There are good reasons why eCommerce has been such a growing trend – so many people are doing their shopping online these days! Whether they’re looking for groceries, clothes, furniture, concert tickets…the list is endless.
And you can get a piece of that action! This article is going to introduce you to learning how.
There are loads of ways you can make money on the internet, but for the purpose of this article, we’re just going to concentrate on eCommerce. An eCommerce business is basically any business that sells its goods and/or service online.
In this article, we’re going to focus on starting a business whereby you sell goods and/or services through your very own website store.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into affiliate marketing, and as for drop-shipping, we already have another article on our website titled “How do I start a drop-shipping business?” that you can access on this link.
This article is aimed at those who are kind of wondering whether or not starting an eCommerce business is for them, and as such it’s designed to answer some of the more important questions that need answering at the very beginning of your eCommerce journey.
(And feel free to scroll to any section that catches your eye). Here goes!
How Do I Start An ECommerce Business?
The first thing you need to do is decide what it is you’re going to sell. And if it doesn’t already exist, you need to create it. Whether it’s a physical product, such as print-on-demand merchandise, or a digital product such as an online course or ebook, or audiobook.
Once you have decided what it is you’re going to sell, you can come up with a company name. You could either choose a name based around whatever it is you’re going to sell, or you can choose a business name based around your name or your initials.
Then, you should go about sorting out all the necessary paperwork, such as any licenses and insurance, and getting yourself an accountant.
At this point, you will want to check out one of our other articles titled “What licenses do you need for an eCommerce business?” which is available on this link.
Then you need to decide what platform you are going to use to create your online store. Don’t worry, however, you don’t need to learn a single line of coding, or to hire someone to create your online store for you…
The easiest way to create an online store is by using Shopify. It is a platform that has been created for its users to create their very own customizable online stores using their templates.
For more information on Shopify, please check out our article titled “Is Shopify good for eCommerce?” which is available on this link.
Shopify is not your only option however, and you may also like to check out WooCommerce which is available on the WordPress platform, or Wix.
For more information on Wix, please check out our article titled “Is Wix good for eCommerce?” which is available on this link.
The next thing you need to do is to source a domain name that is based around your business name. You then also have to choose a host to host your online store.
Then you are ready to create your own online store and start trading!
Can You Run An Ecommerce Business From Home?
The truth is that some eCommerce businesses are easier to run from home than others. Affiliate marketing business and drop-shipping businesses are particularly easy to run from home, because you don’t need to hold any stock, and the only equipment you need to run it is a laptop and a power lead.
Similarly, if you were to sell only digital products, again you would not need a physical space to store your products. But of course, if you intend to sell physical products, then you will need somewhere to store them.
In the early days of your business, you may find that you have enough room to store the stock at home, but as the business grows, you may feel that you need a dedicated place to store the stock.
How Difficult Is It To Run An Ecommerce Business?
Ok, let’s split this question into two separate other questions – “How difficult is it to run an eCommerce business?” and “How difficult is it to grow an eCommerce business?”.
The running of the business is pretty much straightforward. You simply need to keep track of what orders come in, and fulfill those orders. And then report your figures to your accountant.
However, the growth of the business is a whole other ball game. You have to get the word out there about your business, and that means things like building a brand and marketing your business…
Marketing an online business means you will have to do some digital marketing (more on that later). And although we won’t go so far as to say this is difficult, the truth is that to do this well and effectively across multiple social media platforms, can be time-consuming.
Many online businesses seem to get off the ground pretty quickly thanks to being able to generate a lot of organic traffic to their website. But this is by no means guaranteed.
How Do I Succeed In Ecommerce?
One of the major elements in making a successful eCommerce business will be your digital marketing. And this, too, is made up of separate elements.
Establish A Good Social Media Presence
The most obvious of which is having a good, solid social media presence. And the best way to achieve this is by being on as many social media platforms as possible, and by making social media posts on a very frequent basis, several times each week.
These social media platforms should include the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and can also be expanded to include the likes of Twitter, YouTube and other social media platforms.
And in order for those who visit your online store to see your social media posts, you will need to have buttons on the website linking to your social media accounts.
And ideally, you want to have as many sites linking to your eCommerce store as possible. The more likes and shares your posts get, the better the word is spread about your business and the more sales you could potentially make.
Ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages
In order for your eCommerce store to have a high-ranking spot in the search engine results pages, a great deal of work is required…
It is beyond the scope of this article to explain how search engine optimization works, but it is something that you will need to do your homework on if you want your eCommerce store to be successful.
How Long Does It Take To Start An Ecommerce Business?
One of the key virtues you need to have for running an eCommerce business is patience. Sure, you can make an online store into a great cash cow through putting in plenty of time and effort, but it just doesn’t happen overnight.
You can generally expect a few months to go from initial idea to product launch. This is because businesses often like to create a buzz about their goods and services before that launch, so that when the launch does happen, things can really start to take off sooner rather than later.
But then this can vary according to what products you are selling. Print on demand products can be made in very little time, whereas creating an online course could take a lot more time to develop and prepare.
Anyway, once you have the product/s ready, it is possible to generate a sale within hours of the site being built. But that is provided that you have already done some leg work into getting your product and your brand out there.
But, as to how long it takes before you can earn a consistent reliable income from it, that could potentially take a long time. Businesses take time to become well established, and spreading the word by word of mouth or by other means simply does not happen overnight.
So, there’s no straight answer to this question, it depends on what it is you are selling, and it simply takes as long as it takes.
How Much Does It Cost To Start An Ecommerce Business?
Even though many online businesses can be run from your home requiring little more than a laptop and a power lead, there are many costs to consider…
These include payment for the domain name, payment for hosting the website, payment for the building of the website if you decide to go for a paid one (which is recommended), the costs associated with the creation of your products, storage costs if you are selling physical products, and cloud storage if you are selling digital products.
It’s beyond the scope of this article to go into the costs of creating your chosen products, but we will comment on the costs of running an online store…
- Domain names typically cost between $2 to $20 per year
- Website hosting can cost anywhere between about $3 to $30 per month
- Running an online store via Shopify can cost between $29 to $299 per month
- Getting an online store professionally built can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000.
So, as you can see, there’s a lot of variation in potential costs. And the main takeaway here is that you can be far better off running your online store through platforms such as Shopify rather than blowing all your budget on an online store before the business has even made any money.
And it certainly pays to shop around, so you get your costs of running the store as low as possible. Since the lower these costs are, the higher your profit margins are going to be.
Once you know how much your costs will be, you can work out how much money you need to make in order to break even or make a profit. And this can guide your strategy for growing the business because you will have goals that you will need to reach.
Is Starting An Ecommerce Business Worth It?
So, as we have discussed, starting an eCommerce business takes money, time, and effort. Especially if you want it to do well enough that you can make a living from it.
But the beauty of starting an eCommerce business is that you can still work towards creating and growing the business while you are working in another job. You can use the eCommerce business as a side hustle until you are able to earn enough money that you can quit your regular day job.
But, we’re going to level with you here. Statistically speaking, about 90% of eCommerce start-ups fail within the first 120 days.
So, it is not a walk in the park, and you will need to have done your homework and built your brand before you even launch your business and its products.
But, if running your very own business is something that you’ve been dreaming about for a while, then we think you should simply go for it.
Being an entrepreneur and making money from doing something that’s totally your own can be incredibly rewarding. It’s far better to have tried and failed than to never try at all.
Sure, it requires diligence and hard work. Sure, it requires time and effort, and patience. But when you start to make real money doing what you love, then you have to admit that it was worth every dollar, and worth all that time doing your digital marketing and pulling those customers in.
So, now we have given you a good overview on what it takes to start an eCommerce start and how to make it successful. And while we certainly aren’t promising overnight success, we would love to encourage you on your entrepreneurial journey and wish you every success.