A Guide to Starting An Ecommerce Business in 2021
Starting an ecommerce business seems like a dream business. You set up a website; people click to buy, you ship it, and you make money.
Easy, right? Not so fast.
Here’s the humbling truth: 8 out of 10 online stores fail within the first 24 months. Despite having a great business idea or product idea, there is no guarantee that it will translate into an online store.
Just like any other business, there is fierce competition for ecommerce stores. It takes a lot of time and effort to get started, and you have to think outside the box to stand out.
But the good news is, running a successful ecommerce business is possible. The ecommerce business model works well for both the customer and the business owner. Moving beyond tools Amazon marketplace or selling a digital product, requires sourcing a ecommerce solution, a merchant account, and knowing how to target the right audience.
Rolling up your sleeves and putting in the work are necessary traits for success, but it all comes down to how well you prepare before launch.
In this article, we will look at the best tactics for starting an ecommerce website, and what some of the most successful companies do to grow their ecommerce businesses.
The Current Ecommerce Landscape in 2021
Is running an ecommerce business a good idea? Let’s consider some statistics:
- It’s estimated that there will be 2.14 billion global digital buyers in 2021.
- Nearly 73% of ecommerce sales will take place on mobile devices by 2021
- By 2040, around 95% of all purchases are expected to be via ecommerce.
- By 2024, the estimated revenue of retail ecommerce sales in the United States will be close to $600b
Starting Your Own Ecommerce Business from Scratch in 2021
These ecommerce statistics convey that more and more people are buying online each year. Dropshipping, affiliate marketing, and ecommerce software has all boomed during the past few years.
The facts show that starting your online business in 2021 is a great time to be able to capitalize on this upward mobility. However, starting on the right foot is just as important.
But before you setup an online shop, you first must understand your target audience, and have a marketing strategy in place.
In this article, we will look at tips on how to run a successful ecommerce business.
1) Aim High, But Be Realistic
We understand your enthusiasm for wanting to dive right into creating your online business.
However, the very first thing you need to do is completely understand the space that you’re in and who you’re trying to sell to.
It’s also important to have a niche that’s winnable.
Most businesses fail long term because they can’t compete with leaders in their markets.
Not being able to adapt to the environment around your business can lead to negative results.
Let’s say you want to sell athletic clothing. You have competition not only from huge players, including Nike, Adidas, and Lululemon, but with other brands such as Gymshark and LiveFit.
Having high-level competition in your space makes it harder to get attention for your brand, especially if you’re not well established.
That’s not to say that you can’t and won’t succeed, but you must be realistic when it comes to wanting to dominate or at least be a player in your space.
Check out some of these unique businesses that became successful for additional ideas and insights.
2) Prepare SEO Before You Launch
An SEO strategy is one of the most overlooked parts of running a successful ecommerce site. When starting, you want to make sure that you have your SEO strategy on lock before you launch your website.
This tactic ensures that you have the highest chance to build organic traffic from the very beginning by leveraging the power of digital marketing.
Waiting to implement SEO tactics until after you launch can hinder your audience reach and impact your goals.
There are three main areas of SEO, and these include:
Technical SEO can be considered the most crucial because it deals with how the website is crawled and indexed. If a website can’t be crawled (or read by search engine bots) and properly indexed, it can’t be properly shown to your audience.
On-Page SEO is optimizing your site pages with keywords and content to be able to rank higher and show your pages to more users.
Off-Page SEO includes link building, blogging, and other actions outside of the site that help improve rankings and increase visibility.
3) Know Your Target Customers?
When it comes to knowing who to sell to, best selling author and entrepreneur Seth Godin has a great quote:
“Everyone is not your customer.”
In order to run a successful ecommerce business, it’s imperative to know who your audience is.
Trying to appeal to everyone is a common mistake that leads to negative results more times than not.
You’ll end up wasting money and time on people who aren’t even looking for your products and services.
Being able to determine your target market is a necessary step toward your overall success as a business.
4) Know Which Products to Sell
Next to knowing who you’re going to be selling to, you need to know what you’re going to be selling.
There are several ways to go about this, depending on your market.
Do you want to sell something in a niche market? Something that is currently trending? How about something that addresses a customer’s pain points?
Whatever your approach is, one of the things you should be doing early on is conducting competitor research.
Researching what products and services your competitors sell will give you great insights into what you should be targeting.
Without this kind of strategy, you could end up selling things that you think might sell, as opposed to going by actual market data.
You can do this by searching for your product or service online and seeing what the top results are.
There are also various tools that you can use to find out deeper insights, including how often a product is searched, and how difficult it might be to rank for that particular item.
5) Prepare your Social Media Profiles
When you’re ready to launch your website and start selling, keep this in mind.
Waiting until after your website launches to start thinking about your social media strategy will keep likely keep you from achieving maximum potential.
Having your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts ready to roll will help bring you exposure and visibility.
Your website is the core of your business presence, but the external social media sites make a big difference. People will check them and see who is following and what is being posted there.
From Scratch to Ecommerce Success
Starting an ecommerce business from scratch and enjoying long term success is possible. It takes time, it takes preparation and persistence. Being an ecommerce entrepreneur is an appealing business, due to the lifestyle and convenience it offers each business owner.
The more work you do before you launch, the greater results you will yield in the long run.
Start by taking the time to understand your business from the inside out, create goals, and have your resources at the ready.