How to Start an E-Commerce Store
E-commerce is the future
The projections for e-commerce are looking good! It's time to join the market.
1. Start your company
You’ve probably heard about something called Limited Liability. It’s what you get for registering your company with the state and following certain formalities. It's a big deal because without it, your personal assets (like your car, house, and bank account) are considered company property. That means they can be taken by creditors to pay your business debts. With limited liability, only your company assets are at risk.
Youʼll start by completing the state paperwork to register your entity. First, you'll need to decide what kind of entity is the best fit for you. If you haven't decided yet, you can find a step-by-step guide to setting up your company legally with The Small Business Checklist.
2. Lock down your brand
A trademark allows you to own your brand. It means you're the only company who can use your company name, logo, slogan, domain name, personal name, product name, or hashtags. Here's why it's key: without it, you can be sued, forced to rebrand, or have your customers stolen by copycats.
Trademarks give you the exclusive rights to use the name nationally. So if someone else registers your trademark, they’ll own the rights to your name nationally. You'll only be able to use it in your geographic region (typically your city). That's not ideal!
Think about how many brand pieces feature your company name: your website, social media, business cards, products, marketing materials, press links, inventory, etc. If you want to operate nationally, you'll need to change all of that + pull back all inventory with the brand on it, or possibly pay monetary damages. You'll lose customers, money, and valuable momentum.
Bottom line: if you’re building a brand, you need to own your trademark.
3. Find your products
Have a plan for what you’ll sell. Ask yourself:
Will you make these products?
What supplies or ingredients do you need?
How much does it cost to make the products?
Where will you buy the products?
At what price will you buy the products?
At what price will you sell the products?
Make sure the numbers add up before you commit to your products and supply system.
4. Create a Website
It’s 2018 so you need a gorgeous branded website to attract customers + convert them to buyers. You’ll also need a personalized website terms + conditions to secure your customer service policy.
Thinking it doesn't matter? Think again! Your online policies have a big impact on customer happiness and your bottom line. Plus, they'll need to meet certain legal requirements to prevent fines and lawsuits.
Your policy tells customers what they need to know about browsing your website. You'll want to spell out the rules for using the site, sharing content, and where users can contact your company. If you run an ecommerce site, make sure to spell out how you handle orders, returns, and shipping.
Need website terms? We offer Sample Website Policies that hook up your website with exactly what it needs.
5. Promote your store
Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, email newsletters, etc. There are so many ways you can market your e-commerce store online. Find out where your customers are online and join them! You can also check out tradeshows and trade organizations for your industry.
How to Start Your Company
Are you ready to start your company legally? You came to the right place! Download The Small Business Checklist. We’ve worked with hundreds of women to setup their business legally and we’re teaching you how to do it in 10 simple steps.