Many people who think of starting an online business end up not doing it fearing it will collapse. Statistics show over 90% of startups fail anyway. But should you let you dream give up on your dream to start an e-commerce business because others failed?
Every business is unique. From your products to your target market-a lot of factors influence a business’ success. You could rely on Instagram wholly to market your shoe business and succeed. But if you have a complete fashion line, you will probably require a website.
In this article, we go through the process of starting an online business. We explore ways you can sell items online free of charge and how to run an e-commerce website for better success.
Social Media Selling
No money required-open a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account and give it a name. Ideally, open an account on each social media network. Promote your account to your friends so that you have an audience when you start selling.
It’s important to have goals for your business. Let’s say you want to sell handcrafted wallets. Decide how many you should order for your first sale. You don’t want to have too many wallets when your account is still new.
Social media networks are different. Instagram is great for visually impressive products. Twitter helps you stay up with trends and capture customers fast. YouTube is the best solution for someone who loves video marketing. In other words, approach social media like any other business.
Starting an E-Commerce Store
A Facebook or Instagram account can’t help you display 100 products at a time. It doesn’t have a checkout page and a live contact chat box. If you are serious about selling products online, open an online store.
Where do you start?
Many people think that having a product and knowing basic marketing skills are all you need to become an online entrepreneur. Far from it, you need to research the niche you intend to join and understand its market.
If you plan to sell jewelry, join a Facebook group or an online forum where people talk about jewelry. Find out what’s popular and what concerns customers have about existing retailers. Find out what keywords people use when searching the products you intend to sell. Do a background study for the level of competition in the niche and decide whether there is a market gap you could fill.
Launch your Website
You have an idea. You have researched and realized there is a huge market for the product. Launch an e-commerce website to help you fulfill your business. There are two main ways to launch a successful business website.
Website Building Platforms
A website building platform gives you all the tools required to run an e-commerce store. You get a custom website with a logo and important business page. You choose a theme that helps your customers identify your brand easily and a template designed for easy navigation on the site.
The e-commerce store also has a checkout page, plugins for easy social sharing among other things. With a good website-building platform, you build a custom store with the help of thousands of templates and tools. You can tweak colors, change product description templates and make additions that best suit your tastes.
There are more than a dozen website building platforms. Here you can find platforms to build your e-commerce site (https://www.thetop10sites.com/ecommerce/). Some of the platforms target specific niches. Others are generalized. Research each brand and see what tools they offer. Expect to pay for the services depending on the number of tools and services you get.
Build your own Website
No, you don’t need coding skills to start your first e-commerce store. If you find website building platforms expensive, there is an alternative way to own your own online store. The name is WordPress. Launched in 2003, WordPress gives you a website management panel and templates to help you build a website.
The platform works with a host of other service providers to help you turn a minimalistic website into a professional ecommerce store. Unlike a website building platform, WordPress doesn’t provide hosting services. It also doesn’t give you a domain name. You get the services independently and integrate them with WordPress.
With a 32% market share, WordPress powers nearly a third of all websites in the world. Mercedes Benz, the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Walt Disney are all powered by WordPress. Among retailers, Renault Automobile brand, Toyota Brazil, and Wolverine Worldwide are all powered by the same company.
While WordPress is the easiest route to owning an ecommerce store, you could also build a website from scratch. It will cost you to hire a website designer but you have more room for customization. You can also host the website if you have enough servers. But for a beginner, choose WordPress or a website building platform.
Legitimize your Business
After you give your store a name, register your business. Learn about taxation rules in your State or country. Get a license and comply with every other rule related to your store. You’ll probably need a copyright license if you intend to sell copyrighted materials.
Market and Manage your Store Accordingly
Getting an online store off the ground asks for a lot of hard work and dedication. You’ll need to blog regularly and market your store on social media. Even if you advertise, you must research keywords and manage your campaign adequately.
On the website, you need to keep up with orders and keep on updating product description pages. You must be good to your customers and help them t shop easily. All that work asks for dedication and perseverance even when things don’t seem to be working.
Starting an ecommerce store is now easier than ever. You have website building tools and self-hosting options that cost little to nothing. Social media helps you reach a large audience and online advertising has become cheap. However, don’t underestimate the process of running an online business. Pick a good website building platform and commit yourself to the business.