Being an entrepreneur has never been more accessible. Escaping the 9-to-5 used to be a daring dream, but these days it’s a matter of growing an online side-business. Starting one alongside your job means not putting your mortgage at risk, but it can quickly evolve into full-time work. A common choice for a side business is an e-commerce store. Before getting excited and researching if your awesome domain idea is available, let’s first take a look at the logical steps necessary to create a webshop.
Finding a Niche and Assessing Competition
Finding a niche is perhaps the most frustrating and elusive part of the whole process. Of course, we all want to run a successful store, but we feel like none of our product ideas are unique. Well, luckily your idea doesn’t have to be unique — it just needs to be simple with some existing demand.
Before settling on one though, competition needs to be assessed. This means finding out how many competitors there are, assessing their SEO authority, what kind of margins their pricing operates at, how many sales they make, and so on. It’s also worth checking out their social media presence as this will be a key battleground.
Finding Reliable Suppliers
Once you’ve got an idea of what products you want to sell, you can begin finding suppliers. This is super important because you want a reliable supplier with good quality products. Before jumping into a large order on Alibaba with the cheapest seller, see if you can receive some test products to assess them. This is also your chance to gauge if they’re happy to drop-ship too if this is an operation you’re considering.
Building Your Website
Having decided on a domain, you will want to begin building your store. There are a few ways to go about this, and deciding on one will depend on your programming skill (or lack thereof), your time, and your budget. The cheapest option is usually to build the site yourself with your own hosting.
This could be a WordPress site and basic hosting for around $100 per year. If this is too time intensive though, you can opt for a drag-and-drop website builder such as Squarespace. Or, there are plenty of website builders specifically for e-commerce stores, like Shopify. Remember, mobile is becoming a huge platform for retail sales, so make sure your website is responsive.
Decide on Strategy and Pricing
This next stage is where you figure out what prices and promotions you want to offer. This will depend on a few factors. Firstly, you will want to see what your competition is doing. If their prices are high, this is good news as you can undercut them. However, be sure to maintain a good gross profit margin, and remember, you don’t have to be the cheapest option — customers are more concerned about value.
Effective Digital Marketing
This is the moneymaker step; this is what your sales depend on. No one will stumble across your store like they do in the high street. The internet is a vast place, and you have to fight hard to be seen. SEO is a great long-term approach, but the initial investment is huge. If you’re looking for short-term marketing to acquire quick sales, then Pay Per Click Ads are a good option. These will make you heard on Google and appear on your target audience’s social media feed.
I hope you got value from reading: 5 steps to creating a webshop startup.
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