What is E-commerce? Build Your Online Business with E-commerce
From local shop owners to huge businesses, everyone is looking to create a presence in the online business world. The future of e-commerce can be considered to be bright, and the best time to enter the domain is now!
Earning opportunities across the globe have been increasing at a tremendous pace, given the drastic advancement in technology. Since there is no gender, status, or major geographical barriers to most of these, online business as a sector has grown to become one of the many income avenues for people across the globe. Naturally, this growth has spread to India too, which is fairly evident from the past decade
E-commerce is an easy-to-launch and suitable-for-most business idea, which has gained the attention of entrepreneurs of all ages in the country. From local shop owners to huge organizations, everyone is looking to create a presence in the online business world. The future of e-commerce can be considered to be bright, and the best time to enter the domain is now
But if you are new to the e-commerce space then, getting started with the basics can get slightly difficult. So lets us start with the most obvious question you may have in mind-
What is an Ecommerce?
E-commerce, put simply, is the practice of buying and selling goods or services using the Internet. It has gained immense popularity as a way of doing business because it's convenient and accessible at the same time. Instead of a physical store where the products to be sold are generally displayed, e-commerce businesses have virtual storefronts where customers can browse and purchase products or services online itself.
To start an e-commerce business, you need an online platform that offers a smooth shopping experience for your customers. This could mean setting up an entirely new business or transforming an existing physical store into a digital platform for trade.
Make sure that your website is easy to navigate, and has a secure payment system that allows customers to pay for their orders online. Alternatively, you can go for existing marketplaces like Amazon that have an existing user base and the necessary tools to help your business generate sales. These marketplaces are popular among the customers and are often what entrepreneurs turn to since they essentially provide a ready-made platform to sell products with ease.
Still unclear about the whole concept? Let us try to make it easier by looking at an example:
Ritika wants to sell handmade sweaters online. She'll need to create a website that showcases her products and provides customers with clear information about what they're buying.
Once her website is up and running, she can use various digital marketing techniques such as search engine optimization, social media advertising, or email campaigns to attract customers. And the best part? She can do almost everything from the comfort of her home!
One of the positive impacts of e-commerce on business is that the order fulfillment process is automated. This means that entrepreneurs like Ritika can focus on managing inventory, handling customer queries, analyzing sales data, etc. to make informed decisions to scale the business further.
E-commerce Vs Traditional business models
While the traditional bricks and mortar business model is still relevant, e-commerce has become a preferred choice for conducting business for many sellers across India. Here are some of the points that differentiate e-commerce from the traditional, making it a better fit for the social media-driven generation of consumers.
Requires a physical office/workplace/storefront
No physical office required, can work from anywhere
Owner may need to follow a schedule
Owner may need to follow a schedule
The reach of a traditional business is generally limited to customers residing within its neighbouring areas
In most cases, no geographical barriers. Products can be purchased from virtually anywhere in the world.
These are some notable advantages that may persuade a huge chunk of aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the e-commerce industry and build successful businesses.
Now that you know why an e-commerce business could be a great way of earning income, let us move on to the next most commonly asked question:
Can I Start An E-commerce Business Right Now?
The answer is you absolutely can! You may create your own website or register on an existing marketplace. Starting an online business, thanks to the variety of marketplaces available today, is as easy as it gets. But there are two things that any aspiring entrepreneur like you may wonder about, and we shall cover those exact two points here.
Criteria for Starting an Online Business
One of the best parts of owning an online business is that there is no need for a particular educational degree, prior experience, or high investment to get started. It allows people of all regions and genders to generate income by selling /offering products or services respectively.
While it may be difficult for a minor(below the age of 18) to start an online business, they too can actualize their idea with the help of their guardians making the field virtually open to anyone and everyone in the country.
Requirements for Starting an Online Business
Starting a brick-and-mortar business can be a task, and may require significant upfront investment, long-term leases, and a range of fixed and constantly changing costs. These include renting or buying a physical location, setting up utilities and equipment, etc.
These costs could quickly add up, and make it challenging for small business owners to enter the market. On the other hand, starting an e-commerce business has fewer requirements, making it a more accessible option for entrepreneurs. All you need to get started is a computer or mobile device, a reliable internet connection, and the products or services you plan to sell.
It doesn't get easier than this!
Steps to Start an E-commerce Business on an online marketplace
The e-commerce industry is constantly evolving, with newer trends and categories of products being introduced often. However, there are some basic steps that need to be acted on by every entrepreneur with care if they wish to launch a successful e-commerce business. Read on and follow the steps mentioned below if this is exactly what you are looking to do as a potential seller.
Step 1 - Decide the Nature of your Business
The first step of starting any business is to come up with a potentially profitable business idea. Consider your skillset, and choose a business that you believe you will be able to ace. Selling goods and services online may sound simple, but a seller with more knowledge about whatever they are selling to their customers shall always have an edge over others.
Step 2 - Choose a Marketplace
A marketplace is essentially, where you shall set up your online store. These options will potentially give you access to a massive customer base, tools for growing your business, and services that can help you in building a relationship with your customers. While it is also an option for sellers to consider creating a website of their own, a majority choose to set up shop on marketplaces like Amazon
, which offers a readymade marketplace for sellers to launch their businesses on.
Step 3 - Register with the Marketplace
Once you have decided on the marketplace you wish to build your business on, it is time to create an account on the marketplace. Most marketplaces like Amazon have a very easy sign-up process, which makes registering as a seller a simple task altogether. Make sure that you follow the instructions exactly as mentioned on the website of whichever marketplace you choose. Keep your documents handy, since you may be required to provide some personal information like your name, bank details, etc.
Step 4 - Create A Product Listing
Now is the time to finally start setting up your online store. Once you have registered with a marketplace, start listing your products category-wise. Make sure that every product you list has sufficient information for the buyer to get a clear idea of what they are potentially purchasing. A clean and informative product listing will appeal to your customers, which will result in better sales.
Step 5 - Set Prices
Determining the price range of your products can be slightly tricky, as you are likely to be surrounded by other sellers with competitive prices. For such instances, features like the Automate Pricing Tool by Amazon can come in handy. This tool allows you to automatically adjust prices on your products for different purposes on the Amazon marketplace.
You don’t have to revisit your products each time you want to change the price. All you need to do is set your pricing rule once and go worry-free, the tool will take care of the rest. You can read more about the Automate Pricing Tool here
Either way, pricing your product correctly can help you grow your business at a much quicker pace. So, make sure that all your products have a reasonable price tag attached to them while setting prices.
Step 6 - Have a Marketing Strategy in Mind
Generating sales is only possible if your potential customers find your business first. The only viable way of doing this is good marketing. Creating an effective marketing strategy for an e-commerce business is inexpensive, but all about leveraging the right tools, such as social media. A launch strategy is always an excellent idea, but you can also devise a great post-launch marketing strategy before the launch to consistently see growth in the flow of customers.
Step 7 - Launch Successfully
Once all these steps are in place, it is time to launch your business officially. Irrespective of your expected response, make sure to keep your inventory up and ready to go as soon as you launch your business. Remember, first impressions last forever!
Starting an e-commerce business can be a profitable and rewarding venture. With the introduction of online businesses as an easy and accessible way of earning money, more entrepreneurs are likely to enter the industry, which means that the sector is set to grow rapidly in the coming years.
We hope that this guide provided some valuable information that can help you build your own business and become a successful entrepreneur too. So what are you waiting for? Get your business idea started, set your e-commerce store up, and start selling now!