The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your D2C eCommerce Website

Updated: Jan 11

Everything traditional is in question, especially after the unforeseen effects of the pandemic. The way brands sell, and consumers buy is evolving rapidly, and the growth of D2C eCommerce has been absolutely astounding.

Digital technology has become an inseparable part of consumers' lives. In cities, towns or villages, the consumer holds the power of staying connected continuously through mobile phones and social media. They are accustomed to getting things done at lightning speed - whether obtaining essential information in a click or making a purchase with just a few taps on the screen. This is shifting the direct-to-consumer business model completely.

If you are all geared up to create your eCommerce website, there is no time like now. Firstly, because your digital native consumer prefers to buy online and secondly, the barriers to entering the D2C business are low. But, on the flip side, these advantages also mean fiercer competition, a more challenging environment to carve a niche for yourself and be exclusively relevant to your audience. It's the fire in your belly, kindled by thorough planning and excellent execution, that can lead you to the path of success.

Before you take the plunge, we recommend that you ask yourself some tough questions, identify the challenges ahead, and chart out your plan of action.

Here is a 10-step guide to help you be better prepared for the challenges and success of your eCommerce business.

Step 1: Think like an entrepreneur.

Whatever it takes, you are ready to turn your dreams into reality. You know what is D2C and feel empowered when you need to take things into your own hands. You embrace critical questioning, innovation and continuous improvement.

These outstanding qualities enable you to start your own D2C eCommerce business, which is extremely exciting, incredibly time-consuming, high risk and highly rewarding...all at the same time!

Step 2: Be on a mission.

As you embark on your entrepreneurship journey, you must have an idea that drives you to hang tough through the thrilling, bumpy ride. You must feel a sense of purpose and be on a mission to solve a real problem for your potential customers. Successful D2C brands are built on the foundations of a real need gap in the market.

Step 3: Ascertain the chances of your success.

India ranks fourth in the number of unicorns across the world. Does that improve your chances of being successful with creating your D2C eCommerce website? Well, it is an encouraging figure, but to ensure your idea's success, you must analyses your customers, competitors and the market well.

Talking to your potential customers to understand their expectations from your offerings raises your chances of success. Your target demographics shopping behaviors and purchase decisions, the prevailing market conditions, competition analysis, and other invaluable insights you collect during market research can help you tweak your idea to make it stronger and more powerful.

Step 4: Stand out in the crowd and connect with your audience.

Your idea needs to be unique. Furthermore, the same needs to be clearly communicated to your audience. A good branding exercise helps you achieve the same while creating your d2c eCommerce website. Branding is the marketing practice of owning your name, logo, design, and visual identity.

It benefits you as your customers understand what is D2C, can identify your brand, distinguish it from others, and convey that you are the better choice. Most importantly, good branding for a direct-to-consumer business model connects with people at an emotional level.

Step 5: Put a cost to realize your dream.

Dream big, invest small. Starting a D2C eCommerce website is simpler and more cost-effective than a traditional business, but definitely not free. There are several costs that you have to invest in:

  • Domain name: The name of your website/URL is your domain name. The brand name of your eCommerce business should form or be a part of the URL. The cost starts from as little as Rs. 150.

  • Costs for SaaS eCommerce Platforms:There are several competitive platforms available for setting your D2C eCommerce business. Basis your objectives and budgets, pick the platform that’s right for you. An eCommerce platform like Shoptimize is an excellent option because it comes with its own hosting and IT infrastructure. It also offers pre-integrated with payment gateway, logistics and SMS gateway partners, loyalty program, multilingual capabilities, multi-seller marketplace model, Progressive Web App (PWA), website design and configuration, digital marketing (organic and paid), AI-driven engagement (experience manager), analytics & insights, and marketing automation and creative services. The setup fee charged includes store theme and design costs.

  • SSL Certificate: Every day your customers leave behind crucial personal data and credit card information. How do you ensure that these details remain safe even after an attack? This is where an Ecommerce SSL certificate is helpful. With a SSL certificate installed on your website, the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protects it from hackers and eavesdroppers. All information transmitting between your server and the user system is encrypted. Prices start @ INR 599 per year.

  • Payment processing: When receiving payments for your product, you have to pay a processing fee, roughly 2-3% per transaction. You must consider this cost while calculating the capital required and pricing your products.

  • Add-on, plugin, and extension costs:If you want to add a YouTube flash video, you will need a plug-in. For adding such other third party elements, you will need more add-ons and extensions, and these come at varying costs basis the complexity of the operation.

  • Marketing costs: Depending on your marketing objectives and goals or our outlined budget, it’s important to keep aside a cost to enable people to find you.

Step 6: See your idea take shape.

Watching the ‘concept in your head’ come to life is the most exciting step of the process. You will begin by creating prototypes of your product, finding the potential manufacturers, negotiating costs and terms, and establishing the processes for operation. To successfully handle this ambitious effort, you should break it into micro-tasks like research, planning, prototyping, and sourcing.

Step 7: Get experts to achieve your goals.

You are the heart and soul of creating your eCommerce website. But your passion requires the support of experts with proficiency and experience for various functions of your business. You can consider hiring people if your budget allows or you can associate with consultants to get the best talent without shelling out too much money. Various eCommerce platforms like Shoptimize also provide bundled services to assist you to set up your D2C business.

Step 8: Finally, prepare to kick off your sales.

With your plan and product ready to take off, your natural next step is to start selling online to test the market. This is the true test of your business. Treat this as an opportunity to understand if your brand and product is enticing enough for your customers.

Step 9: Market your product to reach out to the right audience.

Get, set and go out in the market. Allocate a judicious amount as your marketing budget to reach the right audience with the right communication about your brand and product. Attract their attention with an impactful message, lead them to a well-designed eCommerce website optimized for the best user experience, and then finally drive them to click and buy! Popular channels to kick start with digital marketing are Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

Step 10: Ensure your customers feel valued.

Delighting your customers must be your priority. Efficient customer support should be put in place to address issues promptly. Your customers can become your brand ambassadors who share positive feedback and recommend your brand within their circle.

The digitally-connected world is beyond boundaries and full of opportunities. It is the uniqueness of your ideas, the purpose of your brand, and sharp identification of the audience that you wish to target that determines your success of your direct-to-consumer business model.