E-commerce business in lay terms can be narrowed down to “selling products online”. E-commerce has been around for more than 2 decades and is showing promise of staying for years to come. There are many ways to make an impact and make money on the internet but holding an E-commerce business has its own set of benefits which makes it lucrative for a modern-day entrepreneur.
E-commerce is here to stay and grow
More and more people are switching to online shopping. The trend has been such for more than 15 years now. As per this eMarketer report e-commerce is set to account for 14.6% of total retail at the total value of $4 trillion in sales worldwide. E-commerce is here to stay and will thrive in developing countries like India, Middle East, and South East Asia in years to come. There is a lot of untapped potential for international e-commerce.
Time and location independent
The Internet has given every individual an opportunity to exercise freedom of time, money and space. Many functions of running an e-commerce business like product listing, marketing, promotions, accounting, and payroll can be done at any time and from any location. The remote nature of this business is what attracts most digital nomads to set up an e-commerce business. If you are the type who likes to travel or spend time with hobbies and family, and make money at the same time then running an e-commerce business is a great option.
You can scale at will
Scale Marketing – An online business is promoted using various online marketing techniques like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing and paid advertising. All of which can be done right from your laptop or with the help of a freelancer who works remotely. These marketing tactics can be scaled with budget and minimal effort bringing in more customers to your online store.
The scale of an audience – With e-commerce businesses you can sell your products across the globe. All you have to do is understand individual country permits and contact courier or shipping providers who deliver in that particular geography. You can even run marketing campaigns without stepping a foot on foreign soil.
The scale of operations – As you get more orders because of your marketing efforts you will need your operations to scale. This can be done right from your laptop. Most fulfillment companies can handle orders on the scale of thousands. Most e-commerce platforms have plans for a large customer base. You can hire any number of freelancers online by visiting sites like upwork.com, freelancer.com or Linkedin Pro Finder.
Lower costs of failing
You can test your e-commerce idea without much risk.
- You can sell your products on online marketplaces like Amazon and Ebay.
- You can take online surveys and take customer feedback. You can use tools like surverymonkey to take feedback regarding your products at zero cost.
- You can test multiple marketing channels before going full scale on your efforts.
Since you have multiple ways of collecting feedback and improving your product and marketing you can correct course at various stages of your growth. This makes e-commerce businesses to have a lesser business risk as compared to retail outlets.
You can start with a Low Budget
It is a popular belief that every e-commerce business needs heavy funding from big investors. This is far from the truth. The fact is that any individual with a small budget can open an online store and make it profitable.
- You don’t even need an inventory to start an e-commerce business. You can signup with a drop shipping program or have a supplier who can ship the products as you receive the customer orders.
- Online shopping cart software like Bigcommerce and Shopify can help you start an online store for FREE and charge you a nominal amount of $29/month to keep your store active. This is much cheaper than a retail shop outlet which pays for space, decor, and power.
- You can run a thriving online store by yourself or with a small team. The e-commerce solution and the drop shipper does most of the heavy lifting. This keeps a number of people on your payroll much lesser than an offline store. A retail outlet needs many employees to deal with a large number of orders and thus eat up your profit margins.
- You can even start a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. If people love what you are doing and your products they will contribute towards your goal.
Self Employment is a great experience
It is needless to say that self-employed business people have more independence and more control over their online business fortune than folks who work for others. A self-employed business individual can have a lot more versatility and control over his resources and time once he steps into an online business. Self-employment also helps you grow as a person. It helps you build your discipline, self-accountability, and pro-activeness.
The Business of e-commerce can be learned online
There are few high-quality blogs which give tips and advice to e-commerce businesses owners on marketing, operations, shipping, technology and merchandising. Also with many innovative shopping carts out there in the market, all key aspects of the business including marketing, promotions, inventory control and design are taken care of the software itself. These e-commerce platforms hands hold their customers by setting up your online store through detailed video tutorials and online chat support.
You can start your learning journey using the below resources
E-commerce business need not be a full-time business
Opening an online store need not always be a full-time company. Many working mothers and job owners hold successful e-commerce businesses. The reason for this is smart shopping cart solutions which handle the majority of the work for you. All you have to do as a business owner is execute the order during your free time or after your office hours. Unlike an offline store, you can run an online store with very few people. This makes administration and handling payroll much easier.
You can even sell using Amazon FBA(Fulfillment By Amazon) which doesn’t need you to run your online store or even ship the products to the customer doorstep. Once you enroll and send your products to Amazon warehouse Amazon picks, packs and ships your products as and when a customer order is placed. Amazon even handles customer service on your orders. This makes it quite easy to run an e-commerce business while having a day job or a family business.
No Time Bar for Shopping
Once you set up an online store the site will be available 24×7 to all parts of the world. This is a major advantage of running an e-commerce store over an offline retail outlet. Retails shops are limited to a particular locality or city and are accessible only during the working hours. Once you have an online store for your products you have a potential to the bank in money even while you are sleeping.
You can start it with zero technical knowledge
E-commerce is usually perceived as a domain which needs a lot of technical understanding. Although this is true for enterprise level e-commerce sites most online stores can be built with zero technical help within few minutes. E-commerce hosting solutions like Bigcommerce, Shopify and Volusion can help you open an online store within few clicks. Certainly, starting an internet company is not without its tests and stumbling blocks. But for getting your products off the shelf and be available to a global audience e-commerce is easiest and fastest way to go.
To get started –
- List everything which is holding you back from starting an online store. Is it your mortgage, your family or current job or simply the fear of starting something new. See if these fears and doubts stand the test of the reasons I mentioned above. If not your fears are not based on facts. If you are still feeling unsure express your concerns in the comments section below. I will address them.
- Start an online store and Shopify using the free trial option. Play around with the features and get a feel for the tool.
- Join e-commerce FaceBook groups and be part of fellow ambitious e-commerce entrepreneurs. Learn from your peers and seasoned entrepreneurs.
- Read and implement you read on this blog and other great resources online on your own online store. If you need help go ahead and hire a freelancer for your store.