In the past 20 years, buying and selling products online via e-commerce has gone from pipe dream to common reality. With more and more of the world gaining access to the Internet, it’s potential that is only starting to be tapped.
I love e-commerce for many reasons, not least of all its ability to quickly turn anyone’s ideas into a profitable reality. Here’s five top reasons why you should start an e-commerce business.
1. It’s easier than you think
These days you can have an online shop and orders coming in within an hour. In fact, the online aspect of these sorts of businesses is the simplest part. Finding a saleable a product and marketing it are the real challenges in this business.
There are literally dozens of e-commerce solutions available. Of these, Shopify is perhaps the best known. For a relatively small monthly fee the Canadian company provides easy to use software that handles most of the legwork of displaying products, and collecting payment and order information from customers.
For those seeking a little more control over their e-commerce system, WooCommerce provides a bridge to fully customised solutions. WooCommerce is a free plugin for the WordPress blogging and content management platform. In its simplest form, it can turn any WordPress site into an online shop. However, the real strength of WooCommerce is the array of (paid) extensions which can be plugged in and expand the functionality of your store.
2. It’s a lot of fun
It’s hard to describe the feeling of receiving your first order from a customer. It’s a triumphant moment, proof that your idea has resonated with at least one person willing to part with their hard earned cash in exchange for your product.
Every order that follows, too, is a validation of your ideas and your business. Success breeds success and that constant feedback loop is rewarding as you grow and develop your business. Sure, there’ll be challenges along the way, but they’re a big part of the fun you’ll have along your entrepreneurial journey.
3. You’ll become a master of amazing skills
Being an online store owner requires a range of stills and an ability to adapt. You’ll quickly learn the importance of marketing and shortly thereafter become a master of said skills. From eDMs (electronic direct marketing) to Instagram, and packaging design to customer service, you’ll become adept at the skills fundamental to any business.
Whether your products find their audience, or never quite get the traction you think they deserve, you’ll learn more than you ever though possible, Faster too. They’re skills that transfer you other realms I life, most especially work life. Experience is,after all, the very best form of education.
4. There’s a market for anything
You’ll never cease to be amazed by what people are willing to spend their money on. Therein lies your opportunity. If you’ve got an idea, taking the time to find out if there’s enough people to justify selling it will often yield positive results. And if you don’t, tweak your product and try, try again.
The best product ideas often come from people who start out trying to solve a problem they themselves have. I’ll provide plenty of examples and strategies for turning ideas into saleable products in the due course of this blog, but for the time being grab a piece of paper and brainstorm problems you’ve encountered.
Most aspects of an e-commerce business can be automated. From payments to fulfilment of physical goods, there’s generally a solution that will leave you free to spend your time on the most important aspect of your fledgling enterprise – business development.
One of the points I press with new clients clients is developing a strategy to achieve automatic within their online business as soon a possible. Whether or not you spend the free time on your business is up to you, but having a side project or extra source of income should be an opportunity for you to do the things you love.
Do you own an e-commerce business? What other benefits have I missed? What are some of those you’ve seen come out of your project? Let me know in the comments below!