Gone are the days when conventional brick and mortar stores used to run the business space. The last five years have witnessed some unprecedented shift towards online business models. Although shopping online might have appeared as some luxury or convenience at first, now ecommerce businesses have proven to be real lifesavers, especially as witnessed during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Supermarket visits have been replaced by downloading apps that you use to shop, and the goods are delivered to your doorstep in real-time.
Employees who were programmed to working 9-5 shifts have now had to adjust to the new realities of working remotely. Now, many entrepreneurs who have been running physical businesses have found themselves considering running an ecommerce business. Sometimes it’s easy to settle for your comfort zone of running that popular fashion store in your hometown and fear the competition that might come with shifting online where tons of successful ecommerce websites already exist. However, by implementing ecommerce best practices and observing web security protocols like acquiring the cheapest Wildcard SSL certificate for your site, it’s easy to succeed.
Below we look at how to start an ecommerce business in 2021:
Register Your Business
If you are considering opening an ecommerce business in 2021, chances are you can already envision yourself living in that dream house next to the beach and driving that vintage Rolls Royce. You could even be imagining your pose on the cover of Forbes magazine! As such, you need to get it right from the start, especially from a legal perspective. Before doing anything else, settle on an appropriate business name and register your company. Incorporating will offer you many tax benefits down the line and protect you legally.
Pick Your Store’s Name
Your store’s name is what your prospective customers will identify with in the vast online space. As such, it needs to be catchy, memorable, and niche-related. Although your registered legal business name and your store name don’t have to be identical, consistency does have its perks. Pick a short, memorable name that is very relevant to your niche. You will also need to create a professional logo that will represent your brand appropriately. A consistent and adequately laid out brand strategy is essential to connect well with your customers.
Get Your Business Licenses
Sometimes many startup entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking that small online businesses do not need to have licenses. I’m afraid that’s not right. If you envision long-term ecommerce business success, you need to ensure that you start on the right foot by getting every relevant business license. For example, if you plan to sell diet supplements in your store, ensure that you are licensed to operate such a business to avoid being burnt and fined down the line.
Get Your Employer Identification Number
You might wonder why you need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), especially if you are just a small startup entrepreneur who is just starting out and not planning on hiring any employees for starters. However, now that you are a business, you will need an EIN to open a business bank account and file your business taxes. Consider this to be like the social security number for your online store. It will come in handy when you are filing the necessary paperwork and even when you decide to hire employees.
Apply for Business Licenses and Permits
As much as you are running an online ecommerce business, you will need to comply with the land’s necessary statutes and laws. You need to check what kind of business licenses and permits are required when running an online business in your country, state, county, or city. Whether there are some home business licenses or sales tax licenses needed to operate, ensure that you comply to ensure smooth operations down the line.
Build your Store and Publish
Once you have sealed your business’s legal entity and ensured that Uncle Sam wouldn’t be knocking on your door anytime soon, it is time to build your store and publish. Start by registering a domain name that is identical to your store name. Avoid using long domain names or complex ones involving numbers and characters like underscores and dashes. It would help if you then settled on the platform to host your store on WooCommerce, BigCommerce, or Shopify. The best thing is that these platforms come loaded with themes and easy to understand designer tools and so you can create your store with a few clicks without any web design knowledge whatsoever. You can use Oberlo to add products from marketplaces like AliExpress.
Check for Web Security
And then comes the elephant in the room: web security. We are living in critical times where rampant cyberattacks have made everyone cautious about how they transact online. Hardly a week goes by without a headline of some major hack where sensitive personally identifiable information like credit card details was breached, or money was stolen. To protect your customers from online fraud, consider going with the Wildcard SSL certificate that can protect your main domain and all related sub-domains from any breaches. Such a certificate will encrypt details like your customers’ names, email addresses, and credit card data and keep them safe.
Starting an ecommerce business is a significant step. Judging by recent trends, this might be the safest business model to pursue. You do not have to worry about stuff like looting during riots and lockdowns during pandemics with an online store. However, succeeding in the online space is not a walk in the park and requires careful precision and lots of research. By implementing the above tips and installing the SSL certificate on your store to protect your main domain and all its sub-domains, you can prepare for dollars and smiles in 2021!