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Starting a business

How to Start an e-commerce Business on Amazon and Shopify

E-commerce platforms like Shopify, Etsy, and Amazon are extremely valuable environments for small businesses to operate in. They offer businesses the opportunity to compete on a worldwide digital platform and provide a cost-efficient means to connect with a larger customer base.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of starting your online business on three popular e-commerce platforms: Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify.

Then, we will show you how QuickBooks Small Business Accounting Software integrates with these platforms to give you a foundation for success.

By reading this article, you’ll discover:

How e-commerce benefits business

E-commerce is a social shift that continues to thrive as consumers globally embrace the convenience of online shopping. The opportunities are abundant for small business owners with a vision of building a successful online business.

Let’s take a look at the 4 benefits of an online store:

1. Global Market Reach

Having an online business allows you to reach a global audience, instead of being restricted to a specific location like a physical store. This allows your products or services to appeal to and resonate with people from different countries.

2. 24/7 Accessibility

Utilize the 24/7 accessibility to enable customers to browse and buy products at any time. Your company can effectively meet the varying demands of customers in various time zones, resulting in an increase in potential sales.

3. Cost-Efficiency and Lower Overheads

Starting an e-commerce business can significantly reduce essential costs such as rent, utilities, and staffing compared to a physical store. This not only enhances profitability, but also allows for more competitive pricing of your products and services.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making

The online retail world offers a vast amount of information about how customers behave, what products they prefer, and current market trends. By using analytics tools, business owners can make well-informed financial choices, such as improving marketing tactics or streamlining inventory management, which promotes a flexible and adaptable approach.

How to start an Amazon store

1. Understanding Amazon’s business models

Amazon's marketplace is a powerhouse of global reach and customer diversity. The first step in starting your business on Amazon is understanding Amazon's business models:

  • Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA): offers the convenience of Amazon handling your logistics
  • Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM): gives you more control over shipping and handling

2. Create an Amazon Seller account

Then, set up your Amazon Seller account, being mindful of choosing the right seller plan and understanding Amazon’s fee structure. You can understand more about these structures via the Amazon Seller Central website. Once you reach the webpage, click "Sign Up" to create your Amazon Seller profile.

Depending on your predicted selling volume and future goals, decide whether you want to sign up for the Individual Plan or the Professional Seller Plan.

Next, provide information regarding your e-commerce business, including your business name, address, and contact details. You may need to add information regarding your income taxes for compliance, including your business name,bummer, and taxation details. Once you’ve added your payment details and verified your identity, you can start the process of selling!

3. Set up your Amazon store

Follow these steps to set up your Amazon store.

Step 1: Choose a product to sell on Amazon

Choose a niche or product category that aligns with your interests and market demand. Research is key – use tools like Amazon’s Best Sellers to understand what's trending before deciding what to sell on Amazon.

Step 2: Determine your Amazon product price

With so many options available to buyers, setting a competitive price and implementing a pricing strategy allows you to stand out against competitors.

Research similar products in your niche, and take a look at what your direct competitors are charging for similar items. This will give you an idea of the price range that customers will be likely to spend on your product.

Calculate all the costs of creating your product, including manufacturing, shipping and fulfilment fees, Amazon referral fees, and advertising costs.

Decide on the profit margin you want to achieve. Your profit margin is the difference between your product's selling price and your total costs. This margin will vary depending on your business goals and market competition.

Avoid pricing your products too low or too high - this could deter potential customers. However, while it's important to remain competitive, remember that your goal is to make a profit.

Step 3: Make an Amazon product listing

Creating high-quality Amazon product listings with excellent images and descriptions is vital for attracting customers in this highly competitive marketplace. Optimising your product listings on Amazon can help in increasing visibility, driving conversions, and boosting sales – and you don’t have to be a marketing whiz to do it successfully

To make a product listing, go to the "Catalogue" menu from your Amazon Seller Account and choose "Add a Product."

If you’re reselling a product from a wholesaler, you may be able to copy their listing. Search for your product using its title, brand, manufacturer, or UPC/EAN/ISBN code. You can use the existing listing if your product is already listed. If not, you'll need to create a new one.

In summary, here are some tips on making a good Amazon product listing:

  • Choose an appropriate category for your product to enhance visibility.
  • Fill in product information, including title, brand, and manufacturer, ensuring to be as accurate and descriptive as possible.
  • Create an informative product title, including brand, size, and colour details.
  • Write a compelling product description. Highlight features, benefits, and specifications.
  • Upload high-quality images of your product from various angles. Follow Amazon's image guidelines for size, resolution, and background.

How to start a business on Etsy

1. Understanding Etsy’s business model

Etsy is a haven for creative entrepreneurs. It’s not just about selling; it’s about telling a story through your unique products and building a supportive fanbase. Whether it’s handmade jewelry, custom clothing, or unique home décor, Etsy is a great place to express yourself and a market of willing buyers for your passion projects.

2. Create an Etsy account

The first step to opening an Etsy shop is to create an account on Etsy. To register on Etsy, you need to click on the ‘Sign in’ button, then select ‘Register’ and fill in your details to create your Etsy account.

3. Set up your Etsy store

Once your Etsy account is created, click ‘Open Your Etsy Shop’ to start customising your online store. Set the following preferences to get started with setting up your online Etsy store.

  • Shop Name: Choose a unique name between 4-20 characters in length that helps customers to recognize your brand and the products you sell. Ensure that the name does not promote profanity and infringe other Etsy members’ trademarks. You can also check the availability of your shop name by clicking on ‘Check Availability’ while creating an account on Etsy.
  • Language: The language selected will be used to describe your listed products. You can register for other languages to translate your items into different regional languages.
  • Country: Choose the country where your business is based. This will inform customers of your location and help you show up in local searches to connect with customers in your area.
  • Currency: Choose the currency that you would choose to price your items. Remember, that Etsy charges currency conversion fees if your bank’s currency is separate from your shop’s currency.
  • Time commitment: This demands whether you’re a full-time or part-time seller on Etsy. This is only for information purposes and will not affect your Etsy shop in any way.

Read our article on how to set up an Etsy shop to learn about creating a product listing and selling products in your online shop to make sure your your Etsy store is set up for success.

Starting a Shopify store

1. Understandig Shopify’s business model

Shopify stands out for its customization and control. It allows you to build a brand, not just a store, and you have complete control over your shop’s look, feel, and operations. This makes Shopify perfect for entrepreneurs who want to create a tailored e-commerce experience.

Shopify has 3 subscription based plans to choose from which would suit your business needs at different stages. You can upgrade your plan as your business grows.

  • Basic: for individuals and small businesses
  • Shopify: for small businesses
  • Advanced: for medium to large businesses

2. Create a Shopify Account

To create your Shopify account, visit the Shopify website and select ‘Log in’ and then ‘Get started’. Enter in your details and select a plan to get started.

3. Set up your Shopify store

Shopify provides a drag and drop layout to help you customize your online store to reflect your brand, aesthetic and product range. You can customize pre-existing themes at no additional cost, or you can hire a web designer to build a bespoke theme for you.

Follow Shopify’s official guided tutorial to learn how to set up your Shopify store.

QuickBooks Inventory Management Software allows you to manage your inventory in real-time, so you always know what's coming in and what’s going out.

Tips for online sellers

Whether you’re embarking on your e-commerce journey via Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify, here are some tips to guide you on your journey in starting an e-commerce business:

  1. Research your market and target audience to help you understand your product category.
  2. Write detailed and engaging product descriptions that highlight the features and benefits of your product.
  3. Encourage and showcase customer product reviews to build trust and credibility
  4. Understand your costs, including merchant or seller fees, transaction fees, inventory costs and shipping costs to ensure you make profit
  5. Prioritize customer service to retain loyal customers and encourages repeat business.
  6. Use user-friendly store themes to create a visually appealing store and explore its various features for a better customer experience.
  7. Offer attractive shipping options. Consider offering free shipping or calculating shipping costs effectively to attract customers.
  8. Experiment and Adapt. Always be open to experimenting with your product offerings and business strategies to find what works best for your e-commerce store.

Here's a bonus tip - there are tools to make your life easier as a business owner. For instance, you can use QuickBooks to keep track of your finances by connecting it to your online store.

Connect QuickBooks to Amazon, Etsy and Shopify apps

QuickBooks integrates with e-commerce apps to sync data across your e-commerce platforms all in one palace and makes juggling inventory across Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify more manageable. QuickBooks e-commerce app integrations automatically sync up all your sales and order data to simplify your e-commerce accounting tasks. Once everything is synced, comprehensive financial overviews of your business are just a click away!

QuickBooks manages the nitty-gritty of your business finances so you can focus on growth and creativity. Connect your Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify apps to QuickBooks to streamline your e-commerce store accounting.

Connect AX2 App to QuickBoos Online

Integrating QuickBooks Online the A2X App is a game-changer. It provides accurate and simple eCommerce accounting for Amazon, Etsy, Shopify and other e-commerce platforms through QuickBooks, so all your data is in one place.

By linking the A2X app to your QuickBooks Online account, you can easily record your e-commerce sales and fees from your Amazon, Etsy, or Shopify account. This will generate organized summaries that correspond with the payments in your bank account.

Connect Synder to QuickBooks Online

You can also connect your QuickBooks Online account to Synder to sync payments from Amazon to keep track of your income and orders. Once connected to QuickBooks, Synder allows you to automatically synchronize activity from different platforms including Amazon, Shopify and Etsy.

Connect Shopify by OneSaas to QuickBooks Online

Connect Shopify to QuickBooks Online account via the OneSass app to sync your orders, products, and inventory through data exchange between Shopify and QuickBooks.

Connect Etsy by OneSaas to QuickBooks Online

If you run an Esty store, connect the Etsy by OneSaas app to your QuickBooks Online account to sync your data, ensuring it is up-to-date automatically.

QuickBooks Online for eCommerce accounting

Technology has made it relatively simple and inexpensive to start an e-commerce business, especially when compared to the capital investment required from potential investors to open a physical storefront.

But while economic predictions for the growth of e-commerce are rosy, make no mistake in thinking that there is easy money in e-commerce. E-commerce is highly competitive, and many of its markets are already saturated. However, with careful research, planning, smart use of resources, and tools that can help you manage your new business, you can figure out how to get into e-commerce and succeed!

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