The world of Ecommerce has developed rapidly over the last 10-years with all major global brands now actively selling their services and products online. In mature Ecommerce markets like the United States, Business Insider states that over 17% of sales will happen online by 2020, and this figure could even go up at the rate it is going.
With the trend steadily moving towards more Ecommerce sales, aspiring entrepreneurs all over the world and have many different Ecommerce platforms to choose from. In India, Flipkart is leading the way. It’s India biggest Ecommerce platform and currently commands around 57% of the market ahead of Amazon. It’s a large market share if you compare it to the North American market, although the US and Canadian markets are obviously a lot more competitive.
Magento is the most popular with 29.1% with other platforms such as ZenCart and Big Commerce following close behind. Canadian Ecommerce platform Shopify accounts for 10.9% of the market. This is mainly due to it being one of the most “hassle-free to set up” for first digital marketing entrepreneurs venturing into Ecommerce, according to a Shopify review by Ecommerce Guide.
But regardless of the major brands hoovering up the majority of consumers with their large-scale digital marketing campaigns, the market in general also has areas of opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to seize on. After all, the global Ecommerce market was predicted to reach $1.9 trillion by the end of last year – it will undoubtedly surpass that mark this year.
Startup Freak has covered many inspirational stories about how entrepreneurs have built their businesses up from the ground. But just because you’re looking at starting your own business from home, doesn’t mean you can’t someday realize your dreams of establishing your own brand among the elite. You’ve probably heard of the story behind Google, starting off in a garage, as well as Steve Jobs and Apple building the early computers from his parents’ house. Well, take those as inspirational stories to start making your dreams a reality.
Why Ecommerce Could Work For You
The best part about an online business is its practicality and flexible nature. A physical office usually means a sizable financial outlay to begin with not to mention office equipment and any legalities that come with renting space. Additionally, it can become a financial burden or even a limitation if you’re pinned to a long-term contract that doesn’t allow you the scope to down size or scale up. Online, the world is your oyster and you can react more fluidly depending on how your business is performing.
The Basic Steps to Get You Started
Carving Out Your Niche
At the beginning of the whole process, let’s assume you already know what you are going to be selling online. The real focus needs to be on how you’re going to sell it, and how you are going to reach your potential target audience. The way you operate needs to be unique, otherwise without the big budgets of the high street brands, you will get lost in the sea of consumer brands.
Set Your Price Points
Arguably one of the main things that will determine if your product sells online is its price. Without stating the obvious; if it is too pricey you may price yourself out of the market. If you’re too cheap then you probably won’t function as a business for long. The best way to find that midpoint is to do market research across your competition.
This way you will gain a good understanding of the market you’re about to enter. In an ideal world you need to have a margin of 30-35% profit so that you have the ability to post healthy revenues as well as give you the opportunity to scale the business over time. This margin will also be determined by what industry you’re operating in, so it’s imperative to do your research.
Finding Your Manufacturers
Not everyone manufactures their own products in-house, even more so if you’re working from home. Therefore, it’s an absolute must to sort out your manufacturers, availability and shipping costs before even building your site. These can make or break your dream before you’ve even started as they all need to be factored into your overall cost per product and will affect your top line.
Finding online manufacturers is a tricky game so you need to be ready to do your research. Sites like IndiaMart, Alibaba, ThomasNet and Bambify are a good place to start. Take your time in making your decision and don’t be afraid to try our different manufacturers in order to find the right one for you.
Let’s Get Technical
Once you understand your market and services/products that will help you grow your business, the next step is building your Ecommerce platform and getting the hosting package that suits you, along with everything else that comes along with your newfangled business venture. Here is a run-down of what you’ll need:
–Choosing an Ecommerce platform – As stated above, one of the best for beginners is Shopify as it has a very easy interface and is extremely user-friendly, is good for scaling up and growing your business. It’s also very cost-effective.
–Domain Name – Make sure it stands out; it’s easy to read and is a great representation of your product/s and brand.
–Logo and Website Skin – Again, this needs to represent your brand to your target market so make sure it’s something you’re proud of and can work with for years to come.
–Hosting – Find an affordable hosting package that will give you a stable platform to sell your products online.
Although rather dated (2014), this article by Brent Gleeson for Forbes still gives readers a great run down of what to consider when dipping their toes into the world of Ecommerce.