Building a business is hard. Whether it’s a traditional brick-and-mortar or an on-call service, there are many factors involved in establishing and maintaining a sustainable business venture.
Traditionally, you would need a large enough capital, a solid infrastructure, a carefully-crafted business model and other people that work with and/or under you.
You would need to conduct feasibility studies, market research, competitive analysis, and every other industry staple just to see what kind of business is worth exploring.
Not to mention all of the red tape involved—business permits, taxes, fees, costing, inventory.
Even before you start, you’ll feel your enthusiasm being drained from you ever so slowly until you start to question why you chose to start a business in the first place.
The good news is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
We live in a world full of potential. Technological advancements have made it possible for anyone to start a fledgling business with little to no capital.
Not only that, with the rapid rise of the on-demand economy, anyone can run a successful business right in the comfort of their own home.
With just a few clicks, anyone can set up an online store in a matter of minutes.
You wouldn’t even need technical experience to do so — and even learning some tips on what your website needs to appeal to customers will help you get started.
But, with all of the pros come the cons.
Since it’s now easy for anyone to set up a viable business, everyone is a potential competitor. With the vast number of competition saturating the market, how would you even hope to stand out?
Here are things you need to know to get started:
1. Set clear goals
The first thing that you would need is an idea. It doesn’t have to be big or ambitious, it just needs to be something doable.
Start with an end goal in mind, or else you would be running around directionless. Think of what you want to achieve and slowly work towards it.
Let’s say you want to end up becoming the next Amazon or Alibaba. Industry giants like them weren’t made overnight, and they most certainly didn’t initially look the way they do now.
Start small by selling products that not many others sell, or sell products unique to your region to the outside world.
Choose a reliable ecommerce platform and supplier.
It also helps to look into tiny but crucial details when building your website, such as knowing the difference between JPG and PNG, which image editing service to work with, and what type of graphics would resonate well with your audience.
If you’re having trouble deciding what you want to focus on? Make data-driven decisions using statistics resources and get a feel of the pulse of the market.
Looking at the trends will give you an idea of how the ecommerce landscape looks, putting you on a better place to make smarter decisions.
2. Master your niche
Once you figure out what business venture you want to pursue, the next thing you have to decide on is who your target market is.
This is online business 101 of the things you need to consider before launching your ecommerce business.
You don’t even have to do extensive market research for this; you can gauge who is buying what you’re going to sell by looking at social media stats and insights.
Surveys are also a good way to ascertain the niche you’re potentially going to be catering to. You can consult online resources on best practices regarding marketing strategies.
There’s no one correct way to go about this. Do trial-and-error and find an approach that works best for you, one that you can easily sustain.
You can even look into some of the best online side hustles that can help you further master your niche. That way, you can gain a better understanding of your niche’s dynamics and be able to market your products effectively.
3. Find a reliable supplier
Now that you know what you want to sell and who to sell it to, the next problem is where to get the products that you want to sell.
This part is crucial because your supplier will affect your order fulfillment, delivery schedules, and even your reputation (among other things).
Think of it this way.
If you were looking for life coaches, you’d want to know their reliability and credibility by checking if they are certified, right?
You’d want to know if they have gone through the best life coach certification programs since you would be taking advice from them and you want to make sure that they’re qualified to do that.
Finding a reliable supplier can work the same way.
Traditionally, you would need to get them from a manufacturer to get the items at a lower price or a distributor, then you would need to store them in a warehouse.
Once you have items in stock, you would need to do inventory and pricing. After that, you either put them up for display or you ship them off to customers who would buy them.
Putting products up for display would involve placing them in a physical store or taking pictures of them for an online store.
Shipping products off would involve you physically going to a courier or having them pick it up from you so that they could deliver to the client.
A lot of logistics are involved, and all of the headaches that come with it. Fortunately, we now live in a world where we could get everything delivered right to your door.
Oberlo allows you to find reliable suppliers that sell products that are highly sought by your target audience.
The best thing about it is that you don’t even have to do the shipping by yourself!
Oberlo does all the work for you. All you need to do is to create a Shopify store, pick the products you want to sell, spruce up your site, market it, and just sit back and relax.
Dropshipping through Oberlo would save you the hassle of maintaining a physical inventory, but the work doesn’t stop there. Now, you can focus on marketing and other parts of your business.
4. Have a clear strategy to grow your online store
All of these third-party services make life easier, but there are still a lot of risks involved in launching your business.
You will face a lot of challenges in maintaining your business, so always be prepared for the possibilities. Mitigate risk by keeping up to date with the latest trends and techniques.
Once you reach a point where you’re comfortable, don’t stop there. Grow your business by adding more products or by diversifying your offering.
Put up contingencies for when certain parts of your pipeline would encounter roadblocks and adapt to whatever sudden changes might come your way.
Along the way, you’ll learn to do advanced and more in-depth strategies like completing a content audit for your website so you know where your website’s content gaps are. That way, you can do the necessary adjustments to your content to make them more compelling.
Always do things with your initial end goal in mind. Once you reach it, go beyond it and set the previous goal as just another milestone.
What are some of the most important lessons you learned about starting online stores?
If there are strategies you can share about finding the right supplier, products, or, perhaps, a reliable marketing method, feel free to share them below. Cheers!