Tips To Bootstrap an eCommerce Business
Creating an eCommerce site is much harder than most people think, despite the seemingly easy aspect of selling to a massive audience all through one website. However, with huge competitors like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, and many other growing mid-size eCommerce companies, the online market is fiercely tough to get into, let alone get traction with. Here are some ways that might help you break into eCommerce at a low cost.
Find an unsaturated niche.
Building an all-in-one eCommerce site like Jet.com takes a pretty sizable investment. Therefore, identifying a very specific niche in which the major players are not putting a lot of attention into is a way to start to build some quick traction at a lower cost.
Find a cost effective platform.
Chances are, you do not want to build an eCommerce platform or the functionality from scratch, unless you are a rockstar developer. Therefore, you will most likely want to pick a platform that you can leverage at a low cost like Shopify, WooCommerce, or Magento depending on your skill set and budget.
Create a unique brand.
If you want to compete for market share online, you need to stand out with something that is unique. A fun and interesting brand that stands for something is a great way to get the attention of customers who have a lot of choices online.
Build a balanced team.
In most cases, you cannot do it alone. Therefore, you will want to find a team of people that can help you. If you are a marketer by nature, team up with an operations and developer as those will be the other costly things that will most likely become road blocks for you. The major things you will need are marketing, operations, and development. If you can build a team that can handle all of those things, you can do a lot more without outsourcing a lot of work.
Find cost effective development resources.
If you don’t have the luxury of partnering with a developer or simply need more development work, you will need to find cost effective development resources. In the beginning, you most likely will not have the revenue to pay a big established agency. However, leveraging freelancers and offshore agencies might save you some money. Be careful about poor development leading you into a corner. Make sure you are clearly outlining tasks and are leveraging high quality development, even if it is overseas.
Drop shipping is a great way to offer a large range of inventory without the risk of carrying a large amount of inventory and overhead. Services like Logic Broker and other companies like Doba can offer a large product line for a low cost to drop ship. Additionally, major suppliers and companies will drop ship for you, so there are many ways to drop ship affordably.
Partnerships with retailers, distributers, manufacturers, and other types of companies can help you market your site as well as potentially get better deals on inventory. Find unique ways to partner with companies to get your products out there at a lower cost of marketing or cost of inventory. Companies like Jetmail can help you ship and house inventory at a low cost.
Simply selling product online is a commodity perfected by Amazon. You need to get creative in what you are offering, how you are selling it, how you are presenting the user experience, and anything else that will make you stand out. Creativity in terms of generating top of the funnel traffic through social media, blogging, or converting traffic with unique promotions or other incentives will get you passed the barriers of selling online.
Have a unique selling proposition against Amazon.
In most cases being cheaper or having better shipping options than Amazon is nearly impossible. You will have to come up with a more unique selling proposition than Amazon that they are not currently capitalizing on, such as killer customer services.
Subscription eCommerce is still a wide-open space and there are many services or products that have not dominated this space quite yet. Things like razor blades and food are becoming commonplace but there plenty of other niches or industries that are untapped in this space.
Bundled or grouped products.
A product by itself in almost all cases is going to be sold somewhere unless you are manufacturing it. Therefore grouping or bundling products in a unique way might offer some opportunity for you to break into new territory.
One thing Amazon and the big retailers don’t do well is customizable products. Creating a cool product customizer or some way of customizing your product is a great way to differentiate yourself from the big boys.
Flash sales are fairly commonplace but in the right niche and product categories it could still get people excited to go to your website. At the end of the day people are looking for deals online in most cases, and if you cannot provide a unique timely deal, you are more likely to get the sale.
Amazing social media.
Social media can get people inspired to buy from your brand. A great video, social campaign, or creative marketing plan on the most scalable marketing platforms in the world, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. can get your brand to millions of users in a short period of time.