So, you're mentally prepared to build very own website. You've got the legal side covered, and you're ready for the exciting part. Where do you begin? Well, luckily for you i've been in the same exact place as you are right now.
1. Determine your niche.
Finding a niche that you can specialize in and are passionate about is one of the most important things you can do when building your business. I cannot stress this enough. If I had been selling a product I wasn't interested in whatsoever, I highly doubt I would still be doing online retail three years later.
2. Find suppliers for the products that you want to sell.
Preferably a specialty one that does not sell on Amazon. By finding a niche market not only will you make it easier for yourself to rank in Google, but you will have less competition. Also, note that I said suppliers and not simply supplier.
No matter how many great reviews they have, or how much you trust them, you will run into fulfillment issues over time. It's in your best interest to have other supplier lined up, who can fill the void.
3. Set aside a large chunk of time to work on your business.
Be prepared to spend long hours learning and building your Ecommerce website. When I started I assumed that creating an online business would allow me the freedom to travel and work less, boy was I wrong.
Stay up to date with current trends, always look to change for the better. Stay on top of your competition.
Check out your small fish competition, determine what you can do better than them, and then focus on your big fish competition. Mimic what you like about them, and focus on building a loyal customer base.
My best advice? Google every single question that you have. You'll be amazed at how much you learn.
4. Choose a platform with great customer service.
If you've got plenty of funding, go crazy and have a custom site built and allow your team to manage the building and maintenance of it. If you're like most other small business owners, and you're trying to figure out how the heck to build an e-commerce site at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday via Google, do yourself a favor and use a tool like Shopify (I chose them based on their customer reviews, and 24/7 support to help with all of my questions).
If you are as inquisitive as me you will be on with them at 5 a.m. asking them questions that they have to ask their next tier of support to help them with. When I hate the way a page is laid out or notice a typo within the meta description of a product, I can quickly and easily navigate the back end of the site and make those changes.
No waiting around for someone else to do it for me! Not to mention, the reporting, apps, and analytics are helpful.
5. Choose apps based on their reviews.
Take a look at apps such as Abandonaid, Persistent Cart, live chat (later when you have more traffic) along with hundreds of others, and decide which best fit your needs. Depending on your niche this will take some experimentation. Be sure to read reviews, and reach out to the app support to see how quickly they answer.
Avoid the ones that do not have good customer service (trust me, no matter how dummy proof the app is, you will need some level of help to get it functioning properly).
6. Find the right influencers.
This is key, again depending on your niche but doing giveaways and giving products to influencers (in your niche) who will help you build your brand can be one of the main secrets to success. It's a good idea to read a few articles on how to find a good influencer for your business, and also how to spot fake ones.
7. Get everything in writing.
This should go without saying, but sometimes things slip by or you make an exception for whatever reason. Whether it's with suppliers, influencers, or employees you need to make sure that your expectations are clear and understood.
You'll find that in the e-commerce world, your to do list is never quite finished, but that is totally okay. The more you learn, the more you grow, and the better at business you'll be.
8. Find out your legal requirements.
Do a quick Google search to determine what requirements you'll need to have in place to become a legally functioning online business. Think sales taxes, LLC, and finances.