Online retail channels have become an essential part of most businesses. Compared to setting up a physical store, it is much easier to set up an eCommerce store. There are several different platforms to help you create an online store on your own easily. This would mean you will be able to create a website and add your products without having to learn coding or getting help from an expert. In this article, we will look into the step-by-step process of getting started with a new eCommerce business idea using WordPress and WooCommerce.
Getting started with a new eCommerce business idea
If you are contemplating on a new eCommerce business idea, and are not sure where to start, we will provide you with a few guidelines.
- Choose the business model and niche
- Research on products
- Choose an eCommerce platform
- Acquire customers.
Choose the business model and niche
If you are starting on a business idea from scratch, this is one of the first steps that you need to take. You will find several different business models that you can try out under the umbrella of eCommerce. Some of these options are as follows:
- A store that sells and ships physical goods.
- Selling downloadable products.
- Software as a Service (SaaS model)
- Virtual products where a service will be rendered in person.
- Subscriptions that will bring you recurring revenue.
- Bookings site for accommodation, rentals or events.
- Create online courses and offer them in the membership model.
- Affiliate site with products from other sites.
The options are really huge, and it is a big decision to take at the very start. Depending on your available resources and investment capabilities, you can choose the model you want to try out. Once you have a clear idea on the business model you are getting into, you can decide the specific niche as well.
Identifying the niche
The choice of niche will hugely influence your business success. If you are not manufacturing your own products, you will have a big task ahead in choosing the right niche. It need not be as specific as deciding on your product range right away. However, you should have a clear idea on the broad category that you are getting into. In a lot of cases, choosing a business model itself will lead you to the niche. If you are doing adequate research at the start, it will be easier to switch in case you find tough competition or less market viability early on.
Google Keyword Planner tool could be a great option to give you insights regarding the value of your niche. You will be able to understand the most searched keywords and their search volumes. You can use this data to know more about the opportunities around a particular niche.
Research on products
Once you have a clear understanding of the business model and the eCommerce niche you are getting into, you can do research on the products. An essential part to cover before you get into products is to understand who your customers are. Once you know your customers, you will have a better perspective on the products that you want to sell. This will need you to understand who your customers are, what they are interested in, and where they buy their products from.
According to several studies, Amazon is a great resource to understand the popularity of your products and the buying patterns of customers. Amazon has a huge variety of products and a global customer base, so it would be a great idea to see Amazon trending products during your product research stage. A lot of customers use Amazon to search and understand products, and it would give you a great foundation in your product research.
Tools like AMZScout could be good starting points for your product research. You will be able to browse through a large database of Amazon products to understand demand and competition, and thereby derive profitable product choices. Moreover, AMZScout offers a Chrome extension to help you know your niche by estimating revenue fluctuations and understanding competitor’s actions.
Choosing an eCommerce platform
Once you have a clear idea on your niche and products you want to sell, you can choose the right eCommerce platform. There are several different eCommerce platforms available to set up an online store. How you choose one will be dependent on several factors, such as the ones below:
- Ease of setting up.
- Cost effectiveness
- Design options.
You need to consider all these factors before choosing the platform for your eCommerce store. WooCommerce is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms used across different industries and business models. Let’s take a quick look at how WooCommerce stands in each of the above parameters that you should consider while choosing an eCommerce platform.
Ease of setting up
If you have a WordPress website, setting up WooCommerce is extremely easy. You can download the free plugins and configure it pretty quickly. However, if you do not have a WordPress site, then you will have to set it up first.
WordPress.org is a self hosted content management system, and that means you will have to find your own domain name and hosting service before installing WordPress. Depending on the scope of your business, you can choose a hosting service from different available options ranging from shared to managed WordPress hosting. Similarly, you will have to choose a domain name and register it with the help of a popular domain name registrar. For example, Bluehost is one of the most popular shared hosting services.
If you want to understand the process of choosing a hosting service provider and registering your domain name, please refer to our article How to make a WordPress site for beginners.
Flexibility in choosing products
Moreover, WooCommerce has great flexibility when it comes to product types. It offers different default product types such as grouped and variable products, and unique ones like subscriptions and bookings. Also, there are no restrictions on the number of products you can feature on your store. Overall, it is a breeze to set up a site using WooCommerce, once you cross the hurdle of hosting your own website.
Read our article on different WooCommerce product types to get a good look at the possibilities.
WooCommerce is one of the most cost effective eCommerce platforms. There is no fee to download or use it. Also, you don’t need to make any payment for the number of products on your site, or the transactions. It gives you all the essentials to create a store by default. Depending on the specific requirements of your store, you can always look out for premium extensions as well.
Get a clearer idea on WooCommerce pricing perspective here.
You will find a large number of free and premium themes suitable for your store in the WordPress ecosystem. It is pretty easy to customize the look and feel of your WooCommerce site thanks to the predefined templates, and extensive theme panel of most WordPress themes. Furthermore, most WordPress themes are responsive, and will make your site mobile friendly as well.
Read more to know about WordPress WooCommerce themes.
WooCommerce is a feature-rich solution that will help you set up a store according to your specific requirements. It offers basic payment options as default and easy integrations with almost all globally popular payment gateways. Moreover, you can easily create shipping zones based on geographical locations of your customers. You will also get features to add tax rates, create coupons and set up email notifications. Furthermore, WooCommerce offers a smooth order management system and you can manage customers efficiently using the core WordPress features for users.
WooCommerce is extremely flexible to customizations. You can make use of the large pool of extensions to integrate any feature that you may need in your store. In the WooCommerce environment, you will find extension plugins for any possible feature or functionality that you can imagine. You can extend your store with plugins in different areas such as shipping, tax, payment, product management, marketing, customer support and more. In addition, WooCommerce offers several hooks for developer-level modifications. If you have the help of a developer, you can easily customize your store by coding as well.
You will find strong SEO principles in-built with WooCommerce. Moreover, there are several efficient plugins like Yoast to help you optimize your product pages and content to rank well in search engine results pages.
WooCommerce, by default, has decent reporting features. You can integrate analytics tools easily with WooCommerce and extend the scope and depth of the default reporting features.
Since WooCommerce is globally popular, you will easily find experts to help you deal with WooCommerce issues. If you are using a premium plugin for your WooCommerce store, you will get support from the developer for an agreed period of time. Moreover, you can easily get answers to your support queries through several related forums.
Once you have set up your store and products, the main concern will be to acquire customers. You will have to create strategies to acquire new customers and to retain existing ones. Depending on the eCommerce platform that you use, you can easily integrate marketing automation tools. By combining your marketing strategy with analytics insights, you can very well take your online business to the next level.
If you are looking for some support in finding marketing solutions for WooCommerce, read our article on the Best WooCommerce marketing plugins.
Alternative choices to WooCommerce
WooCommerce is definitely one of the best choices you can make for your eCommerce business platform. However, there are several other options that may be relevant to your business model. You can also checkout Shopify, or Magento as eCommerce platforms. Web builders like Wix could be an option for you if the setting up process of WordPress seems to be complicated.
Here is a summary of the article to give you a recap of the steps.
Step 1 – Choose your niche
- Do keyword research.
- Identify potential markets.
- Research on competition.
Step 2 – Find products
- Identify target customers.
- Check Amazon trending products.
- Research customer’s preferences.
Step 3 – Choose your eCommerce platform
- Easily configurable
- Cost effective
- Good design options
- Rich features
- Flexibility for customization.
- Support options
Step 4 – Customer acquisition
- Integrate marketing solutions.
- Create customer retention strategies.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with an overview on getting started with your eCommerce business. Leave us a comment if you have a query.