FAQ for eCommerce Beginners

Zebracon helps eCommerce beginners set up their online businesses and thrive in the digital environment. We are here to answer any questions and solve any doubts you may have as an eCommerce business founder. We have collected some of the most frequently asked questions from people who are considering or are in the process of starting an eCommerce business to sell goods or services online. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you still have doubts.

Do I need previous business experience to start an eCommerce business?

No, anybody can start an eCommerce business if they have the will to learn the basics. The most advanced aspects of eCommerce can be learned along the way. Many people who start eCommerce businesses are regular people without any background in business or management and have created successful online stores starting from scratch, either by following their passion or by putting into action some innovative and creative ideas. Learning the essential aspects of starting and managing an eCommerce business is not complicated. You can use our Founder Guide to learn the most important steps.

Do I need significant investment to start an eCommerce business?

Starting a small eCommerce store doesn’t need a considerable investment as there are many affordable solutions for building a store as well as different business models that allow you to buy products or services from suppliers only after receiving an order and a payment from a client. When starting a small eCommerce store, you’ll have to incur some legal fees for business registration, as well minor monthly fees for platforms that allow you to register a domain, host a website and build your own stores. As your business grows and your revenues increase, you can then afford additional investments.

What are the legal requirements for starting an eCommerce business?

Legally speaking, starting an eCommerce business is like starting any type of business and it requires certain administrative and bureaucratic steps. Zebracon can guide you through the most important steps of setting up your business in your country and area. These include picking the right legal form for your business, choosing your legal business name, choosing your brand name, obtaining all the necessary permits, such as a business operation license or a sales tax license, and setting up the privacy policy, cookie policy, and terms and conditions page to operate in your country.

How do I select my target market segment?

This is the fundamental first step when starting an eCommerce store. Zebracon can help you select a market segment where you can effectively sell your products or services and where the current competition doesn’t represent a significant barrier to entry. Choosing the right target market segment is done after studying the market geographically, demographically, psychologically, and behaviorally and finding a segment where customers have an unsatisfied need that your offer can satisfy. This analytical step is crucial and Zebracon will give you the right insights and advice to make the correct decisions.

What is a niche?

When choosing a market segment, it’s important to focus on a niche that you can target effectively and avoid selecting a market that is too broad for the size of your business and the strength of the competition. Our consultants will analyze your current resources, goals, and prospects and help you select a niche in which you can compete effectively and dwarf your competitors. This will greatly increase the chances of success compared to eCommerce businesses that don’t receive the proper advice and end up overlooking this step.

How do I analyze my target market?

Zebracon uses the most advanced tools for market research and analysis, which allows you to obtain accurate and precise data to understand your target customers, assess the competition, and locate both threats and opportunities. This will allow you to save a lot of money compared to buying these tools separately and using them on your own. You will also take advantage of Zebracon’s expertise in using these tools. Our experience is the result of years of analyzing hundreds of business situations from a very diverse pool of clients.

What is a competitive advantage?

A competitive advantage exists when a business is able to satisfy customers’ needs and meet their demands better than the competition due to either lower prices or higher quality. A competitive advantage can also be obtained through a higher innovation rate and through unique offers that competitors can’t replicate. After assessing your situation, Zebracon will help you differentiate your offerings from your rivals, increase your customer satisfaction significantly and develop practices that will make your business stand out from all the others.

What is eCommerce scalability?

By eCommerce scalability, we mean being able to scale your eCommerce store to keep up with your online business growth. Our consultants can help you make sure that your online store is properly scaled by looking at indicators like the reliability of your hosting, your store’s performance for high order volumes, how your website behaves when there is a high number of orders, and so on.

What business model should I use for my eCommerce business?

An eCommerce store can be based on a multitude of models and the choice depends on your current resources, your goals, and the type of competitors that operate in your market. After a consultation with our consultants, you will be able to determine whether you should opt for traditional models in which you take care of the warehousing and inventory management, dropshipping models in which you run an online store but your wholesaler takes care of storing and managing goods, a traditional service model or a dropservicing model in which you resell services after buying them from freelancers.

What sales channels should I use for my eCommerce business?

There are various channels that you can use to sell your products or services online. Zebracon will help you determine whether you should set up your own website and use it as the main store, use mainly online marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, use social media platforms to sell goods and not just promote them or use a combination of these channels. The choice depends on different factors and our experienced consultants will assess all elements to help you choose the right set of sales channels.

What promotional channels should I use for my eCommerce business?

Another important decision is how you are going to promote your brand, products, and services online. Are you going to focus mostly on organic SEO, that is, improving your rankings on Google naturally? Are you going to adopt a more aggressive strategy and pay search engines to rank higher? Are you going to focus mostly on social media marketing? What type of content marketing strategy are you planning to adopt? How much do you intend to rely on email marketing? Zebracon will help you find an answer to each of these questions.

How do on-page and off-page SEO differ from each other?

If you want your online store to naturally rank high in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, you will need to adopt the right SEO approach. SEO is a wide field that includes both structuring your website and content in a way that is seen favorably by search engines’ algorithms (on-page SEO) and increasing the number of external websites that links to yours, thus making search engines perceive your website as more reputable (off-page SEO). Zebracon can help you improve your search engine rankings by using both strategies and by focusing entirely on legit SEO practices (white-hat SEO).

What is the revenue on advertising spend (ROAS)?

Revenues on advertising spend is an important indicator in digital advertising and it represents the level of profit associated with your level of advertising expense, thus allowing you to assess the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. Zebracon will analyze your revenue on advertising spend and determine to which extent your advertising expenses are generating sales, which ads are more effective than others, and for which ads you should increase your CPC (cost per click). Many eCommerce businesses don’t pay sufficient attention to these factors and receiving professional advice from Zebracon will put you ahead of the curve.

What is Customer Relationships Management (CRM)?

In all types of business, customer relationships management allows managers to analyze their target customers from different angles and obtain insights that they can use to improve their strategies and tactics and achieve better results. In eCommerce, customer relationships management deals mostly with how your customer’s experience unfolds online. This is done by storing data and assessing indicators such as click-through rate, conversion rate, email opt-in conversions, average order value, and shopping cart abandonment rate. Analyzing these metrics can help you increase the number of customers and increase the loyalty of your current customers.

What is the click-through rate?

By click-through rate, we mean how many people click on your store’s link on search engine results and various online advertisements compare to the total number of impressions (the people who see the link). Increasing the click-through rate is fundamental for the performance of your eCommerce store and we at Zebracon can give you all the right tips on how to do it.

What is the conversion rate?

The conversion rate refers to how many visitors to your store end up buying your products or services. It’s not enough to drive traffic to your website or other sales channel if visitors are not turning into customers and buying your products. It’s therefore easy to understand why improving conversion rates is one of the main priorities of eCommerce businesses and our consultants at Zebracon have the right expertise and knowledge to point you in the right direction and generate a better conversion rate than your direct competitors.  

How do I improve my conversion rate?

Zebracon can help you choose the best ways to improve your conversation rate based on your specific situation. Every business is different and may have different problems or unexplored opportunities. Zebracon will assess your business’ situation and will help you figure out whether your conversation rate can be improved by removing unnecessary elements, adding pop-ups to your online store, making the sign-up process easier, making the check-out process easier, adding a live chat to support your customers, offer a money-back guarantee and so on.

What is the email opt-in conversion rate?

The email opt-in rate is the percentage of your website visitors who become subscribers of your email list. Increasing this rate is very important if you want to improve the number of repeat customers and your overall customer loyalty. There are various techniques for an eCommerce business that wants to increase the number of email subscribers and they tend to focus on building your level of trustworthiness and credibility. Zebracon can give you the right advice and bring your email opt-in rate to higher levels than your competitors.

What is the average order value (AOV)?

Average order value (AOV) refers to the average amount of money spent every time a customer orders a product or service on your online store, and it is obtained by dividing the total revenue by the total number of orders. It can be a very useful benchmark indicator and it helps you set your strategies and assess which ones are working. Zebracon will help you define the best ways to increase your average order value, which may include upselling, cross-selling, discounts, coupons, free delivery, and more favorable return policies.

What is the shopping cart abandonment rate?

We define shopping cart abandonment as the event in which a customer starts a purchase on your online store but doesn’t complete the transaction. This could be caused by various factors including a negative customer experience or some technical problems in the check-out process. Zebracon will analyze your shopping cart abandonment rate and will come up with proposals to lower it. This usually involves formulating hypotheses on why your customers aren’t concluding a transaction and testing them through a process known as A/B testing.

What is the customer acquisition cost (CAC)?

The customer acquisition cost is a very important figure in eCommerce as it helps you measure the return on investments made to increase the number of customers. It is the sum of expenses a business has to incur to obtain one new customer. The lower the customer acquisition cost, the more profitable each customer will be for your business. Our advisors will help you find the most effective strategies to lower your customer acquisition costs, which may involve the use of automation processes, the improvement of your sales funnel, the creation of more effective content, the use of affiliate programs, or the redefinition of your target market.

What is the customer lifetime value (CLV)?

Customer lifetime value is a very useful indicator to determine the level of loyalty and satisfaction of your customers. It measures the total revenues that your eCommerce business earns from a single customer over time. Zebracon can help you make the right moves to improve your customer lifetime value, which may include adopting a new email marketing strategy, personalizing your offerings, introducing ways to reward your loyal customers, and improving the overall trustworthiness and reputation of your brand, introducing convenient subscriptions and so on.

What are the best eCommerce platforms?

There are numerous eCommerce platforms for new online entrepreneurs. These platforms provide you with hosting, domain registration, and all the tools to build and manage an eCommerce shop at reasonable costs or subscription fees. Some of the most popular eCommerce platforms include Adobe Commerce (formerly Magento), Shopify, BigCommerce, and the WooCommerce plugin on WordPress. Having worked with hundreds of clients that use all of these platforms, Zebracon has developed extensive knowledge and experience on how to use them and on the main benefits of each platform and will help you choose the right one based on your needs, goals, and preferences.

Do I need technical knowledge to build an eCommerce store?

While it’s not a bad thing to have web development notions, it’s absolutely not mandatory for a person who wants to build an eCommerce store from scratch. As we said in the previous questions, there are plenty of eCommerce platforms that give online entrepreneurs all the tools they need to build a website. Some entrepreneurs may want a more advanced type of eCommerce store and may hire a professional website developer and designer. After consultation with Zebracon, you will have a clear idea of the options that are available to you based on your budget, goals, and preferences.

Can I outsource the development of my eCommerce store?

We can take care of the development of your eCommerce store if you don’t have the time or will to develop it yourself. Our eCommerce development experts will listen to your desires, assess your situation and present you with the different options available to you. They will then proceed to develop your store based on what you have discussed with them. We hire only the most knowledgeable, skilled, and competent eCommerce web developers as it’s our deepest wish to see our clients succeed in their projects.

Can I outsource the management of my eCommerce store?

If you want your eCommerce store to be managed by competent experts who have years of experience in this field, Zebracon is at your disposal. We offer different services that range from general management to administering some aspects of your eCommerce store, ranging from SEO strategies, paid advertising strategies, content marketing planning, email marketing, and taking care of the technical aspects. Book a consultation with us so that we can get a full picture of what you need and offer you tailored solutions.

How do I monitor my eCommerce business performance?

Monitoring the performance of your eCommerce store requires analyzing different elements of your business. First, you have to analyze the technical performance of your online store. A decrease in page speed or the presence of bugs may negatively impact your customer experience and have negative consequences on your revenues. Secondly, you need to monitor whether your medium-term financial results are in line with the goals that you have set. Thirdly, you need to monitor the level of satisfaction and loyalty of your customers, as well as your brand awareness, because all these elements can impact the long-term profitability of your business. Our consultants will point you in the right direction and help you make sure that your eCommerce business is performing the way it should.

How do I guarantee the security of my online business?

Even more than regular websites, eCommerce stores are subject to numerous security risks, from hackers trying to steal customer payment information to the risk of malfunctions and loss of data. It’s therefore important to take a number of steps to secure your online store, which may include using secure hosting, installing a strong firewall, backing up your website regularly, using third-party services designed by experts to handle payments, and performing SQL checks regularly. Zebracon can advise you on the steps to take to insulate your website from any security risk.

Can I convert my physical store to an eCommerce store?

Many owners of physical retail shops are looking at eCommerce as a way to increase their sales by targeting customers outside of their geographic areas. This can turn a small shop into a very successful big business within only a few years. Zebracon can give you the necessary tips and suggestions to successfully turn your physical store into a digital one within days.

What are some of the most compelling eCommerce success stories?

The number of eCommerce success stories is very high and encouraging. The company known today as Bushwick Kitchen began when its two founders decided to mix honey and chili flakes and create a new product called MixedMade. After one year, they had already surpassed $170,000 in sales. Beardbrand is another of these success stories. It started as a YouTube channel and blog, and it became one of the major online sellers of beard grooming products. At Zebracon, we want to help you be the next success story.

Zebracon LLC. All rights reserved © 2023