There’s never been a better time for Australians to get into ecommerce than right now… And we should know. As Australia’s #1-rated marketing agency, we help dozens of ecommerce clients generate 7 and 8 figures in revenue each month.
In this article, we’ll share all our in
Step #1: Researching
Every great e-commerce business starts with research. Before you start your successful online business, focus on these three things.
Choosing your niche (what you want to sell)
The first thing to think about is what type of products you want to sell online. Most people make it big in ecommerce by buying products and reselling them online.
But, if you’re a tech genius or design wizard, you can also sell plug-ins, design templates, and other digital items online.
Do you need more help brainstorming what you want to sell online? Ask yourself these questions as you begin brainstorming:
- What interests you? If clothes interest you, resell clothing. Love decorating? Start an ecommerce business dedicated to home decor.
- What are you an expert in? An important part of selling is knowing your products. Think back on your past and the niches you worked in. We bet you’re more of an expert than you think!
- What products are hot sellers? Australia’s most popular ecommerce categories based on annual consumer spending are housewares (23.8%), recreational items (12.4%), and fashion (10.9%).
Finding your target audience (who buys your products)
Now, it’s time to find your ideal customers. If your company’s customers are consumers, it’s a business-to-consumer (B2C) company. You own a business-to-business (B2B) company if you sell products to other businesses.
A great way to learn about your target audience is by creating customer personas.
Here are a few tips to help you create customer personas:
- What do they like? Understand the hobbies and interests of your target audience.
- What or who influences their decisions? Look for influencers your audience follows, causes they’re passionate about or ideas they value.
- Where do your customers hang out online? When you know where your customers spend time online, you’ll know where to advertise and engage with them.
- Are there any patterns from leads? You may need a few customers before asking this question. But if people are already showing online interest through social media follows or online reviews – use that info! Look for trends and similarities between these people or companies.
- How much will they spend? Some customers are bargain hunters with loyalty only to any deals they find while shopping. Target this group of customers by offering the lowest prices.
Look at your market and potential competition
It’s now time to take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of your customers. Do this by researching your competition as if you’re ready to buy a product or service from them.
As you complete this step, ask yourself:
- What companies do you perceive to be leaders in this niche?
- Why are these companies leaders? (# of customers, revenue, lots of online reviews)
- What are the weaknesses of these companies?
- What can you offer that the competition can’t? (higher quality products, better customer service, faster shipping times)
We understand that not everyone likes doing research. But this research is critical for gaining an advantage over your competition.
Another way to learn about your company’s competitors is to use their products or services. Ordering physical products from your potential competitors gives you a hands-on look at what they offer.
If you compete with brands offering services, see if any offer free or discounted trials. Digging deep into a competitor’s service gives you unmatched insight into how to offer something better.
Step #2: Preparing to open an ecommerce business in Australia
Your research is complete, and your ecommerce company has a solid foundation. Now, it’s time to start building on that foundation with these pre-launch steps.
Creating a business name and logo
Every business idea needs a company name to go along with it.
At this point, you might already have a name for your online business. If that’s not the case, a business name generator may have a few good ideas.
Just type a few keywords and hit the ‘search’ button. Here’s what one tool came up with when we used the keyword ‘dog toys.’
Important: Before you register your company’s new name, use Namecheap’s domain name search. It lets you know if a domain name is available to buy or registered by another business. This prevents you from choosing the perfect business name and finding out another company owns the domain name for it.
Now, let’s discuss logo creation. If you want to take the DIY route, that’s perfectly fine. We recommend using Canva’s free plan to create a logo if you’re on a tight budget. Canva offers free and paid plans – but the free plan has more than enough templates, pictures, and text options for business owners looking for logo-related inspiration.
Looka is a low-cost cool (starting at A$34) if you prefer to create your own logo. This tool generates high-quality logos with tons of customisation options and ready-to-use templates.
Do you want to avoid creating a logo yourself? That’s okay, too.
Consider using a gig website like Fiverr that is perfect for finding a logo. Just visit one of these websites and search for ‘logo creation.’
Then, find a Fiverr seller with a history of positive reviews. And, boom, you get a new business logo for A$5-A$10.
Getting an Australian Business Number (ABN)
An Australian Business Number (ABN) registers your business with the Australian government as an official company. Plus, getting an ABN is free!
Here’s how to get your ABN online:
- Go to register.business.gov.au.
- Scroll down to the ‘Register Your Business’ section.
- Click ‘Get started.’
- Check the ‘Australian Business Number (ABN)’ option.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
Avoid this mistake: Not getting your ABN. The Australian government withholds 47% of revenue for companies without ABNs. That means losing almost half of your revenue – over not getting a free license!
Registering and protecting your business
As a soon-to-be eCommerce store owner, one of the best things you can do is officially register your business. Registering your new ecommerce company prevents a potential competitor from stealing your business ideas.
Fortunately, registering your business online is almost the same as getting your ABN. Here’s how to register your new company with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).
- Go to register.business.gov.au.
- Scroll down to the ‘Register Your Business’ section.
- Click ‘Get started.’
- Check the ‘Business name’ option.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
Important: Unlike getting an ABN, registering a business name in Australia costs money. You’ll either need to pay A$39 for a 1-year or A$92 for a 3-year license.
Step #3: Launching your new ecommerce website
You’re almost ready to launch your online business. But first, you’ll need to source your potential products, choose an eCommerce platform, and perform a few tests on your website.
Sourcing your products
No online business is complete without some type of product. You have a few main options when it comes to sourcing what you plan on selling.
- Buying wholesale quantities from a global market: Alibaba and AliExpress are global marketplaces that typically sell large quantities of inexpensive products. These websites are great places to find low-cost products you can resell at a profit.
- Partnering with manufacturers: You can resell another company’s products branded as your own by finding manufacturers offering private label partnerships.
- Making products yourself: If you’re crafty enough, you can make your own products.
Choosing an ecommerce platform
If you want to make managing a store easy, choose an e-commerce platform. Services like Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace all offer platforms for you to sell all types of products online.
We recommend Shopify as the easiest way to launch an e-commerce business from scratch. Shopify is easy to use, even if you haven’t used an e-commerce platform in the past.
Plus, Shopify also has many additional features, including the ability to create email marketing lists and loyalty programs. In addition, Shopify has a ton of design templates to make your online store look great.
Testing your ecommerce website before customers visit
The next step in your eCommerce business plan is to test your website. These tests are quick and easy ways to ensure your target customers have the best shopping experience.
You don’t need to dig into code or be a web expert to test your website. All you need to do is put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
- Site speed: Ideally, your website should load in a few seconds.
- Broken links: Click or tap around your website to ensure its links go to the right places and aren’t broken.
- Product pages: Look over these pages to double-check your product descriptions, images, and titles.
- Place a test order: Now, test your checkout process by placing a test order. This order also ensures your shipping options are ready for customers.
- Check for any after-order messages: Most companies send out thank-you messages after customers make purchases. Now’s a great time to set up or test your company’s thank-you email messages, ensuring a test message reaches your inbox.
Step #4: Marketing your ecommerce company like the pros
One thing that separates a successful e-commerce business from a not-so-successful one is marketing. Follow Megaphone’s proven marketing strategies to crush the competition.
Getting traffic to your ecommerce website
You have products or services. Now, you need potential customers to find your new company. A great way for eCommerce website owners to gain customers is to first gain traffic.
There are two main ways to get traffic: through organic or paid marketing. Organic marketing (search engine optimisation, blogging, etc) costs less money than paid marketing. But the work that goes into organic marketing can take months to see results.
Paid marketing (paid ads, influencer marketing, etc) costs more money upfront but can provide results instantly.
Try these strategies to build waves of online traffic:
- Write content for other websites: Otherwise known as guest posting, offering content to other websites can generate online buzz about your company.
- Share content on social media: Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are some of the world’s most popular websites. So, make sure you have active profiles on these social media platforms.
- Claim and complete your Google Business page: If you want your company to show up in Google’s search results, it’s helpful if this company knows about your business. Fortunately, you can help make that happen by creating a great-looking Google Business Profile.
- Post content in relevant groups and forums: The key to success with this strategy is finding forums and online groups that are relevant to your company and niche. Posting content for relevant audiences increases the likelihood of it receiving positive engagement.
Start with getting your website to show up in Google’s search results. About 91% of search engine users worldwide are on Google – many of whom could be your company’s ideal customers.
Let Megaphone create and run your paid ad campaigns for the best results. We offer paid social media marketing or SEO services if you prefer the organic route.
Maximizing your marketing budget
Owners of ecommerce stores must manage product expenses, shipping costs, and platform fees. You’ll also likely pay for email marketing, paid ads, or social media – each choice affecting your marketing budget.
Follow these strategies to maximise your marketing ROI:
- Repurpose content across multiple channels: Repurposing is an online marketing term for using content from one channel and posting it to another one. An example of repurposing content is to take a blog post and turn it into social media content.
- Get rid of the underperformers: Each month or so, look over your traffic and marketing data to see where the most or highest-quality traffic comes from. If you’re spending money elsewhere with little success, it might be time to cut spending on these platforms.
- Split or A/B test: Split testing is a marketing tactic that involves online customers seeing multiple versions of your advertisements. Over time, you’ll gain data on your platform of choice that shows you which ads are helping you achieve your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Step #5: Scaling your ecommerce business: What’s next?
Scaling your ecommerce business is another term for growing your company. Here are four potential ideas to help you scale your ecommerce business.
- Expanding into new areas: After gaining success with your target market, why not expand into nearby countries?
- Going after new audiences: Another great way to scale is to expand the customer base you’re trying to reach.
- Extending your line of products or services: Over time, you or your team might come up with new service or product ideas. Offering these to your customers could help your business scale.
- Ramping up your marketing efforts: You can also scale by ramping up your marketing plan and keeping everything else generally the same.
Frequently asked questions about starting an ecommerce business
It’s understandable to have a few questions as you create an e-commerce business plan. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions about working in the world of ecommerce.
1. Can I launch an ecommerce company without any money?
In most cases, you’ll need at least A$100 to start an online business from scratch. If you’re strapped for cash, consider asking a friend or family member to help you. You might also think about applying for a small business loan.
2. Is an ecommerce business profitable?
Definitely! Over 2.14 billion people buy products or services online each year, according to Statista. Of course, having a business idea doesn’t automatically guarantee success. We recommend bookmarking and regularly coming back to this guide to maintain a successful ecommerce business.
3. When will my ecommerce business make money?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know how long it will take your online company to turn a profit. As a rule of thumb, prepare to spend two to three years working on your online business before it becomes profitable. That’s not to say that success can’t come sooner.
Need help starting your ecommerce business?
Starting an ecommerce company takes time, patience, and effort. As Australia’s #1 digital marketing agency, Megaphone saves you time because we know how to reach online audiences.
We’ll help you generate more leads, create engaging content, and launch high-converting ad campaigns.
Get in touch with Megaphone today for a FREE ecommerce business evaluation (a $1,200 value)!