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E-commerce is a rapidly growing industry in both Canada and around the world. Canadians are choosing to make more frequent purchases online and in 2019 alone, 28.1 million people made at least one online shopping transaction equaling out to 1.85 billion Canadian dollars in revenue. With these numbers expected to continue to expand in the future, its no wonder that more businesses are looking to enter into the e-commerce market.
Short for Electronic Commerce, e-commerce is the process of utilizing the internet to sell both goods and services to consumers.
There are so many benefits to starting an e-commerce business and in fact, in order to stay competitive in today’s marketplace and to meet the demands of consumers, most businesses and service providers are finding that an e-commerce store is essential for their survival.
Some of the biggest benefits to beginning an e-commerce operation include:
Once you have determined what your business is and have devised a strategic business plan you are ready to start selling online. Here is an outline of what you need to do next:
Decide on your product
E-commerce stores sell all kinds of products, including physical products like t-shirts and shoes and digital products such as photos or books. People also use e-commerce stores to sell various services including virtual assistance, social media marketing packages and more. It’s important to have clear idea of what it is you are going to be selling online, before going into the details of launching the actual store.
Register your business
The government of Canada will require that you pay taxes and therefore you must obtain a tax identification number and a VAT number. Depending on the type of business that you run, you will also require a license which may vary from province to province. You will also be required to have a registered domain name for your website.
Research reputable e-commerce platforms
Unless you have a strong background in computers and programming, it is almost always recommended that you use one of the many e-commerce platforms that are available today. These platforms are designed to streamline the online selling process to help make the experience as easy as possible for both the buyer and seller.
Once the sales start coming in, be sure to keep track of all of your sales and customer data. Knowing who your customers are and how your business is doing will help you be prepared to make the changes required to be successful in the future.
There are a multitude of e-commerce platforms available in the marketplace today and each one has its own unique features and benefits that can aid you in your online selling ventures. Some of the most common benefits of e-commerce platforms include:
Depending on the features you are looking for and the ability to customize your experience, e-commerce platforms usually cost around $30 per month. This amount however, may increase as your business grows.
Drop shipping is the process where a seller places an order directly from the manufacturer or wholesaler and has it delivered directly to the final consumer. This eliminates the need for a business to have high levels of inventory in stock all the time and helps to keep operating costs lower.
Yes. One of the biggest disadvantages to e-commerce is that it is highly competitive and unlike brick and mortar stores, your competition isn’t limited to your local neighbourhood. Your competition spans the entire globe which can make standing out and drawing customers into your site more of a challenge.
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