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    The Quick Guide to Starting a Profitable Ecommerce Brand

     

    If you’re eager to strike out on your own as an entrepreneur, ecommerce is an attractive option. Not only does ecommerce offer a flexible lifestyle and the ability to work from home, it’s also a business you can start without a ton of up-front investment or a team of business advisors. However, starting an ecommerce business isn’t the same thing as building a successful ecommerce brand. What does it really take to start and grow an online store?

    How to write a business plan for an ecommerce brand

    Ecommerce is an accessible business for new entrepreneurs, but it still takes strategy and planning to succeed in online commerce.

     

    • Decide what to sell. What to sell, where to source it, and how much to charge are the first questions any ecommerce startup needs to answer. Consider demand, logistics, and profit margins when choosing products for your target audience.
    • Develop a fulfillment plan. Decide if you’ll self-fulfill, use a 3PL provider, dropship, or adopt a hybrid approach to get orders from the manufacturer into customers’ hands.
    • Set a marketing strategy. Marketing for ecommerce emphasizes digital strategies like content, social media, and pay-per-click marketing. Pay attention to industry trends to identify the best methods to reach your audience.
    • Compile it all into a business plan. An ecommerce business plan includes an executive summary, business overview, market analysis, and other information to guide business decisions and inform lenders and investors.

    How to set up an ecommerce business to operate legally

    After refining your business strategy, you’re ready to do business. Here’s how to set yourself up as an official ecommerce company.

     

    • File Articles of Organization. This document officially forms an LLC in Virginia. It costs $100 to form an LLC and $50 for annual registration. Business formation documents are processed in about four weeks unless paying for expedited service.
    • Open a business bank account. A business bank account makes it easier to manage your finances. Separate bank accounts prevent commingling of business and personal funds and streamline bookkeeping.
    • Determine sales tax nexus. Sales tax gets complicated for ecommerce companies selling in multiple states. Online sellers must determine where they have sales tax nexus and register for sales tax permits accordingly.

    How to build your ecommerce online store

    You can’t build a successful ecommerce brand without a great online store and exceptional customer experience.

     

    • Choose a domain name. The best domain names do more than reflect your brand. They’re also memorable, unique, and able to be optimized for SEO.
    • Adopt user-friendly design. Online stores should be simple with easy navigation and a straightforward shopping experience. Build trust and add personality with branded colors, imagery, and social proof.
    • Choose an ecommerce platform. Ecommerce platforms eliminate many of the technical challenges that come with building a user-friendly online store. Consider reviews, cost, security, and scalability when choosing a platform.
    • Include the right elements. Beyond the basics, customers want reviews and trustmarks, product details and guides, social media links, and 24-hour customer service from ecommerce websites.

     

    These resources will get you started building a profitable ecommerce brand. After establishing your ecommerce business and launching your online store, keep marketing your brand to build awareness and grow conversions. With a solid strategy and persistence, you can reap the rewards of this business opportunity.

     

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