Four Simple Tips to Starting an Online Business: E-Commerce 101

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If you are willing to join this crowd but don’t know where to start then here is four basic ideas to get you brainstorming about the process of setting up your own e-commerce business:

How to Start an Online Business

1. Different is Good – if you look at some of the most successful businesses out there you will notice that each of them has managed to tap into a niche not explored by others. This could mean providing a new type of product not sold elsewhere (e.g. Tweet Deck), or offering a service which people may not even have realized they need (e.g. Facebook). Putting a twist on an already available product or service also works wonders; just look at the way Facebook or Twitter have changed the way we use social networks. Agreed that the examples given are of some of the most well-known businesses, but they were all started by people who simply had a good idea and executed it well.

2. Business Plan – yes, any successful business starts with a plan. You will need to gather all the information, ideas and plans in one document to help you manage your project. This may not be too exciting, but without a good strategy it can be difficult to stay on the right track.

3. Website – obviously you cannot have an e-commerce business without a website. Firstly you will need to think about a domain name, register it and then place your site under that address. Remember that this will be the face of your business, so do not go for the easiest or cheapest options. Think long term and try not to blindly follow what your competitors are doing. Pretty design is often less important that usability.

4. Marketing – once you’ve completed the above steps you will need to make sure that potential customers know about your business. Marketing is crucial and it is worth planning it in advance. Fortunately the Internet gives you so many options in terms of advertising as well as social marketing that you should have no shortage of ideas and strategies. The online world really is your oyster and there isn’t a bad way to publicize your website. Sales volumes will ultimately let you know whether what you’re doing is working.

These are four steps which any e-commerce business needs to go through, although we’ve not covered the small details here. What these tips should show you is setting up your own online venture is accessible and achievable. If you have an idea which you think could be successful there has never been a better time to realize it.

About the Author

Eva is a freelance journalist, real geek and film lover working for an online company in London. She covers e-commerce and online marketing developments around the world, and is currently working with a merchant services company,, while building her journalism career.