Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to launch and build a business from the ground up, from the comfort of your home, and expand your earning potential with lower startup costs.
Not everyone is suited to the 9-5 lifestyle. With eCommerce, you can work wherever you are, whenever you want. All you need is a phone, laptop, and a strong network connection.
Today, eCommerce is a booming industry.
As of 2019, worldwide eCommerce sales amounted to over $3.5 trillion, and sales figures are projected to hit $6.5 trillion in 2022, making it the fastest-growing retail market in the world.
With the right preparation and execution, nothing is stopping you from getting a slice of this pie.
If you’re thinking of starting a home-based eCommerce business, here’s a useful list of things you will need in order to launch a fully operational and profitable online retail outlet.
The 8 Most Important Tips For A Successful Home-Based eCommerce Business
- The right idea for an eCommerce business
- A defined buyer persona
- Unique content for your website
- An authentic brand image and experience
- A detailed plan for marketing your products
- Pricing and logistics management options
- Room for flexibility and growth
- A non-defeatist mindset
1. The right idea for an eCommerce business
First, you must have in-depth knowledge of your proposed business venture. Starting a business without first conducting research to determine its profitability and how best to prepare for it is a risky investment. You can’t afford to base your business model on intuition.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to sell. An excellent place to start is to list marketable products, hobbies, or niches that you have special knowledge or interest in.
If you don’t have any ideas of your own, there’s no need to worry. With a little time spent surfing the internet, you can come up with eCommerce business ideas for products and services that have growth potential and widespread demand.
You can make use of resources like Amazon Best Sellers, eBay Top Products, Oberlo, Google Trends, Wanelo, Etsy, and AliExpress Popular to identify current trending products.
When you settle on a product or niche that looks viable, the next step is to identify the key players in the market.
You don’t want to settle for an overcrowded niche that is or dominated by big brands unless you have massive resources that would allow you to compete successfully.
The essential areas that your research should cover include:
- Competitor analysis
You need to know who you’ll be going up against, how you can set your business apart from theirs, and the potential problems you might face.
- Existing demand or market size
Is the interest in your product enough to justify drinking your time, effort, and money into it? You can use the Google Keyword Planner Tool and Buzzsumo to see how many people are searching for keywords related to your business idea.
- Product sourcing and acquisition
Will you be better off making the product yourself, collaborating with a manufacturer, purchasing wholesale and reselling at a markup, or going through the drop shipping route?
- Product shelf-life
Is your product perishable, consumable, or controlled by seasonal changes? This will determine how you plan and conduct your business.
Another great way of gauging the potential and risk profile of your eCommerce business idea is to create a crowdfunding campaign on platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to test the market and demand for your product.
2. A defined buyer persona
If you don’t know who your prospects are or what demographic you’re selling to, you can’t expect to run a successful eCommerce business.
The purpose of creating a buyer persona is to give you a clear idea of how to attract and serve your customers.
You need to figure out your buyers’ pain points—the problems they have or what they want, and how your product solves that need.
You can gather data to create an accurate buyer persona by conducting research, interviews, or surveys of your target market.
Once you determine who your prospective customers are, you can uncover their expectations, issues, motivations, wants, behavior patterns, and tailor your product to cater to them.
People are looking for products that will make their life better.
How can your product add value to your target audience? If you can effectively solve a problem they have, they will engage with your product and probably patronize you.
3. Unique content for your website
You cannot afford to overlook the value of content when starting an eCommerce business.
Keep in mind that you will need to create structures for your website and populate it with images, product and company descriptions, blog posts, reviews, FAQs, and other web content.
Image source: Pexels
Prepare all of this ahead of time, so you have something to show potential buyers and capture their interest when they visit your store.
It can be irritating to discover that there are no actual or high-quality images of a product you’re looking to shop.
Your customers should not have to look elsewhere for instructions on how to use your product or helpful materials relating to your niche.
A willingness to take the extra mile on the content front can make a world of difference for your business. Your website and store should look good and be easy to navigate from the landing page to the checkout point.
4. An authentic brand image and experience
Irrespective of what you’re selling, the success of your eCommerce business will depend on how well you can build a community around your brand and connect to your customers.
People are more likely to patronize businesses that they can relate to or consider unique. Your job is to craft a brand identity that is hard to resist.
You want your target audience to see you as an expert and a trusted choice in a sea of options.
The questions you need to answer are:
- Who are you?
- What does your brand represent?
Your brand image should reflect the tastes and expectations of your customers while aligning with your product offerings. Whatever brand image you put out, it must remain consistent across the board and in your future dealings.
A business that starts out selling organic and sustainable water bottles might fall out of favor with their target market if they start selling plastic bottles.
Try to be honest and transparent at all times when dealing with your customers. Ensure that every interaction they have with your business will be pleasant, and have measures in place to deal with any issues they might have.
5. A detailed plan for marketing your products
Of what use is a product that nobody knows about? You need to take time out and think about what strategies you will use to drive traffic to your store and increase publicity so you can sell.
For starters, you’ll need to build an email list. You can get visitors and prospects to hand over their email addresses to you by having a giveaway or offering a gift or discount when they do.
You can use your email list to nurture new leads to conversion and re-market to existing customers.
Consider incorporating affiliate and influencer marketing into your strategy to grow your brand presence and boost conversion.
Figure out what online marketing tactics you can afford to use—paid ads, social media, sponsored content, search engine optimization, and the likes—and how you plan to keep track of all your marketing efforts.
Define the specific key performance indicators you will use to gauge the success of your business ahead of time. This will ensure you’re not running your store blindly and allow you to hold yourself accountable.
6. Pricing and logistics management options
When starting your eCommerce business, you need to have processes in place to deal with pricing, processing, and fulfillment of orders.
Depending on your business model and product, you could fulfill orders in-house or get a third party to handle your shipping or delivery.
There are several other factors like shipping costs, delivery time, tracking and insurance, packaging, and profit margin, which you need to consider before making logistics decisions.
Carry out research and decide what’s best for you. Stay on top of your numbers, from product costs to overhead expenses.
If your business model requires having an inventory, get acquainted with inventory metrics and optimization methods to make the best possible, data-driven decisions for better money management.
7. Room for flexibility and growth
Whatever you do, don’t box yourself into a corner. Be willing to adapt your business model and processes to meet the ever-changing consumer tastes and the digital market.
The goal of your business should be to scale up, break into new markets, acquire more customers, and increase revenue.
Starting small doesn’t mean you have to stay that way. If you’re making the right moves, opportunities for expansion will come your way.
8. A non-defeatist mindset
You can never say for sure how your eCommerce venture will turn out. Even with thorough planning and precise execution, things go awry sometimes. That’s okay. Take the leap still.
There’s never a perfect time to launch a new business, so stop waiting for one. You will never know if you have a winning idea on your hands until you test it.
Once your store launches, you can make tweaks to keep optimizing it as your experience and business grows.
So what if you don’t get favorable results the first time around? Learn from your mistakes, and keep trying.
Your online retail outfit might not start coughing up serious bucks in the first few months, but you’ll get there in time if you have a viable product.
Expand your business knowledge and stay up to date on the industry by reading articles from thought leaders, listening to business and finance podcasts, and engaging with other professionals.
Do you have your own eCommerce business or are you looking to start one? Have you got more tips for someone looking to start their own eCommerce business? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Author: Michelle Laurey
Works as a VA for small businesses. She loves talking business and productivity and sharing her experiences with others. Outside her keyboard, she spends time with her Kindle library or binge-watching Billions. Her superpower? Vinyasa flow!
Twitter | LinkedIn