A Complete Guide To Start An E-commerce Business

Consumers have moved online: they purchase items online. According to the DNA, ladies’ underwear increased by 909% sales and latex gloves increased by 888% during MCO. Of course, there are many other product categories are selling like hotcakes online. At the same time, logistics companies are working hard to deliver all the e-commerce orders.

I have seen many traditional businesses or online business explorers are thinking to move their business online. Hence, this post is served as a guide for entrepreneurs to start e-commerce without going a long route to figure out how things work.

I separated this guide into 3 phases so that entrepreneurs can start gradually. One doesn’t need to jump into a deep pool at the beginning.

Phase 1

1. Product Listing

List down all your product with the following details:

  1. Product name
  2. Product description
  3. Product image

Write down the details above whether on a piece of paper or on a text editor on your laptop. Once all the information is prepared, put ALL of them on marketplaces. They are free to use. Leverage the platforms.

  1. Create an account on Shopee.
  2. Update your account information such as business name, description and logo on Shopee.
  3. List all your products on Shopee.
  4. Create an account on Lazada.
  5. Update your account information such as business name, description and logo on Lazada.
  6. List all your products on Shopee.
  7. Create an account on Carousell.
  8. Update your account information such as business name, description and logo on Carousell.
  9. List all your products on Carousell.

Once you have done that, your business is already online! How much you have spent? RM0. Zero cost.

2. Get Ready Your WhatsApp

Remember to publish your WhatsApp phone number. Many customers love to communicate with you on WhatsApp. If you are serious about your business, you might want to use WhatsApp Business as it has additional features specifically for business use. To name some of the features: product or service listing, business hours, business description, and chat labeling. If you want to separate your personal messages and business messages, you may consider having a second phone line for business.

Phase 2

Ready to move to phase 2? Why so? Many businesses agree that the more sales channels, the more the revenue. But, it involves some investment.

1. Setting Up Your Own E-commerce Website

By having your own website, you stand out among your competitors. You have your own brand with a domain name (eg: KingSoon.com). Your own website is your own asset and you have more controls on it. To do that, you need to decide an infrastructure. The major infrastructures are:

  1. Wordpress
    You have total control and ownership of the whole thing. Just that you need to figure out the server and installation or hire a technical person to do it for you. The cost low compared to other options: between RM150 to RM450 per year.
  2. Shopify
    Very easy to start and use as it is a developed infrastructure and internationally used. It costs from RM130 to RM1,345 per month and it comes with 3 months FREE trial.
  3. Easystore
    A local website builder that helps you start an e-commerce website easily. You need to design and build it yourself. It starts from RM59 to RM499 per month.
  4. Shopline
    Very user-friendly interface. You need to design and build it yourself. It starts from RM48 to RM238 per month.

2. Integrate Payment Gateway

Your customers most likely are making payment either with credit card, online bank transfer, or Cash on Delivery (COD). With a good system integrated, you don’t have to worry about they payment. Choose one or more to integrate it with your e-commerce website:

  1. Stripe
    Free to start. No installation fee required. It takes 3% plus RM2 as a commission for each of your transactions.
  2. iPay88
    Lower transaction fee. But you need to pay the setup fee.
  3. MOLPay
    Lower transaction fee. But you need to pay the setup fee.

3. Choose Your Courier Services

Having your own website, you need to fulfil the orders. Get all options ready before you need them. Check the coverage and rates and decide the ones that suit your business needs. I have listed down a table of the options on another post.

4. Work On the SEO

Every website needs to work on the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) so that your potential customers can find you on search engine (Google) for FREE! Though it doesn’t cost a bomb, there are a lot of works that need to be done.

  1. Register on Google My Business
  2. Setup Google Analytics
  3. Setup Google Search Console
  4. Update your website homepage title
  5. Update your website description
  6. Update your website metadata
  7. Create social media accounts and link it to your website

What is the cost for basic SEO? RM0.

Phase 3

1. Google Ads

Why use Google Ads? Visitors from Google Ads are very keen to buy. They are ready to spend the money, that’s why they go to Google and search for a supplier like you. With Google Ads, you can get website visitors in the shortest possible time – it also depends on your budget and the competition in your industry. To start with, you need to do the followings:

  1. Set up your Google Ads account
  2. Linking your Google Ads and Google Analytics for more accurate measurement
  3. Set up your advertising campaign

The recommended budget is RM100 per day. Though you can set it lower, the result might not be worth it.

2. Facebook & Instagram Ads

Though you can boost your post with RM30 each time, there must be a more effective way to advertise your business. Boosting your post is like throwing a random net on a random sea. A fisherman needs to know what kind of fish to catch and use the right tool to do that. To start with Facebook Ads, you need to do the followings:

  1. Set up your Facebook Ads account
  2. Create a new Pixel and install it on your website
  3. Set up your advertising campaign

The recommended budget is RM100 per day. Though you can set it lower, the result might not be worth it.

Conclusion

Here you go. Above are the 3 phases to kickstart your e-commerce journey. Start small and invest more when you see sales coming in. Please send me an email if you have any questions. Then, I know you have read this.

Kim
A coffee addict.