So, you want to start an E-commerce business

It’s 2018 isn’t it about time you started your own side-hustle? I’m sure you’ve read stories on Facebook and Instagram about how that guy or girl just like you started their online store in their basement and now they do a million plus a year in sales. While not every internet entrepreneur is a millionaire, there is SO much opportunity out there and with ecommerce growing 23% year over year, it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. So, we’re here to get you started with some of the basics.

 

What website should I use to start my ecommerce store?

 

1. Shopify: The kingpin of ecommerce. Shopify may just be the best site on the market. It’s intuitive to use, has 1,000’s of app add-ons from automation builders, to analytics and much more. Create your store, manage inventory and ship products all from within one platform.

2. Square Space: This site is definitely better for blogs than it is for ecommerce but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great place to start. With a drag & drop website builder, internal email service and add-on app options, Squarespace is always a great option.

3. Amazon: Okay so Amazon isn’t technically just an e-commerce selling platform, but it is a terrific place to sell products. With Amazon consuming 40% of every dollar spent online, you can bet your last dollar this is a great place to start selling. The key here is to do your research, differentiate your product, gain reviews, and utilize Amazon’s Pay-Per-Click ads. I’ll save the rest for another article.

 

 

What Should I Sell? 

Let me stop you right there. If you are asking yourself this question, then maybe online selling isn’t for you or it’s time to reevaluate. It isn’t what you sell, it’s WHO you sell to. This way you can create a line of products to sell to your target market. If you just simply ‘pick’ a product to sell and don’t have a definitive market you’re going after, chances are you’re going to get crushed. Oh yeah, and that line of products will help increase your average order value and boost customer loyalty which will boost your customer lifetime value, or the average amount of money a customer will spend throughout their lifetime on your products. So, in conclusion, it’s important to choose the right product to sell that helps solve a problem and is different enough from others in the market. What’s more important however, is knowing who your customers are and getting the right product in front of them.

 

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How Should I Market My Products?

There is a plethora of ways to market your product. There isn’t a one-size fits all when it comes to marketing. Here’s a few general ideas to get you started.

1.     Facebook/Instagram: Build a loyal following on social channels. This will help you stay in touch with customers, build loyalty and increase your sales when done right. Utilize Facebook and Instagram ads with targeted content towards your target market

2.     Blogging: This takes time to build up, but when done right, this can do two things: Help let your customers know that you know what you’re talking about AND help with inbound traffic through SEO (Google). Blog about anything and everything surrounding whatever market you’re in. If you sell coffee, for instance, create a blog about the benefits of coffee, the different kinds of coffee, difference between light and dark roasts and how to make specialty drinks.

3.     Google Ads/Display Network: This will help you target customers searching for products like yours on google or affiliated sites. It will also help retarget customers. It’s easy to use and can be super beneficial when done right. It is usually a little more expensive that Facebook ads, however. This is because people searching for your product are farther down the sales funnel and are usually ready to buy.

4.     Sales Funnel: A sales funnel is a series of activities that help lead the customer from the initial awareness stage all the way through post-purchasing. Here’s a quick example

a.     Landing page with relative content (i.e. a blog on coffee blends)

b.     Facebook Pixel (This is super easy to set-up on any site)

c.     Email or Messenger opt-in (i.e. Get 20% off your first purchase)

d.     Sales Funnel in email or messenger

                                               i.     Welcome email (tell a story about your brand)

                                             ii.     Explainer email (Why your product is better)

                                            iii.     Social Proof (reviews on your product)

                                            iv.     Discount/ last chance/ scarcity

e.     Facebook pixeled list with more content

f.      Sale or conversion

g.     Follow-up post-purchase

 

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Packaging and Shipping

This may be the most underrated section in this blog. It is extremely important to package your products the right way to help save on shipping costs, protect your products, and convey your brand image. I’ve always found that shipping USPS is the cheapest but usually takes the longest, unless utilizing priority mail. When packaging your product, make sure you add some sort of insert, or letter. This helps you connect with the customer in a meaning and powerful way. It also helps protect from buyer’s remorse. Finally, make sure whatever packaging you go with that its fit’s what you are trying to convey to your customer. This usually means custom packaging or at least a sticker with your logo.

 

 

Have another topic you’d like us to talk about? Leave us a comment and let us know!