eCommerce is a fast-growing industry with plenty of opportunities to explore for ambitious and hard-working people who want to start their own businesses. You don’t need to have previous experience or a large budget to launch an eCommerce business either. As long as you have the drive and determination, almost anyone can find success in this field. However, the most successful online merchants have specialised in a niche or specific vertical, which has enabled them to become leaders in their respective markets.
To help you on your way, we will cover what eCommerce is, why you should start an eCommerce business and the different types of eCommerce businesses you can begin your entrepreneurial journey with. You’ll also gain insight into some of the top eCommerce platforms right now, along with advice on how you can get started with your own store.
Side Hustle vs. Full-Time Entrepreneur
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, then you’ve probably thought about starting a side hustle (or two) at some point. You might have even considered jumping straight into full-time entrepreneurship but you’re not sure if it’s worthwhile taking the risk.
The truth is, starting a business of any kind is never easy and there are plenty of risks involved, but the potential payoff is often well worth it in the end.
There are several differences between starting a side hustle versus going full-time with your business idea. Starting a business from scratch will almost always take a significant amount of capital if you are hungry to succeed right away. It will also consume a lot of your time and energy which could have an impact on your health and relationships if you don’t pace yourself. But hey - nothing worthwhile comes easy in life, so if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in, entrepreneurship can be a transformative decision!
What Is eCommerce?
eCommerce is the act of selling products or services online. You can sell almost anything on the internet, from apparel to electronics to services such as consulting or online classes or digital products like invitations and party decor.
The most common type of eCommerce business is the online store, where customers can purchase products using a credit card or other form of payment like PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Stripe, and more.
A successful eCommerce business will need to possess a few key elements. First, it needs to have a sales funnel that draws in potential customers with marketing campaigns, then provides them with high-quality content and product information, and finally, leads them to your online store, where they can purchase your company’s products.
Second, your eCommerce store will need a great, user-friendly layout. Pay special attention to your product page by adding important information near the top of the page, which is referred to as above the fold. This is what your customer will see first and creates their impression of your product, website, and user experience, so make it count!
Next, checkout should be seamless and simple or you may find an influx of abandoned checkout processes. Set up payment methods that are widely used and ensure the process is easy for even the most tech-shy shopper.
Finally, your customer service should be top-class. Offer fast replies to queries, act swiftly to rectify any order or logistics issues and be friendly yet professional in all your dealings with customers. This way, you’re more likely to attract positive reviews and win repeat business.
Why Start an eCommerce Business?
eCommerce is a rapidly growing industry that shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, eCommerce sales are projected to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023, which is a significant increase from the $2.48 trillion that was spent in 2017. Essentially, as technology advances, so does the industry of eCommerce.
eCommerce is a great field to get into if you are looking to start your own business but don’t have the capital or experience necessary to succeed in other fields. In addition to being a great entry-level business opportunity, owning an online retail store has the potential to generate a steady stream of income.
There is a wide range of business models to choose from, such as subscriptions, dropshipping, and marketplace selling, which makes it possible for you to find a niche that best suits you so that you can succeed in.
Different Types of eCommerce Businesses
There are several different eCommerce business models you can use to get started with your online business. You should choose the model that best suits both your personal and financial situation, as well as your skill set.
Here are a few of the most common eCommerce business models:
eCommerce Storefront: With this model, you purchase inventory upfront and then sell it to customers. This business model can be quite a risky one, but the advantage is that you don’t have as much competition as other business models.
Dropshipping: With drop shipping, you partner with a supplier who handles all of the inventory and shipping for you. You simply add the supplier's products to your store and take care of marketing and selling them. When an order comes in, you simply place it with the supplier and they ship it directly to the customer. Dropshipping is a great option if you don't want to deal with sourcing and managing inventory yourself.
Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate Marketing is a model where you earn a commission for promoting other people’s products. A few examples of affiliate marketing businesses include blogging, creating YouTube videos or promoting products through social media posts on popular platforms such as Instagram.
There are countless examples of successful Shopify stores. In fact, Shopify is now the platform of choice for many established businesses as well as startups and small businesses. Some of the most notable examples include:
Pura Vida Bracelets: As the fastest-growing subscription-based business on Shopify, Pura Vida sells handcrafted bracelets and other accessories, relying on Shopify to power its eCommerce operations. Pura Vida has been hugely successful, with sales increasing by 50% YoY with the launch of their Pura Vida Club monthly subscription box and Magento to Shopify Migration. They made use of the Bold subscription app to facilitate their business model.
Asphalte: Shopify has proved to be an instrumental part of Asphalte's success story. By providing a user-friendly eCommerce solution, Shopify has allowed Asphalte to focus on what it does best: designing and producing high-quality streetwear based entirely on customer feedback, thereby giving the customer exactly what they want. Shopify's built-in and extended marketing tools have helped Asphalte to reach a wider audience and grow its customer base through pop-ups and on-site notifications.
Where to Find Products to Sell on Shopify
There are a few different ways that you can find products to sell on Shopify. To do this, however, you must first have a clear understanding of your niche market and your brand positioning - where do you fit into this market? If you're sourcing products from wholesalers or manufacturers, it's important to find a reputable supplier who can provide you with high-quality goods at a competitive price. There are a number of online directories that can help you find the right supplier for your needs such as Alibaba or SaleHoo. Once you've found a few potential suppliers, it's a good idea to get in touch with them and ask for samples of their products. This will help you assess the quality of their goods before you commit to working with them.
If you're looking to create your own products or source products from Dropshippers, it's important to consider what sort of product would be successful on Shopify. There are a number of factors to take into account, such as whether there is demand for the product, whether it is competitively priced, and whether it is something that can be easily shipped and fulfilled. Once you've pinpointed a few potential product ideas, it's worth doing some market research to see if there is indeed a market for them.
How to Choose the Right eCommerce Platform?
Regardless of which eCommerce business model you choose, you’ll need an eCommerce platform to help you set up and run your store. Finding the right platform is the crucial first step for any new eCommerce business owner.
You want to find a platform that has everything you need to set up and run a successful online store. When choosing a platform, make sure it’s easy to use, has good customer support, and has a low upfront cost. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on your eCommerce platform because there’s a chance it might not succeed and you’ll have wasted a lot of money. Always remember to weigh up the risk with the reward.
The most popular eCommerce platforms include Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce. Each of these platforms has its own unique features that make them best suited for different types of businesses.
When you're just getting started in eCommerce, it's important to have a platform that is easy to use and will allow you to scale as your business grows. Shopify is the perfect platform for sellers just getting started for a few reasons:
Shopify is easy to use. You can be up and running in minutes, without any previous experience required.
Shopify has beautiful, modern themes that will make your store look professional from day one, and that can be easily customised by Shopify developers.
Shopify offers 24/7 support, so you'll always have someone to help you if you run into any problems.
Shopify allows you to start selling quickly and easily, without having to worry about complicated inventory or shipping settings.
Shopify is the most common eCommerce platform among startup businesses and our favourite because it's easy to use and affordable. Shopify uses robust security measures including SSL encryption to keep your information safe. Take your time to research and find the best eCommerce platform for you!
Final words: Is Starting an eCommerce Business Worth It?
There are a lot of things to consider before you fully commit to starting an eCommerce business. On the one hand, there’s no better way to find out whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur than to go all-in on starting your own business. You will gain valuable experience and insight throughout the process.
On the other hand, it’s not an easy path to take, and there are no guarantees, but if you work hard, you will see positive results in time. If you go into it with the right mindset and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, you can succeed in eCommerce.
You will also need to decide whether you should tackle the design of your Shopify store yourself, or hire an expert in Shopify development to do it for you. This will depend on a number of factors like your budget, skillset, and time constraints.
We add useful content here every week, so be sure to check back soon, you never know what game-changing hack you may come across to level up your eCommerce business! Need help with bespoke Shopify development or specific customisations? Get in touch with our team to start discussing your project.