More and more people are shopping online, and there has never been a better time to start an online business. It is an amazing journey to see your business start from nothing and grow in front of your own eyes.
Running your own e-commerce business may seem deceivingly easy at first, but don’t be fooled. Like all businesses, you need to think very meticulously and work hard to gain traction and grow. It takes more than just choosing a name and listing a product to sell.
Read on to learn how to become your own boss and create an e-commerce business that lasts.
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Start with Research
Before you throw yourself into the e-commerce scene, the first thing you should do is understand the different business models and find out what suits you best.
If you don’t want to store or handle the products yourself, then drop shipping can be your ideal business model. Dropshipping is an approach in e-commerce where you only handle the marketing and the customer service and third-party stores and ship out the products you are selling to the customers.
The profit margins are quite low on dropshipping, around 10% or sometimes even lower. Some entrepreneurs use dropshipping to test out the water around certain products, but the low-profit margin and the disconnection between shipping and customer service discourage most people from dropshipping.
Choose What to Sell
This is, for obvious reasons, the most important step in starting your own e-commerce business. This is the biggest challenge you will face – finding a product to sell, which will make a profit. It could be a single product, a collection, or a full product line that has its own niche in the market.
Everything you can sell is almost already being sold, so where does that leave you? To make matters worse, there’s plenty of competition out there, and it’s a dog eat dog world.
Before you get analysis paralysis from all the thinking, consider a few practical ways to find out what product you can sell. A successful product solves a customer problem and shortens a gap between the needs unfulfilled of the customer by available products.
Think of common frustrations, and pay attention to small annoyances that people face in everyday life. These frustrations and annoyances will answer what you need to sell or create. Find your own passion and choose a niche based on that.
The question is, what do you have to offer? Do you want to create your own line, or do you want to be a reseller? If you have professional experience, can you use it to capitalize on trends early on? Ultimately, it comes down to what people need that they will pay you for.
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Choose Where to Sell
Distribution or sales channel is the next important aspect of your business. Through which medium do you want to sell your products? There are tons of ways to sell products nowadays, and the most popular is through Amazon.
Another popular distribution or sales channel is social media. If you want to start out small, you can create a Facebook or Instagram page of your product and sell directly through it. This way, you can reach thousands of people and even promote your post to target potential customers. This is the best way to grow your e-commerce business at the lowest cost.
The next logical step would be to create a website. Be sure to choose a name that’s relatable to your business, easy to pronounce, and memorable. The domain name ideally should be your business’s name, but if the URL is not available, try something similar and not too different from the original name or just rearrange the words to make a unique name.
When you choose a name for your business, don’t forget you need to register it to make it officially yours, and before you settle down on a name, don’t forget to do a corporate name search and find if any other business has the same name.
Before you start operating, make sure you have all the legal documents, such as sales tax license or home business license approved. You might also need the city, county, or state permits; don’t forget to also look into that.
Make an Early Marketing Start
There’s a saying; there’s no such thing as bad marketing. There’s also no bad time for marketing. Even if your business is not operational, it’s best to set up social media profiles and create content that is going to hype up the product.
You can also create an email newsletter or updates for potential customers who sign up for it. If you are into blogging, you can also create YouTube videos that highlight your products or send your products to reviewers for honest reviews. If your budget allows it, you can also pay social media influencers to advertise your product in their content.
Don’t use marketing as just another tool to make money; share the human side of your business. Introduce yourself to your potential consumers, tell your story, add authenticity and credibility, and create a brand out of it.
Provide detailed product information for your customers, and be there for any inquiry or set up a FAQ page to address common concerns. Being in touch with your customers, delivering fast response is essential to create an intangible value of your business.
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This is just the tip of the iceberg. Starting your own e-commerce business is hard work, and it won’t happen in a day. Every day will create new challenges, and every day it will test you. To rise above the challenges and finding ways to make it work for them is crucial for entrepreneurs.
Before sales, you need to create trust. Shoppers today have countless options, and you need to give them reasons to come back to you again and again. Start at the bottom and work your way up trust yourself and trust in your idea!