If you have always dreamt of being your own boss, but didn't know where to start, then this article is for you. This guide lists out the step-by-step instructions to launch your own business as an E-commerce specialist.
With more and more people shopping online, businesses from all sectors are looking to establish an online store to sell their products to customers worldwide. A recent stat reveals that by the end of 2021, a whopping 27.2% of the entire global population will be shopping online. That's a whole lot of customers, and businesses of all sizes, from startups to mom-and-pop stores, are looking to sell online.
The biggest hurdle for most businesses is that they don't have the technical know-how or time to build and grow an online store. This is where an E-commerce specialist comes into the picture.
An E-commerce specialist is a small business marketing expert who helps businesses set up, launch, market and sell their products online via an E-commerce storefront.
What is the role of an E-commerce Specialist?
An E-commerce specialist is a consultant responsible for the design, implementation and execution of the E-commerce strategy for other businesses. In simple terms, the E-commerce specialist is a small business expert who handles the A – Z of E-commerce for their clients.
The role of an E-commerce specialist includes (but not limited to):
- Setting and managing an E-commerce store
- Increase site rankings and organic traffic via SEO
- Optimising product and landing pages to enhance user experience and drive sales
- Handling digital marketing of E-commerce sites on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and other channels
- Building customer loyalty via email marketing, blogs, and other marketing funnels
- Managing the marketing funnels of clients
- Running cross-selling and up-selling campaigns
The role of the E-commerce specialist goes beyond setting up an online store. Let's focus on the steps on how to grow your business as an E-commerce specialist.
Step 1: Delve Deep into the Working of the E-commerce Market
You may have a general idea of building an E-commerce store, but that isn't enough. To stand out as a small business marketing expert and win clients, you need to keep yourself up-to-date with the ins and outs of the industry.
Start by completing a professional E-commerce course. It's a great addition to your CV, and gives you an edge over other freelancers and beginners in the industry.
However, don't do a course just for the sake of certification. Ensure that you don't just learn the theory, but get practical knowledge on how to translate the skills you learn to suit your job profile.
Here are a few points to keep in mind while choosing the right E-commerce course:
- Ensure that the course covers all aspects of E-commerce – marketing, SEO, analytics, tools, etc.
- Look for courses from industry leaders like Google, Magento, Salesforce, etc. This gives you an in-depth idea of the latest happenings in the industry.
- Look for a course that is updated, and includes the latest techniques and advances in the industry.
Step 2: Acquaint Yourself with the Basics of SEO
SEO is a crucial cornerstone of E-commerce. As an E-commerce specialist, apart from helping clients set up their online store, you will also focus on driving traffic to your client's online store. This is where SEO comes into the picture.
According to data by SEMrush, 57.77% of traffic to an E-commerce store comes from direct search engine results. Other studies reveal that users are not likely to purchase from a store that doesn't have a top position on Google search results. To ensure that your clients see organic traffic and sales results, you need to work on the SEO of the E-commerce sites you design.
Small Business Growth Tips:
- Having a certification in SEO gives you an added advantage. You can offer one-stop solutions for your clients, right from setting up their online store to working on their SEO strategies.
- Besides basic SEO, you need to pick up skills on E-commerce-specific SEO as well. E-commerce SEO involves product page optimisation, landing page design, site structure optimisation, etc. Having these skills will help your client pages rank higher on Google search results.
Step 3: Spend Time Exploring Different E-commerce Platforms
Today, there are plenty of E-commerce platforms, each offering a vast array of features and benefits. Some of the popular E-commerce platforms include Amazon, Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix Stores, SquareSpace, ECWID, etc.
As an E-commerce small business expert, you need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each E-commerce platform. This way, you can suggest the right platform to your clients for their business needs and goals.
Step 4: Polish your PPC Ad Management Skills
Besides organic traffic, you will also need to promote your client's E-commerce store online using PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Ads. PPC Ads are a great way to drive traffic in a short amount of time.
- Learn the ins-and-outs of Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc.
- Understand the basics of Google Shopping Ads, retargeting ads, Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, etc.
This way, you can offer your clients value-added services like E-commerce ad management, and guide them on how to increase business growth.
Step 5: Learn How to Use Content Marketing to Promote Online Shops
Content marketing is an excellent addition to E-commerce. It offers several incredible benefits like:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Builds customer loyalty
- Establishes brand authority
- Provides valuable content to customers at each stage of the buying funnel
- Builds a connection between customers and the brand
PPC and content marketing are a great combination to drive sales and increase revenues. While PPC offers instant results, content marketing focuses on the long-term benefits and helps customer retention and loyalty.
Step 6: Polish your Email Marketing Skills
Email continues to offer great ROI. It's a great channel to connect directly with existing and potential customers. You can use professional emails and newsletters to inform your customers about the latest products, new launches and keep them in the loop. In the long run, it helps in building customer loyalty.
- Learn what is email marketing, and the best tools to create professional emails.
- Check out email automation, and understand the nuances of writing engaging emails that convert.
Step 7: Master Conversion Optimisation
Conversion optimisation is a much-needed skill for E-commerce specialists. It teaches how to expand business and drive sales for your clients.
Let’s explain conversion optimisation with an example. Consider this scenario: you reach out to 50 customers and sell them a product each. Now imagine reaching out to 20 customers and selling them 3 products each.
The second scenario is what conversion optimisation is all about. It helps you cross-sell and up-sell, thereby increasing product sales with less efforts. Conversion optimisation can help you save resources, money, and time spent on marketing while increasing ROI.
Some ways to improve conversion optimisation include:
- Exclusive offers for existing customers
- Landing page optimisation
- High-cost product sales to existing customers
- A/B Testing
The Final Step: Launch your Business
Use the skills you have acquired to launch your company as an E-commerce business specialist. Initially, you can start with a small team – a couple of people, and then expand your team as your business grows.
Before you launch your business as an E-commerce specialist, you need to first establish your brand presence online. Develop a professional website for your company, create accounts on social media channels and work on your own SEO and PPC to attract clients.
The first few months are the most difficult. But, once you have a few clients, you can get others with word-of-the-mouth marketing. Running a business on your own is not easy. It may feel overwhelming at first; but with confidence and dedication, you can launch your business and win clients.
Best of luck in your entrepreneurship journey!
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Q. How do I gain first-hand knowledge as an E-commerce Specialist?
Ans. The best way to gain practical skills in E-commerce is to begin with an entry-level job. This allows you to work on real projects under the guidance of experienced team members. Once you have gained sufficient knowledge, you can venture and start your own business as a small business marketing expert.
Q. How do I get clients for my E-commerce consultancy business?
Ans. Landing clients in the initial stages is the biggest challenge. Spread the word about your business to your friends, family, acquaintances, and former colleagues. Volunteer to set up the E-commerce business for a friend/family member. You can list this experience on your site to attract new clients. Alternatively, you can also run promotions on Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads to attract potential clients.
Q. How much does an E-commerce business specialist make in India?
Ans. It depends on your expertise and experience. Initially, e-commerce specialists make around Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 30,000 for each project. You can increase your revenue by offering clients additional value-added services like:
- Search engine optimisation & PPC
- Social media marketing
- Email marketing
- Content marketing and more
Q. Do I need to rent an office space to run my E-commerce consultancy business?
Ans. Initially, you can run the operation from a dedicated space in your home. The initial investments include a laptop and WiFi connection. Once your business grows, you can move to dedicated office space and hire additional members to your team.
Q. Do I need to have technical skills to become an E-commerce business specialist?
Ans. While technical skills are not mandatory, having a good grasp of how the process works is advantageous. It's a good idea to learn the basics like HTML to make simple changes to the E-commerce store's code. This helps you get a clear picture of what you're speaking about while interacting with clients.