You want to start an ecommerce store? This page, once you have read it, will give you clear plan on how to start your ecommerce business, especially in Pakistan.

Now I have previously covered Ecommerce business for beginners on a video, and there we identified some key points when it comes to starting an ecommerce business.

What is an Ecommerce Business?

To clearly understand the ecommerce part of ecommerce business, we need to understand the “business” part of this phrase.

It has been my observation, unfortunately, that a lot of us, especially beginners, think that opening a shop online, or having a logo or a Facebook page means they are in business. This is because no one really told what business actually means.

A business only exists when there is a transaction that takes place.

That’s it. I suggest you read the above line again. Many of us – including me when I was starting out – make the mistake of equating everything under the sun as a business.

A business only exists when there is a transaction that takes place. You have an e-commerce store that you’ve paid for? Sorry, that’s not a business, not yet! That’s why, as a business owner, you NEED to understand what a business truly is!

What else is NOT Business?

Don’t think you are in business even if you have:

  • A new office
  • Even an ecommerce store!
  • Your business cards (which we absolutely dont need to do in the year 2021, but a lot of people invest in business cards – I have a question, “when was the last time you looked up someone’s phone number or website address after consulting their business card?” Exactly, it’s redundant and not needed)
  • Even starting your Facebook page for your online shop

These things DO NOT mean you have successfully started an ecommerce business. Because remember, the transaction has not happened yet.

These things help in facilitating the transaction, yes. But we as entrepreneurs need to focus on the transaction to ensure that we build a profitable ecommerce business.

What you need to start an e-commerce business?

It comes as a surprise for few, but the online store itself (the ecommerce website) is only one part of a 3-part system you need to start an ecommerce business. 

1. The Ecommerce business idea

This is the actual product you will be selling.

You may already have a business that you now want to take online, or you are still searching for the best product to sell online.

If you already have an existing business:

I have a client in my Momekh Premium Membership who ran a jewelry accessories store here in Lahore, offline on a physical location. When she decided to close that physical shop and only sell her products using her ecommerce store, she ended up saving 60,000 rupees just on the rent. with more sales (this was due to no footfall in the mall due to COVID)

Other ecommerce business ideas can include (many of these are stores of my friends and clients)

  • a clothing stores owner who now runs her own online shop
  • a home-based bakery that now exclusively sells her creations online, using a combination of a stand-alone ecommerce store and a Facebook page.
  • a modern-day farmer from south Punjab, selling his mangoes online 
  • a survival/adventure accessory store

If you have yet to decide which products to sell online:

If you have not decided which product to sell, then you have some work to do. And this is a very important bit of work on your part.

You need to find the right product to sell online. This includes doing market research to find a profitable product to sell. When you do that, you discover the wonderful world of keyword research and product sourcing.

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 Business in general is not “easy” otherwise everyone would be doing it, right? So ecommerce business is not easy either. But it is simple!

And for people who commit to taking action for a 6 month to a year period, it can inshAllah be a very rewarding experience.

It is very much doable. And you are more than capable of doing it. It will demand you take action.

Should I source products locally, or should I import? For people who are just beginning their ecommerce business journey, I recommend sourcing products from their own city or town. Or you convert an existing hobby into your first ecommerce store!

You will see a lot of people recommending that you import products from Alibaba or AliExpress (or Oberlo for Shopify ecommerce stores, even in Pakistan). I don’t recommend that. Importing products adds a significant layer of complexity. And remember, even if you have imported the perfect product at the best price from Alibaba or whatever, you STILL have not even started your business!

That’s why definitions are so important – they give us clarity. We already know that business means there was a transaction that took place. You importing your products and even displaying them on your ecommerce website or your Facebook shop page etc, these activities DO NOT mean you are in business. You are only in business once a client is created, once a transaction takes place – remember that and your focus will inshAllah be on the right things.

Sourcing products for your ecommerce store is an important step, and you must be prepared to do it if you don’t already have your eyes set on a product or service that you want to sell online.

Some people consider this a boring step. Market research can be a real fun adventure only if you see yourself not as a “researcher” but as a “treasure hunter”, because, really in essence that is what you are doing, right?

I have a resource called Find Your Business that you can check out to get an idea what it means to be the treasure hunter for your market!

2. The Ecommerce Website

This is the online store itself. This is the website address you type in.

Your online store should have, ideally, a few things with it to complement your sales. Things like:

  • A well laid-out Facebook shop / page
  • An Instagram account for the store
  • A LinkedIn page (I recommend using LinkedIn to grow your brand, no matter if you are selling toys, clothes or professional services)

The above are in addition to your main online store.

Your Own Website is Your Own Platform: Your own website ecommerce store is what people visit when they want to buy from you. Sure, you will be sharing content on social media, but you will be trying your best to build out your ecommerce website in the process as well. Why? So that you start the process of collecting leads as early as possible. I have seen way too many businesses not reach their full potential because they relied only on their Facebook, Insta or Pinterest pages to drive sales. That is just a bad strategy, to depend entirely on someone else’s platform.

3. Marketing Plan for Your Ecommerce Site

This is the final and critical piece of your ecommerce business system.