How Do I Start an eCommerce Business from Scratch?
At Optimum7, there’s a question that we hear quite frequently.
How Do I Start an eCommerce Business?
We work with brands that earn anywhere from $2 million to $110 million in annual revenue. Whenever we get this question, we tell prospective clients that there are four things that we want to go after: products, platform and fulfillment, marketing, and marketplaces.
Let’s talk about a product first.
Fortunately for those who are trying to get into the eCommerce game, there’s a lot of different products that are attractive right now. In fact, popular eCommerce products range widely from t-shirts and auto parts to collector’s items, Barbie dolls, and even ghost hunting products.
You could basically sell whatever appeals to you.
Whether they’re $10 items or million-dollar items, anything that has volume is basically what we’re looking for. So if you have volume, and there’s demand in the marketplace (people are looking for what you’re selling), then you have an e-commerce business.
What you want to look at now is competition.
For example, you probably don’t want to sell electronics online, because you’re not going to be able to compete. Unless you can buy millions of dollars of product, you won’t be able to compete with established giants on price.
So consider the competition in your space. Is it viable to sell that specific product or is there a product that would be more lucrative for you?
The platform part of it is easy.
You have plenty of options, like BigCommerce or Shopify, and you already have access to information that can help you choose the best eCommerce platform for your online business. So then, you’re looking into the fulfillment part of things.
Where is your supply chain?
Where do your products come from? Are you going to produce them or are you looking into dropshipping? These are some of the things that you need to identify when it comes to developing a fulfillment plan.
Research Ecommerce Business Models
If you’re looking to start an eCommerce business from scratch, there are a few key things you need to know. First, you need to decide what type of business you want to create. There are a number of different eCommerce business models to choose from, so you need to select the one that’s best suited for your products and your target market.
Now let’s talk about the marketing side of things.
Let’s take an example.
You have a niche product, such as RC cars, you found a drop shipper, and they are giving you decent prices, and you have the platform, let’s say Shopify. You have your products, the site is ready, and everything is beautiful.
How difficult is the marketing?
There are many other people selling RC car toys, so what is the best way for you to get started?
The best way for you to get started is to call us. We’re marketing experts.
You want people that are working in this field every single day. If you know your business and you know your product, then you can delegate the marketing to us.
We live and breathe marketing.
If you’re looking to conduct marketing for your eCommerce business, then you should look towards an agency with significant experience and expertise in marketing for eCommerce businesses.
Because, companies like Optimum7, we do this every single day.
There’s a lot of components that go along with this, from SEO to paid media. Therefore, the goal is for you to have a team who is focused on driving leads to your landing page, so that you can focus on keeping your products stocked.
That’s, essentially, what digital marketing is.
So when people are searching for you online:
- We put an ad out in front of them;
- We do display ads;
- We do search ads;
- We do shopping ads.
We do tons of different styles depending on what the intent of the user is. We’ll drive the people to you, so that you can convert the lead into a sale.
If your objective is to make millions of dollars, you want to work with an expert.
You want to work with an agency. Find one expert and follow their advice, because there’s a lot of technical stuff here.
- Your desktop site development;
- Your mobile site development;
- Your desktop conversion optimization integrations;
- And much more.
But that’s if your objective is to make millions of dollars.
What if you want to start a small eCommerce business?
What if you just want to start something like a side hustle and simply supplement your income by $5000-6000 a month?
How does Optimum7 advise those individuals who aren’t making millions of dollars, but they want to make some sort of income?
In this case, you probably want to look at options that are a little easier to manage, like marketplaces, for instance. Facebook, Amazon, Etsy, and Pinterest all offer simpler methods for starting an eCommerce side gig that’s less demanding.
You can do them in lower volume, generate a small user base, and slowly build off of that as you see fit.
A lot of people get stuck on the design and product selection when first starting.
That stuff is all easy. Really the marketing side of it, building the brand, building traffic, targeting traffic, and getting people excited about your product is really the difficult part.
Once you’ve got momentum, don’t get stuck on scaling.
Once a new eCommerce business is well underway, we see a lot of people getting stuck there because they don’t know what to do next. Of course, from a scaling standpoint, it helps to work with an agency.
In our experience, the eCommerce companies that scale quickly have 3 things in common.
1. First, they have the product.
They know exactly what they’re selling. They have their inventory established and readily available so that they can just ship it right out and the user can get it quickly.
2. Second, integrations and systems.
So basically they have everything — supply, marketing, fulfillment — flowing together so that it’s easily manageable. That way, from point of sale, all the way to delivery, they know what’s happened through that journey.
3. Finally, the big one: the people around them, Their team.
E-commerce companies that scale quickly don’t rely on a single person. In your business, you can’t just be a CEO who wears every single one of the hats. You need good people around you to support you.
From fulfillment to the people doing the marketing, to your colleagues doing the development, and the people doing the deliveries — everything all across the board — your business is only going to be as good as the people that surround you.
Launch Your Own eCommerce Empire with Optimum7
So it’s not difficult to start an eCommerce business but, in a competitive market like North America, it’s definitely difficult to scale e-commerce operations. If you want to start it and then scale it, you have to pay attention to an execution plan or an actual growth plan for your eCommerce company.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. From development to scaling, we can help you to fulfill your eCommerce vision. For more information on how to start or scale an eCommerce company, reach out to our team today.