Today starting a small online store is not so difficult. E-commerce technology has improved a lot.It is far easy and simple to start an online store of your own and start selling. However, understanding basics of e-commerce is a must if you are interested to enter into small online store business.
First be informed as much as possible through tutorials, e-commerce articles, trade shows and finally talk to people who are already into online business and selling. And yes shop online yourself so that you get friendly with e-commerce transactions and market opportunities.
For a newcomer it is better to start a small online store. Here are few things you must consider before starting niche online store
Find the Right Product for your Online Store
Choosing the right product for niche product based small online store is extremely critical for success. Though it may sound cliche, the most important factor leading to the success of your business venture is your passion for the product you are selling.
A lot of people make the mistake of selling a product only because it is selling much. If the product is selling much, the obvious consequence is a high degree of competition.
If you are passionate about your product, then only you will be able to differentiate yourself from others. Always try to choose a product which you believe is worth buying and your knowledge is more than an average buyer.
Think about why people would buy from you. You need to provide them with something they believe will offer more value than the amount they pay, and which you can supply at a profit. Yes, selling a product that has high margins or a greater perceived value is always a killer proposition.
Items that are handcrafted or personalized will carry a much larger premium whereas technology items tend to face constant margin pressure and price drops over the lifetime of the product. If you have already made up your mind and want to plunge into the e-commerce boom, you are welcome and let us proceed.
Where You can Start Your Niche Product Based Small Online Store
You have mainly two options when it comes to selling online:
- Sell on Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, (and other big brands)
- Sell from your own Niche Online Store
Marketplace vs Your Own Small Online Store
Marketplaces have customers because of their brand and the ability to invest money in promoting products. They invest heavily in marketing, infrastructure and take care of support and other important stuff. You just need to upload your products there and the rest is taken care of them.
Creating a small online store requires lot more effort. You not only sell here but also build a brand of your own You are not lost in the marketplaces with other merchants. Marketplace might be a cheap option initially but in the long run, you compromise a lot of profit when compared to selling your own niche product based online store.
However, for building niche online store revolving around one man operation, my two favorites are Shopify and WooCommerce. Other popular alternatives are Zepo, OpenCart, and Magento.
For small business involving one or two people, Shopify is the best option.
Shopify is a self hosted platform with low-cost pricing.Plans start from just $29/month. You don’t have to think about Just choose one of the themes, upload products add payment gateway and you have your operation. Every technical and back-end operations including designing, development, hosting is taken care by Shopify.
You don’t have to be a programmer or even hire a programmer to build your store. Its knowledge base is extensive and support guys are awesome and help you at every point.
Scaling is easy. You don’t have to worry about switching boats when you get large, just opt for a higher plan and you’re done.
M-Commerce or Mobile Commerce is very important and Shopify got you covered out there. All of Shopify themes are responsive and its checkout is optimized well for mobile devices.
It’s being used by more than 150,000 stores and the list is getting bigger every day. Just look at this chart from BuiltWith about new stores using Shopify.
Some Excellent Features of Shopify
- Easier to start
- Minimum Setup cost
- Awesome Support
- Owner friendly (Better UI than competitors and easier to adapt)
- Feature Packed
- Extensible with App Marketplace
- Mobile friendly
- Excellent support
- Good ecosystem