you start eCommerce marketing business. You have a range of traffic generation strategies at your disposal like SEO, SEM, social media marketing, email marketing etc.
With careful planning and perfect execution you can build an eCommerce marketing business and scale your business to great heights very easily. So, let us now see how to start eCommerce marketing business.
How to start eCommerce marketing business from scratch?
Create your eCommerce marketing niche.
As with other online internet business models, eCommerce marketing begins with creating your niche. People define a niche in many ways. But to make it simple, let us say niche is something that defines your target market.
In other words, your niche creation begins with identifying who do you want to sell to. If you notice here, I am only mentioning the ‘who’ and not the ‘what’. We will come to the ‘what’ bit later.
Once you make up your mind about your niche or who you want to sell to, you then need to start building your eCommerce marketing business to meet the needs or wants of the people in that niche. So the first step in starting your eCommerce marketing business is to create your eCommerce marketing niche.
Why create your niche
It is important that you create a niche for your eCommerce marketing business so that you know where to focus for business.
Any eCommerce marketing business finds it very difficult to succeed without focus. There are many startups that set up eCommerce marketing businesses with hundreds or thousands of products and tens of categories but fail to sell much. It’s mainly lack of focus that kills any prospects for success in such cases.
Creating your niche for eCommerce marketing business and targeting your niche population makes it lot easier to drive a lot of focussed traffic to your eCommerce store. And traffic is the main factor that drives eCommerce marketing business. By focussing on your niche, you can drive targeted traffic to your eCommerce store and your traffic will find they are in the right place. Without focus on niche, whatever small traffic you get, they would feel lost on your eCommerce store, wondering why they arrived there in the first place.
What to look for in a niche?
When creating your niche, you are better off staying away from areas where the big brands dominate. If you are a beginner in eCommerce marketing business, there is no point in pitching against the big brands. You can save it for future.
This does not mean you must stay away from any competition at all, actually certain level of competition in an area indicates there is thriving market. If there is no competition at all, it might as well mean that there are no buyers there too. So go for a reasonable competition but stay away from areas where the big brands totally dominate the scene.
As you narrow down on your niche, you will notice that there is less competition yet lots of buyers. After all, a niche is all about hungry customers that are willing to pay but not getting enough from the market.
A good niche must also have thousands of keywords that you can focus on. Keywords help you generate lots of organic traffic. By understanding the context and intent of the keywords you can target the right demographics in your niche market segment and drive the traffic you want to your eCommerce store.
If your niche is popular on social media, it seriously helps gain some serious traffic to your eCommerce store fairly quickly. So you may want to take a good look at other affiliates and publishers in your niche. If they are doing well on social media, it is a good sign. A niche that is popular on social media usually means there are lots of people interested in the niche. And you can always drive them to your eCommerce website with various traffic generation strategies.
Choose your eCommerce marketing business model
As the digital marketing world has so many great business models, it is important that you invest some time to study this area well. So spend some time and energy in understanding what online internet business models are doing well in your niche and you can narrow down on the business model that is good for you.
Have a look around how other eCommerce businesses are doing, check if their business models work for you. You do not have to follow anyone else’s business model or even a text book based business model. You can always pick up bits and pieces from few business models and create your own business model. At the end of the day, you must feel confident and comfortable with the online internet business model you chose.
Before deciding on what you want to sell on your eCommerce store, you need to understand the pros and cons on various business models. One of the main things you need to evaluate is whether you can afford to maintain an inventory or warehouse.
Having physical inventory full of products ready to ship can bring its own benefits and problems. Maintaining a physical inventory is not everyone’s cup of tea.
I personally do not allow myself to be bogged down with the burden of a physical inventory. And, I do not want to be tied down to one physical location to run my business. I want freedom to work from anywhere in the world. Most importantly, I need flexibility in my product range.
For example if a product does not sell well, I quickly want to get rid of it and introduce one that sells better. This would be impossible when you have lot of stock waiting to be sold in your warehouse. So if you do not want to maintain a ware house or inventory, affiliate marketing or drop-shipping business models are good for you.
Create Buyer Avatar and Choose Products
Once you have made a decision on your business model, you need to start thinking about customer avatars and products.
It is essential for you to understand who you want to sell to. You must form a clear avatar of your ideal buyer before you decide on your product. Once you create your customer avatar, you will get a more accurate idea of what products would your ideal buyer would buy easily and quickly.
As part of this, you need to research and figure out what your ideal buyers’ demographics are. What are they looking to buy and what products are in short supply in the niche. When you understand this well, you will be better placed to decide on your products.
Brand your eCommerce marketing business
Branding means you need to get a clear idea of how you want to come across in the market. What impression you want to create? What ideal image you want to build for your eCommerce marketing business? These are the thoughts that you must have while branding your eCommerce marketing business.
Obviously your brand must promise to address the requirements of your buyer avatars with ideal products. Your brand needs to make a connection with your buyer avatars. This is important to build trust with your buyers and make it irresistible for them to buy from you on your eCommerce website. First things include picking an impactful name and logo for your online eCommerce marketing business and a catchy tag line would be good too
Register your business and get a license
At this stage, you need to start thinking about completing certain legal formalities etc. These include registering your business and getting a business license if required.
Research and register with right vendors
If you decide to buy the products from a manufacturer and then sell them for a profit, it is important that you do the necessary research and team up with the right vendors.
You need to agree with the vendors all necessary specifications of the products that you expect them to supply. This includes quality, quantity, cost and time etc. If you are importing products from abroad, you may want to look at import license and customs formalities too.
In case you have plans to produce what you sell, you need to have a strategic production plan so that you produce enough volumes to meet the sales. You do not want to produce too many too quick and end up with overflowing warehouse. You do not even want to produce too slow and miss delivery dates etc.
Launch your eCommerce marketing business website
Your eCommerce marketing website is the place where all the real magic happens. For the world, your eCommerce website is an online replication of a physical brick and mortar shop. So your eCommerce website visitors expect everything they see in a real shop. Like all products displayed neatly, a basket they can add items to and a till where they can pay and checkout. Only thing is that everything is online.
You need to buy a suitable domain name and a hosting package from one of the domain and hosting service providers like GoDaddy or fasthosts etc. Choose a proper theme for your website and develop your website. You may find WordPress very helpful in developing your eCcomemrce website. You can outsource website development if you wish.
Drive traffic to your online eCommerce store
Once you have your eCommerce website ready, you are ready to sell. But you need traffic to your website to sell anything to. So start driving traffic to your eCommerce website. You can drive traffic to your eCommerce website by one or more of the following:
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization
- SEM or Search Engine Marketing
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
- Blogging etc.
Some of these drive organic traffic but you can also pay for traffic. For example, you can place adverts on Facebook or AdWords etc. to drive targeted traffic to your eCommerce store. You can also offer visitors to opt-in with their emails and then start sending them commercial emails with links to your eCommerce website.
A combination of organic plus paid traffic generation methods works well for many online internet businesses.
All traffic generation you do must aim at attracting new visitors to your website and retaining existing buyers too. Communicating regularly with buyers via email and retargeting them with advertisements is a great way to retain customers.
Scale your eCommerce marketing business
Once you start making decent income from sales on your eCommerce website, you need to think of growing your business bigger.
Bigger business means more sales and more revenues for you. As your business grows, you need to focus on what is working and replicate the success. At the same time, you must try to fix what is not working or replace it with what is working. This approach will help you scale new heights in online eCommerce marketing business.