Crowdfunding campaigns may be the best way to fund your dreams, but they’re just the start. Once you’ve made your prototypes and delivered on your promises to backers, you need to commercialize your idea – eCommerce is one of the best ways to do so.
To help you along, here are a few tips on how to transition from crowdfunding to eCommerce.
Launching your eCommerce website
Whether it’s before or after your product launch, your business needs a place to live, and there’s nothing better than an eCommerce website.
However, before getting to that, there are a few things to consider
It will help to see if your preferred domain name is available. If what you have in mind is already taken, you might need to consider a new business name or different top-level domain, like “mybusiness.io” instead of “mybusiness.com”
Choose a legal structure.
Once you’ve chosen an e-commerce name, you’ll need to select a legal structure (assuming you haven’t yet done so).
Your choice will have significant legal effects on your eCommerce activities. Generally, you may choose from one of three options: a sole proprietorship, a corporation, OR A Limited Liability Company. There are benefits and limitations to each of these formats, so you may want to ask an attorney or legal professional for advice on the ideal structure for your business. That said, if you choose to start a sole or general partnership, you won’t need to register in the state where you’re operating. Your business will be associated with your individual name. All you’ll need to do is file an application with your local government.
Apply for an Employer Identification Number
Next, if you’re operating in the United States, you’ll need to apply for an EIN for your business. Though not all eCommerce entities are required to have an EIN, this number will help differentiate your business and personal finances. You can apply for an EIN from the IRS for free, either online, by mail, phone or fax.
Apply for relevant permits and licenses
After you’ve applied for your EIN, you’ll need to obtain all the permits and licenses required to legally operate within your city and state. As earlier mentioned, if you’ve registered as a sole or general partnership, there’s no need to register your business with the state. Other business types require state registration.
Set up your website
At this point, you should have all the paperwork required to start a legal eCommerce business. Thus far, most of the steps you’ve taken have mirrored the process for launching a brick-and-mortar business. Now, rather than search for a place to set up your store, you’ll create an eCommerce website. Much like a physical storefront, this website will be the face of your enterprise. It will be the first thing buyers see and use to browse and purchase products or services.
Choose an ecommerce platform
You preferred will enable your online businesses to manage its website, sales, marketing, and operations from a unified dashboard. They include;
- Woo commerce: it’s a free word press plugin that’s compatible with new and preexisting sites. If you already have a word press site, it might be the best choice for you.
- Shopify: it’s an all-in-one eCommerce solution that lets people set up stores and sell products. Merchants can also sell their products in-person through the Shoplift Point of Sale system. Shopify is renowned for its ease of use and simplicity. Although it offers limited customization, it’s an ideal choice for a quick, hassle-free eCommerce shop.
- Magneto: If you want the ability you customize every facet of your store, you could try Magneto. It’s free and highly customizable. However, do keep it in mind that you will need lots of technical skill to customize your magneto website. If you don’t have that, you’ll probably have to set up an IT department for your business.
Choose an Order fulfilment system
Order fulfilment platforms provide comprehensive solutions for warehousing, packaging, order fulfilment, and transportation. They will help you find and fill any weaknesses in your supply chain. The expertise a 3pl company brings to your business will help you solve complicated logistics management issues and make your supply chain more agile.
Set long term goals
Consider all potential e-commerce launch and management costs in your initial funding drive. This is crucial if there will be a gap between the end of your campaign and the start of eCommerce operations.
Even if you have the funds to build your products, you will need to ensure you have a consistent cash flow.
It will help to make partnerships that will benefit you after your crowdfunding campaign ends. For instance, finding an accountant who understands your business model and gets along with you will not only help you set the right goal but also keep your business on track once you launch your eCommerce store.
Furthermore, choosing a reliable fulfilment partner during your funding campaign will help you keep your backers happy and set you up for success when you launch your store.
Market your business
After you’ve launched your business, you’ll need to market it. Your donors may be familiar with your products, but you’re running a business now. You need to reach out to a larger audience, and you’ll need marketing to do that.–there are several ways to go about this; social media ads, Google Ads, word of mouth, and more. At the very least, you could optimize your website for search engine visibility and use any digital marketing tools bundled with your eCommerce platform.
As your eCommerce business progresses, you will need to keep tabs on your marketing efforts to identify strategies working better than others, particularly if you’re paying for them. Over time, you should improve your marketing strategy to focus on the channels and techniques that work best for your business.
With these tips, you have all you need to make the switch from crowdfunding to eCommerce. That said, there may be country-specific e-commerce regulations that aren’t stated in this article. So, you should consult with local authorities to determine what you’ll need.
If you’re looking for an order fulfilment partner, Nextsmartship offers comprehensive logistical support solutions suitable to any business size or type. We care for your business like it’s our own – your success is our top priority.