How To Start A Successful E-Commerce Business
These days, everyone seems to be jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon. It’s an easy way to make a fortune, right? Maybe, but there are plenty of mistakes you can make along the way. Here are some tried and tested tips to make sure you get it right first time!
Identify Your Niche
The first thing to realize is that niche e-commerce sites face massive competition. In reality, this means that unless you have a huge advertising budget, there are only two types of products you could sell successfully.
- Unique products that you manufacture yourself or own exclusive rights for.
- A specific product niche. For example, if you Google, “buy diamante dog leashes” you’ll find a very limited number of hits.
The bottom line isthat you’ll struggle to succeed if you go into direct competition with generic product selling giants like Amazon and eBay, and their thousands of affiliates. Be specific and don’t spread yourself too thinly.
Choose a User-friendly Shopping Cart
A big plus point in your favor is the technology available to the would-be online entrepreneur. You can be up and running in a week or less with a really smart fully functional website for a relatively small investment.
Today’s online shoppers expect a smooth, hassle free experience. You can offer this with a fully-hosted and supported e-commerce website that boasts credit card processing and shipping calculators too. Throw in top quality support for about $100 a month and you’re good to go. Check out Shopify, BigCommerce and 3dcart for some great deals.
Don’t be Afraid to Seek Help
As a new e-commerce business, there are some areas you are well-advised to seek help and guidance in.
Shipping: Shipping can be a minefield if you don’t get it right. You will need some technical assistance in setting up real-time rates from the postal service and this can be a complex process.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that without visitors to your site, you won’t sell products. This sounds obvious but it’s an aspect of e-commerce that’s easily overlooked in the excitement of the launch. A professional SEO consultant will help you to make sure that your site is structured correctly, and filled with content that will draw the right visitors to it.
Payments, taxes and other functionality: Your beautiful shiny new site will probably have a thousand different tick boxes, payment options and tax information. There will be something to click on to set up client emailing lists, product launch notifications, new products and more. It can be very helpful to have someone talk you through how all this functionality works and how you can use it to benefit your business.
The most successful e-commerce businesses are run by those people who have a passion for what they do and put in consistent hard work every day to improving their site and marketing their business online. Before you invest in an online store, make sure you are up for the challenge, and don’t be afraid to invest in some professional guidance to get you going on the right track.
Image source: mrmag.org
About Alison Page
Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at http://www.theladywriter.co.uk