In simple words selling goods and services through the internet is called an online business. It has captured a massive space in the cyber plot. The businessmen use various tools to sell their products and services. There are numerous options available to start an online business. The main forms of e-business are
- Social media accounts
- Online shops or marketplaces.
Generally, it is considered that a lack of capital and other resources to set up an enterprise penetrates the idea of starting an online business. It was practiced so, earlier. But today e-commerce is the most penetrated market all over the world hence profitable. Even brands with their chain stores around the globe do follow this practice.
Making money online is not easy, you have to work very hard. Starting an online business seems quite easy. All you need is a computer with some basic skills, the reality is contrary. It is nothing like you wake up someday and decide about selling online. Like any other enterprise, starting an online business also requires analytical research and strategic planning to be successful. The answer to the question, how to start an online business? Have two sections. One deal with the procedural aspects and the other emphasizes the analytical planning and decision making necessary before setting up an online venture.
Analytical Planning to Start an Online Business
A detailed analysis of the market and a critical study about the products and customers’ behavior is crucial before starting an online venture. As the competition is vicious, being a new player in the game the consumers expect unique and better output from you.
1. Find the product
E-market is bombarded by the products of various kinds. According to a rough estimate, about 85-90% fails due to the toughest competition. A strategic decision is required about the selection of the product to survive in the market as well as to attract the customers. The idea of starting a business online is followed by selecting the product kind. The identification of e-commerce opportunities plays a vital role in this regard. Critical studies of the market trends, in the following fields, provide great guidance to select the product.
- Try to find the loopholes in the top trending products, as nothing is perfect. Try to dig deep into the problems consumers are going through related to those top-selling goods. Strike the market with a well-designed product that addresses and solves those issues. This approach would exceptionally affect the sales and growth of the business.
- For a product to generate sales, it needs to create strong feelings among the audience to buy that.
- A product ought to be unique. Many niche products have recorded profits.
- Potential branding of the product is also essential as it carries your business name logo and your marketing strategies, as you are freshly emerging into starting a business online.
2. Market feasibility
A must-to-do evaluation before launching your product in the process of e-commerce is to check on how viable is the market for the profitability aspects. Several things are to be considered while analyzing the market potential of the product. You must have a clear vision that
- Your product idea is conceived through a practical approach.
- You are well aware of the upcoming hurdles and have plans to overcome. You consider customer satisfaction the most important.
After scrutinizing these areas, product viability demand some further allied inquiry. Such as
- Product size and weight is to be highly contemplated
- The durability of the product
- Do not forget about SKUs (stock-keeping units i.e. size color etc)
- What is the average life of your product?
- A professional kind of survey about competitive products is imperative. That is how you grow more and faster by using these results as a base for selecting your product and its features.
3. Thorough research of the market
Your list-to-do for how to start an online business is futile if it does not accord the gravity of market research. In this section we will assist you apropos of the online market research, owing to the fact that this research is imperative for business success. It is good to be confident about your ideas but a professional approach stipulates you to have a piece of complete knowledge regarding the market demand. The online market research can be conducted via different online business tools, for instance
- The keyword research method to acquire the knowledge of demand trends about your product is at the top of the list.
- Research deeply about the trends of the online market. This is possible to do by comparing the past few years’ searches made for a particular business idea.
- Explore the views and reviews of potential customers related to your to-be-launched product, to have a clear frame of reference.
- Do consider hashtags in the process of trend analysis.
4. Competitive analysis
How can you deny the existence and importance of the competitors when going to start an online business? By probing into what the competitors are providing and the response of the audience towards their product, you can have sound anticipation about their upcoming outcomes and can perform in a different rather better class. This research is necessary for the success of your business and to know about the trends of the industry. A few steps are needed for doing competitive research.
The categories of competitors in terms of levels i.e.
- Competitors who are preying the audience of a similar product.
- Competitors selling products that are superior or inferior in quality than yours.
The competitive analysis also includes the directions of the competitors’ websites, to have a know-how about their product, how they display it, the way they describe the salient features of their product, and above all, what is the response of their online customers, etc.
5. Knowledge about the laws
Every step in the affair of starting an online business must be abided by the rules and regulations which are illustrated by the laws related to that business. This head covers the savoir-faire related to
- Tax process
- Payment portals, how they work for different in-practice categories.
- Rules applied to trademarks, patents, and copyrights.
- Permissions and restrictions granted on shipments of your product.
- Business insurance.
- Need of license or permit for your business.
6. Identify the target market
Now, it’s time to identify your target market. By the target market, we mean a segment of people who need or want to buy your product. And this search provides you with the base to build your online store. Target market identification cannot be based on assumptions, but real research and data collection demographically. To target the right market you need to have a detailed savvy about the age, habits, choices, and problems of your targeted buyer in order to relate these with the benefits and features of your product.
7. Product availability
After completing the strategic research, the time calls for the provision of the product to start an online business. This process is called product sourcing. To make it more understandable, product sourcing is all about deciding the procedure through which you acquire a product to sell it. There are three main sources to source a product
- You may own a manufacturing unit to produce your products.
- You may have your products manufactured by others or can make bulk purchases from a wholesaler to resale that.
- You can also purchase products from the vendor, for dropshipping, for your online store’s listing.
8. Set up your store
As you have concluded up with the planning segment, from product identification to product sourcing. You are just one step away from starting your journey as an online entrepreneur. This final step is a bit complicated too. To facilitate the purpose of setting up an online store, you are compelled to take the following decisions.
Procedure to Start an Online Business
The following are the major requisites to set up an online store.
Choose the right platform
Selecting the right base is half achievement. It is critically important to choose a powerful platform to build your website. There is a lot to pick from, the most tried ones are
Your domain name is the address of your website. It is the place where your customers can find you on the internet (for example; google.com) your domain is your identity and necessary for web hosting.
For the presence and availability of your website on the internet, you need web hosting. It is a service that permits you to post your website on the internet and direct your viewers to your webpage as they enter your URL into the browser.
Enlist the products
The next step is to add up the list and categories of the products you are going to sell. An online store builder makes it very easy to enter products according to correct SKUs.
Define shipping procedure
Here you enter all the detailed information about shipping options and charges. The payment methods are also explained along with the shipping policies.
Publish the store online
Congratulations, you are just a click away to start an online business, but before publishing your online store it is of immense need to preview and test the functioning of the store step by step. Once the testing is done and you find no loops, go ahead.