The sales of retail businesses worldwide are foreseen to grow by 221% from 2014-2021. From these statistics, it’s not surprising that so many people are dreaming to be entrepreneurs to run their own e-commerce businesses. And it isn’t difficult to get started because of several e-commerce platforms available today.
But if you want to build your own brand with a goal of making it big, getting started may not be so simple. You’d need a web designer to make your website appealing to your customers, and your product photos must be superb and professional-looking. That said, hiring an e-commerce product photographer would be essential.
Here are some important things you need to know:
1. Business Registration
In the Philippines, e-commerce businesses can be registered to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) or the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If your company is a proprietorship or partnership, you should register it to the DTI, but if it’s a corporation, make your registration to the SEC.
You also need to obtain a business license from your local government. Check the regulations in your location if you need either a Mayor’s Permit or a Municipal License. Your e-commerce business also needs its own Tax Identification Number (TIN), which you can get from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). The BIR would also be the one to give you the authorization to print all official receipts and sales invoices.
If you’re going to hire employees, then you’d need to register as an employer to the Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG, and PhilHealth.
If you’re not creating your own products, you’d have countless options for suppliers. When making a choice, ensure that this supplier offers the best quality of products or materials for the best prices. Opt for a supplier that you can see yourself working with long-term. Your e-commerce software is also counted as one of your suppliers.
3. Delivery Options/Methods
If you’re only selling your products locally, you can tap standard courier companies for all your deliveries. If you’re offering same-day delivery services, you can use courier apps. But if you’re making your products available overseas, you can also use the services of some standard couriers that offer overseas shipping.
4. E-commerce Website
Shopify is one of the best and most popular e-commerce platforms. It comes with a 30-day free trial so you can explore the platform first without paying anything. To make an impressive web design, it would be best to hire a skilled web designer.
While building and designing your website, keep these things in mind:
- Mobile device compatibility
- Accessibility on all web browsers
- Website appearance
- Checkout counter
The checkout counter is especially important because it has to give your customers a smooth transaction process. It would be helpful to include credit card payments through Paypal so your customers would feel secure in inputting their details.
5. Marketing Plan
SEO is a powerful tool to market your e-commerce brand. SEO drives traffic to your website through keyword searches. Your goal is to make your website on top of the results pages every time a customer makes a search using a keyword that’s related to your products.
As for your website, include other content aside from product photos to engage with your customers. Use social media to share your website and its interesting contents– this can increase brand awareness and grow your network. Also invest in Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and the like, to spread your brand and products to various websites and mobile devices. Posting product reviews would also be helpful in enticing customers to buy your products.
You can also promote discounts, incentives, and other special offers to excite your existing and new customers. To maximize customer experience, include a customer service feedback form, chat, or email support in your e-commerce website.
Operating an e-commerce business isn’t that much different from running a physical store. Both require your full effort and attentiveness. You’ll pick up more lessons as you gain more experience, so don’t limit yourself to books and expose yourself to continuous learning.