Sure, NFTs and Crypto might be the fashionable way to make money at the moment, but if you want something that’s proven to stand the test of time, there’s a far better option.
Start your first eCommerce store.
The benefit of owning an eCommerce business is that it doesn’t take substantial setup costs or technical expertise. And more than that, running an eCommerce store is fun!
Before you leap, check out our guide on starting an eCommerce business from scratch. We’ll show you how to progress from that initial idea to a successful launch.
Choose a Niche
You might have ambitious eCommerce business ideas, but don’t be afraid to go for a small, unique niche.
The beauty of eCommerce is that you aren’t limited to your geographical location, which means you’ve got the potential to reach millions of customers.
Look at what’s trending. Google trend is a great place to start your research.
Ideally, you want to pick a newer niche that’s demonstrated an upward trend in the last one or two years. That will tell you that this niche will likely grow in the future and is a good choice for your business.
Research Your Competition
Once you have selected your niche, it’s time to look for gaps in the market. Start by researching your competition. See what they offer, and see how that ties up with the keywords people search for online.
Look, too, at reviews. Read what customers have to say and where they think products may be lacking. That will give you a clue about where you can stand out from the crowd.
Don’t forget about other avenues to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Can you offer a higher standard of customer service? Or a product with ethical sourcing? Can you offer free shipping and returns?
Choose Your Products
Product choice is critical for any thriving eCommerce business. There are two ways to choose a product.
First, you can choose numerous products and see how they fare on your eCommerce site before narrowing your product range. Alternatively, you can go with the product that shows the most potential and expand from there.
If you choose the latter, you want something growing in popularity without an existing stand-out competitor dominating the market.
Pick a Business Name
It’s now time to get the details of your new eCommerce business in place. You’ll need to decide what legal setup you want when starting a company.
The main four options are:
- Sole proprietor
- Limited liability
You’ll also need to decide on the business name and purchase a domain for your business. Ideally, you should try and buy a top-level domain like .com.
Don’t forget to check with your local state to find out if you need specific business licenses to operate your eCommerce store.
Find a Supplier
Once you’ve decided on a product, it’s time to source it. You can sign up for online supplier databases to find wholesalers operating in your niche. Facebook groups are also a helpful resource for supplier recommendations.
If you want to source from China, go for Alibaba (for large orders) or AliExpress (for smaller orders).
Don’t forget about the option to use dropshipping, especially if you are on a limited budget.
Dropshipping is the method of sending an order directly from the wholesaler to the customer, meaning you won’t have to pay for a warehouse to hold stock or arrange for shipping.
Always ask for a product sample from a supplier before placing an order. You want to check for reliability and quality, and the small cost of buying samples is worth the long-term benefit of happy customers.
Set Up Your Website
You can hire an eCommerce developer or agency to set up a website for you. Or, if you are technically skilled, you might want to do it yourself.
If you set up a website on your own, the three most popular platforms to choose from are Shopify, WooCommerce, and Big Commerce.
Take time to create high-quality product descriptions for your website, which will help boost sales.
You should also hire a professional commercial photographer to take high-quality product photos and videos. Customers expect this when ordering products online nowadays.
Great branding is essential if you want to stand out from the competition. If you can afford to, hire someone to create a design and logo that will give your business a professional look to appeal to your target audience.
Pricing Your Products
When setting up your product listings, you’ll need to decide on a price. Research your competitors and consider your profit margins after the cost of goods and shipping.
Don’t forget about tax calculations, too. You might need to consider a tool for sales tax automation to make this process more straightforward.
Do regular research on pricing after you launch to ensure you always stay competitive when running a business.
When you choose marketplaces such as Google Shopping to advertise, you’ll find that customers tend to be more price-sensitive on those platforms.
That’s especially true if you sell very similar products to what is already on the market.
Preparing for Your Store Launch
You’ll want your eCommerce store to be a success from day one. To achieve that aim, you’ll need to plan out your marketing campaign ahead of time.
Here are some of the best options open to you when promoting your new eCommerce store:
- Start an email list and notify customers about your launch via email
- Try PPC advertising on Facebook or Google
- Create a blog and invest in SEO
- Grow an audience on social media and run a competition to promote your launch
The best eCommerce launches tend to use more than one marketing method to maximize sales. If you have a healthy budget, invest in advertising as this is the fastest way to get traffic to your new website.
Starting an eCommerce Business From Scratch
Don’t fear the work involved in starting an eCommerce business from scratch.
By taking it one step at a time, you can quickly launch your first website. And in a short time from now, you could experience that satisfying ping of a customer sale reaching your inbox.
For more tips on a successful eCommerce launch, head to our marketing section now.