E-commerce is one of the fastest-growing industries today. How fast, you ask? Well, in 2016, retail e-commerce sales around the world amounted to 1.86 trillion USD.
Furthermore, this amount is projected to hit 4.48 trillion USD by 2021, according to Statista. So, don’t you think the time is right for you to launch your startup?
Thanks to modern technology, online shopping has rapidly grown in the last few years and major brands have adjusted to the demands.
Most of the brands that ignored the rise of internet shopping trends have since struggled to compete today. So, are you ready to put your store online and start making sales?
Building an eCommerce business on a low budget
As long as people continue to have access to the internet, the popularity of the eCommerce business will continue to grow.
However, everyone knows that it’s not easy to build an eCommerce business online. It requires a lot of effort if you really want to make it a successful venture.
Don’t get it all wrong, you can successfully make a career out of selling online. Did you ask me how? Check out our awesome article on 6 Proven Ways You Can Effectively Make A Career Out Of Selling Online.
If you are planning to set up your own online store, then you are not the only one. It’s a viable business idea that has been shown to deliver satisfactory results. But like every other business, all you need is a clear set of plans and strategies to achieve your goals.
What’s more, you don’t even need a big budget to get started. If you are interested in establishing your own eCommerce business, then consider this article as a brief guide on how to set up, launch, and grow one with a shoestring budget.
STEP #1]: The Setup
The most important thing you need to set up an eCommerce business is, well, a product to sell. However, setting up an eCommerce business is not as easy as eating cake. A lot of things go into making your idea a reality.
It may not be the best idea to go with your guts and pick just any product(s) that you find interesting or profitable. This is because the success of your online store will actually depend on the following:
- Is there enough demand for the product in the market to sustain your business?
- What’s the competition like? Are there already well-established businesses that are selling the same product in the market?
- Do you want to sell locally, nationally, or globally?
It’s critical that you do ample research on the product. There are many online market research tools that you can look into (many of these are free). Don’t forget to finalize the costs and expenses, and don’t make any decision until you have studied the market carefully. Once you have zeroed in on a product and the costs, you would have completed one of the most difficult parts of the process.
STEP #2]: The Launch
Now that you have created your business on paper, it’s time to breathe life into it and materialize your idea. It’s somehow easy to have a big dream and anybody can actually do that. However, the launching stage is where you will actualize your dreams.
There are a variety of web publishing platforms and tools out there that are great for small businesses. But you will have to find the one that’s apt for your business in particular. To make your job easier, you can do the following:
- Check your competitors’ websites and observe their layouts, designs, and content.
- Do some research on the features that online shoppers love to see in an online store.
- Don’t forget to take a close look at major retailers like Amazon.
The easiest, fastest, and simplest way to set up an online store is to pick a SaaS solution like Shopify. This way you won’t have to worry about the technical aspects of setting up an online store. However, be sure to ask yourself the following questions before making a choice:
- Does the platform offers all the features that I need such as a website editor, a variety of templates, support for add-ons, etc.?
- Is the hosting service reliable and safe?
- How good is their after-sales customer service?
- Is there any support for search engine optimization (SEO)?
- How well does it work on mobile devices?
Of course, you can take the alternative option in which you can get your e-commerce store created by a private website builder (freelancer or a firm). However, this could cost you more and even lead to technical issues, poor customer support, etc. So, it’s better to go with the first option.
STEP #3]: The Upscaling
After you have launched your business, marketing automatically becomes one of your top priorities. However, depending on the products you are selling, it can be quite challenging.
It’s important to learn how to market your brand, although you must have a strong brand first to start with. It includes a creative company logo, an excellent social media presence, and a well-thought-out strategy about how you want the public to look at your business. You can grow your online business in two ways:-
The first part is easy, so you need to focus on the second more. The Internet has become a massive arena for all small businesses to compete with their online stores.
With neck-to-neck competition, it’s becoming harder and harder to drive traffic to your website. That said, if you are persistent enough, then you can find out the best ways to go about it. Some of these are:
- Invest in Search Engine Optimization
There is no point in creating a great online store if it never makes it to the first page of the search results of popular search engines for at least a decent number of keywords.
- Create a social media campaign
Social media marketing is cheap but quite effective if done right. Besides, you need it for branding purposes. So, start using a brand analytics tool and try to expand your social media reach to increase your loyal customers. Your 23% of total sales are going to come from social media itself. So, to say it’s important would be an understatement.
- Start a Blog
Starting a blog is a great way to connect with your leads and boost your online store’s search engine rankings. Plus, it’s also an ideal platform to find out what your customers feel about your brand.
E-commerce has a huge potential for every small business. The key is being undeterred by initial setbacks (which are common and can be overcome through trial and error) and revisiting the drawing board to apply your findings toward progress. Once you have found a system that works for you, you can focus on that and enjoy a stronger grasp on your business.