We’re living in unprecedented times with billions of people around the world told to stay home. E-commerce sales have surged as the public turns to online shopping, but this was already a booming business with a recorded growth of 221% over the past six years.
More people are now thinking about launching an online business, and while leveraging the power of the internet is an attractive proposition, there are things you must consider to succeed in this challenging marketplace.
1. What will you sell?
The first thing to consider when starting an e-commerce business is what you will sell. If you already know this then you can jump to the next step.
Start with finding the right niche, and a proven way of doing this is by conducting market research. You want a niche that is not in an oversaturated market, but one where there is a demand for your product. Start by choosing a specific niche, nothing too general, and one where the major brands are not already established. This enables you to compete and direct your advertising towards those specific customers.
Here are some ways to spark ideas:
- Think about your hobbies
- Look at Amazon to see what other people are selling
- Be aware as you go through everyday life for cool products that you could sell
2. What content management system will you use to create your website?
If you are going to build your website then you will be using one of the many content management systems. A CMS is a platform that helps you create a website without having any prior code writing experience. The best CMS platforms provide you with helpful tools and additional features that you can install using plugins and extensions, these enable you to create and change content during and after the building process.
There’s a lot of options available and it can be a daunting prospect for someone new to e-commerce, but one way of narrowing it down is by choosing one that fits the requirements of your website.
3. What e-commerce platform will you use?
Your choice of platform is driven by your e-commerce strategy, and with different services being offered how do you choose? There are lots of good platforms. The two most popular are Shopify and Godaddy.
Godaddy is best suited for those who need a simpler platform and provides a cheaper alternative to building an online store. Shopify is suited to those you have a more complicated strategy and need specific e-commerce features, inventory control and shipping. You can read an in-depth review of both here Shopify vs GoDaddy that will help you make a more informed decision. If you’re looking for other platforms, check this list of top eCommerce website builders provided by web experts.
4. How will you source your products?
Once you know what you will sell and decide on a platform you will have to source your products. Many people source from China using Alibaba, however, this is not the only option. Depending on the products, you might also be able to source in your own country or even locally. For those of you that are making products – maybe handmade items – sourcing won’t be an issue.
5. How will you get customers?
Getting customers to your store is the hard part of running an e-commerce business. However, there are lots of ways to do this –
- Organic SEO is free traffic that Google sends to your site if you have relevant and high-quality content. However, it takes time and a lot of work. So be patient.
- Social media marketing media is a quick and effective way of boosting your brand awareness and website traffic.
- Paid advertising – if you have the budget this is the fastest way to get customers. It can seem expensive at first but done right, it can bring you fast results.
6. How will you deliver your products?
Because of consumer demands, you must provide a cost-effective, efficient and reliable service, and there are factors you need to consider when choosing your shipping solutions.
Your product’s weight and size. The number of items you expect to ship daily. Are they domestic or international? Speed of delivery and price. Platforms such as Shopify and Amazon offer very affordable and secure fulfilment services.
Due to the current crisis the public’s buying habits have shifted away from traditional brick and mortar stores and towards online retail, and this is attracting a lot of attention. Business owners are thinking that now is a great time to start an e-commerce store, and they are right, but not because of the current situation. Here are some e-commerce facts that should help you decide as to whether it’s the right move for you.
Approximately 1.92 billion people purchased from an e-commerce store in 2019, about a quarter of the world’s population, however, e-commerce only accounted for 11.9% of global retail sales in 2018, this figure is estimated to rise to 17.5% by 2021. Growth statistics already show a steady rise year on year and it’s expected that the global e-commerce income will surpass $4 trillion by the end of 2020. It is also predicted that the current 11.9% of global retail purchases will rise to 95% by 2040!
So, I think it’s safe to say that it`s a market with potential, and by ensuring you have the answers to the questions above you will be starting on a solid platform.