It is estimated that over $2 trillion will be sold via e commerce businesses in 2017. By 2021 the amount sold is expected to double to $4 trillion. Brands like Amazon and Wal-Mart, among many others, have been able to successfully build remarkable ecommerce businesses and so can you.
This article will help entrepreneurs understand how to establish a successful ecommerce business while working from home. Believe it or not, but it is possible to create a successful ecommerce business by following a few simple principles.
Find an underserved niche
It is important to understand that as a small business owner, there are some items that you probably should not sell. Avoid areas that are already competitive. Household goods and basic electronic supplies are some categories to avoid. That’s because companies like Amazon have competitively priced products, loyal customers, and good brand awareness.
With that being said, there are many underserved niches that are not able to find the right product on large ecommerce sites. Start by searching for an enthusiastic but underserved customer base. Perhaps it is difficult for a group of sports fans to purchase merchandise online. Maybe fans of a specific comic book character find it hard to get action figures, and t-shirts on large ecommerce sites. These are just some of the potential audiences your ecommerce business will be able to successfully profit from.
To test the audience, consider creating a social media ad featuring the product you intend to sell. For the sake of testing, the ad can lead to a blog post about the product, since you won’t want to create your ecommerce store yet. If the ad performs well, it could be an indication that you’ve found an underserved group of potential buyers.
Secure a deal with a manufacturer
Once you have identified an underserved niche, you need to find a way to obtain merchandise. The most scalable solution, with the lowest overhead is finding a manufacturer willing to drop-ship orders. Drop-shipping occurs when the manufacturer ships products directly to the customer. It means that you will not need to worry about warehousing and shipping products yourself.
There are a number of different avenues you can take to find a great manufacturer. Platforms like Alibaba make it easy to find manufacturers internationally. Before selecting a manufacturer, be sure to calculate the freight or duty expenses that your company could incur, in order to understand true manufacturing costs.
Select an ecommerce platform
Next it is time to select the proper ecommerce platform for your business. There are a number of different vendors to choose from, each with unique pros and cons. Shopify is a leading ecommerce platform that can support a wide variety of businesses. From ecommerce stores selling photos and videos, to a platform selling grooming products, Shopify is flexible and easy to use. Other platforms to consider include Big Commerce which some consider a better solution for more complex ecommerce stores, and Magento, which is ideal for the more technically minded small business owner.
Whatever platform you select, you will want to choose one that provides 24/7 customer support, inexpensive hosting, and the ability to scale with your business as it grows.
Use cost-effective social media advertising strategies
After the ecommerce store is up and running, you will need to build some sort of digital advertising strategy to drive visitors and therefore customers, to your store. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and to a lesser extent Twitter and LinkedIn can all be used effectively depending on the target audience.
In order to create a successful digital advertising strategy, it is important that you have a good understanding of who your ideal customer is. Using geographic and demographic targeting, you can build a social media advertising strategy that effectively targets your ideal customers, without wasting money targeting people who are unlikely to purchase from your store.
Once your ecommerce site has been up and running for a few months, you can also use retargeting ads to attract visitors to your ecommerce store who did not end up making a purchase. This is a great way to target people who are already familiar with your brand and with your merchandise.
Monitor performance carefully with an analytics tool
In order to understand how your ecommerce store is performing, you should consider using some sort of website analytics tool to monitor visitor behavior and to make changes if you see behaviors that are negative (like high bounce rates).
Google analytics is a free platform that millions of webmasters rely on to access helpful analytics. Other platforms to consider are Mixpanel and KISSmetrics, which are good alternatives for those who are selling some type of software.
Monitoring visitor behavior can help you to optimize the ecommerce experience to increase visitor to purchase conversion rates, or to identify a problem page that is causing visitors to leave at a disproportionate rate.
It has never been easier to start a successful ecommerce business. Today, entrepreneurs have access to manufactures, ecommerce platforms, and analytics tools via just a few button clicks. Additionally, entrepreneurs can now target specific customer niches thanks to powerful social media advertising offered by platforms like Facebook, and Instagram (among others).