How to start an e-commerce business from scratch

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7 min

December 9, 2021
How to start an e-commerce business from scratch

Starting Your E-commerce Venture from Scratch: A Comprehensive Guide

These days e-commerce business has become extremely intense and saturated, and it keeps gaining popularity. If you are still unfamiliar with the topic, e-commerce (or electronic commerce) is buying and selling goods and even services over the Internet. Also, Dropshipping is the most popular form of e-commerce business for beginners. Essentially, e-commerce is where a seller does not have to invest in inventory. Therefore, one of the main reasons for such popularity of e-commerce is the relative easiness to start. Today you can even start this business from your bed with $0 in your pocket. Hence, the subject matter is how to start dropshipping in an online business literally from scratch.

Choose a shopping platform

Once you have settled your product, you need to work on some administrative aspects. First of all, create Gmail (or any other) business account and make sure it is tied to your business name. The latter one should be completely free. Then, go ahead and use that business email address and start the free trial of any online shopping platform (we recommend Shopify). This way, you have 2-4 weeks to set up fundamental parts of your store, and that should be more than enough.

Shopify platform
Set up relevant software

When you have your store running, you should download a couple of relevant programs upfront. For example, some of them are about getting free integration from AliExpress and integrating the product into your store, which is helpful. There are other different programs, but one simple example is enough. It is worth mentioning they will offer subscription packages to buy. However, it is not necessary at all.

Modify your store

The next step is all about customizing your online shop. People tend to spend too much time on this process, and most beginners spend a lot of money on this step. In other words, they get convinced that the better design is, the more sales you will get. You should know that although web design is crucial, lots of premium themes and backgrounds will not increase your sales dramatically. Rather than that, there are plenty of platforms that may help you with any design issues for free.

Good job! You already have your product and store sunning without spending a single cent. Nevertheless, there are many further steps to be taken. Imagine that some people have already noticed your shop and are about to purchase and bring your first money. However, that is still impossible if there is no payment gateway in your shop.

Install payment gateway

For this reason, it is necessary to set up a payment gateway as soon as possible to prevent losing potential customers. There is no need to go deep into details here. Again, most providers will offer their helpful premium subscriptions, but there is no great need for those. We would suggest going with a PayPal system. That simple addition may notably increase your selling indicators.

payment gateway
Unpaid traffic

The question, how you are going to get traffic to your store without paying may have already crossed your mind. A completely free setup of traffic is the trickiest part. It is tough enough. However, savvy and patience are the key factors.

Manual sales channels

Unfortunately, customers are not likely to come into your store only because it is new and well-customized without any advertising. However, it is still possible to achieve that without any money invested. The first thing you need to do to get traffic to your store for free is set up your store on different marketplaces. As soon as there is no option to pay for Google or Facebook ads, there is a need for a pre-existed platform to leverage. There is a simple option, that is a bit underestimated – the blog content area on your website. How is that going to work? In terms of website SEO, Google or Bing take content into account and rank the website better. It drives traffic to your store. Do not forget that this strategy is 100% a long-term one – you are not going to get traffic immediately just because you publish a blog post. However, as long as you follow SEO tactics and post content, you will see people entering directly to your store.  

Another good idea is to post this content on Facebook. That has nothing to do with the ad library. Focus on relevant Facebook groups. The only thing you should do is join a couple of social network groups with many followers and post your meaningful content there. Potentially, you may link back your store and drive some more traffic to it. That is an effective way of attracting traffic, but it is manual and, consequently, limited by your time.  

Automated sales channels

Now, let's dive into some automated ways of getting people to your online store, which are still free of any charge. There is an effective way to connect your store to platforms that will hook your store up to a free marketplace. People come through the platform, and whenever they want to buy something particular, they might come through your store via this platform.

Another helpful and free channel is e-Bay. You only have to pay some fee when you make the sale. Connecting your online store to this platform is a good idea. It will push your products to the e-Bay marketplace and leverage that for you in a completely automatic way.

Domain name

You might be asking about domain name absence. It is the only thing that we highly recommend paying on. If you have only a $10 budget for your online store establishment, the best way to spend them is to buy your domain name.

One more approach

There is one more good reason to become an expert or at least an experienced person in the area of e-commerce. The demand for e-commerce specialists has been on the rise. However, there is an approach that may be more applicable to some people:

  • The first step is to learn about the business industry and the environment from the inside
  • The second one is to start doing your steps.

There is a broad range of well-paid positions in the e-commerce sphere. Among some of the most popular ones are an e-commerce marketing specialist, sales agent, data entry agent, homesite merchandising manager, etc. Fortunately, there are recognized, internationally well-known sources and platforms, which may help you with the processes of searching and applying.

Further steps

At this point, you set up your online store with a whole bunch of different apps and numerous sales channels with no single cent spent. That was a rather time-consuming method. However, it brings you to the same page if you invested some money for all the steps from above. The next thing you should focus on is to drive those sales channels, try to find new ones, and continue building your store from other aspects.

These were the basics of the e-commerce business establishment process, and there are more aspects and areas to learn from. Nevertheless, this is sufficient for a quick and smooth start in such a modern and rapidly-changing industry. Follow those steps, adjust any of them for yourself if needed, and add new sales channels relevant to your niche. That is the easiest way, not only to try dropshipping but to start your own business right now and grow extremely quickly.

If you would like more information about Shopify and if you should use it, in German, we can recommend this in-depth review of the platform.

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