How to Start an eCommerce Business: A Full Guide

Published On: March 15, 2019
Last Updated: December 7, 2023
How to Start an eCommerce Business: A Full Guide

There is rapid growth in online shopping as it offers convenience to customers. So starting an eCommerce business can be a smart and profitable move.

Approximately 71% of customers think that online stores give them more deals than traditional ones. According to a report by Statista, the sales of retail eCommerce businesses will reach up to $1.4 trillion by 2027.

We can see that entrepreneurs have a tremendous opportunity to step into a global market and build a successful online business. However, this journey requires careful planning and strategic thinking.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps to start your own eCommerce business that succeeds in today’s competitive market.

So, let’s dive in.

How to Start an eCommerce Business? [ 6 Steps]

Let’s look at key steps that help you set your ecommerce business up for success.

1. Market Research

The first step is to conduct a thorough market research. It involves identifying your target audience, understanding their needs and preferences, and evaluating the competition in your chosen niche.

  • Determine the pain points of users and understand their purchasing behavior.
  • Research & analyze your competitors to identify gaps where your business can stand out.
  • Analyze the demand for your product or service by conducting surveys.

By thoroughly researching the market helps you get valuable information to build a successful eCommerce business plan.

2. Define Business Models and Decide Products

Once you have completed your market research, the next step is to define your business model and decide on the products or services you will offer. There are four basic types of business model:

  • Business-to-customer (B2C), where a business sells to consumers, anything.
  • Business-to-business (B2B) where businesses sell products or services to other businesses.
  • Customer-to-customer (C2C) is an online marketplace that connects consumers to exchange and sell goods and services.
  • Customer-to-business (C2B) is where individuals sell their goods and services to companies.

Read More: eCommerce Business Models [Throughly Explained]

Deciding on the products or services you will offer is a crucial step. Consider your target market, industry trends, and customer needs to make informed decisions.

Look for products that have a high demand and conduct proper market research. For example, if there is a growing demand for natural beauty products, consider offering a range of organic skincare or sustainable cosmetics.

Explore different options as it help you decide what to choose that contribute to the success of your eCommerce business.

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3. Source or Develop Products

Now, you need to decide whether you want to source the products from the manufacturer or want to make them yourself.

Dropshipping
Choose this model where suppliers will handle the inventory and shipping on your behalf. You don’t need to hold inventory or manage it. When the order is placed, the supplier manufactures and ships the products directly to your customers.

White Labeling
White labeling involves ordering products in bulk from a manufacturer and putting branding and packaging on them. It allows you to sell unique products with your brand name without manufacturing them from scratch.

Retail Arbitrage
Engage in retail arbitrage by buying discounted items from retail sellers or online marketplaces and reselling them at a higher price on your eCommerce platform. This allows for proper research and finding products with a considerable price difference.

Wholesale Suppliers
You can work with wholesale suppliers who provide products in bulk quantities at discounted prices. Find it in trade shows, online directories, or by contacting manufacturers directly.

4. Register Business

You need to establish an eCommerce business’s legal and formal existence by registering it. There are a few steps to register your business as follows.

Choose a Business Name
Choose a unique name for your eCommerce business that fits your niche. Ensure that the name is not already used by another business. Also, don’t pick it up at the last minute.

Get Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
You need an EIN to open a business bank account and file your taxes, even if you don’t plan on having any employees. Your EIN is like a social security number for your business that identifies it and helps with important paperwork.

Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits
To legally operate your eCommerce business, you need business licenses and permits. Check with your locality to see what sorts of licenses you need. It includes general business licenses, sales tax permits, or industry-specific permits and gets these approved before you start operating.

Registering your business provides you with legal protection, credibility and access to various business benefits and opportunities.

5. Develop Your eCommerce Store

Now, it’s time to develop your eCommerce store. Select a suitable platform like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce, or build your eCommerce store from scratch using a modern technology stack that aligns with your business needs and budget.

Customize the look and feel of your store to reflect your brand identity by choosing visually appealing themes. Hire dedicated developers who are professional in creating a unique and user-friendly layout.

While developing, they also take care of factors such as ease of use, customization options, scalability, payment gateways, and other integrations.

You can also develop an eCommerce application along with a website. You can check more about eCommerce app features, tech stacks, process, etc

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6. Launch and Market Your Business

After developing your eCommerce store, it’s time to launch and market your online store to attract customers and generate sales.

Develop a proper marketing plan that outlines your target audience, marketing goals, and strategies. Identify the most effective channels to establish a strong online presence. It includes social media, content marketing, SEO, paid advertising and more.

Remember, launching & marketing your eCommerce business requires consistent effort. Consult our experts, as they will provide you with a well-executed plan that ensures an increase in sales and drives traffic to your online marketplace.

Also Read: 20 eCommerce Strategies to Boost Online Sales

How Much Does it Cost to Start an eCommerce Business?

The cost of starting an eCommerce business depends on several factors, including the level of customization and features required. Here are a few costs to consider:

Development
The development cost of eCommerce website & app depends on whether you choose a pre-built eCommerce platform or a custom-built solution. Pre-built platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce may involve monthly subscription fees.

While custom development can require hiring eCommerce developers or agencies, ranging from $1000 to $30,000. However, we recommend opting for a custom solution as their experience and expertise help your business grow.

Domain Name and Hosting
Purchasing a domain name which will cost around $10-$20 per year, and web hosting services starting from $5 to $100 per month are essential to make your eCommerce website accessible online.

Product Sourcing and Inventory
The cost of sourcing or manufacturing your products depends on the type of products you choose, supplier arrangement and the sourcing method.

Additionally, you need to allocate a budget for marketing and advertising to promote your eCommerce business. Consider other operational expenses such as shipping costs, payment gateway fees, and more. These costs depend on the size and complexity of your eCommerce store.

It’s recommended to consult with professionals to get a more accurate estimate of the costs involved in starting your eCommerce business. Get A Free Quote Now!

Conclusion

In this comprehensive guide, we have covered the essential steps to start an eCommerce business.

By following these steps and adapting them to your unique business goals and circumstances, you can set yourself up for success in the dynamic world of eCommerce.

Starting an eCommerce business requires careful planning and proper strategy. If you need help from the leading eCommerce development company, feel free to reach out to us. Our experienced team is here to help.

Contact us today to discuss your specific requirements, and let us support you in building a successful online store.

Ravi Makhija
Ravi Makhija

Ravi Makhija is an entrepreneur, an IT professional, tech geek, founder & CEO at Guru TechnoLabs - Globally Trusted Web & Mobile App Development Company. He loves writing about new technologies and the latest trends in the IT field.