In the wake of the pandemic, the Great Resignation has seen millions quitting their jobs in the USA and other countries of the world. Poor work-life balance, low wages or long commutes are some of the reasons workers are leaving in droves. Maybe you are one of those or maybe you are thinking about starting a side hustle. If so, an ecommerce store could be a great option. You could sell your own products and services or maybe specialize on a niche market. Whatever you do, however, you should think things through first.
Here you have some basic advice on how to start an ecommerce business.
1. Market research
Perhaps you think that the world is eagerly waiting for your new ecommerce store. You could be the next Steve Jobs with a game changing product but the most reasonable thing to do is studying the market and your audience first. Talking with potential users about their needs and challenges can be helpful here.
Take a page out of Rob Fitzpatrick’s The Mom Test book about carrying out those conversations. Just remember this initial stage is more about hearing out your potential clients than pitching your own ideas. Try reaching out to different types of people from diverse backgrounds and regions to understand their needs.
There are plenty of platforms offering online survey services. Additionally, you can use Google Trends to get a rough idea about trending products and services or customer pain points in different regions. Be careful to separate long term trends from passing fads.
Finally, it can also be helpful to define a buyer persona, i.e., the representation of your target audience.
2. Deciding the product range
Use a funnel approach, narrowing your search from a general industry down to a specific product. It can be tempting to go for a very popular category but in a market dominated by behemoths like Amazon you will fare better by opting for a niche market. As Seth Godin, the marketing thinker, used to say, look for your minimum viable audience (MVA). This will allow you to focus your efforts more efficiently.
Going for a niche means choosing a very specific category. For instance, instead of selling smartphones, you can think about phones for the hearing impaired. Or instead of dog food, food for gluten-intolerant dogs.
3. Marketing and branding
Once you have a physical or digital product, you need a catchy name that conveys your product range and allows for growth in the future. You will also need to address the SEO component and decide whether to include specific words, like gluten for the dog food store. Besides that, you will need to carry out several actions:
4. Building the store
Gone are the days where you needed to design everything from scratch. Now there are many tools and platforms to assist you in your quest to build your own ecommerce store. These are some of the most common ecommerce tools and platforms. Some of them, like Magento, are WordPress-bases while others like Shopify offer a CMS with proprietary technology.
Are you thinking about setting up an ecommerce business? Let us know your greatest challenges in the comment section.