There is already a lot of data on how to open an online store on the net. This topic is not new, but it still doesn’t lose its attractiveness for aspiring entrepreneurs and passionate enthusiasts. Having unjustified expectations of quick e-commerce success is more harmful than beneficial.
So, today we want to honestly talk about what difficulties you will face at the beginning of the journey, and what exactly newcomers should focus on when launching an eCommerce business.
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What’s happening in the eCommerce market?
Online shopping has become a serious competitor to the usual offline trade. There are many reasons why a buyer chooses to purchase online, and the main ones are the vast assortment, the ability to study and compare the characteristics of hundreds of products without leaving home, as well as the presence of a large number of reviews about products and stores. Moreover, eCommerce provides loyalty programs, discounts, and promotions that are not always easy to provide at a regular point of sale.
The eCommerce market was estimated at $9.09 trillion in 2019 and reached $10.36 trillion in 2020. Global eCommerce is projected to grow by an average of 14.7% between 2020 and 2027, with revenue reaching a whopping $27.15 trillion in 2027.
But the picture looks so sweet only for buyers, and we are interested in this market from the point of view of the seller. How difficult is it to get on it? Difficult, and sometimes very difficult, but possible. What is needed for this, we will discuss below.
#1. Choose what to sell
It is necessary to sell goods that are already in demand because the promotion of a novelty, which no one knows about yet, will require large expenses. For a newcomer to eCommerce, this can be disastrous. Choose categories for which there is always a demand: clothes and shoes, books and stationery, tea and coffee, jewelry, toys, sporting goods, cosmetics, etc.
Of course, it’s impossible to sell everything at once, even in one selected category. Moreover, it can be complicated to find a profitable niche on the first try, sometimes you have to analyze hundreds of items for this.
To understand how much a particular thing will be in demand, you can use, for example, Google Trends. With its help, you can not only find out the number of requests for a specific good but also see its trend (falling, seasonal, growing).
#2. Find suppliers
Once you have found several suitable goods, you need to find wholesale suppliers. It is not difficult to do this, because suppliers are also sellers and just like you are interested in sales.
The bulk of wholesale offers can be found online. Wholesale sellers, and even direct manufacturers, must also be sought through offline channels: wholesale markets, printed publications, fairs, exhibitions.
Speaking about foreign suppliers, we don’t advise beginners to start a business with them. It will be difficult for you to guarantee the quality of goods or to confirm business expenses before the tax office. And often local suppliers offer options cheaper than foreign ones.
#4. Create a website and upload eCommerce products images
Before starting their own business, many beginners believe that opening an online store from scratch should be on a self-developed eCommerce website. This is not entirely true.
If you are just deciding on an online store and testing a niche, you don’t need to waste your time and money on an expensive design or programmer. You can create an account with the existing best eCommerce platforms and generate demand.
If you are still confident in your future success, try making a one-page site based on landing page builders.
Pictures and characteristics of goods for placement can be requested from the wholesaler or found in the public domain. However, try to make them unique with any user-friendly photo editor, or go further and make 360-degree videos of your products with a free online video editor so that customers see that you really care about them.
#5. Set up payment for orders and delivery methods
After adding products, you can proceed to set up payment options. As you know, most buyers are used to paying for orders in cash. Nevertheless, if you plan to deliver orders to the regions on a prepaid basis or simply stimulate its implementation, then it makes sense to connect the acceptance of plastic cards and electronic payments.
The easiest way is to connect a payment aggregator. These services provide acceptance of payments by several methods at once.
Moreover, set up delivery: you can arrange delivery by your own courier service, courier companies, or post offices. You can also set up free shipping for orders over a certain sum while encouraging buyers to add items to the order to receive free shipping.
#6. Boost traffic
There are many channels for increasing sales, but among the effective methods are promoting with articles, contextual advertising on Google, and social media. Advertising, of course, requires certain costs, but already in the process of testing a niche, you can get followers and the first orders, which will reimburse some of the expenses.
A few years ago, in order to open your own online store, you had to go through many complicated steps. But those days are over. Now, in order to launch an eCommerce business, no special technical knowledge is required, you just need business acumen and will to succeed, so go for it, you only need to take a few steps!