How To Start An Ecommerce Business:- Benefits, Types & Step By Step.

Ecommerce Business are known as Electronic Commerce marketing. They are online ventures that facilitate online transactions of goods and services through means of transfer of information and funds through the internet.

Ecommerce Business

Ecommerce or internet commerce refers to the buying and selling of goods or services using the internet, and the transfer of money and data to execute these transactions.

The name is self-explanatory; it is the meeting of buyers and sellers on the internet. This involves the transaction of goods and services, the transfer of funds and the exchange of data.

Today, we will share with you tips on how to build an e-commerce website for your business.

Types of Ecommerce Business

Electronic commerce can be classified into four main categories. The basis for this simple classification is the parties that are involved in the transactions. So the four basic electronic commerce models are as follows,

  1. Business to Business

This is Business to Business transactions. Here the companies are doing business with each other. The final consumer is not involved. So the online transactions only involve the manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers etc.

  1. Business to Consumer

Business to Consumer. Here the company will sell their goods and/or services directly to the consumer. The consumer can browse their websites and look at products, pictures, read reviews. Then they place their order and the company ships the goods directly to them. Popular examples are Amazon, Flipkart, Jabong etc.

  1. Consumer to Consumer

Consumer to consumer, where the consumers are in direct contact with each other. No company is involved. It helps people sell their personal goods and assets directly to an interested party. Usually, goods traded are cars, bikes, electronics etc. OLX, Quikr etc follow this model.

  1. Consumer to Business

This is the reverse of B2C, it is a consumer to business. So the consumer provides a good or some service to the company. Say for example an IT freelancer who demos and sells his software to a company. This would be a C2B transaction.

Electronic commerce

Criteria For Ecommerce Business

1. Be Trustworthy

You should know that fulfilling the orders which the customers paid for builds your integrity and online presence.

Customers will refer more people to you and even come back for more if you are trustworthy.

So do not take money for orders without sending the ordered goods expected for delivery.

Not delivering for paid products or services or unnecessary delay is a bad customer service.

2.  Choose The Most Suitable Delivery Method

It is however very important you ensure that there is an organized structure in place to fulfill orders in reasonable time before you start an e-commerce business.

You should think of the delivery methods you want to adopt. Try to find answers to these questions:

  • Will goods be delivered via courier or standard mail, or perhaps both?
  • How much will it cost and how much will you charge your customers for delivery?
  • How long on the average will it take to process and deliver orders?

You should also have a return policy. Before customers order for your products, let them know how long it will take them to receive an ordered product and how they can return it if not satisfied or received damaged.

3.  Decide Your Target Market.

You need to also consider your target market especially if you want to run your business in Nigeria as e-payment is just getting its stand in Nigeria.

So, before you invest in building an e-commerce website, ensure your target audience makes use of it or at least consider it a medium to long term investment.

4.  Accepting Payment on The Internet

An e-commerce website allows you to accept payments online. There will be an online store on your website that will enable customers select and pay for products and services directly on your website.

It makes buying your goods and services easy and more convenient as customers can buy your products and services from the comfort of their homes and offices.

How To Create An Ecommerce Website

Follow the step below

Electronic commerce

1.  Secure Server

You need a secure server to build an e-commerce website which will encrypt the information between your server and the clients’ devices used by your customers, preventing it from being intercepted by malicious people.

The information given by customers is encrypted using a technology called a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). You need to acquire an SSL certificate, which would be used for encrypting your data and providing a more secure shopping environment for your customers.

You also need to register your e-commerce website with a digital authentication service. This services verifies your SSL certificate and ensures that whatever information entered by your customers will only be received by your website alone, providing more security for shoppers.

Buying SSL certificates is now easier than ever before. In fact, some of the best hosting companies now offer free SSL certificate as part of their hosting plans.

Your domain name registration, web hosting service, or web design service can help you with getting an SSL certificate online.

2.  E-Commerce Software

You need to incorporate a e-Commerce Software with a shopping cart to your website. Shopping carts are essential on your business website if you sell more than one product or service.

Customers can easily add a product they want in the shopping cart with the quantity they need while still looking for more products and services to purchase.

After adding all the products they want they can then checkout of the cart and add their payment details to complete the order.

WordPress is the most popular Content Management System (CMS) for building websites while WooCommerce is the most popular plugin used for converting a WordPress website to an Online Store.

BigCommerce, Shopify, Volution, and Magento can also be used to create the ecommerce site.

The eCommerce software also needs to be integrated with a payment gateway which will usually come as a plugin or addon to the eCommerce software to enable customers make payment for your goods and services via the integrated Payment Gateway.

3.  Electronic Payment Processor.

When customers pay for your products and services online, there is need for you to verify if their

payment is authentic.

This can be achieved through an electronic payment processor (payment gateway).

This payment processing service like PayPal will verify that the payment information entered by your buyers is valid.

Paystack is good and efficient in Nigeria. Paystack even has a free WooCommerce plugin, which makes setting up your eCommerce website on WordPress very easy.

You can as well process payments using your bank or a local payment processor like InterSwitch

How To Start An Ecommerce Business

Make Your Research

Beginning your research is the first critical step. Don’t operate off of a hunch.  Growing any online business is an investment.

Before you can decide on what to sell online, you need to understand the different business models available.

Choose Your Niche

Choosing your niche is the most important step in opening your online business. Start this process by identifying successful companies already working in this space.

Make sure that the area is competitive – an absence of competition usually indicates that there’s no market, either.

Don’t pick an overly crowded niche, however, and skip anything dominated by major brands.

If you’re having trouble with this, drill down further on what you want to do – the more specific you are, the less competition you are likely to face.

Validate  Market And Product Ideas

Now that you’ve identified a niche and business model, you might be tempted to start hunting for products to sell.

Don’t. Before you think about product ideas, think about personas. You can’t expect people to buy your product if you don’t know who you’re selling to.

Register Your Business.

Choose a business name and register your company. There are legal protections and tax benefits for incorporating, so don’t skip it.

Pick Your Store’s Name

The name of your site and the legal name of your business don’t need to be identical, but keeping them consistent has its benefits.

Make sure whatever you choose fits your niche – you don’t want to pick a brand name at the last minute.

Get Your Business Licenses

If you’re not familiar with this process, the Small Business Association has plenty of resources to help you get started, including a mentor-protege network and courses on small business basics.

Look actively for mentors  their advice can be priceless, even for little things like acquiring business licenses.

One of the smartest decisions I ever made was finding someone who could show me the ropes.

Apply For Business  Permits

Operating an online store does not exclude you from needing certain business licenses and permits.

Check with your city, country, and state to see what sorts of sales tax licenses or home business licenses you need, and get those approved before you start operating.

Find The Right Vendors

You’ll have a lot of competition selling products online, so it’s in your best interest to find the best quality and best prices for the products you sell or materials you use to create your products.

Shop around until you find a vendor you want to do business with long-term – this includes your ecommerce software (your “shopping cart”). Think scalable from the start.

Logo Creation

Don’t fret over it too much, but do make sure that it is not in use by another company in your niche. Logo design doesn’t have to be terribly original, however (and really shouldn’t).

Get Visual

Consider the colors of your brand, the imagery you’ll use, and the typeface or fonts you’ll employ carefully.

If you’ve got the budget, you might want to hire a marketing firm to create a design brief for your company.

If not, you can create your own. Just keep it consistent and read marketing tips designed to help boost your brand.

Write Your Ecommerce Business Plan

By now you should have a great idea of what your business will look like. You have your target market, your product niche and your brand name.

Now is a good time to step back and put your business plan on paper and determine your startup budget and monthly expenses.

Create Your Online Store

Once you’ve legally registered your business and started thinking about design, you need to register your domain name and any redirect URLs that might be relevant.

You’re going to need the design info you settled on in the last step now, when you finally build your store.

Ecommerce Business

Examples of Ecommerce Business

  • Amazon
  • Flipkart
  • eBay
  • Fiverr
  • Upwork
  • Olx
  • Quikr
  • Jumia
  • Konga
  • Jiji

Benefit Of Starting Ecommerce Business.

  • E-commerce provides the sellers with a global reach. They remove the barrier of place (geography). Now sellers and buyers can meet in the virtual world, without the hindrance of location.
  • Electronic commerce will substantially lower the transaction cost. It eliminates many fixed costs of maintaining brick and mortar shops. This allows the companies to enjoy a much higher margin of profit.
  • It provides quick delivery of goods with very little effort on part of the customer. Customer complaints are also addressed quickly. It also saves time, energy and effort for both the consumers and the company.
  • One other great advantage is the convenience it offers. A customer can shop 24×7. The website is functional at all times, it does not have working hours like a shop.
  • Electronic commerce also allows the customer and the business to be in touch directly, without any intermediaries. This allows for quick communication and transactions. It also gives a valuable personal touch.

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