In the past few years, the Internet has woven its way into the very fabric of our being. Most of us rely on the Internet everyday to connect with friends, be entertained, and get the information we need quickly. We also use the Internet to buy things. We have all heard of sites like Amazon.com and Overstock.com that allow us to get consumer goods that we used to have to go to the store for delivered right to our door. But along with these ecommerce behemoths that sell big name brands, we now seeing more boutique forms of ecommerce gaining popularity.
With certain new ecommerce solutions out there, anyone can open their very own shop and sell their homemade products with very little fuss and minimal overhead. A shop owner that before only had the ability to sell locally, can now market and sell his products to anywhere in the world. With this amazing opportunity, many local shops have jumped on the bandwagon, as well as people who made something only as a hobby now realize that these solutions enabled them to monetize that passion. So if using ecommerce solutions is so easy, and it costs very little, why doesn’t everybody have an ecommerce site? Well, there are a few basic things you should make sure you have worked out before you jump in headfirst.
The first thing you have to think about is what you are going to sell. If you already have something in mind, great! If you don’t, no worries, you just have a little extra legwork to do. Try thinking about your interests. Are you an artistic person? If so, what do you like to create? If you think you have or can create something that people might be interested in purchasing, then there you go! If you are not artistic, and can’t for the life of you think of something to sell, you can consider partnering up with someone who does have something, and you could agree to take care of all the inventory/accounting/marketing as your contribution.
The second thing you have to decide on is how much you are going to sell your products for. Art and things in the creative world can be very subjective, and this can introduce a lot of variables into your pricing decisions. You don’t want to price too high and scare buyers away, but you don’t want to sell too low and get less than you probably deserve, label you products as cheap. Your best bet for finding a happy median is to check out other boutique shops similar to yours and take note of what their pricing is like. Make sure to check out sizable samples so that you can make an informed decision.
So you’ve got an idea of what you’re going to sell, and how much you’re going to sell it for. Now you have to figure out is how you are going to get it there once someone buys it. FedEx, UPS, US postal service, each has different shipping times, as well as different rules on packaging, and of course shipping rates to different countries and states. So do your research and find the one that offers you the most competitive rates, makes your life easier with pickups, and can also track deliveries and offer signed proof. These are all options you need to decide on, and make sure your shipping offerings are competitive.
Storage and workspace:
Many start off working from home, turning the garage into a work studio and storage facility. Make sure you’re well organized, and streamline the production process all the way to packaging and storage. Start managing your inventory early on and make sure you can account for every piece of material you bought.
Like any business, an online business requires the numbers to add up in order for profit to start coming in. If you’re starting off small, you have to make sure that your single product can cover your cost, then find that special number of sales, that when reached each month you’re making profit. Set that as a goal and go from there. Oh, and give yourself a pat on the back, because you are one step closer to becoming an online vendor! Cheers!
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