Below is a list of questions you should definitely answer before you get started with your e-commerce business. This will give you a solid foundation to really have a handle of what you are getting into.
Step 1 – Product
- Do you have intimate knowledge of a specific product or industry?
- Is there a product you wish existed but doesn’t?
- Is there a product that exists, but just doesn’t seem to be doing something right?
- Is there a product that hasn’t targeted a niche it could be great in?
- What is the product you want to sell?
Step 2 – Brand and Image
- Why would someone want to buy your product?
- What is the lifestyle that surrounds your product?
- Who is your product’s customer?
- Who is your customer aspiring to be?
- What problem are you solving?
- What is your logo and why?
- What is your color palette?
Step 3 – Supplier
- Where are you getting your product?
- Does it need to be manufactured?
- Can it be white-labeled?
- What is the cost per unit of your product?
- How many units do you need to get started?
- Can you get terms with your supplier or do you need cash now?
Step 4 – Technology
- What platform are you going to need to build your e-commerce store on?
- Can you do it yourself or do you need a developer?
- Will you bring on a partner or hire a developer (inside or outside)?
- What other technology will you need to handle your business?
- What are your initial tech costs?
- What are your ongoing tech costs?
Step 5 – Fulfillment
- Are you going to handle your own fulfillment or outsource it?
- Can your supplier drop ship or are you going to pay a fulfillment center?
- What are your costs in fulfillment?
- If you are going to bring it in-house, how much space do you need and how many man-hours does it take to ship your product?
- If you outsource it, what are the costs associated?
Step 6 – Customer Service
- How are you going to manage your customer service?
- Is your strategy scalable? (Don’t get caught with the “we can handle that later” mentality.)
- What is your return, exchange, and refund policy?
- What FAQs do you anticipate?
Step 7 – Marketing
- What is your marketing strategy?
- What is your marketing budget?
- What budget do you have allocated to risk and test different marketing channels?
- What channels are you going to take advantage of to market your product? Why?
- Do you have a full marketing funnel mix? Top of the funnel? Retargeting? Etc.
Step 8 – Financials
- What are all the initial costs to start your business?
- What are your ongoing expenses?
- What is your cost of goods?
- What are you going to price your product at?
- Are you leaving room to wholesale as well?
- Are you leaving room to do affiliate and commission-based marketing?
- Do you make enough cash per unit to justify marketing spends?