5 Steps to Get Your New Ecommerce Business Started in the UK

5 Steps to Get Your New Ecommerce Business Started in the UK

In recent years more and more people have been looking to become their own bosses and be in charge of their own futures. Plus, with the Internet, this has become even more accessible.

However, the events of 2020 have led to even more potential entrepreneurs taking the plunge and starting their own eCommerce businesses. 

Now if you're one of those, we're going to go through 5 steps you need to consider when setting up your new online company. 

  • Identify your niche market

  • Determine your business operations

  • The legal requirements

  • Set up your online shop

  • Market your business online

Identify your niche market

If you have an idea of the kind of product or service you would like to sell online that’s great! But, it’s also important to think logically and strategically to ensure your business has a greater chance of success.

Start with some research into your desired sector, and look at consumer trends and the gaps in the market. This will highlight your opportunities and identify your niche market.

Knowing your niche market not only helps you finalise your offering but also informs your digital marketing strategy. 

Determine your business operations

Once you have identified your niche and finalised your product offering it’s time to work out the practical side of your business operations. 

What are your basic requirements in order to get started and what would your initial costs be? 

Key elements include:

  • Where are you sourcing your products from

  • Storage requirements

  • Packaging needs

  • Delivery service & shipping costs

  • Do you need any specialist equipment or software

  • Custom service/support

It is also at this point in time you should start thinking about the best platform to build your business and how you may market it to your target audience.

The legal requirements

Whether setting up an online or offline business you must consider the legal requirements.

You will need to register as a sole trader or a limited company with Companies House. Both routes have pros and cons when it comes to liability, tax and pay. It’s worth exploring your options and think about which route makes the most sense for you.

Whether you choose to operate as a sole trader or limited company, you will need to learn what legal requirements you need to adhere to on an annual basis.

Depending on your product there may be additional legal requirements or regulations to be aware of when setting up your online shop.

Set up your online shop

There are different routes you can take when setting up your online shop, some are lower risk than others. 

It’s possible to get started on platforms such as eBay or Etsy, but as your business grows it will likely need it’s own website if you don’t choose this option initially.

Luckily it’s never been easier to set up your own eCommerce website as there is a range of platforms and website builders available that are easy to use for first-time website developers. These include Shopify, Wix and Squarespace plus many others. Or, if you have the budget you can pay a developer to build you a top-notch website on your desired platform to save you the hassle. 

In this stage, it’s critical to:

  • Purchase your custom domain

  • Consider the full user journey on your website

  • Ensure accessibility of important information

  • Incorporate pleasing aesthetic design, keeping it simple and on brand.

Although your website or online shop is a really important aspect of the business, it can be worth getting the basic setup in place so you can start trading. Then, over time you can then refine and expand your shop.

Market your business online

So everything is all set up and you are good to go, brilliant! Now all you need is paying customers and this is the most essential part. Without customers, you can’t have a successful business. 

To get the ball rolling your need to drive traffic to your online shop and work on converting them into customers.

Your digital marketing strategy will have a heavy impact on your success. The difficulty is that digital marketing is an increasingly broad set of strategies and tactics. You will need to identify and choose the most beneficial ones to implement for your business. However, your initial research identifying your niche market will have informed you of the places you can reach your target audience, plus provide you with a foundation of the type of content they respond to. Then it’s a case of developing and implementing content for the selected marketing channels such as social media, paid advertising, blogs, etc.

You should ensure that your brand is strong and the message is consistent across every channel to become instantly recognizable to your target audience over time.

Digital marketing is an ongoing process of development, implementation and analysis to continuously improve your strategy and connect with your target audience.

To sum up

When you start looking more closely at the different stages of setting up your eCommerce business it can begin to look daunting. However, the best way to learn what will work for you is to get started and learn on the job!

We have a number of blogs and guides designed to help eCommerce businesses including:

We hope you found this helpful.