How to Start an eCommerce Business

ByVladana Donevski
March 01,2022

The standard 9-5 work schedule definitely isn’t a good fit for everyone, so those who are brave enough to take the leap might be tempted to become their own boss and start something of their own. If you’re an entrepreneur at heart, you’ll probably enjoy the process immensely. Now, thanks to the internet and some specialist software designed to make our lives easier, running your own business definitely isn’t a far-fetched dream. 

Depending on what kind of business you’d like to start, you might want to consider eCommerce as a vehicle for success. eCommerce is a rapidly growing market in which online stores sell goods and services globally. It’s estimated that by 2023, eCommerce revenue is expected to reach $740 billion in the US. If your business does manage to become the next Amazon or Etsy, you’ll be taking home a significant portion of that. 

Of course, getting started is never easy, mainly because you have so much to think about. You need to plan and organize yourself before you dive in if you want your store to be a success.

For all these reasons, we’ve prepared this detailed guide on how to start an eCommerce business. After reading it, you’ll likely have at least the first couple of steps of your action plan pinned down. So, without further ado, let’s get started. 

Work Out What You’re Going to Sell

People who are looking into starting an eCommerce business typically already know what they’d like to sell. Some are interested in turning their hobby into a living, while others already have a brick-and-mortar store and are looking to expand, or move entirely online.

However, if you’re unsure what to sell, here is some food for thought. Typically, there are three categories of products you can sell online: physical goods, digital downloads, and services. 

Physical goods are an excellent choice if you can manufacture or source things people are looking to buy. Of course, you can always resell physical goods - you just have to buy them from a wholesale provider first or set up a dropshipping store. These processes include their own set of challenges. For example, you need to find out which wholesale provider you want to go with, how you’re going to store the items, and which shipping method won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Selling digital downloads is an excellent way to open an eCommerce website if you don’t want the hassle of handling, storing, and shipping physical products. These could be anything that your customers can download on their devices: online courses, artistic designs, eBooks, printables, plugins, and templates, among other things. Depending on your skillset and the type of digital product you want to sell, your profit margins can vary greatly. While selling digital products doesn’t always entail the considerable initial investment you would need to provide for physical products, you might also not earn as much.  

Selling services can also be an excellent choice for your eCommerce store. This solution allows you to get started with minimum investments and earn profits fast. Still, the main thing you’re selling is your time, and you only have so many hours in a day. Expanding beyond what you can accomplish (and earn) on your own typically requires that you hire someone else. They can take on some of the workload, but that in itself carries its own set of costs and responsibilities.

Once you decide what type of product or service you’ll be selling, you should assess the viability of your idea. In other words, you want to be sure the result will be worth the effort. How can you determine that? By doing your market research first. Let’s take a quick look at how to perform that properly.  

Research Your Products and Markets

Just as you would when opening any other type of online business, you need to do your research before starting an eCommerce website. You need to find out what kind of products perform well, how much competition there is in the niche, and what type of business model can most effectively bring your eCommerce business ideas to life. 

Since you’ll be selling online, doing a bit of Google research might help you pinpoint what type of product will work. By analyzing Google’s results for a particular keyword and its relative terms, you’ll be able to gauge how popular certain options are. Look for the type of product popping up on the first page and which companies are selling it. The autofill option might also give you a couple of online business ideas. “People also ask” is another excellent section that could be helpful. 

You probably already have an idea in your mind of what you’re going to sell, so it’s time to work out whether or not that idea is plausible. You can do so by evaluating product viability. Here are a couple of things you should ask yourself about the product or service you’re thinking of selling:

  • Is there a demand for it? Is it a fad, or will I still be able to sell this in five years?
  • Are there reasonable profits to be made here? What do the numbers say?
  • Is there already a successful eCommerce company selling the same products or services?

The third question leads us to competitor research, which is a crucial component of starting a successful business. Finding out who the key players are is just the first step. The most important one is putting their business model under the magnifying glass. 

Look for anything they’re doing well and make a note of how you could emulate it. More importantly, look for any ways you’d improve on their business model; you might be able to find a gap your business could fill. At the very least, you could identify that special factor that could help you set your business apart from the competition in your niche, which is crucial when starting an eCommerce site. Remember, just because someone else is already doing it doesn’t mean you can’t do it better. 

Work Out Who Your Ideal Customer Is

If you want to make sure your business will be successful, you also need to target the right audience. This means figuring out who your ideal buyers will be, which will significantly influence the steps you take.

For starters, you need to be where your target audience is and speak their language. To ensure this, you should look into your customers’ demographics and psychographics. Start with their essential characteristics; you want to know their age, gender, and income. Once you have a good picture of that, you should then try to find out more about their opinions and beliefs. 

Why is this important? Well, once you have these terms pinned down, you can clarify the approach of your eCommerce business. For example, if you want to appeal to environmentally conscious customers, you wouldn’t want to sell items packaged in lots of plastic. By the same token, Instagram isn’t the ideal platform for promoting bingo games to senior citizens.

Getting this approach right will significantly improve your eCommerce website and your overall online presence. If you’re selling software for accountants and bankers, you might consider adjusting the tone of voice on your website to avoid the slang the kids use these days. To target a younger audience, having a flashy, highly responsive website might be the most effective thing you can do. Pinning these details down will help you figure out your marketing strategy later. 

Create a Business Plan

Now that you know what you’ll be selling and to whom, you should create a business plan. It sounds daunting, but this is an excellent way to ensure you stay on track while you’re setting up an eCommerce business. Don’t overthink it - you don’t have to show that first version to anybody. It can serve as a to-do list for you as you plan each step in more detail.

However, if you need a business loan, an advisor, or a partner to help run your new business, you really need to create a thorough and professional business plan. Here are some things it should include:

  • What your business is and what you’re selling
  • How you expect your business to earn money
  • Your operational model
  • Where you plan to get your financing from
  • A list of any executives and employees (if applicable)

Since this business plan will also serve as marketing material, you should keep your target audience in mind while writing it. If you’re going to show it to your potential employees, the business plan could help them see your vision and why it might or might not work for them. Before showing it to investors, you’ll need to have every aspect of your financials and operating model pinned down. After all, you want to maximize your chances of getting their approval and funds for your new online eCommerce business

If you aren’t creating the plan for yourself, it’s advisable to look at some online templates first. These will help you keep your business plan consistent, thorough, and as detailed as possible, and will make sure you keep your goal and target audience in mind. If this is too troublesome for you, you can also consider hiring someone to write the business plan for you. 

Lastly, it’s important to stick to the 20-page rule. You want to be informative enough, but you don’t want anyone to spend too much time trying to wrap their head around your concept. 

Decide on Your Business Name and Structure

You might now have a business plan, but you still don’t have a business. This next section of our guide is about formally establishing your company.

You’re probably wondering how to start an eCommerce business step by step. First things first, you’ll need a name, a defined legal structure, all the necessary licenses, and an employer identification number (EIN). Let’s go through those steps one by one.

Picking a Name

Picking the right name can be difficult, and there are many things to keep in mind when doing so. You need a name that is distinctive, easy to remember, and clearly shows what your eCommerce business sells or does. On top of that, the name needs to be available, both with the US Patent and Trademarks Office and on websites that sell domain names.

Even if you haven’t started working on your website, it’s worth registering a domain for your business as soon as you decide on a name. After all, the availability of a domain name can heavily influence the name you choose for your business. By acquiring a domain as soon as possible, you’re preventing someone else from taking it.  

Putting in place a defined legal structure is one of the most important steps to start a business, and it requires your time and attention. Consulting with a lawyer at this point is a good idea. After all, the type of entity you choose to establish will have important legal implications for your business.

The most common types of business entities used for startups are sole proprietorship, LLC, general partnership, and corporation. Let’s give these categories a brief overview.

Sole Proprietorship

With a sole proprietorship, there isn’t a legal distinction between the business and its sole owner. That means you are personally liable and taxed for owning this type of business.  

General Partnership

If you’re not starting an online business on your own, you might consider a general partnership. These are typically conducted between two or more owners. Everyone in the partnership is equally liable, and this partnership is treated as a pass-through entity for tax purposes. 

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

LLC is one of the most common types of businesses out there. With an LLC, you and any other members have only limited liability and are typically taxed as a pass-through entity.

Corporation 

As an entity, a corporation is entirely separate from those who run it. That’s because a corporation is considered a legal person, meaning that the people controlling it have no liability. It’s owned by its shareholders and governed by its directors. Corporations aren’t the right choice for single entrepreneurs, but this legal structure works perfectly for large businesses. 

If you’re still not sure which business structure is right for you, consulting with an experienced professional might be the best course of action. Once you decide on a suitable business model, they’ll help you file the necessary papers. 

Applying for an EIN

The next step is to apply for your EIN. Depending on what type of business entity you opt to establish, this nine-digit number may or may not be required. Regardless, it’s a great way to help you separate your business and personal finances. For this reason, getting an EIN is highly recommended for everyone looking to start an online business.

You can apply for an EIN for free online or via mail, fax, or phone. If you choose the online route, you’ll likely receive your number immediately. 

Getting a Business License

Every business, whether online or offline, needs a business license. Depending on the state your business is located in, you might need to get yours sooner than later. Some regions allow you to sell up to a certain threshold before getting your license, while others require you to have it beforehand. All this information is neatly listed on the SBA website, together with which licenses are required in your state. You’ll likely be able to obtain your license online, although again that can vary by state.

Find or Create the Products You’re Going to Sell

Once you’ve done everything required to set up your online eCommerce business, it’s time to stock up on your product. If you’re selling digital products created by someone else, stocking up might be relatively simple. However, if you want to sell something you create yourself, you’ll need to do much more preparation for your launch, as the production process will probably involve a lot of work. When prepping for your grand opening, make sure you don’t compromise on the quality of what you’re offering.  

If you plan to resell, you should contact wholesalers to work out how you can put together your inventory efficiently and cost-effectively. You need to select your inventory carefully and make sure you’re satisfied with what’s on offer in your store, taking industry trends into account. If you’re considering dropshipping, now’s the time to make the appropriate deals with suppliers and manufacturers.  

Create Your Website

Now that you have all the data, products, and paperwork figured out, it’s time to start working on your eCommerce website

Your website is your online storefront, and you should dedicate the same amount of time and effort to building it as you would to setting up a brick-and-mortar store. After all, this is what your customers will see, browse through, and use to have your products delivered to their doorstep. It’s up to you to make that experience as pleasant and convenient as possible. 

We’re assuming that by this stage, you’ve already selected and purchased your domain name. The next step would typically be finding a hosting provider, but that doesn’t really apply here; you’ll have to decide which eCommerce platform to use, and you’ll get hosting as part of that package. Here’s a quick overview of some of the popular eCommerce software options out there:

Shopify

Probably the world’s most popular eCommerce platform, Shopify is an excellent choice for anyone looking to open their own online store. Shopify accounts start at $29 per month and allow you to create and customize your store to an impressive extent. 

WooCommerce

If you decide to create your website on WordPress, you should definitely opt for WooCommerce as your eCommerce provider. With its most basic package, this plugin allows you to create an online store for free; all you have to do is download it and enjoy its multitude of features. Just be aware that if you’re not familiar with WordPress, WooCommerce might present a bit of a learning curve.

Magento

Magento allows you to customize your new eCommerce site to the fullest. It’s free to download and offers many more options than any other solution on the market. The potential problem is that you need to be quite tech-savvy to get the most out of it. 

As such, it’s not the best option for new eCommerce entrepreneurs with a DIY approach. However, if you can find the money to hire a developer, you can use Magento to open up a world-class shop that will put your competitors to shame. 

Squarespace

Squarespace is another excellent solution for making an eCommerce website, especially for beginners. It’s famous for its easy-to-use shop templates that will get you started in no time. As is the case with Shopify, Squarespace allows you to set up shop without having to know how to write a single line of code. It’s also relatively cheap - the basic plan that includes eCommerce capabilities starts at $18 per month. Still, Squarespace is more of a website builder than a full-blown eCommerce platform. As such, it’s somewhat limited in terms of the tools, features, and add-ons it offers. 

Some eCommerce website builders will offer hosting packages that cater to your needs adequately, but there’s also a chance you’ll have to figure out hosting by yourself. If this is the case, you should consider cloud hosting, which is widely considered one of the best solutions for an eCommerce site. 

You’ll also see many other options, such as shared hosting or even dedicated server hosting. Both of these are good options when you’re just starting your own eCommerce business, so it’s not something to stress too much about. Still, you should be aware that these options can be much more difficult to scale than cloud hosting. 

Whether or not you’re ready to scale depends on how well your eCommerce site is performing. You need to think about the features, usability, and customization options you need as your business grows. More importantly, you need to be conscious of the system you’ll be using to manage your day-to-day business online. For example, if integrating payment systems into your eCommerce site is as complex as brain surgery, you might not be able to scale that quickly. 

If your customers can’t navigate your site or find what they’re looking for effortlessly, it could be a dealbreaker for them. Consider hiring a UX design agency to help you create an online store and set up the basics. 

Define Your Brand

Another reason why you might not be able to scale as extensively as you'd like to is failing to attract and keep customers. For this reason, you need to pin down your brand building strategy. This starts with your eCommerce website and goes on to include your marketing efforts later. But the most important place for your brand to thrive is in your customers’ heads, so that it’s your company that comes to mind when they think about a specific product.

With all this in mind, you can see why branding is crucial when you’re building a business. After all, there’s a fair chance that when someone mentions coffee, a green Starbucks sign pops into your head. Your ultimate aim is to create that kind of instant association for the products or services you’re selling.

One of the most important aspects of branding is thinking about the design of your website, your logo, and your visuals in general. Unfortunately, selecting colors, typography, and other elements for your website is more difficult than you might expect. Don’t overthink it too much right now; you can always rebrand down the road. Finding a logo maker is one of the best ways to consolidate your brand identity when starting your own business

Testing everything before you go live is non-negotiable. You want to be sure that every inch of your website functions as intended. One way of doing this is to ask your friends to help you test the site, or if budget allows, hire a QA specialist to test it professionally. You want to make sure the website looks good on all devices, every button works, and you don’t have a single broken link. 

Add Your Products to the Site

Once you’ve done everything to set up your eCommerce store, the last step is to add your inventory. When doing so, pay close attention to categories and the overall organization of your site; you want your customers to find what they need quickly. 

Once they find the product they want, the customer will likely dwell on its description and image. For this reason, you need to provide them with high-quality visuals and accurate and detailed product descriptions. Think about what they’d like to know about each product. Excellent visuals and precise descriptions are key to unlocking more sales

It’s Time for Marketing

You don’t want your store to open to the sound of crickets; you need customers lined up in front of your virtual door and stampeding towards your “buy now” button. That doesn’t happen on its own; you need to put effort into marketing your new business on the internet.

Of course, marketing something properly is no small feat, and there’s a lot to think about. Newsletter? Social media marketing? Paid promotions? 

In an ideal world you’ll employ all of those strategies. But which will be your top priority - the one that will bring you the most customers with the least effort? To answer this, you should backtrack a couple of steps in this eCommerce startup guide to the section where we talk about analyzing your target audience. Do they use social media? If so, which social platform might they be on, and what type of groups would they be active in? Think of any correspondence you might have with your audience and the tone that would best speak to those potential customers. 

Promo codes, giveaways, and free goodies are also an excellent way to create interest and buzz about your store opening. If you’re offering services, free consultations may be the best way to get customers through the door. A free download each month could work for digital products. Listen to your audience’s feedback and you’ll quickly realize what works.

Grow Your Business 

Once you launch and sell all of your initial inventory, it’s time to grow further. Most aspects of running your business will remain the same, but on a larger scale. It could be beneficial to invest in some tools, hire someone to help, and draw from the experience you’ve gained while building an eCommerce business to find room for potential improvement in the future.

You’ll want to consider upping your current eCommerce marketing efforts. This could mean creating a lengthy email marketing list, collaborating with influencers in your niche, and focusing on SEO. 

As you gain new customers, you might consider investing in good customer relationship management (CRM) software. This kind of program is bound to upgrade your customers’ experience at your eCommerce store. CRMs do a solid job of replacing the face-to-face experience people have at brick-and-mortar stores. 

As your customer base grows, you’ll also likely have more inventory to handle and warehousing problems to solve. Thankfully, there are plenty of software options that can help you with inventory management. On top of that, you should keep an eye out for other things you can do to help you further optimize your processes.

As always, the best way to improve your business is to listen to your customers. You should also look out for ways to improve your back-office processes when you notice that something is unnecessarily complicated. Any improvements you make will surely help your profits down the line!

How Much Does it Cost to Start an eCommerce Business?

This is a difficult question to answer, as there are many unknowns at play. Creating an eCommerce website can be expensive, but you might have friends who are willing to lend their expertise for a percentage of your profits. On the other hand, you might have to pay for someone to help with marketing, or you might need to splash out more to get special inventory in. 

With all that in mind, we’ll try to answer this question: how much money does it take to start an eCommerce business? If you need just the basics - domain, platform, and hosting - it could cost you as little as $40 per month. On top of that, creating your business and acquiring all the permits you need can cost anywhere from $30 to a few hundred dollars, depending on your location. And while it doesn’t seem like much, this minimum investment will mean you have to do a lot of heavy lifting yourself. 

From there, hiring a website designer could cost anything from $300 to several thousand. On top of that, hiring a graphic designer to come up with a beautiful logo will likely cost you anywhere from $15 to $300. A warehouse typically costs $4 to $7 per square foot per month, and if we’re not even going to get started on the costs of marketing - there’s really no limit to how much you could spend getting your company’s name out there. Social media marketing starts off being quite affordable, but if you’re trying to reach a broader audience, you’ll also need to consider expanding your budget. 

Any additional software or service will create extra dents in your budget. Keep in mind that $5 might not sound like much, but if you have to pay that amount every month for multiple apps, it will soon add up. Still, many of those services are well worth their price, so it’s up to you to figure out what you can handle yourself and what you need help with when starting an eCommerce website. Overall, excluding your inventory purchases, you could be looking at an initial investment of around $700 to $3,000.

So, Is eCommerce the Right Business for You to Start?

Especially in this day and age, eCommerce is the best option if you’re looking to start your own shop. After all, few business owners these days want to deal with all the extra expenses and challenges that come with operating a brick-and-mortar store.

If you start an eCommerce business, you can enjoy high levels of flexibility while forking out much less cash than you would to open a brick-and-mortar shop, and you might even be able to work from the comfort of your home.

Before you get too excited, you should be aware that the niche is very competitive. Unless you’re offering a product that enough people need but can’t buy anywhere else, you’ll likely have to grind a lot to turn your store into a success. Still, the opportunity to be your own boss might just be too good to miss out on.

FAQ
How much does it cost to start an eCommerce brand?

Estimating how much it will cost to start an eCommerce business can be difficult. That calculation becomes even more complicated if you aren’t manufacturing your inventory but need to purchase it. However, there are some bare necessities that you simply must have, such as domain name, hosting, and payment processing. You can buy domains for as little as $0.99 per year. Hosting will cost you, on average, $29 per month, and payment processing will typically eat up to 2-3% of your profits.

What are the three types of e-commerce?

Typically, eCommerce can be divided into three categories depending on who the business is targeting. These categories are business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C). Those in the first category sell primarily to other businesses - they might be wholesale websites, for example. B2C is the eCommerce business model that Amazon most famously uses. Lastly, there is the consumer-to-consumer type, for which the most famous example would be eBay. 

Is starting eCommerce profitable?

eCommerce can be arguably the best business to start if you don’t have a huge amount of time or seed money. The numbers show that in October 2021, the average salary of an eCommerce product owner was $85,453. That works out to be $1,643 per week or $41.08 an hour. 

If you’re interested in learning how to start an eCommerce business because you need to get rich fast, that goal isn’t actually unrealistic. Top-end performers in this niche could expect to make as much as $147,000 per year. However, it’s also not uncommon to find those with annual salaries as low as $20,500.

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To keep the domain, you must renew it before the expiration date, with the expiration period typically being one year. Additionally, you can transfer a domain name from one provider to another.
By Nemanja Vasiljevic · September 30,2022
Word of mouth has always been the most powerful form of marketing. It is human nature to trust the recommendation of a friend or family member over any other type of advertising: It’s honest, it’s personal, and it’s reliable. But what if you could get that same level of personal recommendation from a complete stranger? That’s the power of online customer reviews. In the article you’re about to read, we’ll discuss why online customer reviews are the ultimate salesperson for eCommerce businesses and how you can make the most of them. What Are Online Customer Reviews? At its simplest, a customer’s online review is a written testimonial about a product or service purchased and used by an actual customer. These reviews can be left on the website of the business in question, on a third-party review site, or even on social media platforms. There are two main types of online customer reviews that businesses should be aware of: 1. Ratings and Reviews These are the most common eCommerce product reviews, and they usually take the form of a star rating (from one to five stars, for example) along with a written comment. Customers will often be asked to rate their overall experience and specific aspects of the product or service they purchased. 2. Testimonials Testimonials are similar to ratings and reviews but tend to be more extensive. They also usually include the customer’s full name, location, and headshot. Many businesses will showcase testimonials prominently on their websites. We can also differentiate between private and public reviews. Private Reviews Clients review a product or service and share their reviews directly with the business through email, phone calls, or direct messages. Public Reviews Public reviews are those that anyone can see; they are left on a website or third-party review platform. Public reviews are more important for businesses because they are more likely to be seen by potential customers and impact their purchase decisions. How Customer Reviews Affect Businesses Both positive and negative reviews customers post online can have a major impact on your business. If you’re still wondering why online customer reviews are the ultimate salesperson for eCommerce, note that statistics show that 89% of B2B buyers search online for product or service reviews and photos before making a purchase decision. The impact of customer reviews is evident in both the short and long term.  In the short term, they can help (or hurt) your business by influencing the purchase decisions of potential customers looking actively for information about your products or services. In the long term, customer reviews can also help you improve your business by giving you insights into the areas where you need to make changes or improvements. Of course, the effect of online seller reviews is not always positive. Businesses have been known to crumble due to negative reviews, especially when such reviews go viral. This is why it’s so crucial for companies to manage their online reputation. What Can Positive Customer Reviews Do For Your Business? Positive and authentic customer reviews can have many benefits for your business. Here are just a few examples: 1. They Can Increase Sales and Conversions This is probably the most obvious benefit of positive customer reviews. If potential customers see that others have had a good experience with your product or service, they’re more likely to purchase it themselves. Higher conversion rates mean more sales and more revenue for your business. 2. They Can Help You Attract New Customers In addition to increasing sales and conversions, positive eCommerce reviews can also help you attract new customers. After all, potential customers are more likely to trust a business recommended by someone they know and trust. This powerful marketing tool is called “social proof.” With real customers’ words and sentiments about your product or service, your marketing campaigns will be more effective, and your advertising budget will go further. 3. They Can Improve Your Search Engine Ranking In recent years, Google has increasingly used customer reviews as a ranking factor in its search algorithms. Businesses with positive reviews of their online stores are more likely to appear higher up in search results, which can lead to even more sales and conversions. The SEO factor is becoming increasingly important for most top-rated e-commerce platforms. 4. They Can Build Trust and Credibility Positive online reviews can help build trust and credibility for your business. After all, if customers are willing to leave positive reviews, they must be pretty happy with your product or service.  This can encourage potential customers who are on the fence about your business to give you a try. Finally, potential customers are more likely to trust a business recommended by someone they know and trust. 5. They Can Improve Customer Retention Positive online business reviews can also help to improve customer retention. If customers are happy with your product or service, they’re more likely to stick around and continue doing business with you. This is especially important for businesses that rely on repeat customers or subscriptions. How To Get Authentic Positive Reviews - Our Tips There’s a common misconception that happy customers will automatically leave positive reviews and unhappy customers will bad-mouth your business to anyone who will listen. This is not always the case. In fact, getting positive customer reviews requires an active effort. You need to reach out to your customers and ask them for feedback. Luckily, there are a few ways you can do this and improve your online reviews section: 1. Send a Follow-Up Email After a customer has made a purchase, send them a follow-up email and ask them to leave a review of their experience. This is a great way to get honest feedback about your product or service. You can include a link to the comment box or a star-rating system in your email, attach a short survey, or even ask for video testimonials. 2. Use a Pop-Up or Sidebar Widget Another way to encourage customers to leave reviews is to use a pop-up or sidebar widget on your website. These widgets can be triggered after a customer has made a purchase or spent a certain amount of time on your site. This makes leaving a comment more convenient for customers, encouraging them to do so. 3. Get Social Media Reviews Online businesses’ reviews can be solicited via social media platforms. You can post about your product or service on your company’s social media page and ask customers to leave their thoughts in the comments. You can also run social media ads that link to review pages or use hashtags to encourage customers to post about their experiences. 4. Leverage User-Generated Content Another way to get positive customer reviews is to leverage user-generated content to resonate with your target audience. UGC is any content created by customers, such as product photos, videos, or reviews. Once you create your eCommerce website and add UGC, you can use it for your social media pages or marketing campaigns. 5. Incentivize Customers To Leave Reviews One of the best ways to get online reviews for your business is to offer an incentive. This could be a discount code, a free product, or entry into a contest. Customers are more likely to take the time to leave a review if they know they’ll get something in return. How To Deal with Bad Reviews No company is perfect, and even the best businesses will get the occasional negative review. The important thing is how you deal with those bad reviews. Companies need to consult online reviews daily and take the good with the bad. When you see a negative eCommerce review, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and remember that not every customer will be happy 100% of the time. Here are a few tips for dealing with negative reviews: Respond to All Reviews, Good and Bad It’s important to respond to all customer reviews, both positive and negative. This shows that you pay attention and care about your customers’ experience. A simple “Thank you” is usually sufficient for a positive review. For a negative review, you’ll want to take the time to address the customer’s concerns and offer a solution. Thank them for their feedback: This will show that you take shoppers and their reviews and concerns seriously. Apologize for the inconvenience: Even if it wasn’t your fault, an apology goes a long way. Offer a solution: Let the customer know what you’re going to do to fix the situation. Follow up: Make sure to follow up with the customer after you’ve implemented your solution. Don’t Take it Personally It's important to remember that negative reviews are not a reflection of you as a person. They’re simply feedback about your business. Try not to take it personally and stay focused on finding a solution. Use Negative Reviews as an Opportunity To Improve Your online store reviews, even negative ones, can be a great opportunity to improve your business. Use the feedback to identify areas where you can make changes. Maybe there’s a problem with your product, or your customer service could be better. Whatever the case may be, use negative reviews as an opportunity to make your business even better. Monitor Your Online Reputation Finally, it’s important to monitor your online reputation. This means regularly checking review sites, social media pages, and other online platforms for mentions of your business. If you see a negative review, reach out to the customer and try to resolve the issue. If you see a positive review, share it on your social media pages or website. Final Thoughts Even though it might be tempting to buy positive reviews, it’s not a good idea. Not only is it unethical, but it can also lead to long-term damage to your business. It’s much better to focus on earning positive reviews through excellent customer service and offering incentives. You can turn online customer reviews into a powerful marketing tool for attracting new customers. Just remember to be professional, respond to all reviews, and use negative reviews as a growth opportunity.
By Danica Djokic · September 21,2022
The eCommerce landscape is constantly evolving. What was popular last year may not be so hot this year, and what’s trending now may be totally different a year from now. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we’re seeing even more changes in the way people shop online. To stay ahead of the curve and nail your strategy, you need to stay up to date with the latest eCommerce trends. We've put together a list of factors that will shape eCommerce in the next few years so that you can make the necessary changes to your online store and outdo the competition. B2C ECommerce Will Overtake B2B Traditional in-person shopping may never be the same again. The pandemic has pushed people to shop online out of necessity, and many have found that they actually prefer it. Convenience, safety, and a wider selection are all big selling points for eCommerce. It’s no wonder that 52% of people who switched to online shopping for groceries said they wouldn’t switch back. As a result, we expect to see a continued increase in online shopping even after the pandemic is over. This shift will have a big impact on the types of products that are being sold online. We can already see new trends in eCommerce - a move away from heavy, bulky items that are difficult to transport and an increase in sales of smaller items that can be easily shipped. This trend is likely to continue as people become more accustomed to shopping online for items that they would traditionally have bought in-store. Another big trend that we’re seeing is a shift from business-to-business eCommerce to business-to-consumer eCommerce. The rise of B2C over B2B is being driven by the fact that many small businesses have had to move their operations online in order to make it through the pandemic. Even traditional businesses that relied on in-person sales are now turning to eCommerce to reach their customers. Manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and insurance are just some of the industries that are starting to sell directly to consumers online. This new approach and innovative trends in the eCommerce industry might bring some new challenges. However, the benefits are likely to outweigh the drawbacks in the long run. ECommerce Companies Lean More on Augmented Reality The rise of augmented reality has been a game changer in the eCommerce industry, especially in fashion and home furnishing. This technology is being used by some of the biggest names in retail, including IKEA, Dulux, Lego, Sephora, and Nike. AR allows shoppers to see how products would look in their homes before they buy them. This is particularly useful for items like furniture and home décor, where it can be difficult to visualize exactly how something would look in your home space. Following the new eCommerce trends, AR has recently been used to create virtual showrooms and allow customers to try on products before they buy them. This can benefit the clothing and makeup industries, where you need to see how something looks on you before you make a purchase. We expect to see even more retailers using AR in the next few years as the technology becomes more widespread and available to everyone. AI Will Further Personalize the Shopping Experience Artificial intelligence is already being used by many top-rated eCommerce platforms to personalize their customers’ shopping experiences. This is one of the latest eCommerce trends, and it helps businesses learn about customers’ individual preferences and use that information to recommend products based on a customer’s past purchases, browsing history, and search queries. This technology is also being used to create dynamic pricing models that automatically adjust prices based on demand, competitor prices, and other factors. AI can also be used to help businesses manage their inventory and fulfill orders more efficiently. In the future, AI is likely to become even more involved in the eCommerce experience. It will be used to provide customer support, process orders, and handle returns. We may even see robots being used to pick and pack orders in warehouses. The use of AI will enable eCommerce shoppers to have a more personalized and convenient experience. It will also allow businesses to save money on labor costs. Chatbots Will Become More Common Today, customers expect their online shopping experience to be streamlined, so when they encounter a bottleneck or poor customer service, it’s very easy for a potential customer to abandon their cart. This means that eCommerce businesses need to find ways to speed up their fulfillment process. One way to do this is by using chatbots to automate customer service tasks. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation. Ever since the first chatbot, ELIZA, was created in 1966, the service has been used to provide customer support, answer questions, and make recommendations. Many eCommerce businesses are already using chatbots, and we expect future trends in eCommerce to make them even more common.  For example, a chatbot can be used to answer common customer questions, provide order status updates, and take care of returns. This frees up customer service representatives to handle more complex issues.  In the future, we expect chatbots to become even more involved in the eCommerce experience. They will likely be used to handle a wider range of tasks, including processing orders and payments. As AI becomes more sophisticated, chatbots will become more realistic and able to hold natural conversations with customers more easily. Voice Search Will Become a Big Deal As voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home become more common, we expect voice search to become more prominent in global eCommerce trends. Voice search allows for voice input, which is faster and often more convenient than typing. As statistics indicate, about 75% of US households will own at least one smart speaker by 2025, making voice search an important factor in eCommerce.  As the use of voice-activated assistants grows and as they become an integral part of eCommerce’s future, we expect businesses will optimize their eCommerce sites for voice search. This means using natural language instead of keywords, including long-tail keywords that are more likely to be spoken than typed, and making sure that product pages are listed when someone searches for relevant keywords. It will also become more critical for businesses to provide concise and accurate information on their product pages. This is because people are more likely to get frustrated with a voice-activated assistant if they have to keep asking for clarification on product descriptions. Conventional Payment Options Will Take a Back Seat As the world becomes more digital, we expect to see a shift from traditional payment methods to newer, more secure methods such as mobile payments and cryptocurrencies. Unlike recent B2B eCommerce trends, this one will have a more profound and lasting impact on the way businesses interact with customers.  With a variety of ways to pay for goods and services online, customers will have more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they make purchases. We expect mobile payments to become more popular as people become more comfortable using their smartphones to make transactions. Contactless payments have become common during the pandemic, and established players such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are likely to benefit from this trend. Cryptocurrency is another payment method that is gaining popularity, particularly among younger generations. Bitcoin payments, one of the major new trends in eCommerce shopping, have been on the rise lately. As more people become aware of cryptocurrency and how to use it, eCommerce customers will have more options when it comes to how they make payments. Headless and API-Driven Commerce is Gaining Momentum Headless commerce is an architecture that decouples the back-end systems from the front-end. This allows businesses to build their eCommerce store using any programming language and framework they want. API-driven commerce is a similar concept, but it takes things one step further by allowing businesses to connect their eCommerce store to any third-party service using APIs, a type of software that allows two applications to communicate with each other. This eCommerce industry trend is gaining momentum because it gives businesses more flexibility and control over their stores. Companies can also get the advantage of the incorporated SEO, content marketing tools, and digital experience features. Finally, back-end developers and front-end developers can work independently of each other, which speeds up the development process. Product Videos Will Become More Popular As broadband speeds continue to increase and more people watch videos on their smartphones, customer engagement through product videos will continue to grow. Short video content is a great way to show off your products in a way that is more engaging than traditional product photos. They are also a great way to showcase how your products can be used in real-world scenarios directly from your eCommerce store. Unlike photos or descriptions, video content can quickly grab a viewer’s attention and give them an idea of what your product is all about. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to start thinking about how you can use video content to showcase your products or services effectively. Conversion Strategies Will Focus on Building Trust In order to convert leads into customers, businesses need to focus on building trust. Multi-channel selling, Facebook advertising, and Instagram marketing are great ways to convert leads into customers, provided you focus on building trust with your target audience.  As recent online sales trends indicate, consumers are more and more skeptical of advertising and are looking for brands they can have confidence in. This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as by displaying customer testimonials and reviews, social proof, and security seals. Another way to build trust is to offer a money-back guarantee or free shipping. This shows that you are confident in your product and that you are willing to stand behind it. Finally, focusing on transparency (e.g., disclosing your business practices, the manufacturing process, etc.) and building a strong social media presence can also help any business in the eCommerce industry build trust with potential customers. Big Data is a Game Changer Big data is a term used to describe the large volume of data that businesses now have access to. This data can come from a variety of sources, such as social media, website analytics, CRM systems, and more. Big data can be used to improve the customer experience in a number of ways, such as by personalizing the experience, identifying customer pain points, and improving customer service. We've all experienced seeing suggestions on shopping platforms or search engines, and most of us have found them to be pretty accurate. The more data a company has, the better it can cater to its customer's needs, and this will become increasingly important in future eCommerce trends. However, big data carries big challenges as customers are more and more concerned about data privacy. So, businesses need to make sure they are handling customer data responsibly and transparently if they want to keep using it to boost profits. Mobile Commerce Will Continue To Grow Mobile commerce is expected to continue growing in the coming years. According to statistics, mobile devices are used for over 40% of online transactions, their rising popularity indicates that this is one of the trends in online shopping that’s here to stay. Mobile commerce offers a number of advantages for businesses, such as increased reach, shorter buying cycles, and improved conversion rates. It also offers many advantages for customers, including the ability to shop anywhere at any time. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s important to make sure your eCommerce platform is mobile-friendly. This means having a responsive design that looks good on all devices, as well as providing a smooth and easy-to-use mobile shopping experience. Omnichannel Selling Will Become the Norm Omnichannel selling is a term used to describe the practice of selling products through multiple channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, mobile apps, and more. This eCommerce trend and approach allows businesses to reach more potential customers and provides a more seamless shopping experience. In the past, businesses have often treated each selling channel as a separate entity. However, this is changing as more and more businesses are adopting an omnichannel approach. This shift is driven by the increasing popularity of online shopping and the need for businesses to provide a more cohesive customer experience. As omnichannel selling becomes more common, it’s important for businesses to make sure they’re building eCommerce websites that can support it. This means having a platform that is integrated with all of your other selling channels and that provides a consistent experience for customers regardless of how they shop.  Environmental Sustainability Will Play a Big Role As we become more and more aware of the impact our consumption has on the environment, sustainability is becoming an important factor in purchasing decisions. Customers that follow new online shopping trends want to know if the products they’re buying have been ethically sourced and if the company they are buying from is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint. In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to make sure they’re considering environmental sustainability in all aspects of their operations. This includes everything from the sourcing of materials to the packaging and shipping of products. Customers are now more willing to pay extra for sustainable products, so there is a big opportunity for businesses that are able to meet this demand. How To Make the Best Use of ECommerce Trends ECommerce is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up. However, by staying informed and making sure your eCommerce platform is up to date, you can ensure that your business is able to stay ahead of the competition. To make the most of the latest eCommerce developments, consider the following: 1. Keep Up With the Latest Trends To stay on top of your game, you must be proactive and regularly seek out new information. There is a number of ways to do this, such as reading industry news, following relevant blogs and industry influencers, and attending eCommerce conferences. You can get to know what’s going on in the industry and find inspiration for your own business.  Read up on the research data and statistics that are available on eCommerce growth trends. This can help you understand the current landscape and make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts.  2. Take Advantage of Digital Tools There are a number of digital tools that can help you improve your eCommerce business. From marketing automation software to customer relationship management systems, there’s a variety of features that can make it easier to run your business and provide a better experience for your customers. Check the data and sales figures, and invest in analytical tools so you can understand where your customers are coming from and what they are looking for. 3. Learn From Your Competitors It’s important to keep an eye on your competitors to see what they are doing and how they are reacting to the latest eCommerce retail trends. You can learn a lot from observing their strategies and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Should they fail, you can learn from their mistakes. If they succeed, you can try to replicate their success. Final Words As the global eCommerce ecosystem continues to grow and evolve, it's important to stay on top of the latest trends. Instead of leaning on traditional shopping methods, more and more consumers are turning to the internet to purchase items. Mobile phones play a big role here, as they provide a convenient way to shop on the go. What's more, consumers are getting more comfortable with new technologies such as AI, AR, chatbots, and voice search. These eCommerce trends in technology are changing the way we interact with eCommerce platforms and retailers. With all that said, we're confident that you now have a solid understanding of the current eCommerce landscape. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for new trends so you can stay ahead of the curve.
By Danica Djokic · September 15,2022

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