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How to launch an ecommerce: complete guide with examples

By 8 February 2024No Comments
Ecommerce di successo

In the digital age, launching an e-commerce has become an essential strategy for those who want to embark on an entrepreneurial journey or expand their business into the vast online universe. 

With the growing number of consumers who prefer to purchase products and services via the internet, having an e-commerce site is no longer an option but a necessity. In this guide, we will explore step by step how to start a successful ecommerce business, providing concrete examples and practical advice to maximize your chances of success.

Where to start from

In our experience as a Web Agency, we have realized that many of the people who turn to us to create an e-commerce share some recurring and wrong ideas regarding what it takes to be successful on the internet.

Among the many myths about the world of online sales, some of the most widespread are that having an e-commerce site is enough to start selling all over the world, that you can start with a small investment and that to sell you just need to offer lower prices than the competition . Wrong!

Nobody knows about an e-commerce site that has just been put online, it is practically invisible to search engines and automatically enters into competition with many other sites that sell the same products, but which have an advantage because they started first.

Before going into detail, it therefore seems necessary to clarify that, to obtain significant results, time, money and a carefully studied strategy are needed. Only in this way can successful e-commerce be achieved.

Clear ideas

Before diving into the world of ecommerce, it is essential to have a clear idea of why you should make this choice, before even deciding what you want to sell. 

Most entrepreneurs who think of opening an e-commerce site do so with the idea of reaching a larger audience compared to traditional channels. But, as mentioned, reaching a large audience on the web is not a walk in the park, it requires a substantial investment of money and time. Furthermore, why should web users choose you, when there are so many other sites offering the same products as you? 

The first question you should ask yourself is: what added value do my products have, which could push people to choose me, rather than the competition? 

Let's take an example, let's imagine you sell coffee. Is there anything that sets your coffee apart from others? Maybe your coffee comes from plantations renowned for the quality of their beans, or instead you offer a variety of blends and aromas capable of satisfying even the most demanding palates, or your products support fair trade, through sustainable cultivation. 

If you just can't find a unique feature, don't worry. Even if your coffee isn't unique in the world, there are other ways to stand out. For example in customer services, such as dedicated assistance, free shipping, speed of delivery, etc. The important thing is to identify a tangible distinctive trait which could incentivize the purchase, otherwise getting noticed in the crowd becomes an almost impossible task.

Definition of the idea and market analysis

The second step is another concept that is often ignored, if not considered unnecessary: the definition of the target. Instead, it is a fundamental aspect not only of the web, but of marketing in general.

Who are your products aimed at? In other words, who is your typical customer? When I ask this question, I am often answered: "I sell to everyone". In reality, no business in the world sells indiscriminately to the entire population. Even the most popular companies in the world have their typical customers. 

Knowing who you are selling your products to helps you choose the best sales channel, understand what type of advertising might be the most effective, and know where and when to show your ads.

To understand the importance of this aspect, let's look at another example. A company that sells football boots will certainly achieve greater success by promoting its products through commercials broadcast during half-time of a match. While a flower shop might prefer an advertisement in the local newspaper. 

In short, you need to understand who is interested in your products, in order to study an effective strategy that is useful for making you known and, ultimately, selling. 

To do this, start from the customers you already know, integrating your experience with tools such as Google Trends, SEMrush, and Amazon's search features, which can help you gain valuable data on search trends, consumer purchasing behavior, and your competitors.

Choosing the right business model and business plan

Just as with traditional commerce, you have to decide which business model to adopt. B2B? B2C? The choice of business model will also influence your future choices, your strategies and your communication. 

Next, it is essential to set precise and achievable goals for your e-commerce. Write down these goals on paper or in a digital document, then proceed to define your target audience, sales channels, sales expectations and your marketing strategy. 

For each of these items, try to estimate a value in euros that you will need to invest and risk. You also need to take into account operational costs, such as staff managing emails, orders and packaging products, as well as costs related to logistics (packaging, gadgets, business cards, packaging material, adhesive tape, etc. .), warehouse management (rent, compliance with regulations, utilities and bills) and, finally, marketing. 

The latter, in particular, can vary considerably depending on the sector: in some cases it may be limited, but in highly competitive markets it represents a substantial and fundamental expense item to guarantee visibility.

The steps for successful ecommerce

When you have all this information in your possession, you will be ready to open an e-commerce site. If you have clear ideas, you will be able to transmit them to your collaborators and this will also facilitate the task of the web agency, which will be able to create an e-commerce that reflects your vision. 

Now the site is ready, but this is not enough. There are still many things to do, starting with:

  1. create a catalog of the products: with accurate descriptions, attractive photographs, clear prices and all the technical specifications that may be useful to users; 
  2. comply with regulations: on privacy, cookies and commercial activity registration; 
  3. organize the logistics: such as order fulfillment, shipping and returns. In the super competitive world of the web, users are now accustomed to precise and above all fast customer services. Without these, success on the internet is very difficult; 
  4. collect i feedback received: one of the great advantages of the web is the possibility of easily knowing and interacting with customers, at any time. Use this aspect to improve products and services.

Once you have carried out all these operations, we move on to the last point: making your site known or, in one word, marketing

Marketing strategies 

To increase the visibility of your site there are many different strategies, which depend on all the reasoning made so far and vary for each activity. In general, the main marketing strategies are: 

Content Marketing

Content marketing in ecommerce is the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content to attract and engage a well-defined target audience. This content can vary between blog articles, videos, podcasts and infographics. For example, an organic food site might produce content that informs consumers about the benefits of eating organic foods, offering healthy recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle. Generating content that resonates with your audience's needs and interests can increase engagement and drive traffic to your website.

Doubt is often raised about the appropriateness of creating tutorials, guides and providing information for free. It might seem counterintuitive, but sharing informative content brings numerous benefits: industry authority, visibility, credibility and brand reinforcement. This is because not everyone has the necessary skills or tools, and after having informed themselves, they could opt to rely on professionals when they realize that they are not able to proceed independently.

User Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content, such as reviews, photos and videos shared by customers, plays a key role in building trust and authenticity. An example could be a fashion e-commerce that encourages its customers to post photos with the products purchased, creating a gallery on the site or on social media. This not only showcases the products in real situations but also enhances the customers, creating a sense of community.

Social Media Marketing

Essential for connecting with your audience and strengthening your brand, social media marketing takes advantage of the time people spend on social platforms to interact with your content. Each platform, from Instagram to Facebook, from TikTok to LinkedIn, has its own characteristics that should be leveraged based on your product. A sporting goods e-commerce site, for example, could use Instagram to show product photos and Facebook to build a community of athletes, while LinkedIn and TikTok could be used for sports-related initiatives and challenges.

Email and SMS Marketing

Email and SMS marketing enable direct communication with customers by sending updates, special offers and personalized content. For example, a book e-commerce site could send reading suggestions and promotions on new releases, thus keeping customers engaged and encouraging them to return to the site.


Be visible on search engines throughSEO optimization it is crucial. This involves researching relevant keywords and optimizing your content. The SEM, through campaigns such as Google Ads, can further enhance this visibility.

Remarketing and Retargeting

These strategies allow you to reconnect with those who have already visited your site without completing a purchase, through personalized ads that remind visitors of the products they have seen, increasing the chances of conversion.

Influencer Marketing

Collaborating with influencers can significantly increase the visibility of your products. Influencers, thanks to their authority and following, can introduce your products to a large and interested audience.

Green and Sustainability

A growing attention to sustainability, both social and environmental, involves the adoption of practices such as corporate welfare, support for local communities, diversity and inclusion, the use of recycled packaging and electric vehicles for deliveries. Valuing sustainability in your communications can represent an important added value for your brand.