In the advent of the COVID-19 lockdown era, many of us were inspired to create and build monetized side hustles from our hobbies. For some of us, this meant learning the art of eCommerce – that is to say, how to sell things online! Dropshipping was a common pursuit for individuals interested in this particular activity. Others still turned to the albeit more involved process of creating their own websites and online shopfronts to sell their wares. Regardless of the eCommerce method selected, however, the goal for many people was to increase their cash flow. But what does it take to develop an online side hustle into a burgeoning and prosperous eCommerce business? Just read on to learn more!
Building a Successful Online Business in Three Important Steps
Step 1: Source Your eCommerce Products
The very first step in building a successful eCommerce business is to source the products you would like to sell online. Understanding consumer demand, customer buying cycles, and market trends, is very important here. As is, naturally, choosing the most appealing products for the customers you want to target and attract to your business – products that your chosen demographic actually wants to buy!
Of course, you will also be wanting to make a profit when selling your wares online. Importantly, if you can procure your eCommerce products at a competitive wholesale rate, you can then re-sell them at a higher price! This will increase your profit margins and in turn, the profitability of your business.
For example, if you are wanting to make locally-made gifts for children the focus of your online store, it is advisable to source a distributor who can provide you with wholesale plush toys from Australia to re-sell under your own brand. The benefits of re-selling wholesale products are great, especially if you choose a trustworthy distributor who can supply you with quality products.
Step 2: Build Your Website or Online Selling Platform
Creating and developing your online shopfront is essential when building an eCommerce business. As such, it is highly recommended to build your own website which displays its own brand voice and personality, is engaging and interactive to site visitors, and encourages customers to buy your products.
Of course, your website platform needs to provide site visitors with a positive user experience or UX. This can be achieved by delivering good internal site navigability, as well as fast page loading speed. The website interface should also be visually appealing, and easy for customers to understand, interpret and interact with.
All of these elements combined will engage customers, gain their trust, and increase the credibility of your online store. This will then encourage your website visitors to purchase via your website.
Of course, for this to happen, your website will require its own in-build payment gateway or portal to facilitate online purchases. As such, it is recommended to utilize a website platform purpose-built for online shopping – such as Shopify, Stripe, or Square, for example.
Step 3: Promote Your Business
Historically, consumer retail trends have shown us that advertising, marketing and promotion play a significant role in the overall success of an eCommerce business. As such, an online storefront owner needs to engage in at least some form of digital marketing. Digital marketing has many facets, which include online advertising to raise brand awareness, build an online presence, and drive what is called “organic traffic” to a website.
Importantly, using a combination of digital marketing methods – including Search Engine Optimisation or SEO, content marketing, or even social media management – is essential to developing the online visibility of your eCommerce business. Without digital marketing, the customers you are trying to reach may not ever be aware of your online store.
However, by developing your business’s online profile through digital marketing techniques, you can attract more customers to your website – with the end goal of course being to increase your sales revenue and profit.
In our digitalized day and age, many of us have turned to eCommerce to increase our cash flow. However, while for some of us, online selling may only be a hobby, others may have higher ambitions!
As discussed, f you’re keen to turn your online selling hobby into a viable eCommerce business, there are certain steps you need to take. These include sourcing attractive and appealing products to sell to your customers online.
Also, you need to create an online shopfront or eCommerce website. When doing so, it is important to focus on building trust and credibility online. As such, it is also essential to engage in some digital marketing – including strategies such as Search Engine Optimisation or SEO – to promote and advertise your business online. By doing this, you can attract, engage and encourage prospective customers to interact with your business. And of course, most importantly, encourage them to support your business through their purchases.