What To Know Before Starting An E-Commerce Business In S’pore

These days times are changing. More and more people are looking to be their own bosses and take charge of their own future. The internet makes this goal more accessible than ever, and e-commerce is an exciting route to success.

Yet, knowing exactly how to start an ecommerce business that will work well enough to generate income can be extremely difficult.

Creating an action plan is necessary to prioritize your resources when developing your own e-commerce business plan and to get started it involves more than just setting up a website and getting sales up and running.

This guide acts as a sort of checklist that offers advice on what to do before you start:

1. Choose a product to sell

If you are totally new to ecommerce, you might be wondering exactly what you should be selling. In fact, getting stuck on it is a big reason people never take the plunge into starting their own ecommerce business.

In reality, you have to be strategic in identifying a set of products or a single trendy item, or not so easy to find in stores or on popular e-commerce sites like Amazon.

This is why going the generic route and choosing to sell books or jewelry is likely to lead to a dead end. There are already many major players responding to these demands.

Best Ecommerce Categories in Singapore
Main categories of e-commerce in Singapore / Image credit: Janio.asia

Instead, you’ll want to go for more specific items that appeal to a particular audience. Think about things that might interest you, your friends, your coworkers, or your family. Also explore social media shopping sites like Pinterest, Etsy, or even Instagram for more information on products for sale.

There is really inspiration everywhere once you start looking, and you can always check if your product ideas are good by searching for them on Google Trends.

2. Research and understand the market

Research is integral to the success of your online store.

Once you have chosen your products, take a look at your competition and analyze what they are doing.

Here are a few things to consider when researching competitors to make sure you take everything you can into account when it comes to eCommerce business success:

  • What is their business model
  • Do they sell multiple items or a single product
  • What social media channels do they use
  • What is their target market
  • How do they drive sales (e.g. paid social media, SEO, emails, etc.)
  • How engaged and loyal are their audiences?

Knowing how much work and money you need to invest in a startup can change your motivation to sell certain products.

You also need to understand the regulatory landscape for your idea. You may need to comply with laws that can increase your costs and, alternatively, you may be able to get tax benefits or grants that can improve your funding situation.

On the one hand, you should get the Octobersg shield. The nationally recognized seal stands for credibility and security for an e-commerce site. It also means that your business and online store are fully compliant with all codes and standards set by the Singaporean government.

Ultimately, the more informed you are, the better you can plan ahead, minimize business risk, and improve your chances of success.

3. Integrate your business

Before you can execute your plan and begin operations, you must incorporate your business.

Remember that your choice of business structure will determine your liability exposure, your taxes, and your ability to raise capital and run the business.

Most entrepreneurs prefer to set up a limited liability company in Singapore because of its many advantages such as legal entity status, limited liability, credible image, perpetual inheritance and tax incentives.

In addition, registering a limited liability company in Singapore is quick and easy, involving just two procedures which can be completed within 24 hours in most cases.

For expertise on choosing a business structure and incorporating a company, consider hiring a professional business service provider such as Corporate Services Singapore to help you navigate your way through the regulatory requirements.

4. Setting up an online store

Once you’ve chosen your products and done your research for competitors, the next thing to do is build your store.

online shop
Image Credit: e-Desk Blog

Choosing eCommerce CMS tools like Shopify can make setting up your store easier. They have lots of templates to start with and an easy-to-integrate ecommerce platform that doesn’t need development support. Pick a theme that suits your target audience and prices that reflect the success you envision.

Giving your ecommerce business something memorable will ensure that people remember your name. This also goes for your logo, which can be as colorful or creative as you want.

When your website is ready to start taking orders, remember to try a test order yourself to make sure the process goes smoothly for the customer. Take the extra steps needed to buy something online and only ask for the information you need to complete the checkout process.

5. Marketing your business

After launching your store, focus on 110% e-commerce marketing. Everything else can wait until you are sure you can generate traffic and reach potential customers.

The secret to e-commerce marketing is finding the right channel for your products, then perfecting your marketing strategy until a new customer onboard costs less than what you earn from a sale.

You need to sell products with profit margins high enough to cover your marketing expenses consistently. You want to aim for that infinite loop where you spend less than what you earn each day.

Since ecommerce marketing can cost a lot of money, be sure to price your products properly. A $ 100 investment should get you at least $ 101 in sales so you can reuse it for advertising.

Also, be sure to reinvest all of your profits back into your ads. In the beginning, it is not advisable to pocket all of your winnings.

Therefore, you need to keep a close eye on the relationship between profits made and money spent on e-commerce marketing by checking your advertising return on investment at least twice a week.

Once at this point, you can start optimizing your store design, invest in building a great brand, and researching ways to make more money. You can’t optimize a store if you don’t have customers to test different features on first.

So, e-commerce marketing is really essential to stand out from your competition and generate sales.

6. Plan the execution of your products / services

e-commerce delivery
Image Credit: monimedia

Once the customer has placed an order, you must deliver the product / service to your customer as advertised. For this you need staff, space and potentially stock.

Make sure you are prepared to deliver the products / services you are promoting on your site – nothing kills a business faster than an inability to deliver what has been sold.

If your online business is very small, you may want to explore the possibility of having a home office. Of particular importance in this regard is the Singapore Home Office program.

Under the Home Office Scheme, landlords, tenants or persons authorized to live in private or HDB (Housing Development Board) properties are allowed to conduct small businesses from their homes, provided that their business activities do not fall away. under the regime. listing.

Please note that the premises are to be used primarily for residential purposes with only part of it serving as an office.

In order to set up your home office in Singapore, you must register with the Housing & Development Board (for HDB premises) or the Urban Redevelopment Authority (for private premises) and comply with the terms and conditions of the program. .

Note that to be eligible for the Home Office program, your business must first be registered with the Singapore Company Registrar, ACRA.

7. Bookkeeping and accounting

Bookkeeping and accounting is a mandatory requirement of any incorporated company.

From day one, all administrators should seek to have a good system in place to easily track and record all business transactions.

Along with the obvious benefits of knowing your financial situation and cash flow, tracking a business’s accounts is important to securing future business loans and investments.

Due to the high volume of transactions, many ecommerce businesses choose to use accounting software to help automate much of their businesses’ accounting and bookkeeping requirements.

Accounting and inventory management software such as Xero can make it easier to track and reconcile sales invoices, expenses, and banking transactions. The good news is that today many of these solutions integrate with each other and even with different banks in Singapore to make your life even easier.

Other considerations to take into account

A good e-commerce business plan requires some investment.

Putting money into your advertising tactics should ultimately turn into the sales you need. Unless you have a larger budget, you should rule out long term ideas like SEO or email marketing for now.

With direct advertising through Facebook or Adwords, you can get more sales immediately. It’s best not only to learn how to launch your first e-commerce marketing campaign on Facebook, but also how to optimize them.

You can also read how others are approaching Instagram marketing or the latest trends in Snapchat advertising. With this knowledge and inspiration, you can apply new strategies to your own ecommerce business.

When it comes to measuring the performance of your e-commerce marketing efforts, test your advertising campaigns rather than your product pages.

This will prevent you from getting bogged down trying to analyze and change all the little details of your store. Just focus on advertising and marketing, not the “buy” button on the product page.

While most tips on how to start an eCommerce business seem easier said than done, it certainly helps to have a clear idea of ​​the first steps, including starting a simple store and getting started. dedication of your energies to e-commerce marketing.

Featured Image Credit: ASEAN UP

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Jothi Venkat

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