10 factors to consider before you start an e-commerce business

Not every e-commerce business can be the next Flipkart or Amazon. It is important to find your niche, and make sure that the idea you have chosen is competitive. Avoid excessively crowded niche. No competition can mean no demand, or spell huge success. You need to delve deep to find out how it might work for you.

Deepak Agarwal Apr 26th 2018

E-commerce is a booming business. However, not all online businesses manage to gain traction. Starting an e-commerce business is difficult – it takes more than just choosing some products and listing them on a website. There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure success. Here is a list that will help you to set up your e-commerce platform and take it ahead.

1.    Find your niche
Not every e-commerce business can be the next Flipkart or Amazon unless you have a huge budget. Hence it is important to find your niche to make your business profitable. Make sure that the idea you have chosen is competitive. Do not choose an excessively crowded niche or ignore one that has no competition. No competition can mean no demand or spell huge success. You need to delve deep to find out how it might work for you. The more specific you are with your niche, the easier it is to market your business.

2.    Define your brand and customer
After identifying the niche, don’t jump into product ideas straightaway. Think about the brand image and your ideal customer. What does your brand represent? Who is your ideal customer? The personality of your brand has to meet the expectations of your customers. Once you’ve identified the brand image and customer, you can choose the products.

3.    Evaluate the demand
Understanding market demand can help you decide if the niche you’ve chosen will be profitable to enter or not. Marketing research is a key element in evaluating demand for your product. It might require you to seek the help of several approaches – surveys, observations, online trends (Google Trends) and more. You can choose the most appropriate method/s basis the need of your business. Analysing the market gives you a good idea about your competition, market reach and user base.

4.    Select your vendors
After you’ve identified your products and competition, it is time to choose your vendors. Long-term relationship with your customers is crucial, for which it is important to have the best-quality products at the best price. To achieve this, you should have the right vendors with you. Do your research about the past record of the vendor. And do not rush until you find the right one.

5.    Decide the name of your company
The first thing anyone notices is the name of the business. Before getting into the business, you should choose the name of the venture. Do your research before you finalise the name. There are number of companies in the market each with a different name. Make sure that the name of your company is not similar to that of your competitors. It should be creative, innovative and should reflect your expertise.

6.    Set up the website
Your company’s website should be creative and have the features that you plan to provide to your customers. It should be easy and hassle-free to use. Go ahead with a URL which is relatable to your business. The first thing that customers do to find out more about any company is visit its website, so make sure your site communicates what the company is all about.

7.    Choose a trusted payment gateway
For payments, sign up with a good payment gateway. Although there are number of modes for online payment, you need to choose the easiest and most reliable one. Monetary transactions must be treated with utmost care. For that reason, go with a trusted gateway that will give relief in terms of security for both buyers and sellers.

8.    Create a buzz
It’s good to have a presence on social media much before the launch. Keep writing about your business on your social media pages so that people aware of the idea. Set up the website by saying, “On the way” or “Coming soon”. You can keep updating the site and mention all the related developments leading up to the launch. In fact, you can also start a countdown on the platform to make it even more exciting for the customers.

9.    Give them a reason to buy
There are numerous e-commerce platforms available for customers to choose from. This raises the question as to why customers should opt for your platform for shopping. This is where you need to think differently. Do something which others are not doing. Create a marketing plan that will help you to boost your business in its initial days and mould it as and when required.

10.     Be more productive with technology  
Technology has impacted every sector and e-commerce is no different. It can make your work easier. Integrate the best software into your platform for accounting, email marketing and other aspects. You need to keep yourself updated with the latest technology and bring what is trending in e-commerce.

Once you have launched your e-commerce website, you will start getting an idea as to how to make things work. It is very important to have the right plan and focus. You may not always have the best product or a fabulous-looking website to start with. Jump in and learn as you go along.

Deepak Agarwal is co-founder, DesiClik

Disclaimer: This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the contributing authors and not of IDG Media and its editor(s).