The e-commerce industry is blowing up. Amazon and eBay have led the way, and now anyone can get a piece of the action with just a computer and some know-how.
Here are the very few steps you need to take in order to make money online with your own e-commerce business, and you can get started as soon as today.
Finding the Products
Step one is you need to find some products to sell. That’s not hard.
If you have a particular niche you’ll be marketing to like outdoor, apparel, cosmetics or electronics, you can start with wholesalers. There are many wholesalers out there that will sell your products in bulk at a low cost.
You can download their entire catalog from their websites. Many wholesalers will also ship you a physical catalog of all of their items, cost and volume minimums.
You can also get them directly from the manufacturer as well. If you know exactly what product you want to sell, you can contact the manufacturer and see if you can become a distributor or reseller.
Buying directly from a manufacturer may not be the easiest place to start, but if it is a highly niche product, you may be able to work out a deal with them.
The best source for manufactured goods at a high volume, low cost is getting goods from China. And the best way to get cheap Chinese manufactured goods is from Alibaba or Alibaba Express.
Both options offer literally millions of products in virtually every niche imaginable where you can source product.
Next, you need to find good software to help you leverage the many ways you can sell your products online. These days, this is almost a must-have for most e-commerce entrepreneurs.
It used to be that e-commerce businesses would build a website to sell their products from. This is what happened primarily during the tech boom of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
They’d have to do their own digital advertising and marketing to drive traffic to their website. Then they would have to count on the website to convert the prospects into customers.
That entailed someone googling a product they need, going to a website they may have never visited before, adding the product to the shopping cart, then creating a user account and entering their credit card information each time they wanted to buy something. It was cumbersome, to say the least.
Ultimately, just a handful of online stores ended up with the vast majority of e-commerce sales. Companies like Amazon and eBay ended up dominating the space.
When companies like Amazon began to allow third-party sellers to list their products on their marketplaces, that changed everything for the small e-commerce entrepreneur. Now a small business can get their products in front of Amazon buyers, and a buyer could just use the credit card information Amazon already had on file in order to buy the products.
Now there are hundreds of different marketplaces and channels like these that small e-commerce merchants can list their products on. The challenge then becomes, how do you list and manage your products on all of these different channels? That’s where the power of software comes into play.
Companies like Big Commerce, Shopify, Channel Advisor, and Magento have allowed e-commerce merchants to list and manage their products from one hub. The costs aren’t prohibitive either for small e-commerce startups either.
Shopify and Big Commerce pricing, in particular, are reasonable and affordable for even small entrepreneurs to get started right away. Most offer entry-level packages that start with a small monthly fee and will scale up as your business grows. This should be the rule of thumb for the e-commerce sites that are just starting out. E-commerce site Loveplugs.com.au started with a basic subscription for both their web hosting and their sales platform. They focused on the quality of their products and customer service first so they were able to scale their business in a very short span of time. They gradually upgraded their hosting and platform subscription as consumer demand grew.
Customer Service and Fulfillment
The great thing about the innovations and advancements in the e-commerce industry is that you don’t even need to warehouse or ship the products yourself anymore. And because of the internet and the advancements in software solutions, the product never has to pass through your organization in order to make it to your customer’s doorstep.
With things like drop shippers, you don’t even need to buy the products in advance. When an order comes into your software, it will automatically buy it from your drop shipper, who will then charge your account and ship it directly to your customer.
If you did have a product that the source doesn’t offer drop shipping, you can use services like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). FBA will warehouse and ship your products for you, even if the order didn’t come from Amazon.
Get Started Today
There is no reason an entrepreneur who wants to make money online can’t get started today. All of the tools and strategies are available to anyone with enough initiative to pull them all together to start their own business.