The fact is, more and more sales are being completed online now than ever before. Brick-and-mortar stores still have some appeal–especially if customers need to physically go in for services or products, like with hair appointments–but if you’re selling products that can be shipped, then more and more people are expecting to be able to select them online and have them delivered directly to their homes. Amazon has made this popular, but now people are looking past big retailers to find smaller, niche business they can buy from and support.
So if you’re thinking of starting an ecommerce business–whether that’s selling used pianos or eco-friendly shoes–here are some tips to follow so that you’ll make the most out of your business:
1. Choose a niche
The fact is, ecommerce businesses are so popular now that there are lots of people running them. It’s a great investment–the USA and Canada alone have about 1.3 million ecommerce companies, which means that even if you’ve got a great product, there are going to be a lot of competitors. So you have to find a niche that no one else is covering or create your own specialized twist on that niche.
2. Find the right suppliers
Once you’ve determined your niche, the next step is to figure out who you want to work with as a supplier. Multiple suppliers. After all, according to Inc.com, “By finding a niche market, not only will you make it easier for yourself to rank in Google, but you will have less competition. Also, note that I said suppliers and not simply supplier…No matter how many great reviews they have, or how much you trust them, you will run into fulfillment issues over time. It’s in your best interest to have other supplier lined up, who can fill the void.”
To learn more about the subject of suppliers, from what terms you need to know to how to evaluate retailers, check out this thorough article from The Balance. After all, retail ecommerce is a $220 billion market, so it’s worth doing as much research as you can.
3. Get organized and don’t rush
We get it–you’ve been thinking about starting an ecommerce business for a long time now, sketching out all kinds of logo designs and thinking about the great hashtags you’re going to use when you finally start posting content to attract visitors. But however excited you are to start, you need to get organized and come up with a plan first.
According to springbot.com, this includes “a solid strategy in place as far as a business model, inventory management, shipping methods, SEO, your social media presence, your content marketing strategy, paid advertising, and so forth…Until you have those basics taken care of, you can set up a ‘coming soon’ page for people to check out with information about your future store.” That way, you can start attracting interest while you set up these essentials. Considering that ecommerce sales are expected to rise to $4.058 trillion by 2020, you need to be as prepared as possible before starting.
4. Research your consumer base
From your website design to the keywords you use in your blog posts and the social media platforms you end up sharing your content on, all of these aspects of sharing your ecommerce business with the world are directly related to the consumers you’re targeting. So once you’ve established the niche that you’re going for, research what they want online. For example, if you’re selling customized dresses to brides, then you’ll want to use an aesthetic for your site that matches business vendors’ websites and Instagram pages. Taking a look at Oberlo’s about us templates can also help inspire you.
And once you’ve researched your consumer base, what their aesthetic tastes are, what information they need, and what prices they’re willing to pay, you’ll want to keep researching even after you’ve opened up shop. This way, you’ll always be connecting with them. Only 22 percent of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates–and this is a way to improve yours.
5. Make your site mobile friendly
Finally, one of the most important aspects of starting an ecommerce business in 2018 is making your site mobile friendly. The fact is, the average American is spending over four hours a day on their phone, so much of their product research and purchases are going to happen on these smaller screens. If your ecommerce business site isn’t updated for mobile, you need to it now.
To learn more about mobile optimization, check out this blog post from Moz.
By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful ecommerce business. Do you have any tips for aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs?