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The internet has provided an incredible opportunity for just about anyone to start their own e-commerce business from scratch. As consumers increasingly go online to purchase their goods, it’s providing a new industry for those who are entrepreneurial enough to take advantage of this opportunity.
It used to cost tens of thousands of dollars to start a retail store. You had to get a loan from the bank, lease retail space in a shopping center or on Main street and then you had to buy the inventory to sell. Then you’d have to spend money on advertising and marketing to get foot traffic through the door.
You no longer have to do any of that. In fact, most e-commerce entrepreneurs are starting their own online stores with cash or their personal credit card. Even if a loan is taken it, there’s enough cash flow to pay it back quickly.
Here are the steps you need to take to start your own e-commerce business in just 30 days.
Although you don’t have the incredibly high overhead of setting up a brick and mortar store, you still have to find inventory. Even then, you don’t have to fork over a ton of cash to get your hands on great merchandise.
The fastest way to source product is online at Alibaba or Alibaba Express. You can do the legwork of finding your own manufacturers overseas, but this can be time-consuming, costly and risky.
Once you find items and a reliable supplier, you have to decide how much inventory to buy. Typically, if you’re a startup, you should buy low volumes so you conserve cash and so you can test out different products and see which ones sell.
The great thing about running an e-commerce business today is that you don’t even have to pay upfront for inventory. Many suppliers offer lines of credit or allow you to pay later.
Many suppliers these days also offer drop-shipping. That’s where an e-commerce merchant can order a product when an order comes in for them. Then the drop-shipper will ship the product directly to the customer. The item doesn’t even need to pass through your hands.
These days, you can’t really build an e-commerce business without a strong software solution to support you. That is because there are many complexities to selling online that didn’t use to exist.
For example, a lion’s share of products is being sold on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. These marketplaces allow for third-party sellers to sell their products on their website.
There are literally hundreds of these types of channels where you can list your products. In order to seamlessly manage listing and fulfilling products on these marketplaces require software that is built to handle that.
There are solutions like Magento, Big Commerce, and Shopify that are built specifically for e-commerce merchants that sell on these marketplaces. The great thing about these platforms is that you can start small and scale up as you grow.
Most of these platforms offer an enterprise level solution once you grow to a certain point. 2 of the major platforms are Big Commerce Enterprise and Shopify Plus. You can check out a comparison of Big Commerce Enterprise vs Shopify Plus in order to get a sense of what their scalability is.
You also need a fulfillment strategy. If you do solely drop-shipping, that makes it easier. The drop-shipper will handle all of the shipping and handling.
If you want to carry your own inventory, you will need to establish a warehouse and system to be able to fulfill your orders.
A third option is using fulfillment services that will warehouse your products and ship when orders come in. Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA is one of those services. The great thing about FBA is that the customer doesn’t have to buy on Amazon.com in order for FBA to fulfill it.
For example, a customer can buy something from you on eBay, but then Amazon would fulfill that order for you. FBA is one of the best innovations for small e-commerce merchants to come on the scene.
That’s really all you need to do to get started with your own business. It’s not hard and many thousands of people are already doing it.
If you’re committed to success in e-commerce, you can do it. The barriers to entry are low and it just requires some sweat and just a little cash to get started. You can literally be up and running and making sales in less than 30 days.
The challenge will be in your own head that will resist getting started and making excuses for why you’re not taking action. The steps have been laid out for you. Now, build your business and thrive in today’s bustling e-commerce industry.