Online stores can be a lucrative and exciting business. They allow you to tap into the digital boom and, if set up correctly, don’t need to be as labour-intensive as you might imagine.
Marketing to the digital world has become the norm, but taking your first steps into online store management can seem confusing.
Start with your niche
Since it’s unlikely that you’re going to jump straight in at the deep and start competing with Amazon, it’s important to identify your niche. That can and should be small. Stores that are laser focussed on a specific area perform best. A store that’s, for example, only selling fishing equipment has the appearance of being run by experts in their field who are devoted to one area rather than spreading themselves too thinly. Choose a niche that you love and understand, rather than viewing your store purely from a financial angle.
Choose the right e-commerce platform
There are plenty of these available, each with different features. These platforms take the hassle out of building your store and double as web design tools. They’ll help you to design a store (usually in a matter of minutes), make it easy to accept payments and even manage stock. Shopify is probably the most popular. It’s price flexible and used around the world. Most digital marketing agencies support it, too. Made by Factory, a digital agency Manchester based web marketers favor, assists users with Shopify integration, and it’s far from the only agency to offer this service. Choosing the right e-commerce platform can pave the way to working with a fully-fledged marketing agency.
Decide whether you want to dropship
Dropshipping has been in vogue for years, and over time it’s become associated with the digital nomad culture. In a nutshell, it means that you hold no physical stock. You are the storefront, but when an order comes through it’s fulfilled by somebody else. There are definite benefits to this approach (you don’t have to hold physical stock or worry about deliveries), but downsides, too. Dropshipping is certainly slower and it adds a third party to the sales process, potentially leading to complications. Holding and shipping your own stock is an alternative but that, of course, has its problems, too. There’s no right answer, but this is one of the first and most important decisions that you’ll face.
Get the price right
It seems straightforward, but pricing is actually more complicated than it appears. Search for a product on Amazon and you’ll find that it’s available for multiple different prices from multiple different sellers. You’ll need to set a price that makes you competitive but also generates a profit. Bear in mind that most people who operate their own online stores work with very fine margins. To make things profitable in the long run you should look for something you can sell for $50-$100 that has low shipping costs. Shipping can really eat into your profits, so pay special attention to that area.