How to Start an E-commerce Business

An e-commerce business is a company that sells online. E-commerce isn’t just about marketing, but it pertains to sourcing, logistics, and distribution. Therefore, building an e-commerce business model implies understanding digital business and how to integrate physical parts, like sourcing and logistics, to digital elements, like distribution and digital marketing.

Understanding the Basics of E-Commerce

E-commerce, which is a short form for Electronic commerce, may be defined as a business model that involves buying and selling physical products, services, and digital products between several firms and individuals over the internet, without the distance posing a barrier. It also involves the electronic transfer of money to execute these transactions, without buyers meeting sellers. E-commerce, usually conducted over mobile devices and computers, tablets, is also referred to as an online version of catalog shopping, like you go through the Mallmor stores, pick a product you want, pay for it and check out with your credit or debit card.

Nearly every product and service you can imagine is available through e-commerce platforms, including books, plane tickets, perishable items like food, digital goods like online courses, and even financial services such as stock trading and investing.

E-commerce has helped many businesses establish a more prominent market presence. Since the internet isn’t limited to physical buildings, someone in Toronto can render a service to a customer in California without meeting the person. A seller in Asia can sell to a buyer in Europe. Due to the limitless nature of the internet, it enables efficient distribution channels for products or services.

American-owned Amazon and Asian-owned Alibaba are examples of the largest e-commerce businesses, and their rise has inevitably reduced the importance of physical stores.

Advantages of E-Commerce Businesses over Physical Stores

E-commerce businesses reducing the importance of physical stores is inevitable because of the great convenience experienced in online shopping. Physical stores need customers to leave their homes, go to a store, searching catalogs and departments, and even deal with the possibility of not finding the item in the said store and having to settle for another product or going to another store.  But since the massive adoption of e-commerce, customers sit in the comfort of their homes, use a search box to search for items they want, pay securely online with debit or credit cards, and can even compare prices with other online stores, pay a small fee for shipping and get it at their doorstep. Convenience has been a crucial part of human evolution, as seen from our devices, and applications; they consider the convenience of the user.

E-commerce business runs 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, unlike many physical stores that run for about 12 hours daily and 5 to 6 days a week. Online stores also typically offer a wider range of products on their platforms because they can have products from third-party sellers.

The growth of E-commerce has also increased employment in customer service, digital marketing, website developers, logistics and courier services, freelancers, and so on, and the continual rise of E-commerce will only mean more employment opportunities.

Because of these reasons and many more, starting an online business nowadays seems like an attractive idea for many young entrepreneurs. Before anyone explores the e-commerce industry, they need to understand the technicalities behind it and what it takes to run a successful e-commerce business.

E-Commerce Business Models

We can classify e-commerce businesses in several ways. General classifications look at three primary categories: – B2B or business-to-business, where therefore a business sells to another company. – B2C or business-to-consumer, where a business sells to a final consumer. – C2C or consumer-to-consume, or more peer-to-peer where consumers sell to each other.

There are 4 main significant models of e-commerce businesses, classified based on the participants of the trade. They are:

  • Business to Business Model (B-2-B): This is a case where businesses sell to other businesses, like wholesalers selling bulk products to other businesses that will sell in bits or businesses offering business optimization tools as a service to other businesses.
  • Business to Consumer Model (B-2-C): This is the most common type of model in E-commerce; as the name implies, it involves a direct transaction between the business and sometimes a third-party retailer with an online customer. Examples of this business model are Nike store, Alibaba, Amazon.
  • Consumer to Consumer Model (C-2-C): This is a model of business where consumers meet directly with other consumers to trade with one another, while the owner of the website makes profits from commissions, adverts, traffics, etc. eBay and Offer Up are (Restricted to the US) are examples of this business model.
  • Consumer to Business Model (C-2-B): This is a business model where individuals offer services or gigs to businesses, especially between remote workers and employers, usually on a contract basis, platforms like Fiverr, Freelancer, Upwork enables this business model.

Selecting a Microniche

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

A niche is a specific area of a much broader range known to you or one you can handle well. For something to be called your niche, you need to know a great deal about it (with the increased digital competition, to start successfully, a microniche is even more effective).

A lot of E-commerce startups fill up their websites with a lot of products in so many categories, without anything specific; this epitomizes a lack of identity and focus. As an E-commerce business owner, you have to be known for something; it makes no sense to be a “jack of all trades, and master of none.” Unless you have a very huge budget, you can’t stuff up your platform with thousands of products like Alibaba or Amazon. You need to scale down to a well-known Niche to efficiently run an E-commerce business.

Selecting a niche is a key step in opening your online business. It could be wise to approach this process by identifying established companies that already work in your preferred space. At this point, you might be shrugging within you asking yourself why you have to look for competition when you can just look for a space with little competition for a business; the simple truth is that, as lovely as monopoly sounds, for an online marketplace where there are no limits, competition is key; if there is little of no competition, then it is a pointer that such niche lacks people who are willing to purchase the product or service. Although as much as we want competition, we do not want to pick an overly crowded niche because it might seem herculean breaking in into an already saturated market dominated by huge brands.

You need to have an identity. Know who you are and what your brand is, what you represent, and quite importantly who your target customers are, you need to know who you are selling to to effectively make sales.

The minimum viable audience (MVA) represents the smallest possible audience that can sustain your business as you get it started from a microniche (the smallest subset of a market). The main aspect of the MVA is to zoom into existing markets to find those people which needs are unmet by existing players.

Choosing and Sourcing for profitable Products to Sell Online

In choosing a Niche, there are certain things to consider to ensure the best possible market for you, and in the end, make a profit – which is the end game of any business.

Make A Keyword Search

The concept behind Keywords – which will still be adequately discussed in further chapters could play a vital part in selecting a Niche, as we want to select a product category that people want; it’s not just about what you want to sell, it’s also about what people want to buy.

From the niche ideas that come into your head, identify the keywords, and do a search. If the items related to your search have much traffic, then it is likely an idea with a good market for a niche. Bear in mind that we do not want too much traffic as well, so avoid overcrowded keywords.

Above an example of keyword research for a microniche bookstore focused on historic fiction for the renaissance, where you, perhaps, can look for the search volume and related trends for influent authors in that microniche (data: SEMRush).

Solve A Problem Or Meet A Demand

As an entrepreneur that wants to delve into a particular niche and grow rapidly, you should sell products that meet a particular need or solve a problem. One of the ways to do this is to examine your chosen niche. Since it is a category that isn’t alien to you, check for products or services that were already available but leaves a loophole with a particular problem you have personally experienced. Remember that good user experience and convenience is a significant determinant of how well a product will move in the market. An excellent example of this is when mobile phone cameras became a crucial factor in buying phones. Still, the initial releases were quite expensive, if you can offer relatively cheaper phones for sale with an excellent mobile camera, you will get a lot of customers wanting to try it out, and if you can adequately solve the problem, the first set of people to buy may leave reviews, even encouraging more people to try out such product.

Make a Market Survey

Remember, it isn’t about you. It’s about potential customers. Therefore, one of the best ways to see if an idea will be lucrative is to simply ask people for their opinions about it. Of course, you can’t just start asking a random set of people questions, and you don’t want to rely too much on the opinion of people close to you because they may attach emotions to their opinions, which will give you a skewed view of things. Objectivity is vital, so it is best to do a survey with an organized set of people interested in the product. They might even be your first set of customers. 

What you need to do first is to identify people who might have an interest in the product; you can meet them on social media networking platforms like MeetUp or Smacktive. These people could become potential customers; therefore, they are the people you should network with to get constructive criticism since you’ll be in the same business environment as the people who might find a use for your idea. When talking to people, get an adequate sample space, and talk to 20 people about an idea. 14 people should be able to see the good in it, and it is a sign that you can proceed.

Engage in Prototype Survey (sell before you build)

A leaner MVP is the evolution of the MPV approach.

When you are sure that you have a niche and products you want to sell, and more importantly, you have made connections with a couple of people who you think will be interested in buying your product, then go out with samples, your sample is meant to be a yardstick to judge quality, to see if it matches the product description, and also to judge packaging. Don’t be afraid of getting bad reviews since you haven’t been properly launched. The reviews from the prototype will give you a pointer to what you should look to fix before hitting the market, especially if it is something mentioned by a lot of people. Even if you have no problems with certain things, the potential users do, and their opinions matter more than yours.

Select A Brand Name

Having an identity is very important for product selection, and this is the bedrock for branding. Your brand isn’t just limited to your name and logo, it also comprises of how your products are packaged, your customer care relation, and every other thing your business offers that make you stand out from others. Your target customer base will unconsciously know you for certain things, and if they can’t get those things elsewhere, they will always come back. It doesn’t have to be exceptional; it just has to be unique. 

When selecting a brand name, it is important to select a domain name to go with it. Since it is the address for your website, a domain name will help buyers find your business easily. It is advisable to use the same name for the business as your domain name so that visitors who can remember can just type in the website address at any time without having to do a Google search. “” is a website – here, “amazon” is the domain name, and “.com” is the domain suffix; there are other domain suffixes like “.co,” “.org,” etc. But it is usually advisable to go with “.com” as it is usually what comes to the mind of people first, and even in computer auto-fills, “.com” is more likely to appear.

All these things exclusive to your business make up your brand.


Often, certain products hit the market, and people love them, even you as a consumer and not a business owner love the product, but sometimes they don’t catch people’s fancy for a very long time, these products are called trends. Trends are not advisable for a fresh business, but when you are established, you can hop on trends – since it satisfies consumer cravings. This will make you benefit from a product in massive sales for the time the product is trendy. Be mindful though, jumping on trends when the demand is starting to wear out may just leave you with overstocked items with little sales volume.

We have discussed criteria for choosing a product to offer the market, but another thing to consider is how to source them. As an e-commerce business owner, you are most likely not going to manufacture your products by yourself. You will need a manufacturer.

There are two types of manufacturers where you can source for products, which are: Local and International. As a business owner, you should weigh them side by side to determine what is best for your business and fits your financial constraints.


Local manufacturers are usually more expensive than international manufacturers because of the higher cost of manufacturing and even higher cost of labor in European or American countries. Many Global manufacturers produce for cheap. But they generally demand that you order many units, which could be a challenge for new e-commerce stores.


The majority of the top global manufacturers are in Asia; the language barrier might be a problem to effectively communicating what you want in your prototype, you may also be in different time zones, and when you are free to efficiently communicate, your manufacturer is at his busiest period. Local manufacturers are much easier to communicate with, make corrections in the prototypes, and have to do way less remodeling.

Quality Control

If your business requires a lot of quality control, then local manufacturing is probably the way for you, as you can ensure consistency in the quality of your product because of the proximity between you and your manufacturer. It is usually more difficult to manage quality, especially for the first few times with an international manufacturer.

Time Factor

Local manufacturers will likely take more time to complete manufacturing due to the relatively smaller scale of production. In contrast, international manufacturers will complete manufacturing faster but will definitely take a couple of weeks longer to get your items shipped to you due to the distance involved.

Production Scale and Capacity

International suppliers can usually produce on a large scale, unlike many local manufacturers. If you want many units of products, for efficient production, it is advisable to consider international manufacturers.


Getting raw materials for production may be more difficult for local manufacturers. If your projected product will be one with scarce raw materials, it is advisable to go for international manufacturers to ensure the best materials used for your products.

Ease Of Finding a Manufacturer

It is quite easy to find a global manufacturer for almost all products, but local manufacturers may be scarce for a particular product. Even at times, geographical conditions may prohibit the manufacture of some products in certain climes. Generally, you’d find it easier to get a manufacturer for your product on the global market than the local market.


Importation can sometimes be unpredictable, as there may be regulations for international shipping, causing constant hassles and delays. It is vital to be abreast of the relationship between your country and your manufacturers to know its effect on bringing in goods to the country. If you are unsure, it is safer to go to a local manufacturer.

In all, there is no better one between local and international sourcing. Still, as a business owner, you should understand your products and adequately decide the better method of sourcing for a manufacturer. Although it is important to note that as a startup, local sourcing is usually more efficient, and eventually, you may be ready to move from local to global manufacturing to get a higher volume of products at a more affordable rate.

Searching for a Manufacturer

You can use search Google and Bing to find a manufacturer. You can also try specific business search engines like ThomasNet, also on Alibaba, you can find manufacturers. 

Once you find several manufacturers you might want to work with, it’s time to research them to know their track records and see reviews other businesses have about them. Check also who they manufacture for, if they manufacture for a well-known company, it may be a pointer that they will guarantee quality.


As earlier mentioned, your packaging is part of your identity and your brand. No matter how great the product manufactured is, packaging usually gives it aesthetics, making it more appealing. The packaging doesn’t necessarily have to be crazy. It only needs to be specific to your brand, appealing and neat. The packaging is the very first part of the customer experience because it is the first thing customers will notice when they get your product, so it’s important you get thinking about it, put yourself in the position of the buyer, and look to impress yourself while being very critical. As I have reiterated, consumer experience goes a very long way in determining the success of any business – online or offline.

To help inform your packaging decisions, it would be helpful to spy on other sellers in your niche; you can order products from your competitors to allow you see exactly how they package their products, see what they are doing right, and take it as a pointer, critique what you think they are doing wrong, and improve on it.

Search online for packaging ideas; Google and Pinterest are good avenues to do this. Just search with your “product type” and packaging as the keywords, and you have a barrage of results to choose from.

Things you need to know to effectively sell online

There are a couple of things you should bear in mind before you begin your journey as a new E-commerce business owner. These little details sometimes draw the lines between a business that sells effectively and one that doesn’t

Don’t Focus Too Much On Premium Price Commodities

As a startup, you should have a relatively low retail price range in mind as you search for products. You should also not set your prices too cheap or too expensive, to get good attention from the public. However, you should not only consider manufacturing costs, but you should also consider other running costs like an advertisement, logistics, and so on. Although you want to go cheap, do not engage in too cheap products as you may find it difficult to get reasonable profit margins to make a profit or even break even. You can set your minimum retail price at around $20, duly putting your costs into consideration.

Sell Products with Good sales volume

During your market survey, you should consider dealing with commodities that many people want; note that products with high sales volume are not usually expensive or luxury items. Sales volume is very important If you are selling a product at the cost of $20 with an estimated profit of $5. You sell 500 in a month, then only one product has made you $2,500, unlike if you sell a product worth $100 with an estimated profit of $15, and you can only sell 100 in a month, that product will make you less money than the first product, despite having a far greater profit. That is the impact of sales volume.

Consider Products With Low seasonality

It makes sense to sell products that will sell all around the calendar year, unlike products that will sell in particular periods or seasons or holidays. Very seasonal selling products will leave your business in a weak position. 

Judge Market saturation With Reviews

When selecting a product, consider the number of reviews the top sellers get on global marketplaces like Amazon. This will give you an idea of how much competition you are likely to face. 100 to 200 reviews are good enough to get a customer base, but above 200 reviews might indicate that you are going into a very competitive market, which may not be good for a new business.

Sell Products That Can Be Improved

You most likely will not be the first person to think of a particular set of products. Many people would have done the same; in fact, many people will create a successful product, but you will only stand out among others if you create a superior product achieved by regular modifications tailored to meet consumers’ demands. Therefore allow your customers to be the judge, encourage them to leave a review. This will give you a hint on what they want you to improve.

Sell Small and Lightweight Products

Huge and heavy products will attract more shipping and storage; this is why going for small and light products will keep your shipping costs and warehouse storage fees at the barest minimum. And our most basic mathematics tells us that fewer fees will give us more profits.

Complexity In Manufacturing

You should avoid materials that you sense will pose a couple of manufacturing challenges, resulting in great customer dissatisfaction and more need for modifications, taking the focus of your business from you. Keep it as simple as possible.

As I have previously mentioned, your customers are the most important; as much as you want to sell something you love, you need to sell what will sell. And in going into a competitive market, one thing that will attract customers to you is your Unique Value proposition.

The Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a sentence or phrase that explicitly tells your potential customers what they stand to gain from shopping with you rather than your competitors. How well your products can meet their needs and solve their problems.

To efficiently satisfy end users, you need to think like them, put yourself in their position, and make yourself see reasons why they should purchase from you and not your competitors. If you cannot indubitably convince yourself, then you cannot convince a customer. 

You need to ask yourself, what benefits do the end-user find important? What benefits can you give, but your competitors cannot? What benefits will the target consumers easily understand? Is there something in your selected niche you would like to buy online but can’t find?

Your answers to this question will determine what unique value you need to propose.

Your Unique Value Proposition should be your watchword that even registers in their subconscious. For example, Amazon’s UVP is “Low price, wide selection with added convenience anytime, anywhere.”

This watchword of Amazon is what they follow, and it’s what their customers usually expect from them.

If you notice that statement, it is only a short sentence that passes a “this is what you should expect” message to customers. That is how a UVP should be. Precise, short, and concise.

In your market survey, you should note what holds a lot of importance to your customers and make sure you offer them that exclusivity, and in no time, you will be the benchmark in your selected niche.

Usually this UVP should be on your website and other newsletters you publish. In constructing this short but powerful sentence, you need to be unique such that you are difficult to copy and capture readers’ attention, so you should be careful not to use words difficult to understand. 


After doing all these and you have started seeing progress in your business as you wish to, you will begin to have more demands than when you just started out. To avoid being overwhelmed by these demands, you will need to expand your business operations to meet the increased demand. This is what scaling is all about.

You will discover that at certain points, your business becomes more stressful, and you have started taking on too many tasks than you can handle, and barely have time for yourself. It is imperative to widen your operations and bring on more personnel.

Even if you cannot fully employ staff, as you may feel it’s too costly, you can still outsource many things on a contract basis. Some tasks can be safely outsourced to freelancers, especially things like a few administrative tasks such as data collation and analysis, graphic design, marketing, copywriting, and social media publicity. Although, as much as you want to outsource roles and delegate responsibilities, you should take up roles that will directly affect your business. It may not be wise to put control of your website in the hands of some random person you met online. Instead, you can employ them on a contract basis, build trust, and when you feel they can handle things on their own, you may lend more backroom control to them.


Automation, which uses devices and software to reduce human intervention in tasks, is another way to ease the burden of overloading yourself as a business owner. Certain tasks you do manually can be automated to give you more time to handle other things that need human intervention, to a good extent, and even eliminating human errors.

Customer Service

Customer service is an important element for any business online or offline, but it is key for E-commerce. Buying things online and the ease that comes with it is very appealing, but there is always a concern about getting substandard products or not getting what was paid for or even being scammed. Giving reassuring and prompt assistance to customers will help eliminate these concerns.

Your customer service is part of your brand as a business owner; the way customers report your customer service to non-users of your platform and potential customers is part of who you are. If customers complain about poor service about your newly growing brand, it could be a killer and a major setback in your journey. Your accessibility to engage them and soothe their grievances will go a long way.

Prioritizing your customers, for the umpteenth time, cannot be overemphasized, they literally trust you with their money without knowing you, and they deserve to be treated with utmost regard because they are a business’s greatest asset.

Things You Can Do To Improve Customer Service

  • Set up a Customer Support Email that contains your company name, e.g.,
  • Reply to Emails Quickly
  • Write Email Templates to aid quick response
  • Create a Chatbox on Your Website for live chat and a bot to handle some part of it.
  • Give Free Product to Unhappy Customers
  • Save Repetitive Questions and Create Frequently Answered Questions (FAQs)

Analyzing Competition in your Preferred Niche

It is important to identify your competition to understand their position and how you can relatively place yourself to be at a vantage position, noting what makes you similar to your competitors and what can make you stand out. Analyzing competition also helps you discover a few strategies your competitors use to make their website rank well.

Steps Involved In Competitive Analysis

Identify your competitors

To do a good competitive analysis, you need to first know who you’re up against. A keyword search is a good way to do this. Identify websites doing well in this niche; competitors focused on more than one niche but doing well in your selected niche are not your biggest rivals. Rather, your strongest competitors are those in just your niche. In searching keywords, as a fresh company, it is better to use low competition keywords at first. When you have successfully launched and have a rank, you can go for higher competition keywords to make your rank even better.

You can also extract your competitor’s keywords with tools like “Ahrefs” or “Ubersuggest” or many other tools online.

Watch Their Social Media

It is also a great idea to see how your competitors are doing on social media, how their promotion and Ads go, across several social media platforms, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You should see a pattern, which will help you identify their objectives. You should duly note the kinds of content they upload on these platforms and content people engage more. This will give you a hint on where to channel your energy. Checking from several companies and combining results for yourself will help you move faster.

On your social media, you need to get high traffic, and users of different social media apps respond differently to different content. To identify the content that engages twitter users, differentiate it from Facebook, and eventually apply properly in your case.

Note their Unique Value Proposition

A value proposition is about how you create value for customers. While many entrepreneurial theories draw from customers’ problems and pain points, value can also be created via demand generation, which is about enabling people to identify with your brand, thus generating demand for your products and services.

You need to know what exclusive thing your competition offers, and you should offer something catchier.

Analyze Competitors Websites

Visiting your competitor’s website will help you understand how well they have optimized their web page to please customers. Design themes used, content management, customer engagements, frequency of posts, and many more things are worthy of note. In essence, combine your strategy with some of your competitor’s best strategy and apply it to your own website to stay ahead from the perspective of the customers.

Analyze Content

It is important to note the type of content your competitors are generating, their visual content (i.e., Images and Videos), how they use it to breakdown their content, whether they choose to give more information or seek to regularly dialogue with their customers, discover what is not good enough and improve on it. Note how deep their content is; you should give better-detailed content, more information, and value your customers get from you will make them rank you better.

How To Effectively Handle Third-party Suppliers and Quality Control

Third-Party suppliers are the most integral factor in the success of dropshipping. They can ease your business or become a burden and cost you resources in money, administration, and performance.

To avoid scenarios like these, quality control and assurance is vital in ensuring that your business is eased and not worsened, and you should consider these steps in selecting a third party supplier.

Develop A supplier list

Every e-commerce business should have an approved supplier list sorted hierarchically by metrics of performance concerning cost, quality produced, and efficiency of delivery. Sorting your suppliers will give you a first choice and subsequent choices for different products at a time and add varying levels of importance to individual suppliers.

Quality Audits

Supplier quality audits are very important in ensuring that the products from these third-party suppliers to be dropshipped meet the pre-agreed quality specifications. Since you have a list, you should audit for importance, scrutinize those suppliers that you know are more critical to the product’s availability and quality, and ensure more frequent on-site audits to ensure that they have adequate quality controls and measures. Also, ensure audits are an avenue to let the supplier know what you have learned from the market survey and what you feel should be scrapped, added, or improved.

Keep Suppliers To a Minimum for Better Quality Control

The popular phrase “the more, the merrier” doesn’t apply in this case, as it makes a lot of sense to keep dropshipped products at a minimum. More products to be drop-shipped will mean more suppliers are needed, which will amount to a more challenging and costly avenue to monitor quality. Like mentioned earlier, Dropshipping should be a means to aid your business, do not enter your business around dropshipping.  This process of supplier rationalization enables you to develop a better supplier list.

Estimate Supplier Performance

You can easily measure supplier performance with a couple of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as Delivery time, Response time, Defect rate, Inspection results, and audit results

Managing your third-party supplier quality is not just about avoiding costly customer backlash, bad reviews, or poor website rankings. When quality control is adequately ensured, it generates great value for your business due to overall standard product quality, boosting your company’s reputation, and bolstering high-quality business performance.

Essential Pages To Have On Your Website

  • Shop: There should be a separate link to your store, even if you have products for sale on the home page. You should have a store where you will further sort products into categories.
  • Shipping/returns: Provide necessary information on the way to go on shipping, your return policy, and your money back policy all next to each other in a quite obvious position on the website. 
  • Contact/help: There should be clear customer support emails and social media handles.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: As you engage customers with their issues, you’ll start getting a certain set of questions several times. Instead of just emailing the same several times, you should compile them on a “Frequently Asked Questions” FAQ page.

Becoming Profitable

Create A Landing Page

A landing page is usually created weeks before the official opening of your store. You drop your website link on your ads, and potential customers go there, and to everyone that visits, the landing page comes up with a lead magnet (freebies you offer potential customers in exchange for their details). You can offer them free shipping on the first order, or a 10% discount on all items or something else you think can be enticing enough to make the potential customer drop their email address. The submitted email addresses are collated into an email list, where you can send a reminder newsletter upon your launch.

Maintain Social media Presence

You should be on social media well before and even after your store launches. You can use influencers on Twitter or Instagram to push campaigns that will make you on every mobile phone, before, during, and after your launch – you want to stay fresh in memories.

Learn To Maintain Good Customer Relations

One way to grow your e-commerce store is to make your few regular customers. This is even easier than finding new customers altogether. Because of some level of trust already built, you are more likely to easily sell to an old customer than to a fresh customer. Offer discounts for returning customers, or for cheap items a “buy one, get one free” coupon. You could also give customers another item related to the first item they bought at a cheaper rate. 

For example, “you just bought a new Apple Macbook pro, would you like to buy a new laptop bag at a 10% discount”. This will, of course, seem appealing to the buyer, and even if he didn’t have it in mind before, he would definitely consider it.


As this book has mentioned several times, your customers are your biggest assets. Communicate with them as you care, and they will return the favor. And vice-versa.

Keep Tabs On Data

Tracking key statistics and data for your store can help you maintain organization, save money, and help you avoid mistakes. Pay attention to performance indicators, and you will run a business that will yield optimal profit.

Be Ready To Face Challenges

You are your own biggest challenge; the moment you can overcome the pessimism within yourself, despite understanding how challenging E-commerce can be, you should be ready to face many challenges at the beginning, and even after you are off and running. As you grow, you will become stronger against challenges.

Mistakes are a Part Of The Business

You definitely cannot have it all figured out initially. You have to be fine with making mistakes and learning from those mistakes to build experience so that you won’t repeat a similar mistake. When you take a wrong step, return to the drawing board, analyze your failures, re-evaluate, and form a new strategy, to make progress.

Read Also: Amazon Business Model, Etsy Business Model, eBay Business Model, E-commerce Business Models, Platform Business Models.

Read More:

Visual Marketing Glossary

Account-Based Marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy where the marketing and sales departments come together to create personalized buying experiences for high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a business-to-business (B2B) approach in which marketing and sales teams work together to target high-value accounts and turn them into customers.


Ad Ops – also known as Digital Ad Operations – refers to systems and processes that support digital advertisements’ delivery and management. The concept describes any process that helps a marketing team manage, run, or optimize ad campaigns, making them an integrating part of the business operations.

AARRR Funnel

Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.

Affinity Marketing

Affinity marketing involves a partnership between two or more businesses to sell more products. Note that this is a mutually beneficial arrangement where one brand can extend its reach and enhance its credibility in association with the other.

Ambush Marketing

As the name suggests, ambush marketing raises awareness for brands at events in a covert and unexpected fashion. Ambush marketing takes many forms, one common element, the brand advertising their products or services has not paid for the right to do so. Thus, the business doing the ambushing attempts to capitalize on the efforts made by the business sponsoring the event.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing describes the process whereby an affiliate earns a commission for selling the products of another person or company. Here, the affiliate is simply an individual who is motivated to promote a particular product through incentivization. The business whose product is being promoted will gain in terms of sales and marketing from affiliates.

Bullseye Framework

The bullseye framework is a simple method that enables you to prioritize the marketing channels that will make your company gain traction. The main logic of the bullseye framework is to find the marketing channels that work and prioritize them.

Brand Building

Brand building is the set of activities that help companies to build an identity that can be recognized by its audience. Thus, it works as a mechanism of identification through core values that signal trust and that help build long-term relationships between the brand and its key stakeholders.

Brand Dilution

According to inbound marketing platform HubSpot, brand dilution occurs “when a company’s brand equity diminishes due to an unsuccessful brand extension, which is a new product the company develops in an industry that they don’t have any market share in.” Brand dilution, therefore, occurs when a brand decreases in value after the company releases a product that does not align with its vision, mission, or skillset. 

Brand Essence Wheel

The brand essence wheel is a templated approach businesses can use to better understand their brand. The brand essence wheel has obvious implications for external brand strategy. However, it is equally important in simplifying brand strategy for employees without a strong marketing background. Although many variations of the brand essence wheel exist, a comprehensive wheel incorporates information from five categories: attributes, benefits, values, personality, brand essence.

Brand Equity

The brand equity is the premium that a customer is willing to pay for a product that has all the objective characteristics of existing alternatives, thus, making it different in terms of perception. The premium on seemingly equal products and quality is attributable to its brand equity.

Brand Positioning

Brand positioning is about creating a mental real estate in the mind of the target market. If successful, brand positioning allows a business to gain a competitive advantage. And it also works as a switching cost in favor of the brand. Consumers recognizing a brand might be less prone to switch to another brand.

Business Storytelling

Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the most powerful commercial activities which focuses on leveraging content production (text, audio, video, or other formats) to attract a targeted audience. Content marketing focuses on building a strong brand, but also to convert part of that targeted audience into potential customers.

Customer Lifetime Value

One of the first mentions of customer lifetime value was in the 1988 book Database Marketing: Strategy and Implementation written by Robert Shaw and Merlin Stone. Customer lifetime value (CLV) represents the value of a customer to a company over a period of time. It represents a critical business metric, especially for SaaS or recurring revenue-based businesses.

Customer Segmentation

Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, product, marketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.

Developer Marketing

Developer marketing encompasses tactics designed to grow awareness and adopt software tools, solutions, and SaaS platforms. Developer marketing has become the standard among software companies with a platform component, where developers can build applications on top of the core software or open software. Therefore, engaging developer communities has become a key element of marketing for many digital businesses.

Digital Marketing Channels

A digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.

Field Marketing

Field marketing is a general term that encompasses face-to-face marketing activities carried out in the field. These activities may include street promotions, conferences, sales, and various forms of experiential marketing. Field marketing, therefore, refers to any marketing activity that is performed in the field.

Funnel Marketing

interaction with a brand until they become a paid customer and beyond. Funnel marketing is modeled after the marketing funnel, a concept that tells the company how it should market to consumers based on their position in the funnel itself. The notion of a customer embarking on a journey when interacting with a brand was first proposed by Elias St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. Funnel marketing typically considers three stages of a non-linear marketing funnel. These are top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). Particular marketing strategies at each stage are adapted to the level of familiarity the consumer has with a brand.

Go-To-Market Strategy

A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.


The term “greenwashing” was first coined by environmentalist Jay Westerveld in 1986 at a time when most consumers received their news from television, radio, and print media. Some companies took advantage of limited public access to information by portraying themselves as environmental stewards – even when their actions proved otherwise. Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing practice where a company makes unsubstantiated claims about an environmentally-friendly product or service.

Grassroots Marketing

Grassroots marketing involves a brand creating highly targeted content for a particular niche or audience. When an organization engages in grassroots marketing, it focuses on a small group of people with the hope that its marketing message is shared with a progressively larger audience.

Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

Guerrilla Marketing

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that seeks to utilize low-cost and sometimes unconventional tactics that are high impact. First coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book of the same title, guerrilla marketing works best on existing customers who are familiar with a brand or product and its particular characteristics.

Hunger Marketing

Hunger marketing is a marketing strategy focused on manipulating consumer emotions. By bringing products to market with an attractive price point and restricted supply, consumers have a stronger desire to make a purchase.

Integrated Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy designed to attract customers to a brand with content and experiences that they derive value from. Inbound marketing utilizes blogs, events, SEO, and social media to create brand awareness and attract targeted consumers. By attracting or “drawing in” a targeted audience, inbound marketing differs from outbound marketing which actively pushes a brand onto consumers who may have no interest in what is being offered.

Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing describes the process of delivering consistent and relevant content to a target audience across all marketing channels. It is a cohesive, unified, and immersive marketing strategy that is cost-effective and relies on brand identity and storytelling to amplify the brand to a wider and wider audience.

Marketing Mix

The marketing mix is a term to describe the multi-faceted approach to a complete and effective marketing plan. Traditionally, this plan included the four Ps of marketing: price, product, promotion, and place. But the exact makeup of a marketing mix has undergone various changes in response to new technologies and ways of thinking. Additions to the four Ps include physical evidence, people, process, and even politics.

Marketing Myopia

Marketing myopia is the nearsighted focus on selling goods and services at the expense of consumer needs. Marketing myopia was coined by Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt in 1960. Originally, Levitt described the concept in the context of organizations in high-growth industries that become complacent in their belief that such industries never fail.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas give businesses a general overview of key segments of their target audience and how these segments interact with their brand. Marketing personas are based on the data of an ideal, fictional customer whose characteristics, needs, and motivations are representative of a broader market segment.

Meme Marketing

Meme marketing is any marketing strategy that uses memes to promote a brand. The term “meme” itself was popularized by author Richard Dawkins over 50 years later in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene. In the book, Dawkins described how ideas evolved and were shared across different cultures. The internet has enabled this exchange to occur at an exponential rate, with the first modern memes emerging in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


Microtargeting is a marketing strategy that utilizes consumer demographic data to identify the interests of a very specific group of individuals. Like most marketing strategies, the goal of microtargeting is to positively influence consumer behavior.

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing executes a marketing strategy across multiple platforms to reach as many consumers as possible. Here, a platform may refer to product packaging, word-of-mouth advertising, mobile apps, email, websites, or promotional events, and all the other channels that can help amplify the brand to reach as many consumers as possible.

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM), otherwise known as network or referral marketing, is a strategy in which businesses sell their products through person-to-person sales. When consumers join MLM programs, they act as distributors. Distributors make money by selling the product directly to other consumers. They earn a small percentage of sales from those that they recruit to do the same – often referred to as their “downline”.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.


Neuromarketing information is collected by measuring brain activity related to specific brain functions using sophisticated and expensive technology such as MRI machines. Some businesses also choose to make inferences of neurological responses by analyzing biometric and heart-rate data. Neuromarketing is the domain of large companies with similarly large budgets or subsidies. These include Frito-Lay, Google, and The Weather Channel.


Newsjacking as a marketing strategy was popularised by David Meerman Scott in his book Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage. Newsjacking describes the practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and increase brand exposure.

Niche Marketing

A microniche is a subset of potential customers within a niche. In the era of dominating digital super-platforms, identifying a microniche can kick off the strategy of digital businesses to prevent competition against large platforms. As the microniche becomes a niche, then a market, scale becomes an option.

Push vs. Pull Marketing

We can define pull and push marketing from the perspective of the target audience or customers. In push marketing, as the name suggests, you’re promoting a product so that consumers can see it. In a pull strategy, consumers might look for your product or service drawn by its brand.

Real-Time Marketing

Real-time marketing is as exactly as it sounds. It involves in-the-moment marketing to customers across any channel based on how that customer is interacting with the brand.

Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing involves businesses and their brands forming long-term relationships with customers. The focus of relationship marketing is to increase customer loyalty and engagement through high-quality products and services. It differs from short-term processes focused solely on customer acquisition and individual sales.

Reverse Marketing

Reverse marketing describes any marketing strategy that encourages consumers to seek out a product or company on their own. This approach differs from a traditional marketing strategy where marketers seek out the consumer.


Remarketing involves the creation of personalized and targeted ads for consumers who have already visited a company’s website. The process works in this way: as users visit a brand’s website, they are tagged with cookies that follow the users, and as they land on advertising platforms where retargeting is an option (like social media platforms) they get served ads based on their navigation.

Sensory Marketing

Sensory marketing describes any marketing campaign designed to appeal to the five human senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are enabling marketers to design fun, interactive, and immersive sensory marketing brand experiences. Long term, businesses must develop sensory marketing campaigns that are relevant and effective in eCommerce.

Services Marketing

Services marketing originated as a separate field of study during the 1980s. Researchers realized that the unique characteristics of services required different marketing strategies to those used in the promotion of physical goods. Services marketing is a specialized branch of marketing that promotes the intangible benefits delivered by a company to create customer value.

Sustainable Marketing

Sustainable marketing describes how a business will invest in social and environmental initiatives as part of its marketing strategy. Also known as green marketing, it is often used to counteract public criticism around wastage, misleading advertising, and poor quality or unsafe products.

Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is a marketing strategy skewed toward offering a great experience to existing customers and incentivizing them to share it with other potential customers. That is one of the most effective forms of marketing as it enables a company to gain traction based on existing customers’ referrals. When repeat customers become a key enabler for the brand this is one of the best organic and sustainable growth marketing strategies.

360 Marketing

360 marketing is a marketing campaign that utilizes all available mediums, channels, and consumer touchpoints. 360 marketing requires the business to maintain a consistent presence across multiple online and offline channels. This ensures it does not miss potentially lucrative customer segments. By its very nature, 360 marketing describes any number of different marketing strategies. However, a broad and holistic marketing strategy should incorporate a website, SEO, PPC, email marketing, social media, public relations, in-store relations, and traditional forms of advertising such as television.

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