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E-commerce is exploding.
And I do mean exploding.
Every time I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see entrepreneurs starting e-commerce businesses left and right.
I also see an increase in advertising for e-commerce stores (but that could just be because of my search history).
But I do believe that e-commerce businesses are a great way to start earning money passively.
And you know who else believes it?
Statistica because they reported that e-retail sales made up 14.1 percent of all retail sales worldwide.
And what’s more, e-retail sales are only forecasted to continue growing, reaching 22 percent by 2023.
And that means plenty of opportunity for aspiring solopreneurs like yourself to get while the getting’s good.
But before you dive in, educate yourself about all things e-commerce. Reading this article is a great start, but if you feel you still need more guidance after reading it, you can always take a course for more in-depth information.
Taking a Course
If you’re not familiar with what e-commerce is and what it entails, you might benefit from taking a short course on the subject. Don’t pay too much for a course (I would say don’t spend more than $40).
Use it to get yourself familiar with the concepts and the overall idea of e-commerce.
Search for a good course on Udemy, Coursera, or Teachable.
Or you can also look for an independent e-commerce training course.
Selecting a Niche
According to The Balance Small Business, a niche is:
A niche market is a focused, targetable portion of a broader market in which specialized products or services can be sold.
Finding a profitable niche might be difficult, so spend some time thinking about what really interests you. Is it fashion and beauty? Food? Technology? Design?
Figure out what type of niche you want to start that you could turn into a profitable e-commerce store.
Decide on an E-Commerce Business Model
There are a few different types of e-commerce business models, including:
Drop-Shipping – You set up a storefront and take customers’ money via PayPal or credit cards. No need to manage inventory or deal with packaging.
Wholesaling and Warehousing – You have to manage inventory and stock and keep track of customer orders and shipping info. You may need to invest in warehouse space.
Subscription – Think Dollar Shave Club, Blue Apron, or Stich Fix. Basically, your customers would subscribe to get the products you select or curate for them, and then you send out their personalized box every month. Subscription-based e-commerce businesses typically fall into one of the following categories: food, fashion, beauty, and health and grooming.
Private Labeling and Manufacturing – For people who want to create their own products but don’t wanna build their own factory (or don’t have the cash to do so). Private labeling and manufacturing involves companies manufacturing products offsite and putting them up for sale and sending the prototypes or plans to a contracted manufacturer that creates the product from scratch. That manufacturer can then sell directly to the consumer or to the company selling the product, which would be you in this case.
White labeling – Similar to private labeling and manufacturing, white labeling is when you select a product that’s already being successfully sold by other companies and create your own company packaging and labeling. And then you sell the product.
Choosing What to Sell
The first step in your journey to creating your e-commerce journey is to choose what it is you want to sell. Make it something that interests you at least somewhat – but preferably something you’re passionate about. Otherwise, you might have a hard time marketing your products.
If it ‘s something that resonates with you, you’ll put in a lot more effort than if it’s something you’re really not all that into.
So, think about it. What kinds of products do you think you’d enjoy selling?
Maybe some of the same products you use?
For example, if you’re the type of girl who’s got a bathroom sink full of beauty products, then selling beauty products might be right up your alley.
Creating a Business Plan
Creating a business plan might not seem necessary for such a seemingly simple business, but it always helps to have a plan in place just in case something goes left.
If it does, you’ll have a plan in place to help guide you in the right direction.
Creating a business plan is one of the most overlooked steps in starting a business – and it’s no wonder so many businesses fail.
They go in blind expecting everything to magically work itself out.
The most successful businesses have a plan in place. And they continuously update those plans as their business grows.
So start creating your business plan before you do anything else.
Make sure that within your business plan, you set SMART goals.
Registering Your Business & Brand Name
Once you’ve chosen a name, you can start the process of registering your business and brand name. You can do that yourself on your state department’s website or you can use a company like Incfile to handle filing all of the paperwork.
I elected to go through Incfile and the process was quick and easy.
I filed one day and the next day, I had my Articles of Organization for my new LLC.
But before you do anything, do some research to determine what legal structure would be best for your business. Check out How to Start Your Own Business for a deeper explanation.
Choosing an E-Commerce Platform
When it comes to e-commerce platforms, you’ve got a few options and they include:
These are just some of the top e-commerce platforms out there. Do your due diligence to figure out which is the best one for you. Read reviews. Explore websites. Skim the FAQs. You know, the whole enchilada.
Do what you need to do to get your questions answered. If that means contacting customer support 100 times…hey, gotta do what you gotta do, right?
Just kidding. Leave those kind customer service folks alone. For everyone’s sake and sanity.
But seriously, learn all you can about your top choices and narrow it down from there. Pick the one that’s the most affordable, the one that’s the easiest for you to use. It won’t be the same for everyone so don’t pick one based on someone else’s experience.
While your blogger friend, Paul, might have had a terrible experience with BigCommerce, you might find that it’s actually pretty great for you.
Establishing Vendor Relationships
If you want to be successful as an e-commerce store owner, you’ll have to establish relationships with good vendors.
Oftentimes, if you take a course, the course creators may give away a list of reputable and reliable vendors that you can use to source your products.
But if you decide not to go that route, you can always establish them on your own. The following tips can help you establish great vendor relationships that can keep the money rolling in for, like…ever.
Okay, so not forever, but into the foreseeable future.
Pay On Time, Every Time
There’s really not much else to say here. Nobody likes to be paid late. Nobody.
Your vendors don’t either.
So pay on time, every time.
And let them know if any issues arise and you can’t pay for some reason. They may be willing to work with you until you get your cashflow situation fixed.
But don’t just stop paying out of nowhere. Keep them in the loop.
Give Them Enough Advanced Notice & Keep Lines of Communication Open
It’s understandable that you’d want to create special promotions during certain times of the year, such as major holidays.
It’s not understandable that you don’t give your suppliers advanced notice when you’re going to need new inventory, or different inventory than you normally order.
Give them a heads up so that they can keep the engine running smoothly on their end too.
And then together, you’ll run like a well-oiled machine.
Come Up With a Store Name
Come up with a store name that gives your potential customers an idea of what kind of products you sell. For example, if you sell beauty products, you might choose a name like [Your Name]+ Beauty or Discount Beauty or something similar.
Keep the name short and sweet. You don’t want people to struggle to remember your brand’s name.
Make sure the name you choose isn’t already taken by another e-commerce store by doing a search for registered business names.
Create Your Website
By this point, you already know what platform you want to use for your e-commerce store.
Log onto that platform and set up an attractive website that hooks potential customers and gets them excited about your products.
Your website should reflect your brand well by using your brand colors, fonts, and design elements.
If you haven’t already, start thinking how you’ll build your personal brand.
Create Your Listings
Once you’ve selected your vendors and created your website, you can start creating your listings. If you’ve chosen what products you want in your store already, you can start writing out the listings for each product in your store.
Make your product descriptions compelling and engaging so that your potential customers click through to make the sale.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea of what you should be writing.
If you’re completely new to product descriptions, learn the basics of writing a good product description.
The final step in the journey to creating your e-commerce store is promoting it.
How will people find your products if you don’t promote them?
There are several ways to go about promoting your products, although, I’d start with social media. If you don’t already have a social media presence, start building one today.
You don’t have to be on every platform, but you should aim for between two and three social media platforms.
You can also try other methods of promoting your e-commerce store, such as:
- Paid advertisements
- Content marketing (blogging, etc.)
- Cross promoting your products with products from another company
- Social media (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
Research the best ways to promote your e-commerce store and start implementing those methods into your marketing strategy.
Another Way to Own Your Own E-Commerce Store
These days, there are so many built-for-you options that it’d be pretty ridiculous if it wasn’t so helpful. If you don’t want to do the steps above and you’d rather have a store that’s already built for you (which is most people), you have another option.
You can buy a store someone else already built.
You can either buy one that’s already up and running from someone who no longer wants the store. Or you can buy a store that’s already pre-built and filled with products and create your own brand out of it. Of course, you’d have to add more of your own, but the bulk of the work would be done for you.
Here are a few places you can buy a pre-built e-commerce store.
- Think Ecommerce
- Dropship Directly
- Exchange Marketplace
- Dropship for Sale
Buying a pre-made store is a great option for those who don’t have the time to spend building one. And oftentimes, pre-made stores already have a customer base so you don’t have to spend time trying to build one.
Are You Ready to Start Earning Money With Your Own an E-Commerce Store?
Setting up and running your own e-commerce store can be a challenge if you’re new to it all, but after you’re past the learning curve, you can be well on your way to earning a good passive income stream (as long as you put the time and effort into building it and promoting it).
Are you ready to start building your own e-commerce store?
What are some of the things you struggle with when it comes to building your store?
Have I left anything out?
Let me know in the comments, and you already know what to do!
Like, share, comment. Show me some love, Sis.