The online retailing business model, that is, running an online store is a great one especially for busy mums or someone looking to run a side / part-time business.
There are several benefits of using this Online Business Model including:
- Cost of entry into starting and running an online store is relatively low;
- You can run your online shop in your free time / on the side if you have a regular job as most things happen online, i.e. your store and sales;
- There are now so many tools available to help you set up your online store / Estore
- Unlike a physical store, you do not need to hire any staff, or pay bills such as rental and electricity
- You continue to make money while you sleep as your products are available to your customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to your customers online!
So now that you know the advantages of owning an online store, how do you start your online store?
1. Decide on the product you want to sell
It is important for your business success that you don’t choose a product range that is too large, and so, as I always say, find a product niche and then you have a chance to become a main supplier in that area.
Your Estore may become confusing to customers and will not stand out in the online marketplace if you add too many different kind of products to your site, for example, if you sell golf items and baby clothes in the same store! But if for example, you specialize in personalized golf items, you have a better chance in standing out in the market place.
2. Do your Research
Find out more about the product you want to sell, the buying habits of your potential customers as well as the price range of this product; Write a profile of your target customer and use this to do your marketing; Research on Social media sites like Facebook and discount providers such as Groupon; Choose a product that is marketable and if possible one that you are interested in as you will be spending a large amount of your time learning and dealing with this product.
Finally choose whether you want to sell on a retail or wholesale basis.
3. Find a supplier
You also need to do your research on suppliers that can supply/ship to your customers directly. These are called dropshippers (Google “dropshipping”). Or you may choose to go for a traditional wholesaler who can supply you with small amounts of your product where you then do the shipping over to your customers. If you choose to go for the traditional wholesaler, make sure you have room to keep the products and don’t order too many products at the beginning. Start slowly, know your customers.
Some examples of dropshippers include wholesaledeals.co.uk, Doba and Shopster.
4. Have a Plan
Write down a simple plan to include:
Who your target market is
What product they want
Who your supplier / suppliers will be
How the products will get to your customers, that is, will it be the dropshipper or you?
5. Get Online
You will need to get a domain name and hosting for your website. There are several easy to use tools that you can for your online store. Ekmpowershop is an especially easy to set-up one.
Make sure your site is not cluttered and easy to navigate through.
If your business is one that needs to be registered in order to run, get your company registered with Company House. If not, my advice is to start small on a sole trader basis until your business grows and it becomes a necessity to be a registered company. You might also need an accountant for tax purposes.
There are several ways to market your Estore including:
- Write articles about the products you offer and post them on social media sites such as Facebook, tweet about them;
- Offer discounted products to attract visitors to start buying from you, once they buy from you once, there is a greater possibility that they will buy again.
- Have a regular newsletter where you give information on a small number of products, their benefits, uses and of course recommend the products in your Estore!
Make sure your domain name is relevant to your product and easy to remember, for example, for premature baby clothes, prematurebabyclothes.com
Start small. Know your customers before you start buying a huge amount of products to sell.
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR WEBSITE OR NEWSLETTER?You can as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Tobi Awoyemi is a Small Business Start-up and Marketing Consultant who helps women Turn their Passion into Money-making Businesses. Get her FREE TRAINING and articles on www.TobiAwoyemi.com