Setting up an eCommerce store is a really popular way of making money online.
Most interested people don’t actually know where to begin. But it is really easy, trust me.
If that sounds like you – take a breath and relax.
In this article, I am going to show you the steps that you need to go through, in order to set up a profitable e-commerce store.
Together, we’ll go through how you can actually set up your own e-commerce store, as well as the strategies you can use to generate sales.
By the end of this post, you’ll have the very right ideas that you can use to set up your very own profitable e-commerce store.
Let’s get started!
What do you want to sell?
You shouldn’t own an eCommerce store if you don’t have anything to sell.
So, before you do anything else, you must first decide what you’re going to be selling and how you will get supplies for those products.
There are two ways you can approach this challenge.
- You can create something that ‘meets your own need’
- You can take something that previously exists and make something better, while also doing a better job of marketing it.
In this article, we’re going to lay our focus on option two, which involves creating something better, while also marketing it better.
Let’s go through the process, then, of finding a product.
The niche you choose is going to depend on what you’re familiar with.
Ideally, you want to sell something in a niche you have familiarity with, as you’ll be better able to connect with the market you’re trying to sell to.
This is important because you’re going to be writing copy or articles about your products. If you want your copy to be good, it needs to connect with your target audience.
Let’s say I’m looking to start an e-commerce business dedicated to selling premium paper notebooks.
First, I need to take a look at what is already selling.
And, I can do that by taking a look at Amazon – the king of all e-commerce stores.
If I type in ‘notebooks,’ I’m presented with the following products. I set the price range between $25-$50 so that I can narrow down the category. I’ve also sorted the page by ‘Avg. customer review.’
I now need to browse this page and see if there are any products that look attractive and interesting.
From the screenshot above, I can see that there is a ‘Whiteboard Notebook,’ that might be worth taking a look at.
Here are some other ideas that might be worth investigating.
From what I can see, the top notebooks have high-quality covers and thick paper inside of them. On top of that, they also seem to follow a certain theme.
For example, here is the description for one of the notebooks that I found.
So, we have some inspiration on what to sell, in terms of where we could take this.
Now we need to find out how we could source such a product. You are most likely not going to source them from Amazon. There are cheaper and better alternatives.
Where Will You Source Products
Many people in the e-commerce world source products from a website called Alibaba.
Alibaba is a good place to check out, considering that 12.7 billion orders have taken place in its marketplace in the past.
Using Alibaba, you can find suppliers for an incredible variety of products.
To do that, head over to Alibaba.com
We then need to type in a keyword that is related to what we ’re trying to source for.
Let’s stick with the example from before, ‘premium notebooks.’
As you can see, you’re now presented with a list of suppliers, each of which provides a different style of notebook.
Most times, the first company you come across isn’t going to meet your requirement. So it’s not a bad idea if you keep on contacting more and more companies seeking better deals.
However, before you think about doing this, it is important that you first get crystal clear about what your requirements are.
If you are not, then you will be wasting everyone’s time, as the prices quoted to you by suppliers will be very closely tied with the specifications you provide.
And, if you change your specifications, the prices could change dramatically – not something you want to experience right at the last minute.
So, make sure that you know exactly what you want, ahead of time.
With a notebook, I’ll need to make sure that they can create a notebook with the paper thickness I want, but also with the number of pages I want, too.
I’ll also want to see if they can take my designs and use them as front covers.
Thankfully, Alibaba makes it easy to conduct some due diligence, regarding the seller’s who have listings on the site. You’ll often see some stats on each of the product pages you take a look at.
Below is an example of what was shown for one seller, who looked like a good notebook supplier.
The icon on the upper left lets me know that they’ve been a ‘Gold Supplier,’ for six years.
In the Alibaba system of ranks, a Gold Supplier is a pointer that a business is serious about trading with other companies internationally.
Companies have to pay for this recognition, which provides extra reassurance.
You’ll also see another icon, in the top right hand corner, that shows that the seller has signed up for the ‘Trade Assurance,’ program – protecting you, should anything go wrong.
Provided that you see these two things, it may be really worth it to reach out to sellers of this type to see what they can provide.
A few key things you’ll want to discuss are the payment terms (and how much deposit is required)and if any sample products can be sent over.
Ordering sample products, before you make a big order, is preferred, as you’ll be able to inspect build quality and also evaluate how well you can work with the supplier in question.
How do you set up your store
Once you have taken a look at some suppliers and you’ve arranged how you’re going to source your products, you then need to set up your store.
You can either display your products on Amazon, be a registered seller on Jumia or Konga, or still, you can set up a Shopify store.
But most serious e-commerce businesses go on to set up their own self-hosted e-commerce store. This means your store gets to be fully under your control.
There are a lot of technical advantages to setting up your own store, and of course requires some technical knowledge starting from your design, marketing, analytics, logic and even SEO. All of this is possible if you learn how to build it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you.
Of course, I know what you are thinking! I am selling my services and of course, I really am. Contact me and we can talk better. I will tell you everything you need to know 🙂
Back to setting up your own store, let’s take a look at posting your products on Amazon.
Scroll to the bottom of the Amazon homepage, and select ‘Sell on Amazon.’
Then sign up to their selling service.
You can decide to sign up as an ‘individual seller,’ but becoming a professional seller might be a better option in the long term.
Once you’ve set up an account and verified your identity, you’ll then need to go about listing your product.
Thankfully, Amazon has a helpful sidebar that aids you in getting this done.
Here is a brief overview, provided by Amazon, that details the process of selling something, once you are ready to do so.
To get the ball rolling, click on ‘Inventory,’ and then select ‘Add a Product.’
Then, search for the item you’re looking to sell (or select ‘Create a new product listing’) and follow the checklist.
Once you’ve done all of that, you should have a product that is ready to be sold on Amazon.
Other than Amazon, you can also set up your own independent e-commerce store.
If it were 10 or so years ago, you might need a long and technical explanation on how this needs to be done.
However, in 2016, setting up a store is actually very easy.
They have an affordable pricing structure that’s ready for people who are just getting into the e-commerce game.
To begin with, you can sign up for their 14-day free trial to get a feel for how the platform works.
If you want your store to have a specific look, then head over tohttps://themes.shopify.com/.
There, you’ll be able to preview some themes that you can use on a Shopify store.
If you ever need help with the technical aspects of setting up a Shopify store, then you can always talk to a ‘Shopify Expert.’
However, other than the technical aspects of setting up a store, you’ll want to also place a lot of focus on the copy.
Copy isn’t just important for landing pages – it also matters a lot whenever you have to convince someone that what you have is worth buying.
Therefore, when writing out the product descriptions for your site, put a lot of thought into the benefits of what your product has to offer.
If there are any unique selling points provided by your product, make sure that you know what they are and describe them explicitly when writing the descriptions.
How to Drive traffic to the store
Once you’ve set up your store, you then need to think about how you’re going to get people to actually visit your store.
Driving traffic to an e-commerce store can be a lot of fun and there are a lot of different things that you can experiment with.
Before you think about driving traffic to your store, first sit down and get really clear about who your customer is.
What influences them and what demographics do they occupy?
When you have the idea of that kind of information, your marketing efforts will be better off and it will be easier to spot viable opportunities.
Taking that into account…one traffic method you can experiment with is Facebook Ads.
Setting up Facebook Ads is easy and 2.5 million advertisers use the service.
Provided that you do the due diligence I just mentioned (relating to knowing your customer), you should be able to take full advantage of the powerful targeting features provided by Facebook.
You can also consider sponsoring posts on social media sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram.
To do that, all that you have to do is find profiles that cater to the demographic you’re trying to go after.
Then, send them a quick message and let them know that you’d like to sponsor a post.
When sponsoring a post, you can’t be too pushy with your sales message. You’ll want to rely on your product images to do a lot of the selling for you.
Luckily, however, by this stage, you should already have some great looking product images that you can provide when running sponsored posts.
As well as that, you can even use Google Product Ads.
The setup process for Google Product Ads can be a little bit complicated, but don’t let that keep you from using them.
In this post, we’ve taken a look at what you can do in order to set up a profitable e-commerce store of your own.
We’ve taken a look at how you can source a product, but also how you can set up an e-commerce store too.
We also examined how you can keep your store afloat, for the long term, using various profit-generating strategies.
So, why not take some time and start a store of your own and see how things work out for you.
Best of luck!
What have you found to be true when it comes to setting up an eCommerce store? Please share your experiences below!