E-commerce 101

Checklist for first-time entrepreneurs

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Nina Barango

SoPlugged team

Feb 23, 2022

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E-commerce is the future — getting to launch your own business, cutting the costs associated with a physical location, and being your own boss.

That being said, launching your online business is a big undertaking and can feel overwhelming. Knowing where to start and understanding what your entrepreneurial journey will look like can take some of the guesswork out of the process.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a simple checklist of what you’ll need to launch your e-commerce business. It covers everything you’ll need right up until the day you introduce your business to the world, from getting a domain to choosing the right platform

1. Choose a business name

The name of your business represents your brand, it is how you present yourself to the customer, and it is how they are going to find you online. 

We recommend having a short, pronounceable, and intuitive name. If people are consistently misspelling your business name or mispronouncing it, you could run into issues in an online search. Try a few different names with friends and family, ask them either how they'd pronounce the word or what their suggestion would be. 

However, before you get too attached to a name, you need to make sure it’s unique and available. You can quickly search the complete list of registered business names and trademarks in Canada by carrying out a NUANS search.

2. Register your domain name

You’ve come up with the perfect name for your business, now let’s register your business domain. Your domain name might be the same as your business name, and it might not. So, what happens when you perform a domain search for your business name and it’s already taken? Well, your business name will need to adjust – or, if not possible, your domain name will. However, it makes sense to select a business name first, because while business names must all be sufficiently distinct from one another, domain names are a little more malleable (e.g. .com, .ca, .org, .co, etc).

3. Choose an e-commerce platform

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided that you want to sell your products/services online. To do that, you’ll need an e-commerce platform (e.g. Shopify, Squarespace, etc). There are a number of user-friendly and affordable website builders available to those that are ready to start their own online store. So, when you’re ready to get to the fun part, it’s time to choose the right platform for your business.

4. Design Website and Logo

Now that you’ve selected an e-commerce platform, let’s design your website. The imagery and design you choose for your website will convey important information about your business to potential customers. To get started with branding, choose your brand colors, write a tagline or short description and perhaps write general guidelines for your brand's tone and voice in written communications with customers.

To give your customers a better experience, make sure your branding is consistent, that your logo or colors are used appropriately, and that your website accurately portrays your brand. Pay close attention to the details because your company's first impression is vital.

5. Launch your business

As you get ready to launch, you’ll likely want to do some kind of marketing to get the buzz going about your business. Setting up social media accounts is a good way to advertise what you’re selling but also interact with clients and customers. Depending on your sector, some social media platforms may offer more traction than others. Investing in promoted posts or ads on your social platform of choice might get even more eyes on your new business. 

Finally, launch day is here and you’re now ready to start selling! If you’re a Black entrepreneur, you can list your business on our directory for FREE. If you have questions and want to speak with a professional, book a free consultation here