In today's tough economy, more people are turning to eCommerce as a new career choice or 2nd income. The booming eCommerce statistics show it's a field worth considering but how do you get started? So many amazing ideas that end before they even get started so you may need a little help along the way. In fact, in my years of working eCommerce, I've realized that when you have a grasp on some ideas in advance can really help you get started.
Here are a few tips that I've learned from my time in eCommerce.
- Where there's a will, there's a way.
Deciding what type of eCommerce business to start is always one of the hardest decisions and it's one of the first things you'll have to decide on. My recommendation is to choose something you're passionate about. Picking a niche based on what you feel will make money is a bad idea unless it's also something that piques your interest and excites you. Picking something that you're passionate about will allow you to stomach all the long hours and late nights you'll be pouring into your company until it can starts to take off.
- Advanced research and planning will reduce future headaches.
After you've chosen a niche market that you're passionate about and that you feel will be profitable, enough cannot be said about doing advanced research in advance. Knowing all there is to know about your industry, future target audience, their shopping habits, your competitors, and realistic goals, etc., will help reduce stress and surprises. If you have friends in the industry, talk your plans over with them and keep an ear open for words of wisdom and advice. If you don't, visit forums where users in your industry meet and talk shop.
- Know the rules legal and social.
Rules, rules, rules. Are they made to be broken? Not always. When opening an online store, there are many things to consider and the law takes precedence. Whether it's Copyright Laws, Business Registration, Consumer Rights or PCI-compliance laws, these should be addressed before your site goes live. Learn them, know them and obey them or you may find yourself in legal and financial trouble. There are also social rules to follow, especially when you start dipping your fingers in the world of social media. While breaking them may not land you in jail, it's best to build your brand without trampling the social taboos.
- Understand what it takes to build an online presence.
Patience, knowledge and hard work are required when you're just building a new idea or business. There are so many other important things to consider while creating a profitable online store. Make sure you understand and know how to use the facts. There are hundreds of questions to be addressed but some of the most important are.
- How can you build a store that people want to shop at?
- Should you build it yourself or go with an eCommerce Solution software?
- What is online and offline SEO?
- Why is quality content and frequent blogging important?
- How can links both help or hurt your site?
- Why is social media and brand building important?
- What is the best shipping and inventory management?
- How will I market my site?
- How do I protect myself and my customers from fraud?
- Make Your Life Less Complicated.
We've gone over so many details to consider before starting your eCommerce business. It can seem overwhelming but there's an easy way to reduce your workload almost immediately. Find quality eCommerce solution software (aka shopping cart software) and make sure it offers a robust tool set. The right software will cover the basics of onsite SEO, marketing, shipping and inventory reports, tracking and management, a built-in blog, mobile store options, and social media tools. It will allow you to manage everything from one admin panel and keep your business organized in ways that are hard to do on paper.
Starting your own online business should be a fun task that helps your build a 2nd income or start a new career. If you're prepared in advance for the challenges that lay ahead, you'll be on your way to becoming profitable in less time and with less stress!
Author Susan Delly is the owner of ZippyCart.com, an unbiased guide to expert shopping cart reviews and educational tool for online business owners. Though originally from the Midwest, Susan currently lives in the SF Bay area and loves to travel the world. In the spirit of global awareness, Kiva is her favorite charity!