The eCommerce business industry has been growing rapidly over the years but the COVID-19 pandemic took it to another level. Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, most businesses around the world, especially local businesses thrived well on the brick and mortar business model. At that time it was almost a luxury to buy things online and have them shipped to your address.
After corona struck and curfews and lockdowns were set in, businesses realized that it is not always that they were going to have customers visit their brick and mortar stores. Even the local businesses had to find ways of reaching about to their customers even those a couple of blocks away. And the best option was through eCommerce.
Businesses turned to create online stores for customers to visit order purchases and have them delivered to their doorsteps. This is here to stay. Businesses will have to improve their online businesses even when the pandemic is controlled through the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination.
Before we get into the Nitti Gritties of how to start an eCommerce, it is important to first understand what an eCommerce business is to know how to go about starting one.
What is an eCommerce business?
The term eCommerce is obtained from the phrase electronic commerce, which is also referred to as internet commerce.
It refers to the selling and buying of goods and services and the transfer of data and money for the good and services over the internet. In a nutshell, it is any form of business that is done over the internet.
Over the years, eCommerce has evolved to make it easier for customers to discover products and services through the wide network of online marketplaces and retailers. Also, eCommerce knows no boundaries; an online businesses store is accessible by anyone around the world and Independent retailers, small businesses, and large corporations can use it to sell their products and services to any corner of the world.
Types of e-commerce business models
Four business models are used by businesses in eCommerce, and they include:
- Business to Customer (B2C)
This involves businesses selling products or services directly to their customers. The customer purchases directly from the seller. E.g. A customer buying a pair of trousers from an online retailer.
It is best for businesses that directly interact with customers.
- Business to Business (B2B)
This involves a business selling goods or services to another business that requires it to conduct its business. An example can be a software company selling software to another business to use it in their business operations.
- Consumer to consumer (C2C)
This is when a consumer sells services or goods to another consumer. This mostly involves second-hand goods and services. E.g. A person selling old furniture to another customer over the internet.
- Consumer to Business (C2B)
This is when a customer sells their services or goods to a business. A good example is when a customer who is an influencer allows a business to use his/her online audience at a fee.
Steps to follow when starting your eCommerce business
In this post, we shall outline the steps you should follow when starting your eCommerce business. But before we get started, it is important to emphasize that when starting an e-commerce business, you should have a scalable goal to ensure that your business remains profitable and that it lasts for a long time. You should have a long-term goal. Your asset or services should bring real value to the market.
Steps 1: Research the e-commerce business model to use
Step 2: Research the best eCommerce niche for you
Step 3: Evaluate and validate that the target market exists and that the product idea(s) is valid
Step 4: Register your eCommerce business including your brand name
Step 5: Come up with an elaborate eCommerce business plan
Step 6: Create an online store
Step 7: Start attracting customers to your e-commerce website
Examples of Ecommerce businesses you can start
- Online retail store
This involves opening an online store for your retail shop so that customers can purchase goods or services through the online store.
- Online wholesale store
This is opening an online store for your wholesale shop so that retailers or other customers looking to purchase goods in bulk can purchase through the online store.
This involves selling products that are manufactured and in turn distributed (shipped) to retailers, wholesalers, or end customers by a third party.
This is mostly done when launching new products in the market. You collect funds from customers willing to pay in advance so that they can get the product once it is fully developed. The collected funds are used as startup capital to bring the product to the market.
This involves introducing goods or services where your customers have to subscribe and pay a subscription fee, which is set to be renewed after a certain duration.