E-commerce is a booming industry, with billions of people worldwide already spending money online.
The way we shop is rapidly changing and so are online retailers. Ecommerce has become an essential part of our everyday lives —and even the experts can be found making mistakes.
This ecommerce guide is designed to provide all the information you need to set up, launch, market, and run your own ecommerce business, from start to finish.
Definition of E-commerce
E-commerce is the sale of products and services over the internet. It can be done through various channels, such as websites, mobile apps, social media and more.
History of Ecommerce
Ecommerce, also known as online shopping, has been around for a long time. It started in the 1990s with the advent of the World Wide Web and has since grown into a huge industry.
Ecommerce can be used to describe a variety of different types of businesses, including businesses that sell physical goods and services, digital goods, or services.
When Apple and Microsoft started making personal computers and common people got their hands onto it, it became more common for people to use computers as their primary means of communication
This led to an increase in online shopping because it allowed users to conduct transactions without having to leave home or spend time at an office.
In fact, there are many different ways that you can buy things online now:
You could order food from an app like,
You could buy clothes through sites like Myntra, And you could even buy books through Amazon and Flipkart!
Types of Ecommerce
1. Business to business (aka B2B)
One business sells products to another business. E.g. T-shirt manufacturers buying fabrics from Fabric wholesalers.
2. Business to consumer (aka B2C)
One brand sells products to individuals like us.
E.g. You buying T-shirt from Myntra or Ajio.
3. Direct to consumer (aka D2C)
One brands sells directly to individuals only from their website or app—No distributor, Retailer.
E.g. BoAt, Noise, Sleepy Owl.
4. Consumer to consumer (aka C2C)
One digital medium connects buyer and seller.
E.g. OLX is the best example for this.
5. Consumer to business (aka C2B)
One skilled Individual sells product or service to a business
E.g. Freelance work on Platforms
like Upwork or Fiverr.
Benefits of Ecommerce
E-commerce is a win win situation for both the consumers and businesses.
Here are 4 benefits:
1. Convenience – You can order anything from anywhere without leaving your foot outside of the door.
2. Enormous Reach – You can sell your products from any country to any country. Revenue boost.
3. Better Customer experience – You can make personalized offers and recommendations to customers on your website and app.
4. Cost reduction – You can save the money that could have gone into opening stores in different cities and use those money to delight your customers.
5. Boost sales – You can sleep at night peacefully but your online store will work for you 24/7. Resulting in more sales.
You just learned What is Ecommerce, It’s defination, History, Types of E-commerce and What are the benefits of it.
Now Let’s see…
How to Set up Your Online Store
Now as you have read the basics of What E-commerce is, Let us dive into…
How to Set up Your Online Store
Starting an online store is best way to reach more people and therefore increasing more sales plus growing your business.
To set up you need to choose right platform or marketplace for your business.
There are so many options that can make you overwhelm.
In this part of the guide you’ll know in brief which platform is right for you, Creating product catalogue, Setting up payment and Shipping options, Designing your ecommerce website and finally launching your online store.
Choosing the right platform for your E-commerce business
Choosing a platform will be your most important decision in the process.
You have two choices go for Marketplace or Making your own ecommerce store.
Marketplaces are Flipkart, Amazon, Nykaa, Myntra, Meesho.
You can build your own store with the help of Shopify, Woocommerce, Big commerce, Magento, and Wix.
When you choose a platform or marketplace consider these things:
– Easy to build and maintain the store.
– Have more customisation options.
– Payments and shipping options.
– Easy to integrate useful tools.
Choose the platform that suits your business needs and is easy to manage.
[More about on Platform and marketplaces read this]
Next step is…
Creating a Product catalogue
After choosing platform you choose theme or template that looks good and functions smooth.
Then you’ll build your Product catalogue.
– You need to add product images
Make sure your product images are high-resolution so that your customers get the idea what they’ll get after purchase.
– You need to add product descriptions
Make sure to add clear and every information your customers need to know about your product plus what’s unique to your product.
– You need to add pricing for each products
Make sure to check your competitors price points to get an idea what you could price your products.
Now we’ll learn how to get the payment from your customers.
Set up Payment and Shipping options
If you are on Marketplace (like Flipkart) you don’t need to worry much about payment and shipping options.
They’ve already built in payment gateways and shipping arrangement.
If you are on your own on site (built with Shopify) you just need to integrate the payment gateways.
And for shipping you need to go for delivery partner Pickrr, Shiprocket, Ecom express and many more.
Register to one delivery partner and Integrate it to your store and you’re good to go to next step.
And the step is…
Designing Your Ecommerce Website
You got the theme or template of your choice now it’s time to customise for your business.
What all you need to design Ecommerce website:
– You need Good Theme or template.
– You need your brand’s logo.
– Choose a color palette.
– Add a good copy (your message).
– Put products in their respective category.
– Make the website user-friendly.
– Visually appeals to your customers.
– Must do: Optimize for mobile phones.
After doing all the behind-the-scene work It’s time to…
Launching Your Store Online
Before you launch your store make sure to Test everything (all the navigations, links, checkout pages, pop-ups etc.)
Now You’re good to Launch, Make your website Live and announce it on all your social media platforms.
Wait… you just launched a store how can you get people to know you exist and make them your customer.
For that you have to continue reading, Now we’re getting into Ecommerce Marketing part.
E-Commerce Marketing for Growing Your Online Business
Making an Ecommerce store is not the end and as soon as you make your website Live people will start buying from you.
You need to…
Build a customer base for your ecommerce business
You need to build a strong marketing strategy to attract right customers and keeping them.
You need find out to who all your target audience are.
Plus their demographics, interests, and purchasing habits.
You can learn about their likes and dislikes from reading your reviews and feedbacks and Improve your product and customer service.
I got that I need a Marketing strategy but how do I make one? You may ask
We’ve got you covered, Here you go…
How to Develop Marketing strategy for your E-commerce business
– Set a Marketing goal
Set goals for how many customers would you like to reach, it will help you figure out how much efforts you’ve to put in to achieve that goal. Be realistic.
– Choose the right marketing channel
– Allocate budget
For content creation for organic growth and running ads for sales and brand awareness.
Let us now understand each Marketing channel in brief so you can choose the right ones.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for E-commerce
SEO is the practice you use to get more visibility and higher rankings in the Search engine (Google).
The higher you rank the more people will come to your website, the more people come to your website the more sales you will make.
E.g. When someone wants to buy Coffee mug and you’re selling it through website.
If your website is ranking way below 10 search results, Only few people will come.
And Instead of that you have done the SEO right and ranking in top 3-5 search results, Thousands of people will come.
How to Boost SEO ranking of your E-commerce store:
– You need to research the relevant keywords you want to rank for (e.g. Coffee mug, Coffee mug gift ideas)
– You need to use relevant keywords in your product pages.
– You need Optimize your website for the Mobile Phones.
– You need to make high quality content (e.g. blog: 11 Best Coffee mugs to gift you girlfriend)
– You need to make sure your content is sharable and relevant to your Target audience.
Second channel is Social media platforms.
How to use Social Media to grow your E-commerce business:
– Choose the right social media platform
Look where your customers spend most time on and be on that platform (e.g. If you’ve product for youth you must be on Instagram, If you’ve product for 30+ age people you must be on Meta–Facebook).
– Create valuable content for customers
Make the content relevant to the platform and the Target audience which add value to your customers. (e.g. How to make Ice coffee in 3 easy steps—Reels and posts)
– Connect with customer via chat and comments
People buy from brand they feel connected to when they have queries and issue you solve fast.
Social media makes easy for your customers and you (brand) to communicate. Use it aptly.
Next part is Advertising where you spend money to reach potential customers.
How to do advertising for your E-commerce business:
You can run ads On Social media platforms, Google, and YouTube.
By creating a Campaign like Search engine ad campaign, Social media ad campaign and Display ad campaign.
Search engine ads: Your ad will show up as first Two-Three results for the choosen keywords.
Social media ads: Instagram ads—Story, posts and reels ad. YouTube ads—In video, Before-after Video and Home feed.
Display ads: Your ad will show up when potential customers are surfing through blogs and other content on websites.
Next Marketing channel is Email marketing—Cost-effective way to promote your business.
How to do Email marketing for your E-commerce business:
– You need to have Email List (subscribers list).
Have Subscribe to our newsletter form in your website’s Pop-up, Footer section, Contact us page plus Remind social media audience to Join (3-4 times a month).
– You need to make engaging content for your customers.
Don’t just send buy this or buy that emails—share your story, behind the scenes and informative content.
– Promote your new products, offers and price drops alerts, just make sure to not overdoing salesy mails (2 content email – 1 sales is good ratio)
Now we’re at the last marketing channel Influencer marketing—Do it wisely.
Influencer marketing can bring great results for your E-commerce business if you do it Right.
So let’s see…
How to do Influencer marketing for E-commerce business:
– You must choose Right Influencers
Influencers which are good fit for your brand (e.g. If you sell fitness products go for fitness content creators)
– You must choose Influencers which have good engagement with their audience.
Don’t just see numbers of followers, see how many people are actually engaging with the creator or you’ll just waste your money.
– You have to come up with collaboration idea
Or let the creator do Integration of your product in their content that way it will feel more natural and less salesy. Just moniter so it doesn’t go off your brand values.
– You need to track and analyse how did the campaign perform.
See which Influencers brings more sales and what type of content they made. Use that learning for the Next Influencers marketing campaign.
Now that you learnt how you can Make a Marketing strategy for your business,
We’ll dive into Customer service and operations—To run your E-commerce business smooth.
Customer Service and Streamlining Operations
In this part of the guide you’ll know key elements of Operations, Managing Inventory, Fulfilling Orders and making Processes.
How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service for E-commerce business:
Exceptional Customer Service is important to build trust and loyalty.
– You need responding Promptly To Customer Inquiries,
Resolving Issues as fast as possible. Provide helpful and friendly support.
– Invest in Customer service system like Chatbot Or Live Chat, It makes it easy for Customers To
Get In Touch With You.
– Mention Returns and Refund policy on your website, So customers don’t beat around the bush and give 1 star reviews.
– Use better Product Images and detailed description on product pages, so customers make Informed choices.
To make your business run smoothly, Streamline.
How to Streamline E-Commerce business Operations:
Streamlining Operations makes your business Efficient And Profitable.
– Automate the Process: When someone makes a purchase, your store management system processes the order and give notification to the warehouse system and team packs the product and delivers to the person.
– Choose the platform which lets you integrate Inventory and shipping management systems. To reduce the errors and waste.
– As you scale more Invest in more technology, like Barcode scanning and Automated
packing, more efficient and less errors.
Now let’s talk about Inventory management.
How to Manage Inventory in E-commerce business:
What if you don’t have a certain product and you get bunch orders for the same…Ducked right? To avoid that you need Inventory management system.
If you’re selling through a marketplace they’ve it inbuilt system and that system shows “Out of Stock” Immediately.
And If you’ve built on Shopify, Big commerce or Woocommerce use plugin or app Integration.
Add in the system how many products you’ve and It will show on your website “Out of Stock” once over. And sends you notification so you can add more or source more.
Inventory management done but what about Fulfilling the orders?
Here you go…
How to Fulfill orders and shipping for E-commerce business:
Fulfilling Orders is the last step in the E-Commerce buying process.
If you’re selling through marketplace they’ve it inbuilt system and that system processes Payments, Packaging and Shipping with Fulfillment program.
And If you’ve built on Shopify, Big commerce or Woocommerce use plugin or app Integration.
Register your business with delivery partner and they’ll take care of your delivery and returns all by themselves with small fees.
Few Delivery partners: Pickrr, Shiprocket, Ecom express and many more.
So now as your store is up and running, customers are visiting your website, buying from you, and receiving the products.
Ecommerce Analytics and Metrics
You’ll have to focus on Analytics and Metric of your E-commerce store—understand it and optimize for better conversions.
Let’s see how to measure, understand and optimize your online store.
Understanding Your E-commerce business Metrics
To measure the success of your E-Commerce Business, You need to understand the Key Metrics and Analytics that are relevant to Your Business.
You to identify which Metrics important to you and Track, Analyze and make improvements.
How to Use Google Analytics for E-commerce store:
Google analytics provides powerful insights into your website traffic and performance and best part is it’s Free.
It helps you to track and analyze the key metrics such as traffic, conversion rates, average order value, and more.
You can set up Google analytics for your E-commerce store just by signing up for Google Analytics account and Install the tracking code it generate for you to your website.
Just like that you can get all the valuable data that you can use to boost conversion rate and website performance.
A powerful method for optimizing your online store and improving your conversion rates.
In A/B Testing you make small changes to your
website and create two or more different designs or copywriting, for example a new Call-to-action (CTA), Product pages, layout.
To see which one performance the best and you go for that perticular design and copy.
You can do A/B Testing with the ads you’re running on various platforms too. Best practice to see what works.
How to Improve website conversion rate of your E-commerce store
Many factors play a role in converting website visitors into customers.
– First you need to A/B Test your website design and copy–words you’ve written on your website. See which version performs better. Stick to that.
– Add High-quality product images and write detailed product descriptions.
– Pricing could be the issue, see what your competitors are pricing for the same stuff. If you prices are high and the product way better—communicate your value well.
– Check you don’t have a complicated checkout process and a lousy website experience. In many cases people run away from that. Fix that.
Now we’ve covered everything about running your E-commerce business and optimizing the store to get the best conversion rate.
But you must look out for new Trends and innovations in the field and adopt them as soon as possible. So, you can stay ahead.
E-Commerce Trends and Innovations
Industry is growing at a rapid pace, and new trends are coming up all the time.
The most exciting trends in the e-commerce industry are The growth of mobile commerce, Popularity of social commerce, Rise of Voice-powered shopping, and how we can forget the growing use of virtual and augmented reality in e-commerce.
It’s important to keep up with these trends and see which Innovations you can implement to your E-commerce business.
What is the future of Mobile E-commerce?
8 out of 10 people in the world use phones and spend at least 2 hours a day on phones.
And more and more people use mobile to shop online. Mobile commerce is expected to continue to grow.
Mobile commerce will only go up as businesses are investing in new technologies and Innovations to make shopping on mobile phones seamless and convenient.
To step up Your game for Mobile commerce you need to make your website Mobile friendly, accept payments options like UPI and quick shipments to delight your customers.
Next up is Artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence in E-commerce
There is a lot of hype about Artificial intelligence in general but it can do wonders for your E-commerce store.
- You can Improve the customer experience by…
Personalizing the product recommendations from purchase order history.
Personalize greetings–when they visit your website or app from account details.
Personalized upsells–to boost the Average order value of the customer and many more.
- Streamline the operations
It helps you to automate the routine tasks that take up a huge chunk of your time and make data-driven decisions—so you can focus on more important work.
Next is Virtual and Augmented reality.
Virtual and augmented reality in E-commerce
Virtual and augmented reality helps Ecommerce
businesses with these technologies to enhance the shopping experience and provide customers with new and innovative ways to interact with products.
And in the future, VR and AR are going to play an even bigger role in e-commerce, with businesses using these technologies to provide customers with immersive shopping experiences and help customers visualize products in new and innovative ways.
These were the Emerging Trend and Innovations in the E-commerce Industry. Keep up with them.
So, you could capitalize on new innovations and get a competitive edge.
Legal and regulatory considerations for your E-commerce business.
Starting an ecommerce business can be exciting and rewarding, but it also requires a number of legal and regulatory considerations that you must be aware of.
In this part, we’ll see what are some of the key legal and regulatory considerations for e-commerce businesses, and how to navigate.
E-commerce sales Tax
You need file your Ecommerce business’s IT return and
So we prefer you to consult with Chartered accountant (CA) to understand everything about taxation.
Good source is the Vakeel[dot]com— You can book appointment and consult online itself.
Consumer privacy and data protection for E-commerce business:
You will collect and store the huge amount of personal and sensitive information with your E-commerce business.
It’s essential for your business to have robust privacy and data protection policies in place to protect your customers and their information.
To protect consumer privacy and data, it’s important for you to have a clear and concise
And make sure that you are compliant with all applicable privacy and data protection laws and regulations of the country.
Intellectual property law for E-commerce business in India.
Make sure All trademarks and copyrights for the products/text/symbols you use on websites, social media platforms and packaging must be granted to you.
While India has a well-defined legal and regulatory framework for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights. But yet to completely update the laws for complete efficiency in the virtual world.
For instance, there is no set law to prevent domain name duplicity and misuse except for a few judicial pronouncements.
Two acts you should read to learn more about Intellectual Property rights in India:
Indian Copyright Act, 1957.
The Patents Act, 1970.
That was the Tax and Legal regulatorities for E-commerce.
To run your E-commerce business smoothly you need to comply with ecommerce regulations
In every aspects like advertising and marketing
regulations, product labeling requirements, and regulations governing product safety and quality–If you’re into Food and consuming products.
Guide reached to the end. Let’s Conclude.
E-commerce has come a long way since its early days, and today it has become important chunk of the global economy.
With Internet penetration and increasing use of mobile phones, the Ecommerce Industry continues to evolve and expand.
Presenting new opportunities and challenges for E-commerce businesses and consumers alike.
Technology is advancing and customers are adapting to the new shopping experiences. Future of e-commerce looks promising.
What are the Best Practices for Building a Successful E-commerce business?
Want to build a successful e-commerce business? Follow this Practices:
- Choose the right e-commerce platform
- Developing a marketing strategy
- Deliver delightful customer service
- Use data analytics to make informed decisions
- Work on Brand strategy and Product.
- Make the customer journey frictionless and Keep Improving.
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