The online retail niche has been swelling at an incredible rate for some time now, and with the recent dawn of highly accessible ecommerce platforms, it’s become a godsend for budding entrepreneurs looking to get their first company off the ground. Starting an ecommerce site, especially if you don’t have any experience, may sound like a big task, but following these steps will ensure you get a great start…
Getting the Industry and Product Right
The product and industry your ecommerce site focusses on can have a massive impact on how successful it is in that tough initial period. The price is a big factor to think about. If pricing is too low, you’ll find it hard to achieve and maintain a healthy profit margin. If it’s too high, customers will be hesitant to buy it through any online platform. You’ll also need to think about your profit margin on each individual sale. A lot of products which are commonly sold online can have margins of 30-35%, but this can vary drastically depending on the product itself. Finally, you should pay some thought to how unique your products will be, and how easy they are to get locally. It’s much easier to generate sales when the products you’re selling aren’t typically available in high street stores.
Setting Up a Website
You can’t have an ecommerce business without a website, so obviously, you’ll need to get this out of the way early in the process. Unless you’re an experienced programmer, you’ll probably be going through an established ecommerce platform (sometimes called a “cart”). This will be used to manage all the products, categories, checkout processes, and various other aspects involved with online selling. Many are very easy to use but can risk feeling a little cookie-cutter amongst all the competition you’ll be up against. The more advanced ones can be hard to wrap your head around if you don’t have much experience with web building, but you can mitigate this challenge with various outsourcing solutions, for example, hiring a Magento agency. While some platforms can be a major crutch depending on the industry, most businesses will be fairly safe using any popular ecommerce platform. Try to take a more proactive approach, rather than spending hours poring over every little detail and feature.
Now that you’ve got a product range in mind and a platform to sell it on, you can start reaching out to some manufacturers. There are a wide range of online platforms that will connect you with product suppliers, such as Google Shopping and Alibaba. When you start drawing up a list of prospective suppliers, just try to keep an open mind. A lot of manufacturers won’t want to work with a business that’s only just starting out since they won’t be able to come up with a track record of sales. Start off reaching out to manufacturers and suppliers who have relatively loose application requirements, and don’t worry about moving up to a better deal until you’re more established.