A step-by-step guide to opening an ecommerce business

From a very early age, I was interested in starting an online store and provide people with the unique products I wanted to sell. I thought having the idea was enough to get my product on the market and sell it online. But this was short lived since there were a lot of issues with my business model. I had a poor website, didn’t do enough market research, and I was clueless about the business laws regarding online stores in Qatar. All these barriers prevented my success, and I want to tell you in this article on things you really need to focus on if you want to start your online store.

1)     Identify your business idea and keep it focused.

 The first you need to do is choose a specific target market and stick to it. You don’t need to go overboard and create a list of product ranges available for everyone. The more specific it is, the better it will be. Once you’ve identified your focused market, you need to ensure that your product is solving a problem for your customers that no competitor is solving. But all this would go to waste if you didn’t research the amount your customers would be willing to pay and what income group are they a part of. If all these things perfectly align with your idea, you’re on the right track.

2)     Research on Business Laws

 Many businesses think that since they’ll be operating online, they don’t need to worry about laws. But that’s where they’re wrong. If you want to go online, you need to go through the legal issues comprehensively in order to avoid unnecessary problems. For example, you need to know if you need a business license to operate, or if you need to obtain a permit, and also if there are any specific regulations that are only applicable to online businesses. I remember when I planned on starting an online store, I had no clue that I would need a business license to operate. So make sure you do your research and get a grasp of all the laws concerning online selling.

Once you’ve clearly identified and tackled all the legal requirements, you can move on to the next step.

3)     Market Research

 For any business, whether online or offline, market research plays an integral role towards its success. Market research helps organizations target the right market and ensure the product has an actual demand in the market. The best way to get started with market research is to go to google and search something that aligns with your product. By doing this, you will get to know what your competitors are doing in order to rank at the top of the search engine and let you plan accordingly. You also need to have a look at the overall profitability and the success rate of the product you plan on selling. Going through your company’s website and researching about them will let you know where you stand. The Last thing you really need to emphasize would be search engine optimization. Doing your research on the right keywords can take you a long way and help you outrun your competitors.

4)     Choose Your Ecommerce Platform and Create a Website

 Once you’ve finished all the paperwork and fulfilled all the legal requirements, your next step would be to create a website and an online store. The website will act as a first impression and will pave way for your company’s success. Customers will use your website to look for products and to make purchases if interested enough. So, to ensure you make a lively website you need to look at two things first:

        Choose a domain name that closely links to your business name.

        Choose an ecommerce platform.

There are countless ecommerce platforms available, and the best part is you don’t need any coding knowledge to use them. They come with a fee, but some of them are free to use so it would be best to invest in a platform that is cost efficient.

Excelling in these two areas will make things much easier for you and make you create an effective website.

5)     Develop/Source Products

Once you have everything set up and ready to go, you need to decide on how you intend to sell the product. Will you make the product yourself? Will you source it? Or if you’re selling serviced, will you list them? Depending on what you plan on doing, your approach will be different so its better if you plan this ahead of time for a smooth transition.

6)     Time to Market Your Product

 Congratulations! You’ve finished most of the work. Now its time to market your product. All your efforts would go to waste if you don’t use an effective marketing strategy. There are plenty of things you can utilize to stay ahead of the game. The one which I found most important was search engine optimization. This helps you rank on top without spending a penny. It takes a lot of time but is definitely worth your time. Other than this, you could make use of the various social media sites and also promote your products through paid ads. With time, you’ll realize which marketing tactic is most successful and which tactic you need to drop completely.

 Going through all these steps comprehensively will allow you to open a successful online store and will help you continue to grow it as the years go by. The process isn’t easy, but the reward is definitely worth the hard work.

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