It’s obvious that buying things online has become much more established in recent years.
As a society, we are slowly moving in a direction where more and more of our shopping happens online. In light of the global pandemic, this has become even more pronounced. While the pandemic was and still is very devastating to our everyday lives, it has created unique circumstances for eCommerce to bloom. This is precisely why starting an eCommerce business right now is such a smart move to make for any entrepreneur.
The concept is simple: you find something that people are likely to buy, find a place online where people can find it and place an order, and you sell it to them. Well, the process is a bit more complicated in reality, so let’s go through some basic steps.
Finding a product and a niche
This is the first and the most important step, so you should take your time. There are many ways of discovering what is selling well or not depending on where you look. You can look at trends on social media or you can simply browse large eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Ebay or Walmart. You can also look at Pinterest and even Google Trends to see what people are searching for or buying.
You can use specialized market intelligence software on most of the large online selling platforms to see what the actual product sales are. You can also gain insight into exactly why these items are selling. It’s important to identify some gaps in supply and demand, as well as any potential for modifying the available products in such a way that you can gain a competitive advantage if you enter that specific niche.
It’s also important to have specific product criteria in mind so that you can control your sales margins. The size and the weight of your product can affect shipping costs. The average selling price is also very important so that you can deduct the cost of manufacturing and determine future profits. It’s even more important to properly calculate profit on platforms such as Amazon since you have to factor in the unavoidable FBA fees.
Choose a selling platform
When it comes to where to sell your new product, you actually have a lot of options. However, all of those options can be sorted into 2 main routes:
1. Selling on an existing eCommerce platform
This option would allow you to sell on a website that gets millions upon millions of visits every day. However, you would have to deal with a number of competitors, as well as follow rules and guidelines.
If you sell on large platforms such as Amazon or Ebay, you have to present and promote your products within the constraints that are imposed by their rules, which can impede your creativity. There are also fees that detract from your profits. However, you will not have any issue with attracting traffic.
2. Selling on your own website
This option is a lot more work and responsibility, but you get to keep more of the profits. This takes some know-how or investment in hiring professionals to properly optimize and design your website. You are also responsible for bringing in traffic and making sure that your website obtains a decent ranking on google.
Another great aspect of having your own website is that you can change it as often as you want. For example, you can create special offers and discounts, and optimize your website accordingly.You can also experiment with various options.
Find a supplier
It goes without saying that when you want to sell a product, you need to find someone to make it for you. When you have already decided on the product or products that you wish to sell, it’s time to start contacting suppliers. Most eCommerce sellers go through Alibaba, since you can be fairly certain that you will find exactly what you need there.
On Alibaba, you can browse product listings and start a conversation with any supplier.
You can discuss important details like:
- Minimum order quantity.
- Different price points per unit depending on the order size.
- Shipping prices for different shipping methods.
- Sample design.
- Packaging design.
If you intend to use dropshipping as your business model, then AliExpress is a good resource to find both products and suppliers. This company is what most dropshippers use.
Manage shipping and storage
The logistics side of things used to be way more complicated. These days, you can use a fulfilment service to take care of your orders. If you are selling on Amazon, you can use their FBA system which takes care of all of the storage picking, packing and delivery (for a fee of course). You can also count on your supplier to have arrangements with freight forwarders so that they can handle getting your inventory to the right address in your home market.
Of course, you also have the option of handling everything yourself. If you already have your own storage facility with your own system in place,you should definitely use that. It’s all about doing research and weighing the particular circumstances surrounding your product and business model and making the right choice.
Handling the legal side of things
Depending on what you are selling and where you are selling it, you will need to deal with the legal circumstances surrounding your online business at some point. When it comes to taxes and customs, you will most likely be able to start things off without having to deal with anything.
However, once your business starts growing and you reach a certain bracket of revenue along with the declared value of your incoming shipments, you will have to deal with the tax system. It’s important to do some research beforehand and make sure that you have everything in order, and understand what to anticipate at specific points in your business growth.
In conclusion, right now is the best time to get into eCommerce. It’s not difficult to get started, and the options are virtually endless in terms of the products to sell, the business model options, and the variety of platforms. All it takes is a small amount of starting capital, some diligent research, and creativity. You already have all of the required tools available to you, and all of the paths have been cleared already. Good luck sellers!