Each month we bring you e-commerce trends, analysis, and resources so you can pilot your business to success. Check out our January edition here to stay up to date.
This month, we’ll explain the process you need to complete to go from no idea to launching your very own product.
How to Launch an E-Commerce Brand
Do you have a product idea? Are you hoping to start an e-commerce brand but don’t know where to start? Look no further. In this article, we will outline the nine steps to launch your e-commerce brand from scratch. By following these steps and putting in some hard work, you will be setting yourself up for success,
1. Start with Affiliate Marketing
If you don’t have the cash to create your own physical product, you should start with affiliate marketing. It will help you learn how the process works without a big initial investment. Of course, you won’t become successful overnight with affiliate marketing, but it will give you all the skills you need to launch your e-commerce brand when you have the cash.
2. Product Research
When performing product research, you are looking for keywords related to your product that show steady and growing search volume. Ideally, you want to research a product you believe in and would want to use in your daily life. You will use two tools in this idea validation phase: Google Trends and Semrush.
Additionally, both Shopify and Etsy have posted their e-commerce predictions for 2023 if you need more ideas on where to begin.
Google Trends is a great place to find the interest in specific keywords over a period of time. You can even see what areas of the United States search for a keyword the most. Start by typing in your product and keywords related to your product to measure the interest. Next, type in the names of your competitors to see how their search volume has changed over time.
After researching keywords on Google Trends, it is time to move on to a more powerful tool. Semrush allows you to analyze the traffic of your competitors, their promotion strategies, and what keywords they are ranking for. Do not use Semrush until you have identified your product, keywords, and competitors.
3. Make An LLC In Your Home State
After settling on a product, you will register your business as an LLC in your home state. Don’t waste your money by paying someone else to register your business because this is a super simple process that does not take very long.
In most states, you simply visit the Secretary of State or Comptroller website and begin your registration. It usually takes about a week to be approved. If you live in Texas, we wrote a step-by-step article on how to create an LLC in Texas.
In the future, you will want to elect to have your LLC taxed as an S-corporation as your income grows.
4. Find a Manufacturer
Below we are including a list of resources to help get your manufacturing search started.
As you begin your search, create a list of all the manufacturers you find that can make your product. Next, find out the cost to produce your product from each manufacturer and their minimum order quantity. This will help you whittle down your list to a small handful. From your shortened list, you will order a sample from each manufacturer. Try to pick the manufacturer with the highest quality and is most receptive to your revision requests.
5. Create Your Branding
Now that you have found a manufacturer, it is time to work on your branding. Too many people jump right to this step. But there is no point in wasting your time on branding if you can’t find a suitable manufacturer to make your product at a reasonable price.
In this step, you will create your logos, visual identity, taglines, and messaging that will be used on your website and in your advertisements.
6. Create Your Website
With your branding established, you can start creating your website. We recommend using Shopify because it is the largest platform specifically built for e-commerce. Shopify is easy to use, but the experience can be made even better by using a drag-and-drop page builder called Shogun.
Insert everything you created on the previous step into your home, product, and about us pages. Those are the only three pages you will need in the beginning.
Important note: Ensure all of your policy documents in the footer of your website are updated and accurate. Shopify will penalize you if these are missing or incorrect.
7. Customize Packaging
For your packaging, shop around and look for a manufacturer that is both responsive and affordable. Your packaging is not as important as the actual product. But your packaging will be a customer’s first impression of your brand. Therefore, it needs to look attractive and high-quality.
8. Third-Party Logistics
Third-party logistics are important because you don’t want pallets on pallets of the product showing up at your doorstep and taking up all of the space in your house. You also don’t want to have to ship each item yourself.
Remember not to get married to your provider. Often, e-commerce brands will switch providers as they scale.
Your last step is to run some ads for a pre-sale. You want to do a pre-sale to gauge interest before you purchase more than the minimum order quantity from your manufacturer. The sweet spot for a pre-sale is three weeks before you fulfill orders.
If you need guidance on where you should be placing ads, we wrote an article that shows you where to find your target demographic.
Don’t get trapped in analysis paralysis on step 1. You will have to be decisive and take action. Just know that you won’t be locked into any of your decisions during this process. You can always switch manufacturers, revamp your website, and update your products. The most important thing you can do is to start today. Your brand won’t build itself.
At Windstone Financial, we specialize in helping e-commerce brands grow their businesses while permanently lowering their taxes. If you need help growing your brand, click the button below to speak with a CPA today!