You have chosen your online retail business model and determined which products you will sell. Now, it is time to launch your eCommerce store.
These six steps can teach you how to start a successful eCommerce business.
Name your Ecommerce Business
A business name determines brand awareness. Therefore, it should be unique, brandable, and memorable.
Above all, keep it short and easy to pronounce and spell. Avoid using misspellings, numbers, doubled letters, hyphens, and punctuation marks. They may confuse users and point them to the wrong website.
If your desired domain name is taken, consider choosing a similar one. Or, you can replace your domain extension. For example, instead of .com, you can use TLDs such as .co or even brandable ccTLDs like .me.
Apply for an EIN
An employer identification number is also known as a federal tax identification number. Similar to brick-and-mortar stores, online retailers need to apply for an EIN. It allows you to open a business bank account and separate your personal and company finances.
Applying for this nine-digit number is simple. You can do that from IRS by email, phone, fax, or online.
Obtain Business Permits and Licenses
When choosing sole proprietorship or general partnership business models, you do not have to register your business. You need to do that only if you want to operate under the desired business name.
You will need to register your company for other business types and receive general and local operating licenses.
Since most online retail stores are home-based, they do not require as many permits as physical stores. These requirements may vary across various states. You can learn more about specific requirements in your area on your state or local government’s website.
The licenses you may need to obtain as an eCommerce business owner include:
- Home occupation permit
- Occupational license
- Doing business as (DBA) license
- Health, safety, and environmental permit
- Building and construction permit
- Sales tax license
- Seller’s permit
Deliver Exceptional Customer Service
According to research studies, 51% of customers will never do business with you after a single negative experience. That is why your customer service needs to be exceptional. To please today’s tech-savvy audiences, you need to deliver omnichannel customer service.
Sit down with your team and consider which customer support channels you will use. They may include:
- Phone service
- Email service
- Live chat
- Social media support
Invest in a reliable customer support CRM solution to bring these tools together and keep interactions in a central location. That way, agents will have faster access to customer data and provide consistent service across various channels.
To minimize the costs of hiring a customer support team and investing in multiple software solutions, outsource time-consuming customer service operations, such as call routing.
Choose an eCommerce Platform for your Website.
Once you have registered your business and obtained the licenses required, it is time to move on to a more creative aspect of eCommerce business launch – website creation.
For starters, you will need to choose the right eCommerce platform for your online store. You have many reliable options at your disposal, including:
Analyze their features and models and pick the one that meets your demands the best. Most eCommerce platforms help you customize website design, add your domain, manage inventory, take orders, receive payments, etc. Please pay attention to their data security policies and initiatives, as well.
Keep Website Design User-Friendly
Make sure your website design is user-friendly and responsive. The goal is to provide exceptional customer experiences, irrespective of their device.
Also, keep website architecture simple. Users should effortlessly browse through your website pages. For example, please provide them with search and filtering functionalities to help them find the desired products faster.
Most importantly, include detailed product descriptions and professional photos to gain their trust. Remember that online buyers cannot see or feel your products in person.
Finally, close sales faster by providing multiple payment options and simplifying the checkout form. That is where you should also add trust badges and customer testimonials. They will build trust with first-time store visitors and encourage them to finalize the purchase.
Over to You
Treat your online store like any other business. Like we explained above, you will still need to obtain business licenses, stay compliant with taxes, and provide exceptional customer experiences.
Have you ever launched an eCommerce store? Are there any tips or experiences you would like to share with us?