Everything You Need to Start an E-Commerce Business
Anyone can spin up an e-commerce business in a day. You don’t need much to start a venture that can grow to a million dollar business and provide a comfortable lifestyle that will enable you to work from anywhere in the world.
The great news is that you don’t need a ton of investment to start an e-commerce business in today’s environment. It takes a computer and some specialized software to get your online retail empire going. With a minimal level of technology, time and some elbow grease, you can start your own e-commerce business today.
Computer and Other Hardware
You don’t need much hardware to get started. What kind of computer you get will depend on your preferences.
If you want a fast computer with multiple monitors, you may need a desktop. Speeds will vary depending on what kind of CPU processor you get and how many processors you get.
If you want to live a nomadic lifestyle and be able to work from anywhere on the face of the planet, you want a laptop. The great news is you can get a pretty powerful laptop these days that rival speeds and performance of desktops. And if you want those extra monitors when you’re home, there are laptop options for that as well.
The great news about starting an e-commerce business today is that you don’t have to build your own software anymore. In fact, you don’t even need to hire a developer to build a website for you either.
There are great all-in-one e-commerce platforms out there that you can pay a monthly fee to use. The top platforms are Shopify, Enterprise Magento and Big Commerce.
These platforms will enable you to manage your inventory in one place. You’ll be able to track inventory levels, fulfillment and other functions with any of these platforms.
These packages will also enable you to list your products on the major marketplaces that allow third-party sellers, including Amazon and eBay. That’s really important because these marketplaces allow even small sellers to sell product right away with minimal investment.
The alternative is spending a lot of money to drive people to your website. In general, is more costly to drive traffic to external websites. You’ll also get lower conversion rates because it’s very easy for consumers to buy on places like Amazon and eBay where people already have accounts tied to credit cards.
If you don’t have products in mind, the best place to start is Alibaba Express. This is a website where you can get cheap Chinese manufactured goods at low volumes.
This will help your initial cash flow situation as a business startup. It’ll also allow you to buy a case of several different types of products so you can test it out and see what sells well.
There are a lot of manufacturers that offer drop shipping as well. Drop shipping is where a manufacturer will ship a product for you from their warehouse once you get an order.
That eliminates the need to store and manage a bunch of inventory. It also helps your cash flow situation since you don’t have to pay until the order comes in. You basically won’t have cash tied up in inventory before you sell it.
Fulfillment and Customer Service
You’ll have to figure out how to fulfill the orders as they come in. You can use drop shipping, which is highly recommended when you first start out. You can do it yourself at small volumes.
As you grow, you’ll need to figure out how you will handle fulfillment and customer service at scale. Many e-commerce entrepreneurs, especially those that want to live the care-free, nomadic lifestyle, will choose to outsource everything.
You can outsource the fulfillment by using only drop-shippers. The other option is using a service like Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA. FBA is where you can ship pallets of your product to Amazon. Then they will store and fulfill your orders as they come in.
And here’s the best part. It doesn’t have to be orders that come in from Amazon. Even if you get an order on your website or another marketplace like NewEgg, Amazon will fulfill it for you.
Customer service is another thing you can outsource. There are a lot of virtual, third-party customer service firms that will handle complaints, returns and customer inquiries for you.
You can start building your e-commerce empire today, with very little to start. It used to take thousands of dollars to start a retail store, which usually entailed getting a business loan.
That’s no longer the case. You can start a thriving business with just a little cash to start. Millions of people are entering this business and many will succeed.
Tags: business, e-commerce, online marketplace, online shopping