How To Run A Successful eCommerce Business
The e-commerce market is booming thanks to the multiple platforms that make it easy to create your online store. It is nevertheless necessary to have skills in various and varied fields (logistics, referencing communication, customer management, etc.) to succeed in standing out and attracting an ever-increasing number of customers.
So, if you have an idea for an online store, carefully read our guide which will allow you to avoid the obstacles that stand out in the creation of an e-commerce site.
STEP 1: ASK YOURSELF THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Opening an online sales site is a great opportunity. Indeed, demand is growing. But opening an e-commerce store is too often seen as the easy way to start a business.
Although the investments are less important than for a physical store, it is today much more difficult to stand out from the competition and appear on search engines like Google.
This is why you must take the necessary distance on your desire to embark on this adventure and the merits of your project. We advise you to think about these three elements to determine the merits of this project:
- Are you sufficiently motivated to open an e-commerce store?
- Do you have the skills to run a web business?
- Is your personal life in line with your professional goals?
Before you start, make sure your idea is the right one.
- What are your motivations?
- Are you starting as a fad or is it the result of real strategic thinking?
STEP 2: DEVELOP THE CONCEPT
You are certainly not the only website offering products online! Ask yourself why your customers would come to buy their products on your particular site:
- Is it more visible than its competitors?
- Does It offer products of better quality or difficult to find elsewhere?
- Does It offer attractive price offers?
- Is it secure and allows rapid dispatch of purchases?
You can also differentiate yourself by your communication policy on social networks or by highlighting your products through various media.
Give free rein to your imagination and your desires. The main thing remains that you must offer your customers an original, new, and powerful concept to stand out from the competition!
STEP 3: CONDUCT MARKET RESEARCH
To validate your concept, it is essential to rely on a complete market study. The best idea in the world is only viable if there is demand. Online stores are fortunate to have a national or even international catchment area, unlike physical stores. But it would be too reductive to think that your store will be able to reach the entire web market.
Indeed, in the same way, that a business is only visible to people walking past, a website is only visible to users performing a search on Google where you appear in the search results. This is why your market research should focus on two aspects.
The first is a macroeconomic study of your environment.
Learn about your competitors, suppliers, and the overall e-commerce marketplace. This will allow you to identify niches on which to position yourself to quickly emerge on search engines and the suppliers or service providers with whom you can work (the post office for your parcels, Paypal for your online payment solutions, etc.).
The second is the field study.
Unlike a classic creation, here the land is the web. You should seek to understand the spending habits and needs of your potential customers.
This will allow you to adapt your service offer to their expectations in terms of care and well-being. The information to collect as part of your questionnaire is as follows:
- Customer profile (age, professional activity)
- Consumption habits (schedules, budget, needs, supports, etc.)
- Their level of satisfaction
STEP 4: YOUR DOMAIN NAME AND CREATE YOUR MERCHANT SITE
For a merchant site, the choice of the domain name is equivalent to the name of your store. You need to choose something impactful and easy to remember. Be careful, on the internet many domain names are already taken, do not hesitate to show originality in the writing and the format of your name.
Good hosting is crucial because it ensures a good performance of your website and the reliability of use. You must now develop your merchant site (or subcontract this development to a web agency).
The main solutions to obtain a quality 2.0 store are WordPress via Woocommerce or Prestashop. You can also use the software to create a professional website quickly and easily.
STEP 5: WRITE YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
This document will allow you to formalize your project and have a financial projection of its potential. It will be essential if you want to make a loan from your bank to convince them to support you in this adventure.
For an e-commerce site, it is crucial to properly present the entire communication strategy to reassure your investors about your ability to stand out from the competition. When carrying out the business plan you will need to address several crucial points.
Remember, you need to convince your investors to put their trust in you. Demonstrate through this writing your way of carrying out this concept until the end and then managing its development and by what means you intend to go about it.
STEP 6: CHOOSE LEGAL STATUS
The choice of legal status for an eCommerce project is often turned towards three solutions:
The SARL (limited liability company): It is made up of at least 2 partners. The company created is a legal person. In case of bankruptcy, only the amount of the capital of the LLC can be claimed.
You cannot see your assets seized in bankruptcy. The profits of the merchant site are subject to corporate taxation.
EURL (sole proprietorship with Limited liability): As its name suggests, it is an
SARL is designed for a single partner.
SAS (simplified joint-stock company): it is also a company, however it offers greater flexibility in the implementation of the company’s articles of association. The main difference with an LLC is the remuneration of the managers.
Micro-business: it makes it easier to get started in opening your e-commerce.
STEP 7: CARRY OUT THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES
To open e-commerce here are the main administrative formalities:
- Open a professional bank account and deposit the share capital
- Write the statutes
- Produce the various documents to be sent to the business formalities center (CFE)
- Publish a legal notice
The above formalities are those for the opening of a SAS or a SARL. If you open a micro-business, they are easier.
If your site collects personal data (name, email) and constitutes files of customers and prospects, you must make a simplified declaration.
Finally, the merchant site must comply with certain legal obligations:
- Obtain customer agreement;
- Inform customers of their right to access, modify and delete the information collected;
- Ensure the security of information systems and the confidentiality of data;
- Indicate a data retention period.
5 POINTS TO GUARANTEE THE SUCCESS OF YOUR E-COMMERCE
Before opening your online store, here are some things to ensure its success:
- Product: the choice of product is essential. A specialization towards a niche market is recommended to stand out more easily on search engines, thus avoiding market leaders.
- Price: the selling price will essentially depend on the type of product or service marketed. However, it should be kept in mind that online stores allow costs to be reduced (in particular the absence of a store and sellers) unlike the same offer in a traditional business. Customers are therefore looking for attractive prices to justify the purchase of a property on the internet.
- Promotion: advertising can be carried out in several forms, but one of them is distinguished by the direct impact on the visibility of your offer: paid to reference. Buying keywords from advertising agencies like Adwords allows you to quickly promote your e-shop.
- Place: it is the sinews of war when creating a boutique. Unlike a classic store which is seen by customers when they pass by, an e-store if it is not present in the first pages of Google results will never be known and therefore will not make any sale. You must therefore choose the domain name for your website and ensure that it contains keywords related to your offer.
- Business plan: as with any business creation, a business plan is essential for setting up a long-lasting and safe business. The business plan will help you “put” your ideas and thus be able to convince the banks to trust you.
THE STRENGTHS OF THE CONCEPT
Three strengths make this business a good solution for business creators:
- The cost: the investment for an e-commerce site is very far from that of a real classic store.
- Visibility: the difficulty to stand out among the very large number of competing websites is one of the main dangers for an online business. However, this risk is also the great strength of this activity because it allows reaching a clientele much larger than a traditional store.
- Cost flexibility: The costs of an e-commerce business are drastically reduced: marketing, customer service, inventory management, etc. This allows e-shops to offer products at attractive prices.
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