What is E-commerce?
Simply put, an e-commerce business is any business that operates solely through the internet. This is any business with a functional website through which customers can place product orders. E-commerce businesses will range a wide variety of products in 2022, from plane tickets to clothing and financial services (e.g., investing). However, it should be noted that some businesses do choose to operate through an e-commerce platform while maintaining a storefront.
E-commerce is only one piece of the pie when it comes to e-business. An e-business is running a company entirely through the internet. Marketing, sales, inventory, and payroll are business operations for any e-business.
E-commerce as a Whole
With the continuing use of technology, internet-run businesses are becoming increasingly popular. Even brands with storefronts have transitioned their businesses to include e-commerce sales.
Now let’s factor in how chaotic yet closed-off 2020 made the entire world. Some people have stopped wanting to go to the store and opt for the convenience of snail mail deliveries. Others have developed somewhat of social anxiety from being isolated. Lastly, some people have realized that for them, an online business helps them continue to focus on other areas of their lives that they deem essential to do so.
E-commerce is slowly beginning to run the world (if it is not already doing so). With this, your dreams of starting an online business are accessible now more than ever. Many people who have had their online business for years are now passing their knowledge and experience to others.
You now have the availability of gaining teachings online to start, grow, and run your own online business. There is a lesson for every market, be it the e-commerce business platforms mentioned above or something beyond that.
Different eCommerce Platforms:
Multiple e-commerce platforms to choose from to assist in running your online business.
First, there is Shopify. I am sure you have seen their logo on many of your favorite websites recently. Shopify allows you as a business owner to manage all aspects of your business from one single platform. This includes inventory, shipping (including drop shipping), a POS system for those pop-up shops, package tracking for the customer, and more.
Shopify has three different e-commerce memberships available for you to choose from. They range from basic to advanced, and neither costs more than $300 per month. Each membership is designed for the size and structure of your business.
Bonus: Shopify has resources for you to learn how to start and grow your business! You do not need years of experience to use this e-commerce platform.
Second, there is BigCommerce. This platform is best for bigger businesses, given its vast product search availability. However, it is also a good source for companies looking to have a brick-and-mortar plus an online presence and those who want to start an online store.
BigCommerce allows you to design your website through customizable templates. You do not have to be the most technically savvy individual to use these templates. However, please note that only seven of the interfaces are free.
This platform also boasts many in your business community that design and develop. In addition, you can be connected to others in your field through the built-in partner directory.
Lastly, there is Shopwired. This platform is becoming one of the leading performers in the e-commerce industry. It is known for being easy to use, having powerful features, and excellent performance.
This platform is also available worldwide, like Shopify. Again, the pricing is similar to BigCommerce and Shopify, with a competitive feature set (as mentioned above).
Shopwired will give you the power to create quote requests, a trade account (or multiples), and bulk discounts. It truly excels in these B2B features!
How Do I Get Started?
That may seem overwhelming even if you have already started researching your industry and making a business plan. I wanted to help alleviate some of that stress by giving you my top ___ starting points. Please note that the first step is the only one you should probably do before the others.
First, once you know what you want to do, pick your brand name. This is the most straightforward step. It is also the easiest way to get your brand to stand out above competitors. You want to ensure that what you are picking is not something that will get people to think of other brands over yours.
With this, you need to make yourself a good logo. The logo, like the name, will help your brand stand out. Do not worry, though! You do not have to do this part alone. There are companies designed for this specific purpose.
Research your competitors as well. See what is working for them, what is not, and what changes you can make to your ideas to do your marketing and selling more effective.
Once you have developed a brand name and a logo and researched competitors, you should begin your business plan. This can be overwhelming. Research business models, and do not be afraid to ask for help.
Next, you need to figure out where and how you will source your product(s). Are you going to get them from a wholesaler? Are you going to make the products yourself? If not, will you be sourcing internationally, nationally, or locally? Will you choose to dropship?
Then, how are you going to market and sell your products online? This is where eCommerce platforms, such as Shopify come into play. There are more than the three named above, each tailoring to different needs and price points. No matter your business size, there is an e-commerce platform that will fit your needs.