How Easy It Is To Run An E-Commerce Business From HomeMarch 28, 2017
Work from Home - Start your E-Commerce Business Today
E-commerce is the act of conducting transactions electronically online . The e-commerce business is the most flexible and is a work from home option for many. Setting one up can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. We'll go over some options and things you should know to help you get the leg up on the competition.
Making money from home is easy when you have an online business. Sell products via established marketplaces online such as Amazon, Google Shopping, Facebook or you can create a website for your business and add the payment method and shopping cart option. With the right platform, right features and right programming skills your e-commerce business is ready to take off.
There are three main options for starting an e-commerce business:
- Choose a third-party online market place (Amazon, Google, e-bay, Facebook) which is readily available.
- Build an e-commerce website for your business which you can use for selling.
- Purchase an E-Commerce Website where you can also sell your products on third-party market places.
The best thing about option 3. is that it is the easiest for people looking to start an online business. This way you can skip the months of learning how to build an E-Commerce site, finding products to sell, finding vendors to buy from, setting up a shopping cart, a payment gateway, etc.
The following steps will guide you on how to go about opening an online business if you're a new entrepreneur or if you're thinking of transferring your businesses from a brick and mortar location to online.
- Start with a Business Plan
A business plan is important for any kind of business that is starting. It's pretty much a written description of your business. This is the framework of what you think is necessary to make your business successful. A business plan sets up expectations once the business starts and for its future. The plan should cover Business Concept, Strategy, Products you'll Sell and Target Market.
- Pick the type of Business Entity
After doing a business plan it is time to consider an appropriate business structure. This means considering the requirements and tax benefits of each. IRS website is one site that can help you with choosing a business structure.
- Select and Register a Business Name
This step is as important as planning for your whole business. A good business name can make you the talk of the town, but the wrong name can set you up for failure. Most people start out businesses solo so they tend to use their own name in the name of the business. This might be ok, but does the name represent a professional image or does it carry the brand with it. A business name should be unique online and offline, should reflect the business culture and appeal to your target market. Check for trademarks with the USPTO(United States Patent and Trademark Office) search tool because infringement can cost your business. A business name should be web ready so that you can claim a website address. Register your business name but do not confuse this for trade mark protection. Go the extra mile to protect the name, logo and symbol that distinguish your goods and services.
A good name should communicate the key elements and purpose of the business. A mission statement should emphasize more about the business goals.
A good business name should communicate to a client about the business with less effort of explaining the business.
A good name should not limit your business to products it sells or to a geographical area. What if your business name is ‘New York Laundry’ and you decide to expand your business beyond New York? What if you want to expand from the Laundry only business? Do not limit your business with the name you choose.
- Set up a Home Office
To work from home does not mean you work from any part of your home? To work from home means you need space especially if you are selling goods from home. Set up an office with enough storage space for products unless you have a dropshipping business. Equip your office with a computer/laptop, a reliable business line, internet connection and printing equipment. Get all necessary business furniture and stationary as you prepare to start your new journey.
- Choose Products to Sell
The business plan of course has the products you want to sell, but it's time to get more thorough. When choosing products or services you need to look at your options. Are you producing or reselling? The majority of businesses around the world are reseller's. This means you don't produce the product, you buy from a wholesaler and resell to the public. Do you think companies like Amazon, Walmart or your local department store manufacture everything they sell. No Way!! They would go out of business. They buy wholesale and sell retail, this is how business is done. So pick your product, then pick your wholesaler.
If you're lucky you might find a company that sells wholesale and dropships too. This will allow you to focus on getting customers to your site and not worry about dealing hands on with each and every order.
- Get your Products Bar Coded
If you are reselling than you can skip to number 7.
If you are manufacturing a new product this is very important. It is a legal requirement that each item should have a UPC bar code. Each different product with different patterns, sizes and features should have separate bar codes. Bar code purchase can be done online and many batches of codes can be acquired at discounted prices.
- Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment is the process of fulfilling your orders. Sourcing the product, packaging it and shipping it out to your customer. You have two options:
Self Fulfillment - You will order each product as you receive the order, have it shipped to you, repackage it, and ship it out to your customer.
Dropshipping - The wholesaler that you purchase your products from will ship directly to your customer with your return address on the box. This way it looks like it came directly from your store but you never even have to touch it.
- Site Location and Domain Name
First step is to choose a host and a domain name, then you can set up a site by yourself. Though this needs a little more technical expertise than most people have, it is possible with the use of some online courses. You can always skip the headache by purchasing a site that is already built.
- Design your Online Store
It's time to design! Figure out what pages you will need and create those. Start with your logo and set up a theme. Next pick your product categories and setup headers and footers.
Make it easy for clients to easily use your site. Use blogs which can easily attract clients and turn them into customers.
Setup your payment software. This is what allows your site to facilitate payments. One of the easiest ways is to use an e-commerce platform such as Shopify, Woo Commerce, or Big Commerce. These allow you to connect to your customer, drive your store and track your business. They have everything your store needs on the backend.
- Set up a Shopping Cart
A shopping cart should not be too difficult as there are many simple carts to pick from. When using self-hosted shopping cart software, make sure you have an SSL Certificate. This is what encrypts your site and keeps the bad guys from stealing important info from your store including credit card numbers and other personal information. Make sure you do your research and pick one that is safe. One of the most popular names is PayPal.
- Market, Launch and Market
Marketing should begin as soon as you start your company. Don't wait til you launch your site, hit the road running. When your site is done and you feel your business is ready to take off, then officially launch the site. Now's the time to kick your marketing into high gear. Focus the majority of your time on marketing. This is where most companies make their biggest mistake. Master your marketing and you'll master your money!!
- Keep Your Customers Happy
Now you are running a business, this is a final and crucial step. This step is continuous for the life of the business and is important in the continuity and expansion of your business. To maintain customers you need to constantly work on getting rid of bugs on your site, continually manage the inventory by adding new products and removing discontinued products. It is important to turn one time clients to return customers.
To maintain customers you must maintain their happiness. If you want to keep customers make sure you attend to their placed orders immediately, nobody likes to do a follow up on products they have already bought and paid for.
Follow up with your customer and make sure they were happy with their purchase. See if you can get them to leave a review or submit a picture for Facebook or Instagram. Happy customers attract customers. Keep your customers happy.
Make sure you move with the trends. Things are always changing and you need to stay up to date. This is what keeps you relevant.
Just a few extra tips before you get started...
Market with Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are some social media platforms which are used by entrepreneurs to market products. It is advisable to start giving hints even if you have not fully set up so you can have potential clients waiting.
Some entrepreneurs prefer blogs. Starting a marketing blog is very helpful as it gives you time to explain all about your company and the products you offer. Use your blog to talk about your industry and keep your potential customers up to date on the newest trends.Use other E-Commerce Sites
Having your own online business site is great, but make sure you offer your products on other sales channels too. Google Shopping, Facebook, Wanelo, and Pinterest are great places to sell your products. These sites are great for sales as they offer the customer the comfort of knowing that they're buying from a reputable source. You can upload your products to each site or with the right software you can automate the whole process. The less time you spend managing this, means the more time you have attracting new customers.Are You Mobile Friendly?
Make sure your site is easy to use and works across all web browsers and mobile devices. Mobile sites are just as important if not more, than regular sites. A large percentage of your customers will view your company on a mobile device.
Pros of E-Commerce Business
- The initial investment required is low.
- Online stores operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Your business gets to reach customers across the country and even the world.
- You can easily expand operations at a lower cost.
Pros of Working from Home
- Freedom! You can work when you want. You set your own hours.
- No commute. No more sitting in traffic!
- Wear what you want. No business attire. No uniform. Unless of course you decide to.
- No boss looking over your shoulder. You're the boss now!
- For parents, working from home is a great option as it allows you to watch your kids and work at the same time.
Start Your New Life
If you read this and you're still not sure if you should take that next step, think about it for a minute. Would you like to be independent and create a huge revenue stream right from your home? Would you like to be your own boss? Would you like to be in control of your future? Would you like to earn more money and also have more time to spend with your family and friends?
Well if you answered yes to any of those I think you know what you should do next. Take control of your life and take that next step. I wish you the best on this next chapter of your life. I think you'll realize you made the right decision.
If you'd like to own a company like ours just click the link below. We're now offering wholesale websites. Just sign up on the next page and we'll take care of all the boring programming stuff so you can focus on starting your new online business.