With the tremendous success of e-commerce in 2020, many entrepreneurs will be considering starting an e-commerce business in 2021. With over £3.9tn worth of e-commerce sales last year, there is undoubtedly much money to be made if the right business strategy is implemented.

Starting an e-commerce business can also be less of a financial burden than setting up a traditional brick and mortar store. The absence of a physical store means there is the potential to save on costs such as utilities, rent and number of employees.

Despite such rapid online growth, starting an e-commerce business in 2021 can still be challenging, particularly as there is so much competition. This guide covers what you need to do to start an e-commerce business in 2021, including developing a successful business plan and maximising revenue.

Decide which e-commerce products to sell

First and foremost, you need to establish what items you want to sell online. It’s essential to choose products that will be easy for you to sell, such as trendy items or products that are difficult to find on Amazon. Be mindful that it will be challenging to sell generic products already sold by big brands.

Consider how you will source these products; will you buy from a third party using the dropshipping method or contact a supplier to store the inventory yourself? Dropshipping can be much more cost-efficient as the third party sends the products directly to the consumer, negating the need for you to store and ship items.

If you store and ship items yourself, you will also need to factor in a returns management strategy. Many start-up businesses find it useful to outsource order fulfilment to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider who can manage the entire process for you. It’s important to note that fast deliveries are now of the utmost importance to customers, so ensuring your order fulfilment is as efficient as possible in 2021 is crucial.

Research other e-commerce competitors

If you are looking to start an e-commerce business in 2021, you must look into your competitors’ operations. Questions to consider:

 

  • How have they designed their website?
  • Are they investing in digital ads?
  • Are they selling multiple products?
  • Do they have a strong social media presence?
  • What is their target market?

 

Being aware of this information can allow you to ensure that your business strategy is on the right track and establish how you can set yourself apart from your competitors.

Set up your online store

When setting up a website, it’s essential to factor in running costs such as domain names, web hosting and security measures such as an SSL certificate. There are many popular e-commerce platforms that can help make the set-up of your online store as seamless as possible. Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms include:

These platforms contain simple templates and themes to create a positive experience for your new customers. Before anything goes live, make sure to generate test orders to ensure that the buying process is a smooth as possible and rectify any potential errors.

You will need to continuously monitor inventory levels to identify which products are selling well. Knowing this information can help you make quick pivots to ensure that all reinvestment is only placed on popular items.

Develop a marketing strategy

A strong marketing strategy is crucial for any new e-commerce business, particularly in 2021, where there is substantial competition. It’s essential to identify which channels your target audience is using. If your audience is on Instagram, widen your reach by investing in ads and creating shareable content via stories and videos.

When investing in ads, it’s critical to frequently keep an eye on analytics to monitor your return on investment (ROI). These figures can help you see which content is performing well and what needs to be re-assessed to ensure that funds are being spent wisely.

As your brand grows, you can spend further efforts on expanding other marketing areas such as email campaigns and developing your content and search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.

To cover your marketing expenses, you must decide on the right price strategy when selling your items, whilst still staying competitive and maintaining value for the customer.

Setting up an e-commerce business in 2021 could be very profitable, but there are undoubtedly many aspects to consider. At Pointbid, we implement order fulfilment solutions for a range of e-commerce brands from start-ups to medium-sized businesses. If you think that outsourcing your order fulfilment could help your business grow in 2021, please give us a call on 0121 326 7368.

 

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