five-key-things-you-must-know-before-starting-an-ecommerce-websiteWhether you’re simply doing it as a sideline to your everyday nine-to-five or really going for broke and making it your full time occupation, there’s little more exciting than starting your own eCommerce website.

It’s a chance to really take control of both your present and your long-term future, to indulge in something you’re truly passionate about and to finally realize those dreams of starting a business that have been nagging away at you for what seems like forever.

Yet by the same token, launching an online store can also be one of the most daunting, not to mention confusing endeavors you’ll ever undertake. At least, it is if you don’t reach out and get a little advice

Of course, with so much to cover, it would be nigh on impossible for us to provide that advice on every crucial detail within the space of this article. Instead then, we’ve done the next best thing with this guide to five key things you must know before starting an eCommerce website.

1. Competition is fierce

As much as you may believe that there’s nobody else out there offering exactly the kind of things you’re planning to sell, our experience has taught us that this is seldom ever the case. Even if you don’t find somebody selling exactly the same products as you, there’s bound to be something similar out there on the market.

What this means for you, is that market research is vital. Check what the competition are doing and think about how you could do not just better, but differently. What’s your Unique Selling Point (USP)? Why should customers buy from you when they could buy from another company who are already established?

2. A business plan is vital

Of course, this is true of any business, not just those related to selling products online. Whatever your new enterprise may be, a solid business plan will help you channel all the work you did in your market research phase into a clear, detailed guide of how you’re going to start and keep things running long after your launch date.

It should include things like budgets, forecasts, price listings; all the key information that lies at the heart of your business. Even if you’re not going to ask the bank manager for funding, this can still play a key role in keeping you and your business on track.

3. Things aren’t as expensive as they may seem

If there’s one thing that’s been putting you off starting your own online store before now, it’s probably the cost, isn’t it? After all, aren’t websites massively expensive things to build and operate?

Well sure, they can be, but that doesn’t mean they have to be. Using a platform like Shopify, BigCommerce or even the ever-popular Wix, you can create your own attractive, powerful web store for just a few dollars a month. Shop around on comparison websites to find the best tools and hosting providers to suit your particular needs and budget!

4. You don’t need to be a web guru to get started

Whilst we’re on the subject of eCommerce site building platforms, its worth mentioning here that you don’t need to be some kind of web wizard to use them. In fact, many of the best eCommerce platforms are purposely created to help tech novices start a website. If you’ve ever uploaded a photo to Facebook or send an email, you’ve already got all the skills you’ll ever need to start your site.

5. Nor do you need to be a marketing professional

Though you do at least need to put some effort into marketing your site if it’s going to be a success. Sure, TV shows and movies make it look simple – just launch your website and by some kind of magical web voodoo- thousands of people randomly turn up and start ordering by the truckload.

Though it would be nice if this happened in real life, there’s sadly no such thing as magical web voodoo, so you’ll have to do some work in marketing your website and attracting customers. Think about just how you’ll do this when it comes to writing your business plan, and you’ll be well on your way to finally living the dream.