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Things to Consider Before Starting an E-commerce Store

In this day and age, it has never been easier to start an online e-commerce store. If this is something you have been thinking about, here are a few things you should know and consider before taking the leap.

Find a Niche for Your E-commerce Store

The first thing you need to decide is what you will sell and which niche you will operate in. maybe you want to become the next big Australian packaging supplier, or maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom in the UK wanting to sell your art or prints?

You can also go the route of selling products you know are popular; while this requires a bit more research and you will have stiff competition, it is still a valid route to take.

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Validate Your Niche

Once you have your niche, you need to validate it. Validating requires research, Google Analytics, etc, to determine your market size, how many sales are done, the average price customers are willing to pay, etc.

Validating is a crucial step as it will determine whether or not you are in the right niche. One mistake many first-time e-commerce store operators make is starting a business selling products or services that aren’t as popular, on a large scale, as they first suspected.

Research Your Competition

Researching your competition is good for two main reasons. The first is to investigate what you are up against; knowing what your competition is selling, what their pricing is, what deals they may offer, etc, will all help you find out how you can match them and enter the market.

Secondly, you can learn what you should and shouldn’t be doing. An established company is established because what they do works; there is no reason not to use them as inspiration to create your own ideas and selling methods.

Business Identity 

You will also need to come up with a logo and branding for your business. This is an essential step as it will be what everyone sees on your social media, your labels, etc. You need an eye-catching logo and name that people will notice and remember.

This step can involve a lot of trial and error, but it is still important to take the time to figure it out, as it is a big part of whether or not you will be noticed.

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Obtaining Products

Another step you need to figure out is how you will obtain the product. If you aren’t making the products yourself, you have three main options: bulk buying to order, holding stock, or drop shipping.

Bulk Ordering

Bulk ordering is the middle ground between holding stock and buying stock to order. For example, new businesses might need more money to purchase thousands of products at once, but buying them as needed may take too long and slow down shipping.

Therefore, buying a certain amount each week or month ensures you always have the product in stock, but you aren’t overcommitting and risking spending a lot of money on a product that isn’t selling.

Holding Stock

Holding stock involves filling your garage, storage unit, or warehouse with products. This often involves multiple, large purchases, and is ideal for businesses that are on their way to being, or are already established.

This can be risky because if sales slow down or stop, or there is an issue with your supply chain, you can end up being stuck with a load of inventory you can’t sell.

Drop shipping

Finally, drop shipping is the process of selling a product on your website but transferring the order to the manufacturer or a third party, and they ship it. At no point do you see or have to hold product in stock.

Drop shipping is incredibly cheap as almost all of the leg work is done by another party, and you are simply the messenger. This does require research into the product and manufacturer, though, as you don’t want to sell products that are of lower quality, as that can quickly tank your business’s image. 

Shipping

If you are going to be holding and selling the product yourself, you need to figure out a shipping strategy. Shipping locally is fairly simple as you can use your postal service or a courier to deliver your products.

On the other hand, shipping internationally requires doing the research to find the most affordable, and fastest option. Customers from overseas won’t want to buy your product if it takes weeks to get to them, or if the shipping is more expensive than the product itself.

Marketing your E-commerce Store

Finally, you need to market yourself and have a marketing strategy. Social media is not only one of the best ways to do this, but also one of the cheapest. It is free to create a business profile on Instagram, Facebook, etc, and the cost to promote your posts is also very affordable.

If you can afford to do it, utilizing influencer marketing is another brilliant way to market. You are able to get your product in front of a varied audience that could range from a few hundred, to hundreds of thousands.

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