Ecommerce stores are a growing market, and if you’re looking for a way to capitalize on the trend, launching an online retail business is a great option.
So how do you get started? From writing a business plan to promoting your products, here’s how to start an online retail business.
1. Write a Business Plan
Learning how to start an online retail business starts with learning about business plans.
Basically, a business plan keeps your new company on track, providing clear targets and strategies for growth. Plus, if you’re looking for investors, a business plan proves that your company is an
If you already have an
What does a business plan include?
The process of writing your business plan essentially involves brainstorming how your online store will function. Here’s what to think about during your brainstorming session:
What other businesses will you need to work with to run your online store? This could include website hosts (like Ecwid) and product manufacturers.
How will your company get a competitive advantage over other online businesses?
What assets do you have access to? Think about
How are you going to connect with customers? Consider what value your business offers shoppers and how they’ll interact with your online store.
Who are you selling to? For existing store owners, this could be different from your physical location’s target demographic.
Sale channels and revenue streams
Probably the most important question — how are you going to make money? Where do your products come from and how do they get to the customer?
Ultimately, a business plan is a roadmap for your company, giving you a path to success. Your business plan is the foundation of your online store, so take time to make it
Writing a value proposition for your online business
As you write your online store’s business plan, you’ll need something called a value proposition. In short, this is a clear and compelling statement explaining the value your company offers customers.
Now’s not the time to be vague. Value propositions should capture the unique importance of your online business.
- Why should customers buy from you instead of the competition?
- How is your online store different from other companies?
- What makes your online business special?
2. Register Your Business Name
Once you’ve picked a name for your online retail business, it’s time to register with the government. Requirements for business name registration depend on where you’re located and other factors, but for most
According to the Small Business Administration, you don’t have to register if you’re using your personal legal name, but it may still be a good idea since there are some tax benefits.
Why you should register your online business with the Federal Government
Registering your business name with the government isn’t as scary as it sounds, and there’s an important reason to do it before you start selling.
When you register, your company will get a federal tax ID. Basically, this ID is how the government identifies your company — so it’s an important part of complying with tax law.
Here’s some of the info you can expect to need during the registration process.
- The Business’s name
- The Business’s location
- Your name
The exact steps for registration will depend on your specific location and company type, but you can learn more about the process and get started on the Small Business Administration’s website.
3. Pick a Web Host
Reading about paperwork isn’t the most exciting part of learning how to start an online retail business, but now that it’s out of the way, it’s time to pick a web host.
What is a web host?
Web hosts are platforms that let you build a website. Sometimes, these platforms offer minimal support and features — meaning you’ll need to build your ecommerce store from scratch. This type of host usually requires some coding abilities.
On the other hand, some web hosts give you access to tools that make it easier to build an ecommerce store. These options, including Ecwid, will give you things like
What type of web host should you use?
While there isn’t a
4. Connect Your Ventures
If you already operate a
Enable local delivery
For businesses like grocery stores or bakeries, letting customers schedule local delivery is a great way to sell perishable foods via the internet. If you use Ecwid, you can set up local delivery services or give customers the option of curbside pickup.
Provide online inventory browsing
This is one of the most helpful aspects of adding an online element to your retail business. By creating product listings, you’ll give internet users the chance to see what you’re selling
5. Promote Your Online Business
Now that you know how to start an online retail business, it’s time to think about promoting your store.
How do you promote an online store?
Ecommerce is all about using the power of the internet to build a business and make money, so it makes sense to use digital marketing to connect with customers.
Social media marketing. With nearly 3 billion active users each month, Facebook offers a huge audience for your online business. But it doesn’t stop there, using platforms like Instagram and even Snapchat can be a valuable part of connecting with customers.
SEO strategies. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of using keywords and other strategies to increase the number of internet users landing on your website. Since 87% of users in the U.S. browse on more than one device, it’s a good idea to incorporate SEO strategies in your marketing plan.
It’s Time to Start Selling
Ecommerce keeps growing — like, a lot. In 2020, global ecommerce sales reached $4.28 trillion.
That’s trillion with a T.
And that number is expected to pass $5 trillion in 2022, so there’s really never been a better time to start an online business.
Do you want to learn more about launching a retail business?
- What Is an Online Retail Business?
- Online Retail Industry Overview and Trends
- How To Start an Online Retail Business
- Choosing the Right Ecommerce Software for Your Online Retail Business
- How to Price a Product for Retail Business Beginners
- Your Complete Guide to Profit Margins for Retail Businesses
- Healthy Inventory Turnover Ratio for Retail Businesses