Starting your own eCommerce store is perhaps one of the best entrepreneurial ventures you can go down. Not only do you get to work an industry you love, but you are in a place to make actual contributions. And if this has been a goal of yours, but you don’t know where to begin, I’ve provided a few helpful starting points to consider. Check them out below:
Figure Out Your Budget
While launching your first eCommerce store can be an exciting process, it’s also one that has some upstart costs. Fortunately, there are a lot of cost-saving options available if you plan to run an online store, so with the right budget in place, you’ll be off to the races.
Begin by listing out all of the costs associated with your eCommerce store, including inventory, your eCommerce platform, website, shipping, and marketing. Items that are going to be long-lasting, such as your website and eCommerce platform should hold much more investment to you upfront, so don’t skimp and say you’ll get something better later. Additionally, try to be conservative regarding your inventory budget, as you don’t want to buy a bunch of product only for it to sit idly. All-in-all, your budget should be slightly more than you’re comfortable with, but know is attainable, as that will give you a little bit of cushioning to work with.
Regarding how your personal finances come into play, you might, unfortunately, have to start considering cutting back on some items, as well as refocusing your goals. You also might have to pick up some side work, as going out and starting a company can require some setbacks. However, while it might be tough at first, overall, this is going to be one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll have.
Know Your Model
Once you’ve established a rough budget for your eCommerce shop, it’s time to start breaking down your model, as well as what type of online store you’re going to have. I’ll note that this doesn’t have to be particularly complicated, in fact, establishing an eCommerce model can be relatively straightforward. However, as noted by Shopify, with global online shopping expected to reach as much as $4.5 trillion by 2021, establishing a solid model now will help ensure that you get a piece of that pie.
Start out by asking yourself what type of inventory you’re going to have, as well as if you’re going to buy these items straight up or go with a dropshipping model. Given that dropshipping can be great to reduce the amount of inventory you need to hold, it might not be a bad idea to have a mixed model. For example, buying items that you know are going to sell and putting them up at a competitive rate, while dropshipping items you might be taking a little bit more risk on. The goal here is to maximize your revenue streams while reducing the costs of inventory, as that will be the best way to make the most out of your store.
Find Your Partners Early
No matter if you’re going to be running this shop by yourself or with a team, you’re going to need to bring on partners at some point to help out with the aspects of your business that aren’t your strong suits. For example, finding a lawyer straight out of school to help with the licensing and small business forms can be advantageous, especially considering some lawyers can cost anywhere from $150 to $1,000 per hour, as noted by UpCounsel. Try to establish who you might know in your network that can help with aspects like this early on, as it will save you tremendously in the long run.
Come Up With A Marketing Plan
Finally, after you’ve established what your business is going to do, it’s time to start marketing this thing. And while you probably don’t have the budget for a large-scale ad campaign, that’s not to say you can’t start gaining some traction via social media or other mediums. Because as noted by HootSuite, with nearly 83 percent of Americans owning some sort of social media account, this is an excellent route to go down. Try to brainstorm some ways that you can consistently produce material for social, including highlighting your product benefits and brand. Overall, your marketing should be a fun exploration of how you can connect with your customers, so look at as an opportunity to engage.
What excites you the most about starting your first eCommerce store? Comment with your insights below!