2018 is as good a time as any to break into the world of ecommerce. More and more people are doing it these days, and if you have the dedication and marketing knowhow to stay ahead of your competitors, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t succeed as an ecommerce entrepreneur.
That’s not to say there’s no risk to starting an ecommerce career. No business venture is a guaranteed success. Nevertheless, you can go a long way toward protecting your investments by planning ahead, doing your research, and choosing an ecommerce niche that you will enjoy working within.
To help you get off on the right foot, here are some quick tips on planning out your ecommerce venture, and finding success in this growing industry in 2018.
Set Your Budget
Before even looking at what you plan to do with your ecommerce business, you should set your budget. Do this using only verified sources, as you don’t want to fall short because you were relying on funds that were never delivered. Remember to plan both for scalability and for emergencies. Any business can be caught short by unexpected events, so it is vital to have backup funds to cover this eventuality.
Once you know how much you can afford to spend on your website, it’s time to select your niche, and go searching for the perfect acquisition.
Choose Your Niche
Finding a niche is extremely important as it enables you to target your marketing far more effectively, and even influences your ability to rank successfully in search engines. Your niche needs to be something that you have an interest in, and for which there is demand – but little supply.
This means you can cater to the needs of that specific demographic, while not having to worry about direct competition. Alternatively, if there is competition for your niche, you can explore what they are doing well, and learn from them to boost the success of your own marketing campaign.
Finding the right niche can take time, and it is worth using tools such as Google Keyword Finder to help you figure out which keywords you can viably rank for. From there, you will be able to build your website according to the keywords and niche you have chosen. While this does narrow your audience to some degree, it also means that your message is more relevant to those remaining, making them far more likely to visit your site, and even make a purchase.
Source Your Products
Depending on whether you are creating your own products, dropshipping for another company, or simply sourcing items wholesale, you will need to figure out where your stock is coming from.
Services like Oberlo Supply are great for sourcing stock, particularly if you plan to act as a dropshipper. However, you might decide to work with local craftspeople, or even sell non-physical goods, such as ebooks or consultation services.
Whatever you settle on, make sure it is relevant to your niche, that you can source it regularly and reliably, and that there is some degree of demand for it. It is also important to think about where you will store your stock, and how much it will cost to process orders and make deliveries.
Be aware that some types of stock can become outdated or redundant, so this is another factor to keep in mind when purchasing stock in large quantities. You don’t want to lose money on your investment just because a new version was released or the trend has passed.
Spread the Word Before Launch
It’s all very well marketing your website, but it can take time to gain visibility and build your audience. One way to counteract this problem is to begin building interest long before your launch. This means day one will be a bigger, much more profitable event, and will provide you with a great opportunity to really impress your early customers from the word go.
Talk about your business often, especially to friends and family who can help make the early days a success by showing an interest, sharing content, and posting comments. Publicize your launch on social media and in your local area, and consider hosting a launch event.
Plan out some launch day offers and be sure to spread the word, so interested individuals have a reason to visit your site and find out what it’s all about.
The more you can boost visibility before launch, the better position you will be in thereafter. It may seem like a lot of extra work to begin with, but it can save you significant time and effort in the future.
Purchase An Existing Website
One more thing to consider is that you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch to launch your ecommerce career. Instead, you could buy an established ecommerce website and build upon it to make it your own.
Some good places to start are Flippa, which is a more general website marketplace, and Exchange, which lists premade Shopify stores available for purchase. There are a few other similar sites you can explore, or you can even make a private purchase.
Of course, buying a website is not a decision to be taken lightly, and it is vital to carry out extensive research before deciding whether to buy a store. You will need to check out the history of the site, look at its traffic and audience, and verify whether it has a stable revenue stream.
However, if you can find a viable website within the right niche, this is a great way to break into the ecommerce market without having to expend time and effort on designing a site, and building its initial audience.
Related reading: 7 Tips on How to Achieve a Work Life Balance.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and how writers can hone their craft. She is passionate about using her experience to help other writers improve their skills.