7 Steps for Launching an E-commerce Business
As packaging suppliers, Aylesbury Box Company are contacted by many individuals who are considering the option of setting up an online business. For these start-up enterprises, we offer small runs of bespoke packaging and advice on branding boxes. Our recommendations help e-commerce businesses to keep the cost of postage and packaging down.
Whilst quality packaging is an important element in delivering goods to online customers, there are many other factors involved in launching an e-commerce business. We outline 7 points for consideration in this article.
Decide What to Sell Online
So, the first step is to decide what to sell and then to explore if there is a viable market for that product. You may love a specific product range, but do others? More importantly, do they want it enough to pay for it?
As everything you sell online will need to be shipped, think about the practicalities of sourcing, storing, packaging and sending orders. Could you manage 10 sales a day, 100 or 1000?
Understand the Legal Aspects of Selling Online
Before you go any further, it is wise to check out the legalities of e-commerce. Complying with consumers rights, VAT charges and returns legislation from the outset will help to prevent issues further down the line.
Conduct Market Research
You have a viable product, so now you need to explore the market. Who are your online competitors and how can you differentiate your offer? Is your target client located locally, regionally, nationally or internationally? If exporting is an option, look into the regulations governing sales in countries that you may target.
Is this a growing market and where are the growth opportunities? Are there seasonal peaks and troughs? Could it be possible to collaborate with other brands targeting the same target market?
Plan E-commerce Website Design
A good e-commerce website should not be created on the cheap. The focus should be on providing a positive user experience (UX). This requires mobile-first website design, quick loading speeds and intuitive navigation. Give the viewer as much information as possible with engaging, detailed product descriptions and images.
The checkout process has to be simple and secure, with no glitches or surprises. Ideally offer a choice of trusted payment options. Adding a means of monitoring and following up abandoned carts can be a valuable sales tool.
Promote your Brand
A website may be fantastic, but it is of no use unless people find it. You’ll need to budget for highly targeted paid advertising campaigns, active social media profiles, public launch events, magazine PR, endorsements and other advertising strategies.
Consider Packaging and Shipping Online Orders
This is where we come in! The priority is to protect your goods in transit, so they arrive with your customers in pristine condition. Bespoke packaging may sound expensive but is often far more cost-effective than paying for an off-the-shelf solution, fillers, higher delivery charges and returns.
With an online business, the receipt of the delivery is the only physical interaction with a brand, so make it count. Printed e-commerce packaging helps to personalise this interaction.
Customers expect their orders to be processed and despatched and received quickly. So, as well as finding a trusted packaging supplier, you’ll need a reliable courier service or fulfilment company.
Accept that you will get returns and plan how these will be effectively managed to reduce waste and maintain customer satisfaction.
Our friendly team are happy to discuss your packaging requirements, offer advice and provide a quote. We have assisted many small e-commerce businesses with delivering their first orders and we can help you too. Get in touch on 01296 436888 or email@example.com.
Measure and Review E-commerce Progress
Finally, in every business, there is room for improvement. When you are just starting out, there is a lot to learn. Having a clear means of regularly monitoring, measuring and reviewing all of the points covered in this article will help inform decisions.
What actions are generating sales and where are the gaps or barriers? If something isn’t working, stop doing it and find a new angle. If your customer base changes, adapt and when you hit a winning formula, give it all you’ve got!