In the past, if you wanted to make money online you would need to sell a physical product or a service of sorts. These days it’s more about selling adverts within your content about nothing and trying to squeeze every penny out of every person who ever lands on your site. In terms of business, there is nothing wrong with that of course but in my opinion you can’t beat a good old fashioned real world product sale. Sure, it might be a little tougher, a little more time consuming and a bit more costly to get started but once you’re up and running and attracting a regular audience – the profits can most definitely be worth it.
In this article we’re going to cover the fundamental basics when it comes to starting an ecommerce site. A lot of this I’d have hoped you’d have already decided upon before researching how to profit from your shop but regardless, I hope you find the information contained within both fun, informative and ultimately educational.
To Dropship or Not
If you are intending to sell a certain product and you have found a reliable drop shipper – especially with a new project, I’d say to give it a go. Drop shipping, even if not your end goal can be a great way to test new products with your audience or even new sectors entirely without the obvious overheads that come with purchasing and holding stock.
For those not in the know, dropshipping is where you partner with a supplier and when an order comes through on your site it is then forwarded to the supplier who will post the item to your customer directly – as opposed to sending you the product and you shipping it yourself.
Obviously doing this doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Primarily it eats a chunk of your profits but if calculated right you can actually make more with a dropship business than you could by purchasing and holding stock yourself.
There are obviously a ton of platforms out there for setting up an ecommerce store but in my opinion, the big FOUR are Magento, Woocommerce, Prestashop and Shopify – in that order. They have gained popularity massively, primarily because they’re free but also because they’re extremely easy to use. Even the novice user can get a shop up and running in a matter of minutes.
The other advantage is the sheer amount of themes available, often free and the vast amount of tutorials on subjects from getting started to writing your own custom plugins and modules. Like with any software, the more people who use it the more bells and whistles there are by way of bolt ons.
Making Your First Sale
This is a great feeling with any project, regardless of whether it comes in the first week, first month or even the first year. It fills you with a sense of achievement and it seriously motivates you to kick on and generate more. One thing I will say is don’t get disheartened if your project is not taking off as you expected it to. Traffic can take a while to gain organically and naturally so don’t give up hope. The only time you really need to question what you’re doing is if you have no traffic gains whatsoever over a few months or alternatively if you have lots of traffic but nobody is buying the product you’re offering.
Retaining Your Customers
With increased online competition, keeping hold of your customer once they’ve visited your site is a challenge. With any product or service there will be at least 10 or 20 people going for the same customer so once you have them, you need to make sure they come back again and again or at the very least utilise them so they share your site to their social following so that they too have the chance of becoming a paying customer.
Having a social presence and getting followed or having a prominent mailing list subscription is a good way to make sure that once a customer has visited your site you can always get access to them again without relying on them to come back and find you via the method they originally used.
Ecommerce isn’t for everyone but if you do decide to make the leap and open an online store I hope this article will help you get started or may help you turn a profit some day. You can make it easy or difficult depending on the early steps you take such as choosing how to handle your products, how to host your store and how to promote it.
Do not be afraid to try and fail. Some of the most popular ecommerce stores out there are owned by people who have tried and failed at several other businesses prior.