How To Start an Ecommerce Business

February 20, 2024
9
minutes to read
by
Justin Bohlmann
Table of Contents

If you've got a brilliant business idea and are ready to dive into the world of online shopping, you're in for an exciting read. In this blog, we'll break down the ins and outs of creating an ecommerce business, specifically in the Australian market. Buckle up as we explore the most popular ecommerce platforms – Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, Square Space, and BigCommerce – to help you make an informed decision for your small business.

If you've got a brilliant business idea and are ready to dive into the world of online shopping, you're in for an exciting read. In this blog, we'll break down the ins and outs of creating an ecommerce business, specifically in the Australian market. Buckle up as we explore the most popular ecommerce platforms – Shopify, Wix, WooCommerce, Square Space, and BigCommerce – to help you make an informed decision for your small business.

How do I create an ecommerce business?

Before you think about the right ecommerce platform for your business, it helps to break down what type of store you want to run.

  • Defining Your Niche: Before you set sail, pinpoint your target market and what makes your business unique. A clear niche will guide your product selection and marketing strategies.
  • Choosing a Business Model: Decide whether you'll sell physical products, digital goods, or offer services. Your business model will shape the structure of your online store.
  • Conducting Market Research: Explore your competition, understand your audience, and identify trends within your niche. This knowledge is invaluable for making informed decisions.
  • Selecting Products and Suppliers: Choose reliable suppliers and curate products that align with your brand. Quality offerings contribute to a positive customer experience.
  • Registering Your Business: Ensure your business is legally registered, adhering to Australian regulations. This step adds credibility and protects your brand.

How much does it cost to create an ecommerce business?

Starting an ecommerce business involves various costs; before you take a leap of faith, consider the financial components, including domain and hosting expenses, ecommerce platform subscription fees, design and development charges, and marketing and advertising budget. Here is an example budget for illustrative purposes:

Business Registration and Legal Fees:

Business registration: $400
Legal consultation: $500
Site terms and conditions: $1,200

Domain and Hosting:

Domain registration: $20/year
Hosting: $30/month
Ecommerce Platform Basic Plan: $29/month

Website Design and Development:

Brand logo: $300
Website theme: $100
Developer (if needed): $1,500

Product Sourcing and Inventory:

Initial product inventory: $2,000

Marketing and Advertising:

Social media ads: $500/month
Email marketing tools: $20/month

Packaging and Shipping:

Packaging materials: $200
Shipping costs: Variable

Payment Gateway:

Transaction fees: Variable

Business Insurance:

Liability insurance: $50/month

Miscellaneous Expenses:

Office supplies: $100
Utilities: $50/month

Total Estimated Initial Budget: 

Approximately $7,000 - $10,000

Note: This is a basic example, and actual costs may vary based on business size, product type, and individual choices. Conduct thorough research and adjust the budget according to your needs and circumstances.

What are the most popular ecommerce platforms?

Let's dive into the most popular ecommerce platforms and their standout features:

Shopify

Known for its user-friendly interface and versatility, Shopify is a go-to for beginners and is generally considered the most popular ecommerce platform in the world. Customisable templates and a range of features make it a powerhouse for small businesses.

Wix

Initially a website builder, Wix has evolved into a robust ecommerce platform. With drag-and-drop design and integrated solutions, it's an excellent choice for those seeking simplicity. Wix is growing in popularity as it continues to add new features.

WooCommerce

Integrated seamlessly with WordPress, WooCommerce offers flexibility and customisation. It's perfect for businesses with an existing WordPress site.

Square Space

For those who prioritise aesthetics, Square Space provides visually appealing templates. It's an all-in-one platform with integrated marketing and analytics.

BigCommerce

Ideal for businesses with ambitious growth plans, BigCommerce offers scalability and a comprehensive feature set. Its user-friendly interface simplifies management.

What is the best ecommerce platform to use?

Choosing the best platform depends on your business's unique needs:

Evaluating Shopify

1. User-Friendly Interface: Easy navigation and setup.
2. Customisation Options: Versatile templates for brand alignment.
3. Key Features: A range of built-in features for a seamless experience.

Examining Wix

1. Drag-and-Drop Design: Intuitive for non-tech users.
2. Ecommerce Capabilities: Comprehensive features for online selling.
3. Integrated Solutions: All-in-one platform for simplicity.

Understanding WooCommerce

1. Integration with WordPress: Perfect for existing WordPress sites.
2. Flexibility and Customisation: Extensive options for tailored sites.
3. Community Support: Strong community for troubleshooting.

Assessing Square Space

1. Visually Appealing Templates: Aesthetic design options.
2. All-in-One Platform: Integrated tools for marketing and analytics.
3. Marketing and Analytics: Streamlined tools for business insights.

Navigating BigCommerce

1. Scalability: Suited for businesses with growth ambitions.
2. Feature Set: Comprehensive features for varied needs.
3. User-Friendly Interface: Simplifies day-to-day management.

What are the benefits of an ecommerce platform?

Ecommerce platforms offer numerous advantages for small businesses:

  • Expanding Market Reach: Reach beyond local boundaries and tap into a global audience, showcasing your products or services 24/7.
  • Cost Effective: Instead of hiring a team of developers to build your platform from scratch, you can get up and running in hours at a fraction of the cost.
  • 24/7 Accessibility: Unlike physical stores, ecommerce platforms enable customers to shop anytime, increasing convenience and potential sales.
  • Streamlined Management: Efficiently manage transactions, inventory, and customer relationships through user-friendly interfaces.
  • Enhanced Customer Relationships: Build strong customer relationships through personalised experiences and effective communication.

How to launch an ecommerce website step-by-step

Setting up your online store involves several key steps:

  1. Platform-Specific Setup Guidelines: Follow the specific setup guidelines for your chosen platform, customising the design to reflect your brand.
  2. Customisation Options: Personalise your store with logos, colours, and images that resonate with our target audience.
  3. Adding Products and Setting Prices: Upload product details, including pictures and pricing information, ensuring a seamless shopping experience.
  4. Configuring Payment and Shipping Options: Set up secure and convenient payment gateways and configure shipping options tailored to your customer base. Link your payment gateway to Thriday to clear your funds in your transaction account.

Is Shopify the best ecommerce platform?

Shopify is generally regarded as the premier ecommerce platform in the market today. Renowned for its user-friendly interface, it ensures a seamless experience for beginners and seasoned entrepreneurs. The extensive range of customisable templates empowers businesses to effortlessly create a professional and unique online presence.

One of Shopify's defining features is its all-in-one solution, handling hosting and technical aspects, allowing users to focus on growing their business. The Shopify App Store further extends its functionality, offering diverse apps to tailor the platform to individual needs.

The platform's reliability is underscored by its commitment to security, ensuring customer trust and data integrity. Shopify's scalability accommodates businesses at various stages, from startups to enterprises, making it an ideal choice for those with ambitious growth plans.

In addition, Shopify simplifies the complexities of online transactions by providing numerous payment gateways, reducing friction for businesses and customers. The platform's robust analytics tools empower users to track performance, analyse trends, and make data-driven decisions.

Overall, Shopify's holistic approach, user-friendly design, and commitment to innovation make it the go-to choice for businesses looking to establish and expand their online presence with confidence.

Best tools to integrate with your ecommerce platform

Enhance your ecommerce platform's functionality with these tools:

  • Google Analytics for In-Depth Insights: Gain deeper insights into website traffic, customer behaviour, and marketing effectiveness.
  • Mailchimp for Email Marketing: Build and manage effective email marketing campaigns to engage and retain customers.
  • Thriday for Streamlined Accounting: Simplify your accounting processes, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in financial management by linking Thriday to your platform.
  • LiveChat for Real-Time Customer Support: Provide immediate assistance to customers, enhancing their shopping experience.
  • Social Media Integration for Broader Reach: Connect your online store to social media platforms to expand your reach and attract a larger audience.

How to track the success of your ecommerce platform

Monitoring key metrics is essential for evaluating your ecommerce platform's success:

  • Analytics Tools Provided by Each Platform: Leverage the built-in analytics tools on your chosen platform to track sales, customer behaviour, and website performance.
  • Key Metrics for Monitoring Business Growth: Monitor sales trends, customer demographics, and product performance to make informed business decisions.
  • Monitor Conversion and Sales: Look at how many customers purchase a product once visiting your site, see how many abandon their cart once selecting an item, and look at each step to see where people drop off.

Key Takeaways

Embarking on the journey of creating an ecommerce business is no small feat, but armed with the proper knowledge, you're well-equipped for success. Choose a platform that resonates with your business goals, leverage integrated tools, and consistently monitor your performance metrics. Here's to your online venture flourishing and making waves in the vast sea of ecommerce!

DISCLAIMER: Team Thrive Pty Ltd ABN 15 637 676 496 (Thriday) is an authorised representative (No.1297601) of Regional Australia Bank ABN 21 087 650 360 AFSL 241167 (Regional Australia Bank). Regional Australia Bank is the issuer of the transaction account and debit card available through Thriday. Any information provided by Thriday is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether Thriday is appropriate for you. Team Thrive No 2 Pty Ltd ABN 26 677 263 606 (Thriday Accounting) is a Registered Tax Agent (No.26262416).

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