If you have been thinking of leaving your job and starting up a business on your own, there is a chance that you have considered an e-commerce opportunity. There are many businesses online – both large and small – that attracts customers. Whether you would want to appeal to a niche or wide section of the market, there would surely be something you could sell online.
This blog post will help you to think of the basic elements when it comes to an online store, and what you will need to consider in the weeks and months ahead. Here are some things to get you thinking:
What to sell
The first point for your consideration is what you are actually going to sell (or what you want to) on your online shop. There are many places where you could source products from, but you might also be thinking about selling your own wares. This is often the case for people who have sold jewellery or clothes through an online auction site, but would rather do it on their own terms. However if you are selling items that come from another supplier or manufacturer, you need to make sure that they fit in with your ethos and general themes. It is important to keep in mind that you will need to set yourself apart if people can buy the same items from many other online retailers.
Once you have decided what you are going to sell, you need to figure out the maths behind it. How much will you be spending on product acquisition? How much will you be selling them for? How many do you expect to shift each week? Think of all of the questions that a member of the Dragons’ Den might ask you, and make sure you have an answer to everything. It can be helpful to speak to a freelance consultant that can help you to make a business plan so all of your finances stay as close on track as possible.
Your website will be your shop front, so it will need to be pretty good in order to help you sell your items. Here are a few points to pay special attention to…
Look and feel – work closely with your website designers to achieve an e-commerce store that will look and work brilliantly. This will take into account accessibility, colours, layout and organisation.
Payment handling – how will you take payments through your website? Look at what is available on the market and see what fees you may incur by using them. There are a number of options including PayPal and WorldPay, so it is up to you to make the right choice.
Advertising – finally, how will you advertise your website? Look into techniques including search engine optimisation, pay-per-click, as well as social media. You may also want to advertise offline in more traditional ways including newspapers or magazines.