UNITED STATES—You have a product you want to sell and you’ve decided that you want to sell it in the growing e-commerce market. There’s good reason to do so. E-commerce is growing every year and has lower running costs than owning a physical store. If you’re ready to start your own e-commerce business, these essential tips will help you get going. 

Prepare your records

Accounting is the boring side of running a business, but it’s an essential part of the job. Before you start your e-commerce business, ensure you are ready to track your expenses and sales, pay taxes, and that you have a simple invoicing system. There are lots of software providers out there who can help you automate your accounting process from day one – something you’ll thank yourself for in the future. 

Find and obtain a great product

Without a product, you don’t have an e-commerce business. The first step is finding a great product. This doesn’t just mean thinking of a cool product idea or deciding you want to sell your art, it also means figuring out if your product will sell. Do some market research by exploring what other similar products are out there and how successful they are. 

The next step is obtaining your product. If you make your own products, you’ll need to figure out how many you can make and sell. If you need to have your product manufactured by someone else, you’ll need to find suppliers and manufacturers who can make your product to your specifications at a price you’re happy with. 

Create a business plan

A great e-commerce business plan should be something you can refer to again and again throughout the early years of your business. An e-commerce business plan should include:

  • Business name and objectives
  • Market analysis
  • Products you will sell
  • Marketing plan
  • Logistics plan
  • Financial plan

The more planning you put into your e-commerce business, the more likely you are to succeed. If you’re uncertain of any of the elements of an e-commerce business plan, check out this guide from HubSpot

Choose your sales channels

Will you create your own website or use an e-commerce platform to sell your products? E-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon are great for startup businesses as customers are already shopping on those websites. If you plan on selling your products through a self-hosted online store, you’ll need to put more time and money into marketing, social media, and search engine optimization (SEO) in order to drive traffic to your website. 

Reward customers for shares and reviews

When starting your own e-commerce business, those first customers are essential. Whilst digital marketing works wonders for e-commerce, word-of-mouth is also effective. Encourage your early customers to leave reviews and share products on their social media by offering rewards such as discounts or running social media competitions. 

Starting your own e-commerce business isn’t easy and there are lots of elements that go into making it a success. These tips, however, will help you get all the essentials in place – good luck!