If you’ve decided to make the leap into running your first ecommerce store you need to be prepared for a ride that will have a lot of ups and downs. You’re going to get tired, annoyed, stressed – and everything in between but if you stick at it and become a success, the rewards and freedom which come with running an online store will make it all worthwhile.
Whether you’re looking to start a business to get yourself out of the daily rat race or you’re just looking to make a bit of income on the side then an ecommerce shop is a sure fire way to achieve that. But there is a lot to consider. You need to choose the right sector. You need to choose the right supplier and you also need to choose the right software to base it all on. And that’s before you even get started in trying to market your shop in order to make that extremely important first sale.
Once you’ve cracked it though you’ve crack it and you can just rinse and repeat for the second customer or even move into new sectors or niches entirely. Providing you have a product people want and the audience actually exists then in reality if you’ve made one site a success there is no reason you can’t do it with others.
This is the stage that can really make or break your project. In short, you need to sell something that 1) You can make a profit on and 2) Something that people are looking for. That might sound obvious but lots of people think they’ve stumbled upon a great product that everyone will want and then it hits home that people don’t want it. Or if they do, there is no way to market it to them as they’re not actively looking for it. Or alternatively you find a product that does have a massive audience to sell to but the margins are so small or the sector is so competitive that to even make a sale you have to put your prices so low that overall you run at a loss. Both would cause the business to file. So you need a balance. A product you can make a profit on coupled with a niche that has an audience waiting to open their wallets and buy.
Dropship or Stock
This is another one of the big fundamental questions you need to ask yourself. Do you want to hold stock or do you want to use a dropshipper. Holding stock is great if you have the budget to buy the stock in the first place, have somewhere to store it and actually have the time to send out the orders yourself. If you have investment and time then holding stock is most definitely the way to go as you’ll make the most profit. If however you don’t want to spend a lot of time running your website or you have no start up capital then it may be better to use a dropshipper. A dropshipper will send out the goods on your behalf. All you need to do is literally pass the order to them but obviously the profit margins will be much smaller as you’re including a third party who will take a chunk of your earnings.
Once you’ve decided what to sell you need to decide which software to use. Most people see a design they like, a theme and then find out what software is powering it. This is wrong. You need to research what each piece of software offers and figure out what will be a good fit for your business. It doesn’t only need to output your products, you need to consider all of the back end elements such as managing your customers and order control. You also need to be able to manage stock, invoice, take payments and support your customers. So there is a lot to consider outside of which looks the best.
Given the amount of themes out there however, you can safely choose one of the big 3 such as Magento, Shopfiy or Woocommerce and with a little bit of time you can effectively learn how to do everything you’ll ever need. All of the solutions have huge back ends for you to effectively do anything you would ever need and given the popularity there is also a ton of themes for you to choose from so you can get your store looking exactly how you want it to.
Running an ecommerce shop can be lots of fun it’s just getting started and marketing that are the hardest things to do. Whilst I can’t tell you how to specifically make a sale as each site is different I hope this quick run through has given you some food for thought and will assist you in the early stages of your ecommerce project. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try things differently to the next guy. You don’t have to stick to the same old methods in order to become a success. Some of the most successful projects go completely against the grain and are better for it as a result.