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How to Start Your eCommerce Business - A Checklist for 2021

Admittedly, it had been in the works for quite some time now, but the COVID-19 pandemic gave it that much-needed push to jump-start the process at a higher speed.


Yes, we are indeed talking about the Digital Transformation wave that swept through businesses globally, at a time when physical movement was restricted. While many companies became broke and many others had to downsize considerably, there was a significant number who decided to take their operations online.


Simultaneously, there were people who lost their livelihood but decided to keep going by starting up their own enterprise in an eCommerce format. Again, although some were successful, most were barely able to scratch the surface with their efforts.



How to Start Your eCommerce Business

Most of these failed attempts, we suspect, fizzled out because of a lack of the necessary know-how of beginning with an eCommerce business model. Therefore, we have prepared for you this detailed checklist that takes you step-by-step through the entire process of establishing your very own online business.


The eCommerce StartUp Checklist 2021


Big and small, with all the main concerns taken into advisement, we have drafted this list for your easy reference when striving to build an eCommerce business from the ground up.


So, let’s begin.


Decide What To Sell

It happens more often than you realize that the budding entrepreneurs have a name ready for their company alongside a basic plan of how they would like to conduct the trade, but forget deciding upon which product or service they’d like to deal in. As a matter of fact, many similar checklists that you may find on the web also encourage one to begin with the naming first and choosing the product later.


However, we would like to insist that you finalize on the item that you want to sell foremost before you begin working on any other details as the said naming can have a huge negative impact on your business activities if not done in accordance with your venture’s specialization.


Research the Niche

Market research is an immensely vital part in the process of starting a company. Before you begin, you need to have a fair idea of what to expect in the market - the competition, the predicted growth rate, the profit margins prevalent in the industry, the minimum cost of sourcing the goods, and so on.


This is especially important because entering a field without having proper information in regards to what you may find there can be very harmful. You might even decide to change the product line you wanted to deal in after said details come to light, which leaves you back at step 1. Thus knowing what kind of effort you’re going to have to put in is crucial.


Finalize a Business Model

Choosing the kind of business model you’d like to work on is a necessary step in this journey. B2B, B2C, and C2C are some of the most used and well-known frameworks that companies use. Before you begin with your operations, it is important you figure out the answer to this as well.


Alongside, you will also need to determine details like your startup’s budget, income sources, monthly expenses, loan needs, etc. This will help you in being organized and spending judiciously. A flexible yet reliable decision-making procedure can go a long way to successfully pull this step off. 


Choose a Name and Logo

Now comes that much-awaited part wherein you get to decide what you would like to call your business. Remember, choosing the right name is of utmost importance as it can positively or negatively affect the entire enterprise and its activities.


Simultaneously, you also need to start working on what you want your logo to look like. A logo is an image or icon that the company is recognized by and a memorable piece is exactly what you require. If your symbol is extremely generic, there are chances one may easily forget it. So strive for that unique blend of creativity and meaning that reflects your store perfectly.


Acquire Permits and Licenses

Permissions and licenses are required in all parts of the world for any kind of business activity that you wish to undertake. However, they differ based on the country and locale you are in and the area you wish to serve. Essential as it is, it may not be a simple task and might require a lot of your time and energy.


Therefore, it will probably be for the best if you start on this process at the earliest. Starting your operations without receiving the necessary approvals first may result in severe punishments, fines, or even getting blacklisted from a certain industry.


Build an eCommerce Website

Creating an eCommerce-enabled website sounds tougher than it is. All you need to do is choose a user-friendly Content Management System or CMS that allows you to create a webpage without any coding knowledge as well. Nevertheless, the hard part is choosing which CMS to use out of the plethora of options available.


WordPress may be one of the most popular names in this field, but there are many more like BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, etc. that make the job easier for you with the several features they offer.


On the contrary, you can even choose to outsource the entire task to an agency or an independent web developer. This way you can focus entirely on the other operational aspects of the trade.


You need to get the most out of your website to generate profitability through the eCommerce site. 

Do the Website’s SEO

Search Engine Optimization or SEO includes the various techniques that one may use to get a higher ranking on different search engines like Google and Bing. This ensures not just a better rank but also enhanced visibility for your audiences.


This is a vital step as no customer would be able to reach you or know about you if they cannot find you through their web searches.


Source the Right Agencies

Choosing which agencies you would like to work with for your various operations is an important task. Since you will be running an eCommerce business, there will be several tasks like the sourcing of products, storage, packaging and shipping as well as branding.


To ensure that your business runs well, you would also need to make sure that these associates are trustworthy and can take care of the entire order fulfillment process in an appropriate, professional, and timely manner. Thus, choosing carefully after considerable thought is quintessential.


Pick the Right Marketing Mix

Now that all the basic functions are already in place, it is time to discuss the marketing techniques that you wish to apply to your business. You can go with a completely traditional approach (television, radio, print media) or an entirely modern one (social media, blogs, online videos), or you can go for a mix of both.


Ultimately, it is important to remember that whatever medium you choose should be well-suited to your enterprise’s requirements.


Ensure Continuous Analysis

Once the site is launched and you start receiving orders, bit by bit your database also starts growing. It is essential that you monitor the information so collected and keep analyzing the same at regular intervals to help you figure out your future plan of action.


These data-driven decisions can be a tremendous help in determining your next step vis-à-vis. your business activities.


Get a Product Manager if Required

Ecommerce businesses sell several products across multiple channels and categories to cover a broad spectrum of buyers. 


Sometimes, to conquer the competition and stay ahead of the pack, you need a method to position your product in a way that makes your ecommerce business more credible. 


That’s when good product manager skills play a vital role. These skills will let you plan in a way to woo your audience and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage over the long haul. 


You can hire a category manager or product manager to strategize and maintain the activities to scale a product. 

Wrapping Up


Having a To-Do list in hand has been proven to help when one is planning a huge event, and launching one’s own eCommerce startup is no less than an event, is it?


While we have listed down for you the most necessary steps you ought to take, without fail, to successfully start and establish your enterprise, there is always going to be something more you can do. But fret not and soldier on, and you’ll be just that much closer to your goals.


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