If you fancy making your fortune online, setting up an e-commerce website seems like a pretty good idea right now. e-commerce is the fastest growing retail sector in the whole of Europe; sales from a selected group of nations including the UK, Germany and France are set to increase from £155 billion in 2015 to at least £185 billion in 2016.
Add in the fact that e-commerce sales in the U.S are expected to grow from over $349 billion in 2015 to almost $400 billion in 2016 and it’s clear that our consumer culture is driving online sales.
Should You Create Your Own E-Commerce Website?
It certainly isn’t easy to become a small business owner with an online sales website. So before you start dreaming of becoming the next big thing and rubbing shoulders with the elite; here’s a few things to consider:
- Are You Prepared To Work Hard? I don’t mean regular 9-5 weekday ‘hard’; I’m talking ‘need 4 cups of coffee at 4am in order to get through another 18 hour day’ HARD. If you currently have a full-time job you’ll need to sacrifice your free time to set up your store. When it’s up and running you’ll need to devote hours to marketing, customer service, order fulfilment and industry news. A few phone calls and tweets won’t cut it.
- Do You Have The Money? Although it doesn’t take a huge investment to get started it still requires a pretty penny. You’ll either have to risk your savings or place yourself in debt with a loan; are you willing to do this? Remember, you could lose everything.
- Are You Patient? Your e-commerce store will not be a runaway success overnight; it will likely take months or even longer to start seeing some profit. This means working hard initially for no tangible returns. It also requires continued sacrifice when it comes to personal time so things like partying, hanging with friends and going on vacation will have to wait.
- Can You Handle Setbacks? I’m not just talking about the inevitable things that go wrong when running an e-commerce store; I mean can you handle ‘complete failure’? There’s a strong possibility your business will be ground into dust due to fierce competition along with the strains of running an online store.
Why You Should Do It
Wow! Starting up and running an e-commerce store is difficult! Yes it is but there are a few compelling reasons to take the risk:
- You Could Earn A Fortune: You have seen the figures I mentioned at the start of the article; the e-commerce market is particularly strong in the U.S and UK. If you get it right the potential to genuinely become a millionaire is there. Obviously, a lot of hard work and luck are required but in the end, you could earn far more than what is possible in 99.9% of ‘regular’ jobs in the world.
- You’re The Boss: While you’ll end up working more hours than in a normal job at the start, at least you answer to no one. Fed up with your anal retentive boss talking bollocks? When you strike it rich, phone him up and tell him what a complete tosser he is! Additionally, should your store become successful, you can hire other people to do all the work for you. Live the dream of sipping tea and eating biscuits while your subordinates make you money; like a better paid version of middle management positions!
- You’re In On The Ground Floor: The future is e-commerce retail as the level of growth suggests. As it stands, bricks and mortar stores are beginning to falter as online stores with their 24/7/365 opening hours, lower overheads, lower prices and greater selection of products takes over.
Quick E-Commerce Website Tips
The modern consumer is very demanding so your e-commerce store needs to be absolutely on-point. Here are 3 things to consider for your website in 2016:
- Social Media: The best plan is to stick with Facebook when in doubt. Although Twitter has its uses, Facebook is responsible for an estimated 85% of social media marketing conversions. The actual conversion rate for SMM is surprisingly low right now but this only means an upwards spike is imminent.
- Go Online First: The traditional route of opening a physical store first followed by an online store should be reversed if you want the best chance of success. As well as being cheaper to start and operate, online stores ensure you get a loyal customer base to build on. You can analyse traffic over a period of time and consider opening a physical store in the location where the most sales come from. You should also have more cash available to build a high quality store.
- Positive Shopping Experience: Hire a professional designer to create a site that is simple to navigate. Your goal is to make the shopping process as simple as possible; this means fewer clicks once it’s time to pay. Since over 80% of online consumers do research before buying, it’s imperative that you get good reviews. There is no point having great products if purchasing them is a tedious and frustrating experience. Additionally, make sure your pricing is clear since 28% of online shoppers abandon their carts because of unexpectedly high pricing at checkout.
While there is no guarantee you’ll end up rivalling Richard Branson in the wealth stakes, creating an e-commerce website is a potential goldmine. If you have ambition, don’t mind hard work, create a solid business plan and don’t mire yourself in debt, the opportunity to earn a living on your terms is hard to dismiss.