How to Start your E-commerce Businesses?
E-commerce is a growing industry and has created a lot of opportunities for the entrepreneurs in the past. Has it been profitable or will it be in 2023?
I also recommend you to go through the previous post first for better understanding if you haven’t yet –
How to start your E-commerce journey
1. Choose a Market
Recall or identify the problems faced by you or the people around you which are not being served by anyone as the way you want them to be, that’s where you find gaps (opportunities) in several markets. Thereby you begin to research more about those specific markets one by one. Picked one, how big is the market-size presently, discovering various other needs under that market, what’s the potential growth, etc
Or if you are not able discover any signifiicant problems with in your existing experiences, you can also do the vice versa.
Voluntarily choose a market first (of your interest) and validate it to be a growing one by checking the market size, search volumes under that market and then further do the necessary market research work and discover the market needs.
For Illustration – In my experience I find it hard to find natural and toxins-free soaps in the market. There are brands who claim theirs to be so but the reality says something different when we check many of their products’ ingredients. Some do good efforts but again with some compromises. Few offer a great product but are highly-priced and are not really pocket friendly to an average human being.
I identified this as a problem not being served for me atleast, now I will head with the market research of the Body care products and validate that market for any business opportunities for me.
2. Discover your Niche
You validated the market. Now based upon the problems, market needs/gaps you discovered through all the research work you did, you’ll choose a niche. Which simply means you’ll be serving just a specific segment/s of that market with the necessary products & services. Niche may neither be too narrow or too broad. You can begin with few products and then keep broadening your niche as per the market needs.
For Illustration – To followup with the same example, I may choose to begin with selling completely natural soaps and shampoos which are also organically certified. And price them strategically considering the business’s profitability & scalability.
3. Choose how you like to solve the problems or fill up the market gaps you picked?
Up till here, you know what to sell and for what purpose. Now to understand is how to serve that purpose. Based upon various parameters, pros & cons of different modes available for doing an e-commerce business, you will choose the best that suits your goals. You may decide to serve:
A) As a Manufacturer/Producer – Where you’ll yourself produce the goods & services. And sell them –
(I) With your own branding (as a B2C business) – It could be (i) through D2C (brand’s own online and offline store) or/and (ii) on a B2C Marketplace like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc or/and (iii) a Distribution Channel (online and offline channels which may look like ‘Manufacturer-Supplier/Distributor/Wholesaler-Retailer-Consumer’) involving various B2B & B2C transactions to reach their end consumers.
For illustration – I decide not to compromise on the quality of my products, I choose to manufacture them on my own and choose the best channels to reach out to my customers.
“Mamaearth, one of the brands built by Honasa Consumer Limited (HCL), manufactures their own natural body care products and sell them in their own name (i) Directly to consumers through their own e-commerce website and offline stores i.e D2C. (ii) On B2C marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra as well as (iii) Through online & offline distribution channels i.e Mamaearth-suppliers/distributors/wholesalers-Retailers-Consumer, where flow of goods takes place offline (through physical warehouses & retail stores) and online [through B2B & B2C marketplaces (B2B marketplaces like Indiamart, Retailshakti, etc. & B2C Marketplaces like Amazon, FlipKart, etc.) and e-commerce Wholesalers, Distributors, E-Retailers (like Nykaa, Purplle, etc.)].”
(II) With Private/White Labelling (as a B2B business) – Through a online & offline Distribution channel and/or on a B2B Marketplace like IndiaMart, Retail Shakti, etc.
For illustration – I decide to sell body care products to distributors and retailers so that retailers can rebrand them and resell them eiyher through e-commerce/Retail store or
B) As a Supplier/ Wholesaler/ Distributor (as a B2B business) – Through a Distribution channel and/or on a B2B Marketplace.
C) As a E-Retailer (as a B2C business) – through an e-commerce website and/or on a B2C Marketplace.
In the further posts we’ll discuss how can you embrace the power of Marketing (particularly Digital Marketing) to promote your products and services and make your e-commerce business a profitable one. Also the various Types of E-commerce in more detail, How to start an e-business business and market it for different types of products you decide to offer such as physical products, digital products, SaaS products, etc. And all that with the help of illustrations.
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