Just a few decades ago, the mere idea of starting a new business seemed impossible, as it required extensive investment and planning. With the advent of the internet, however, suddenly everyone gained access to the same potential customers and buyers, just as advertising began to become more accessible and effective.

One of the most important advantages of starting an online business is that it requires little to no start-up costs, and it is possible to sell goods and services to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Today, you can create your own website, promote it online, as well as run several online businesses at the same time. So once you have a comprehensive knowledge of the digital space and the online tools you need for your business, you’re ready to get started.

Follow the steps below that will lay a solid foundation for the future growth and success of your online company:

Fully understand your business idea

If starting a brand-new e-commerce business is something you are interested in, you probably already have a general idea in your mind of how you want it to work. To turn your idea into a business plan with great profit potential – a strategy that will naturally steer you towards the right business decisions – you need to focus on the following three points:


  • Your products and services

You need to know clearly what you intend to provide to your customers, whether you want to sell physical, digital products or your skills.


  • Your target market

When evaluating your idea for a product you intend to market, it is important to consider the type of customer who will be interested in buying it.  There should be a niche market based on age, interests and values.

It is an extremely good opportunity for you to start thinking about some of the fundamentals of your brand. Define the purpose and values you stand for so that customers connect with you on a deeper level and continue to choose you for their purchases.


  • The business model of your online business

You can choose to implement many different business models, but before you settle on one, you should study them carefully to understand which one suits you best.

If you plan to sell physical goods, you should at least know where you will source them from. You can create your products from scratch, work with a manufacturer who will custom work for you, or buy wholesale products that you will sell under your own brand name.


Find the ideal name for your business

Help customers find you, remember who you are and get a “taste” of what your brand is all about. These are the three most important functions of a strong brand. When running an eCommerce company, it’s beneficial to have a name that appears as the first result every time a shopper searches for it.

You should also make sure that the name you choose is available.  Because of the uniqueness of this name, consumers will remember your company long after they make a purchase.

Furthermore, because search engine optimization (SEO) is the most important factor in expanding your reach, it is beneficial to include a keyword that will let the search engine (and your customers) know exactly what it is that you will be selling in your company name.


Create your brand identity

Once you’ve decided on your business name, you can move on to developing the other aspects of your brand that are visible to customers and collectively referred to as your brand identity.

These aspects include fonts, color palette as well as your logo, which you can contact a graphic designer to create.

You should remember that finding the “voice” of your brand is important when you start creating an online store and move on to product description.


Choose a platform for online business

An e-commerce platform is a software application that allows businesses to create, host and operate online stores.

In fact, the platform you choose will accomplish much more than just powering your online store. It will also empower the business with a competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded marketplace and using it can take sales – and your brand presence – to the next level.

As a necessity for any online business, then, modern e-commerce platforms will enable full integration of front-end (used by the customer) and back-end functions such as payments and deliveries.

Many of the platforms are flexible and can be tailored to your business. Each platform, additionally, has a different combination of features (including inventory control, fulfillment, marketing and many others). The difference is in the details, so look for the features and tools that will fit your needs.

As you consider all the options, remember that the right platform will save you time and effort, while serving you better down the road as your business grows.

Plan the Order Fulfillment process

It is important to provide high-quality user experience in order to develop a customer base loyal to your company. Establishing an order fulfillment method specifically geared towards meeting the needs of your customers is a critical step that must be taken to ensure that they always see your business in the best possible light.

So how do you send the customer the product they ordered through your online store?

The entire order packing and shipping process can be completed by your staff. However, there is also an option, your supplier can send the product directly to the buyer. This practice is known as drop shipping.

Be sure not to overlook the elements of the process you choose, as they will affect your customers’ experience.

When a consumer contacts you, it is important to explain how you will validate their order and let them know the status of the product’s shipping.


Promote your offers         

How will consumers be able to identify your company and develop a relationship with it?

Precisely because millions of customers spend time on social media platforms, this type of marketing is becoming increasingly popular among online retailers. So, that’s why we recommend choosing one or two platforms (e.g. Instagram and Facebook) to use, depending on your target audience.

On each of these, you will be able to develop targeted ads to spread information regarding your products to the people most likely to be interested.

In most cases, starting an online business is not a simple task. On the other hand, however, today there are numerous tools that you can use that will guide you through the startup process from start to finish.

So, to ensure that your online store continues to operate effectively, all that remains is to develop a comprehensive business plan and put it into action.