Have you ever thought about launching an e-commerce venture in the Philippines? If so, you’ve come to the correct place. Today, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step checklist to help you design and launch a successful e-commerce business when you have no idea where to begin.
Find a Product to Sell
Obviously, your first step in launching an e-commerce business is choosing the products you will buy and sell online. So how do you find a good product to sell?
- Start with your idea. Most of the time you already have a product or service you want to sell online. It can be anything that caught your attention and really interest you.
- Research what people are looking and buying. Your family, friends, neighbors and workmates will be your first potential customers so it is best to know what interest them. Ask around if they will be happy to purchase if and then you’ll be selling something online.
- Find the trends in the online e-commerce industry. Go to local and international e-commerce business portal and find out what are selling best in the public. Following these major online websites will expose you to more product ideas. Get familiar with product listing and competitive pricing.
Create a Business Plan
Now that you have chosen your product to sell the next step is to create a solid e-commerce business plan. This business plan will work as your roadmap for launching your e-commerce business. It will create a structure for your idea, mapping how you’ll move forward.
A typical business plan includes the following information:
- Your business name. This should be short, simple and memorable. A name that people will recognize at once and will not confuse them. Your shop’s name will also appear once you have your logo and marketing materials already. Once you’ve figured this out, you should be ready to reserve your business name within your region or state so that you can claim your spot and prevent others from using the same label.
- Your company description. This includes a brief description of your company/business, an overview of your products and service and your mission statement as well. What best describes your e-commerce business?
- Your Financial Status and Projects. This contains how much your capital will be, how the net profit and loss will be divided and how you see the business will be in the next three to five years. Having this written will help you create smart goals for your e-commerce business.
- Your marketing strategy. This enumerates how you will start selling your product online. Are you going to start a website? How will you market your e-commerce business across the different social media available today?
Register Your Business
Registering your e-commerce business may take time, money and effort. It all starts with deciding what your business arrangement will be. In the Philippines, you can choose your e-commerce structure to be:
- Sole Proprietor
You can register your business by filing applicable documents to Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) for sole proprietorship or Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for Partnership and Corporation.
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You will also need to check your local city hall for business licenses and permits you’ll need to operate. Everything should be approved and updated to guarantee the smooth operation of your e-commerce business.
Build Your Own Business Website
No marketing effort will compare to having a website for your business. You will build credibility as a business owner with a business website that has its own domain and preferably a reliable hosting solution. A website also acts as your own shop. You have control and access to endless possibilities your e-commerce business will gain.
Two things you need to remember as you build your own business website:
- First, secure a good domain name. Ideally your business name will serve as your domain name. However, there are cases when the name you want for your e-commerce business is not available anymore. When you are caught in this situation be creative enough to find new and suitable domain name. A good domain name should be easy to remember for your potential customers. It should reflect what you are selling in the online community.
- Second, get a reliable hosting. Even a startup e-commerce business can have their own self-hosted website. If domain name is your address (www.yourbusiness.com), your hosting solution is your space over the internet. Being self-hosted means your website will have its own server where you can control your business website’s overall branding and overall look.
Maximize Social Media Marketing
With your e-commerce website all set and done, it’s time to utilize your social media connections to market your business. Set up the social media profiles that will work best for your shop.
How to Use Social Media in Marketing Your Shop?
- Use Facebook to drive traffic to your e-commerce website. Try out Facebook Ads to promote your business.
- Get an Instagram for business account to see your analytics. Every time you post a photo you will get access to insight showing your impression, reach, engagement and number of times your post was saved.
- Add social sharing buttons on your website to enable the viewers to share your posts on their own accounts.
Manage Your Inventory
Before you launch your e-commerce business you should first properly manage your inventory. You don’t want to understock or overstock your items. Best if you have enough to launch on your desired date.
Finding the right vendor plays a crucial part in this. Be sure that you have a good supplier you can easily communicate with in case you unexpectedly needed additional products. Study how your sales go from the launch date and do forecasting on how your future sales will do.
Decide on Your Payment and Delivery Options
When it comes to payment options you can either choose from cash on delivery, credit card, bank deposit, online payment system, etc. Your chosen payment gateway may have a charge for every transaction made so make sure to add a tiny markup to cover the cost.
For delivery, there are also ton of courier services to choose from. You can let the client pay for the shipping cost in addition to the price of the item or possible meet-up.
Position Your E-Commerce Business
Finally, strategize on how you can position your e-commerce business in the market. Your goal is to turn your customers to return and to refer others as well. You can do this by finding a way to differentiate your business from the rest of the market.
It all comes down to these three factors:
- Your product. Are you selling something new and unique online? Are your products of the best quality?
- Your price. Do you offer competitive price to your customers? Are they getting their money’s worth?
- Your customer relationship management. Are you helping your customer when they have inquiry? Do you attend to your buyers concern timely?