Perhaps you have been thinking of starting your own e-commerce business for some time already. You have been thinking and waiting until you get more time, or perhaps you just don’t know where to start.
The reality is that you will never have enough time, therefore, you just need to start now!
Do it step by step.
Do the preparations and study the topic when you find some spare minutes.
When you feel like you know enough, just start from the beginning, launch your business, and learn more as you go forward.
So, now is the perfect time to turn your dream into reality.
It all starts from a good idea.
If you already have an idea what your e-commerce business is going to do, how it is going to make money, what type of products or services you are going to offer, then you are a big step ahead from the others who don’t know yet what they are going to sell.
There are three important questions you need to ask and decide on before you start:
- What is the structure of your e-commerce business going to be – where are you going to sell;
- What are you going to sell – the range of products and services;
- Why people are going to buy from you – why should they rather buy from you than the others?
Then you need to do niche research.
If you already have your product or service, do a proper research for this particular product. If you haven’t got it yet you need to find your focus point to run a profitable e-commerce business. Start from one product or ten, unless you are planning to reinvent Amazon or Ebay.
Choosing your niche is very important, but similarly important is to choose a business model. Before you can make the final decision on what to sell online, you need to understand what different business models are available. Here is a short list of some of them:
- Physical product sales
- Digital product sales
- Service-based business
- Software sales
Digital product sales – digital books and music downloads, digital printing (t-shirts, art prints, mugs, business cards, etc.)
Service based business – website design, website hosting, e-learning, etc.
Physical products can be self made, bought from wholesale businesses and stored in your business or on the rented premises; there is also a drop shipping option – if you don’t want to touch the product yourself but let the delivery organised by the producer/wholesaler.
Where can you find products to sell in your online store?
- Free option – straight from the supplier. Information can be found on supplier’s websites. We have listed some of the businesses offering wholesale and drop shipping services for e-commerce in our directory. As our directory is pretty new, the list is still short. But it is being updated step by step, so if you can’t find useful information for yourself this time, please pop back again later and try again: Wholesale & Drop Shipping Suppliers in the UK @eStorestToday Directory
Next step is to register your business – either becoming self-employed or creating a limited company.
Writing a Business Plan would be a good idea, too.
Next step – Create your online store or website for your services.
For creating one you need to decide which Content Management System to choose, this depends on if you are ready to to do more work, create your website from scratch and pay mostly for hosting only; or go using simpler but more expensive way which includes CRM and hosting as well.
You can read more about Content Management Systems in our blog post Best Content Management Systems For E-Commerce
Next step – Start with Marketing to attract customers to your website.
This is not the last step, because you need to start managing your business on daily basis, and there are so many more things that need doing (deciding if you rent premises or work from home, do you need to hire someone to get help, set up accountancy, packing, delivery, etc.)
But starting doing marketing is a very important part getting your business going properly. There are also two ways how to do your marketing, free – when you have time and knowledge to do it yourself; and paid – this is quicker and easier if you have enough resources to dig in and help out in the beginning. The best way is to do both.
Free marketing examples. Everybody knows about Social Media, of course. Marketing on Social Media sharing content among your friends and followers can be time-consuming and tiring, but if you are dedicated (and sometimes lucky), it could be done successfully.
E-mail marketing can be done for free ( or almost free) as well. The first free-ish e-mail marketing program many have heard about is Mailchimp, but there are some other ones as well, like Mailjet, for instance. All this type of e-mail marketing programs allow to send some amount of e-mails for free, but they also have restrictions. Totally free – open source e-mail marketing automation program is Mautic, your can download it from Mautic.org and self-host it with your current hosting package.