There is no doubt about it. Having your own online store is exciting. Like, really exciting. There is nothing quite like the thrill of that first sale and, no matter how successful you become, you will never forget it. According to the Office for National Statistics approximately 25% of all retail sales are made online with an increase to pre-coronavirus levels indicating that more people have changed their shopping habits to online. With websites easier than ever to build, now is the perfect time to start your journey into the world of e-commerce.
1) Decide on a product to sell. Check Google trends to see what is popular right now. Will you go for broad appeal such as clothing or beauty? Or something more niche such as BMX bike parts? Do as much research as you can and check out competitors.
2) Browse a marketplace such as AliExpress which has millions of products from thousands of suppliers. Be sure to check out delivery times and seller ratings.
3) Think of a suitable name for your online store. Check if it is available and register it. A strong, relevant name is crucial.
4) Next you need a website. Do not worry, you do not need major technical skills. Websites these days are easy to build with plug in templates that are worth their weight in gold. You can realistically be up and selling within a few days.
5) Promote your website. You might have the best products at the best prices and a kick-ass website but if nobody knows about it what is the point?!
Teach yourself as much as you can about SEO, SEM, social network marketing and Google Ads. You can opt for paid courses to quickly grow your skill set. Make sure your business is GDPR compliant as a fine could wipe out any profits (and more!). GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it sets out how you should legally oversee and process customer data.
6) Make sure you keep your website fresh and relevant and add new products to reflect current trends and seasons. A database of your customer's email addresses is a wonderful way to get repeat business but make sure they have opted in to receive marketing (GDPR again!)
Search Engine Optimisation
Buying and Selling Online
Guide to E-Commerce
Guide to Ali Express
Beginner's Guide to Building a Website
So, you want to have your own store? But you have no capital to get started so you cannot buy any stock to sell. End of plan, right? Wrong!
Drop shipping is the ideal business model for those with great retail skills, ambition, enterprising spirit but little start-up money.
So, what exactly is drop shipping? Look at this short video.
Drop shipping allows you to sell products on your own website. You can sell whatever you want, and you never handle the product.
Let's say you decide to sell dog leads.
You have found a supplier that charges £5 for a lead.
Your website charges £15 for the same lead.
A customer buys the dog lead from your website and pays £15.
You buy the dog lead from your supplier and pay £5. Your supplier sends the lead direct to your customer.
You keep the £10 profit.
If you enjoy the drop shipping business model, and are making it pay, you do not need to limit yourself to just one website.
Remember, the more income streams you have the less you will rely on just one of them.
Now that is working smart!