Everyone buys things on the Internet these days. Ecommerce is bigger than ever, and more and more people are realizing that they can make some really good money by opening up an online shop. If you work hard enough, your store can transform from a side hustle into a full-time business effort pretty quickly. But how do you even get started? There are a few steps that you need to go through before you jump into selling online. Let’s get into it.
Decide on Your Niche
While it would be nice to open up an online shop and simply sell anything that happens to be lying around your house, it’s not a very good strategy. It’s much better to decide on a specific niche. There are certain shops that succeed while selling general goods, but most people just go to Target or Wal-Mart if that’s what they’re looking for. Selecting a niche will help you with marketing, branding, inventory, and many other logistical challenges. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, particularly when you’re starting off, so pick a focus and stick with it.
Pick a Platform
There are lots of platforms out there for selling online, and each one comes with its own unique advantages. There is Amazon which has a massive user base, Shopify which gives great access to funding and apps, and then all sorts of other alternative platforms. If you’re feeling old school, you can even start up a shop on eBay. So do your research and see which platform seems like it would work best for your chosen niche. You’ll also want to do some calculations to see which platform would be most expensive to use. Keep in mind that it can be hard to switch platforms once your shop is established.
Work on Your Branding
Before you actually set up your shop, you’re going to need a name for your business. It might be tempting to use that totally sweet name that you were going to use for your metal band 20 years ago, but Super Thrash Gravelord doesn’t work too well for an online candle store. We say this to remind you to look at other, similar shops and see what kind of names they have. Once you’ve decided on that, you can start to consider what angle to approach your branding from. Will it be casual or formal? Brief or detailed? These things will really start to matter down the road.
Figure Out Vending and Shipping
If you’re going to be selling things that you don’t already have, you’ll need a vendor. And if you’ll be selling these items to customers that live further away than your neighbors, you’re probably going to need a shipping company too. And finally, if you are going to have a lot of items, you’ll need a warehouse. These are all things to consider before actually selling anything. The only real way to decide on the right vendor and shipping company is to call up multiple companies and speak with them about rates, wait times, and other issues. So start making some calls!
Work on Your Marketing
Simply starting up a shop and listing some items for sale isn’t going to be very successful for you. You need to make sure that people actually know that your shop exists. When you’re new, you probably won’t have a lot of funding, so you may need to be creative. Try out some word-of-mouth campaigns, advertise locally, or just invest small amounts of money into online ads. You may not see much of a return on marketing investments at first, but it will certainly pay off in the end. This will also help your business become more established, something that can really help you secure funding in the future.