If you are one of the countless entrepreneurs that have been itching to get into the world of eCommerce, there has truly never been a more opportune time. But making a go of it with an online business is a lot of work and can often be accompanied with its fair share of risk. Even so, when planned correctly, an eCommerce venture can also come with a lot of rewards.
Anyone can try to sell something online, but real entrepreneurs understand that there is a lot of groundwork that needs to be laid before making any major decisions. Thankfully, there are ways that you can set your eCommerce enterprise up for success. For instance, you may opt to work with a financial planner to lay a strong fiscal foundation for your company. Or you may conduct some independent market research in order to identify a high-growth consumer market that you can easily tap into.
Here are 5 other ways that you can maximise your earnings as an eCommerce entrepreneur.
1. Research and plan when developing your brand
There is so much that goes into opening a successful business, eCommerce or otherwise, that it is simply not sensible to try and rush the process. You may be an experienced business leader, and you may know your product or service well, but eCommerce is still an incredibly competitive industry where you have to ensure that your brand is visible in a global market. So when it comes to developing your brand and setting it up to be a commercial success, it’s well worth being immaculate with your research and planning.
Thankfully, it’s never been easier to conduct market research. There are a lot of resources and tools available online that can help you solidify a rockstar business plan, from industry report publications to YouTube market breakdowns, and even online forums. And the more you know about your industry, potential consumers, and online marketplace, the better you can assess your new venture before it comes to fruition.
2. Develop a dynamic business budget
Almost every business owner struggles with budgeting when first setting up their enterprise, and this is the one reason why many businesses fail upon arrival. Your budget, especially in the early years, is absolutely essential to your survival. You want to ensure that you have as much working capital available as possible, which means developing the ability to think critically about every single business investment that you’re looking to make.
Do you need warehousing space? Do you need a company HQ that’s a particular size? Being able to determine what kind of overhead costs you actually need can help you develop and maintain a business budget that allows you to operate without strain.
Just remember, however, that the best budgets are those that can be amended. It can take time and money to start seeing regular revenues for any startup, so you should be prepared to adapt at a moment’s notice, and a key element of staying prepared is making sure that your business budgeting is agile and dynamic. You can’t be overconfident, as smart budgets don’t allow for that, and you must ensure that your financial commitments to suppliers, lease providers, and customers are always taken care of.
3. Take the time to strategise for your marketing
As the old adage goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, so don’t think that you are going to get your business off the ground in an instant. The majority of successful companies start out small but cost-effective, as they slowly start to build a reputation and clientele. So take the time to develop marketing and promotional strategies that are in proportion to your company’s sales and visibility online.
It’s also important to think about what marketing channels are best suited for your eCommerce venture. This means understanding your target audience and where you’d be most likely to reach them. For example, if you’re looking to sell a product that appeals to teenagers, then you could probably benefit from marketing on Instagram or TikTok. Contrastingly, specialty products like tools or craft items are most likely going to be sought after by consumers who are searching for them directly, which is where Google advertising can come in handy.
When you do find the right channels and the right message for your marketing efforts, then you’ll want to invest in these assets to help grow your customer base. Yes, spending on marketing now may delay the growth of your revenue stream in the immediate, but with the right comms strategies in place, you should be able to set your enterprise up for growth in the long run.
4. Evaluate multiple hosting options
These days, eCommerce hosting options are a dime a dozen, and there will be something out there that suits just about any venture. But did you know that platforms like Shopify take a cut of all your sales? This may prompt eCommerce business owners to add higher margins to the RRP of their own products, which may then make it trickier for you to keep your prices competitive in your global market niche.
Thankfully, there are web hosting platforms that allow you to set up an online store without having to take a cut of all your sales. You can simply pay the fees required to host your website and then set up your own payment tools through your site dashboard. Platforms like WordPress can provide eCommerce entrepreneurs with a wide range of different widgets and greater customisability than more streamlined platforms like Shopify or Squarespace. Just be prepared to learn more about website design and development if you are using WordPress and other platforms that are geared towards seasoned web developers.
5. Invest in your own education
It can be difficult to curb your enthusiasm when exploring something you have a true passion for or feel personally attached to. Even so, it is important that you temper your expectations when establishing your eCommerce enterprise, as even the best business ideas can be ambushed by outside forces. You want to be successful, of course, but you need to relish the fact that success takes time, and you don’t know everything. And nor should you.
If you want to stand a chance at beating out the competition in the eCommerce world, you have to have a strong knowledge base of that world, along with business management in general. No one is saying that you have to go back and get another master’s degree. You can actually learn more about your industry and market from a wide range of different sources, like the ones we’ve mentioned all throughout this guide.
You may also be able to siphon knowledge from your business partners, your suppliers, and perhaps even your eCommerce tax accountant. Just do your best to take advantage of all the educational resources around you, and to keep up to date on current news and trends.
On that same note, try not to focus on profits or big-picture ideas while you are starting out, as you never know where your business will take you. Instead, it is important to focus on the things that will make your business stand out and be a satisfying online shopping experience for your consumers. And you’d be surprised by just how much technical know-how is required to provide a seamless and intuitive online shopping experience. So be prepared to learn and to apply your new skills as you go.
You Can Be Successful With The Right Approach
It may seem intimidating when launching yourself into the ever-expanding space of eCommerce, and that is completely normal to feel. However, if you take the time to do things right, and set up a solid plan with strategies for future growth, you are starting on the right foot. Things may not be easy in the beginning, but with the right approach, there’s no reason why you can’t manage your money successfully and build a great e-commerce business in the process.
All things considered, a pragmatic approach is definitely vital to establishing a growth-oriented eCommerce enterprise, so be sure to step carefully and continually reassess your business strategy in order to stay competitive.