Starting an E-commerce business

Statistics reveal that approximately 20% of startups fail within their first two years, 45% within five years, and 65% within ten years. These failures often arise due to issues with timing, budgeting, and delivering satisfactory outcomes. According to the Standish Group, 71% of 50,000 projects experienced these challenges. For those aiming to start an e-commerce business, this guide provides essential steps to help your venture succeed in a competitive market.

Product discovery

  • Exploration
    It’s important to recognize that as business owners, we’re not just selling products but providing solutions to customers’ problems. For e-commerce startups to succeed, it’s crucial to identify and address the pain points of our clients. This involves understanding their needs and challenges through various channels such as social media, surveys, and reviews on existing products. By focusing on solving real problems rather than just pushing products, we can better meet customer expectations and increase the likelihood of success. Failure to address these fundamental issues is a common reason why many projects fail to gain traction in the market.
  • Validation:
    After conducting thorough market exploration, the next crucial step for business owners is to translate their findings into action through prototyping and testing. This involves creating a prototype of their product or service and subjecting it to real-world testing to gauge customer interest and feedback. If customers show genuine interest and enthusiasm for the prototype, it indicates that the business is headed in the right direction. However, if clients fail to resonate with the prototype, there’s no cause for dismay. Instead, it signifies that the business has successfully avoided investing more resources, money, and time into a potentially unsuccessful endeavor. Embracing this feedback early on enables business owners to pivot and refine their strategies, ultimately steering them towards a more promising and profitable path. By viewing unsuccessful prototypes as valuable learning experiences rather than setbacks, entrepreneurs can navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship with resilience and adaptability, ensuring long-term success in the competitive market landscape.

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Striving for perfectionism can sometimes hinder progress in the e-commerce realm. Business owners must recognize that allocating resources excessively to any single area can lead to inefficiencies and hinder overall growth. Rather than aiming for perfection, it’s imperative for entrepreneurs to maintain a balanced perspective and focus on maximizing the efficiency and effectiveness of their investments. This entails diligently assessing all costs associated with e-commerce operations, setting clear financial goals, and accurately predicting income streams. By adopting a strategic approach to budget allocation, businesses can ensure that resources are allocated judiciously across various aspects of their operations, thereby optimizing their overall performance and profitability. Maintaining this disciplined approach allows entrepreneurs to navigate the complexities of e-commerce with confidence and achieve sustainable success in the dynamic marketplace.


Choosing the right platform is crucial for e-commerce startups to effectively organize their stores and increase their chances of success in a competitive market. When it comes to starting an e-commerce venture, there are primarily two platforms to consider: open-source and cloud computing. Of these options, the open-source platform is particularly recommended, especially for small startups. Compared to cloud computing, an open-source platform typically offers a lower financial barrier to entry. This accessibility makes it an attractive choice for startups with limited resources, as it allows them to get their online store up and running without significant upfront costs. Additionally, open-source platforms provide greater flexibility and customization options, empowering startups to tailor their e-commerce websites to their unique needs and preferences. By leveraging the advantages of an open-source platform, e-commerce startups can establish a solid foundation for their business and position themselves for long-term growth and success.

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After selecting the platform, the design of the website becomes a critical aspect of e-commerce success. E-commerce startups must ensure that the visual design is not only attractive but also user-friendly and fully optimized. This includes making sure the website is responsive and functions seamlessly on mobile devices, as a significant portion of online shopping occurs on smartphones and tablets. In addition to aesthetics and usability, the functionality of the website plays a pivotal role. A successful e-commerce site needs to incorporate various features to enhance the shopping experience, such as secure payment gateways, efficient navigation, and personalized recommendations. This is why using an open-source platform is highly recommended. Open-source platforms offer extensive customization options and a wide range of plugins and extensions, allowing startups to add the necessary functionalities tailored to their specific business needs. By leveraging the capabilities of an open-source platform, e-commerce startups can create a visually appealing, highly functional, and user-friendly website that meets customer expectations and drives business growth.

Powerful plugins

Most platforms can provide e-commerce startups with all basic functions, but further functions are limited in use, which means if e-commerce startups want to increase their business scale, it may even become an obstacle. Using open-source platforms allows e-commerce startups to freely choose from a vast number of powerful plugins and third-party extensions to expand their functions to better improve customer satisfaction. For example, on WordPress, people can find more than 11,000 themes and over 50,000 powerful plugins that people can choose from. It seems to be quite sure that e-commerce startups can find plugins providing the functions they want.


  • Branding
    Developing a strong brand identity is crucial for creating a memorable and trustworthy presence in the e-commerce market. This involves designing a distinctive logo, selecting a cohesive color palette, and crafting a clear, compelling messaging strategy that reflects the values and personality of your business. Your brand identity should resonate with your target audience, conveying who you are and what you stand for at a glance.
  • SEO
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential element of digital marketing that focuses on improving e-commerce websites to boost their visibility and rankings on search engines. By implementing a robust SEO strategy, e-commerce businesses can enhance the user experience and secure a competitive advantage in the online marketplace.
  • Email marketing:
    For startups, it’s crucial to grasp the importance of strategic spending. Therefore, thorough analysis of marketing and advertising efforts is imperative, as it allows business owners to maximize their budget’s impact in attracting customers. By diligently studying the return on investment (ROI) of various marketing activities, e-commerce startups can optimize their budget allocation, ensuring efficient use of funds while minimizing unnecessary expenses. Additionally, analyzing advertising results aids in decision-making regarding investment in specific channels. This data-driven approach not only maximizes cost-effectiveness but also empowers startups to make informed choices, ultimately leading to more impactful marketing strategies and sustained business growth.

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  • Partnership
    Partnering with reliable logistics providers is not only crucial but a foundational aspect of e-commerce operations. In the competitive landscape of online retail, the efficiency and reliability of your shipping process can significantly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty. By collaborating with reputable carriers that boast a track record of timely delivery and meticulous handling of products, you ensure that orders are fulfilled promptly and arrive in pristine condition. This not only fosters a positive customer experience but also contributes to building trust and credibility in your brand. Customers are more likely to return and recommend your business to others when they have confidence in the reliability and professionalism of your shipping partners. Thus, investing in trustworthy logistics providers is an investment in the long-term success and growth of your e-commerce venture.
  • Shipping options
    Offering multiple shipping options is paramount in today’s e-commerce landscape, where customers expect flexibility and convenience in their shopping experience. By providing a range of choices, including standard, expedited, and international shipping, businesses can cater to the diverse needs and preferences of their customer base. Standard shipping is ideal for those seeking a cost-effective option with a longer delivery timeframe, while expedited shipping appeals to customers requiring faster delivery for urgent orders. Additionally, international shipping opens up opportunities for businesses to reach customers worldwide, expanding their market reach and potential for growth. This array of shipping options empowers customers to select the method that aligns best with their individual needs, timelines, and budget constraints, ultimately fostering a heightened sense of satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, by offering flexibility in shipping, businesses can differentiate themselves in a competitive market and position themselves as customer-centric brands committed to delivering exceptional service at every touchpoint.

Customer service:

  • Channels
    Convenience is a top priority for customers, and it’s equally crucial for e-commerce startups to prioritize. Offering diverse communication channels is essential, as it not only enhances client satisfaction but also minimizes inconvenience and misunderstandings between the business and its customers. Failure to effectively address communication challenges is a common reason for startup project failures. By providing multiple channels for customer communication, such as email, live chat, phone support, and social media, e-commerce startups can ensure that customers can reach out in their preferred way, reducing friction and fostering positive interactions. This proactive approach to communication not only improves customer satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of project success by addressing issues promptly and effectively.
  • Customer feedback
    The importance of customer feedback cannot be overstated when it comes to business success. Whether it’s in e-commerce or any other industry, engaging with customers on a regular basis is essential. By actively listening to their ideas, addressing their questions, and soliciting their feedback, businesses can gain valuable insights into areas for improvement and avenues for growth. Encouraging customers to leave comments on the website and share their recommendations not only fosters a sense of community but also serves as a powerful marketing tool. After all, word-of-mouth recommendations are highly influential and can significantly impact brand perception and customer acquisition. Therefore, prioritizing customer feedback and engagement is fundamental to building strong, lasting relationships and driving business success.

Data analysis

Using tools like CRM to track, collect, and analyze client data is an indispensable process in any type of business, especially for e-commerce startups. CRM systems facilitate the systematic gathering and management of customer data, providing a comprehensive view of customer interactions and preferences. This holistic approach allows entrepreneurs to better understand their target customer group and identify emerging market trends. By leveraging the insights gained from CRM data, e-commerce startups can tailor their marketing strategies, product offerings, and customer service to meet the specific needs and desires of their audience. Moreover, data analysis enables startups to segment their customer base effectively, identifying high-value customers and developing personalized marketing campaigns to engage them. This targeted approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of repeat purchases and brand loyalty. Additionally, CRM tools help in tracking customer behaviors and purchasing patterns, allowing businesses to anticipate future needs and trends, thereby staying ahead of the competition. The information gleaned from CRM systems also supports decision-making processes by providing accurate and actionable data. Entrepreneurs can make informed decisions about product development, inventory management, and sales strategies, ensuring that their business operations are aligned with customer expectations and market demands. Furthermore, CRM tools can identify potential areas for improvement in customer service, enabling businesses to address issues promptly and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. In the highly competitive e-commerce landscape, utilizing CRM tools for data analysis is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge. By understanding customer preferences and market dynamics, startups can innovate continuously and offer unique value propositions that differentiate them from their competitors. In essence, CRM systems empower e-commerce startups to build strong, lasting relationships with their customers, drive business growth, and achieve long-term success.


Continuously innovating and introducing new products and services is vital for keeping customers engaged and fostering loyalty to the business. However, for e-commerce startups to effectively meet customer needs and preferences, it’s essential to leverage the wealth of data and information collected through surveys, customer feedback, and other channels. By analyzing this data, businesses can gain valuable insights into consumer preferences, pain points, and emerging trends. Armed with this knowledge, entrepreneurs can make informed assumptions about what customers truly need and desire. Similar to the initial product discovery phase, this process involves creating prototypes and subjecting them to rigorous testing to validate their appeal and functionality. By iterative refining and improving upon their offerings based on customer feedback and market insights, e-commerce startups can ensure that their products and services remain relevant, innovative, and aligned with customer expectations. This iterative approach to product development not only enhances customer satisfaction but also strengthens brand loyalty and competitiveness in the ever-evolving e-commerce landscape.

Kaida Lin

Sales and marketing specialist

Raznameh Group

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