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Bootstrapping Your First E-Commerce Business: A Beginner’s Guide

Setting up your first E-Commerce Business? Here’s what needs to be done for a successful virtual store – your guide from design to conversion!

Your First E-Commerce Business
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Having a business funded by an investor or venture capital firm seems quite fascinating, but at the same time, it can be pretty daunting, like it or not! Instead of how about creating an eCommerce store that offers an easy aspect of selling to a massive audience all through one website? I mean, today, anyone can start an eCommerce business with minimal funding- all thanks to a plethora of self-service tools available around.

Gone are the days when people used to look around for professionals or extensive web development skills to launch a professional-looking site. With pre-made templates, cloud-based apps, design tutorials, and of course, such blogs, overcoming knowledge gaps now become hassle-free.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s Time to bootstrap your e-commerce business

#1 Unsaturated niche

Are you planning to build an all-in-one eCommerce site, something like Jet.com; if so, it might be a sizeable investment for your first E-Commerce. Instead of that, how about identifying a particular niche in which the major players are not putting a lot of attention? This is a great way to start building some quick traction at a lower cost.

#2 Choose a product and make it popular

bootstrap Your First E-Commerce Business
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Claiming a slice of the trillion-dollar e-commerce pie is not an easy journey. First, you need to choose a product. I mean, in the eCommerce realm, less money requires a more significant amount of specificity. I suggest you will come across a plethora of eCommerce websites generating meaningful revenue, whereas some of them are also failing to make enough revenue to be even worth mentioning. Obviously, you want to be in the first category.

So what needs to be done?
Try competing with stores like Amazon and eBays; I am sure that’s more than enough to make even the most ambitious person cringe.

But what if you fail? You’re right! I think you should ignore them for a while!
Come back to focusing on choosing a product. You can narrow down your selection on the basis of a couple of attributes:

  • A relatively small amount of competition.
  • An audience that is easy to target.

One of the most interesting ideas I have come across till date is coming up with a niche product by simply combining a theme with a product. For example:

  • Star Wars socks
  • Star Trek shirts
  • Lumberjacks
  • Environmentally friendly backpacks

Try using Google trends, choose a niche, and then apply that to your product. Now it’s time to find out which products are selling the best.

#3 Have the right business model

right business model
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There are a plethora of business models you can choose from like; Dropshipping, Print on Demand, Affiliate Marketing, or you can go with Amazon. In case, if you are still a beginner in the online retailing realm, you must consider drop shipping.

From a top-level view, dropshipping is when you start selling the products of suppliers. Although, the suppliers will then be the ones to handle the buyer’s purchase requests, deliver their orders, etc.

That means you won’t have to:

• create your own product

• store inventory

• handle shipping

#4 The power of social media

One of the most robust platforms that online stores can tap into is social media. And you know what makes these platforms so interesting is that they are available for free.

How can you get started?

  • Establish your business’ visibility on channels especially the ones where the target market usually lies. Make sure to be selective about which social media platform to use.
  • Publish SEO content that contains links to your website’s product pages and blogs.
  • Build customer relations by responding to comments, messages, re-posts, and the like.

#5 Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
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By now, you’re probably starting to get a pretty clear picture that bootstrapping your first E-commerce business is less about designing your website and more about identifying and persuading your audience. This means it’s time to focus on website content.

Just keep this in mind that most of your potential customers are unlikely to complete a purchase right on their very first visit. There are times when they need more information that will encourage them to trust your brand and consider choosing your products over alternatives.

This is where a good content marketing strategy comes into play!

To craft a strategy, think of using a content research tool like BuzzSumo, which allows you to comb through the whole internet with a single keyword to find popular content you can use as inspiration.

It’s essential to understand that your content marketing strategy is never complete without a content distribution strategy.

Brand promotion is the first step to ensure your product manages to get the recognition it needs from the consumers you are targeting.

But what is the best way to promote your content? Click here to discover the best way to promote your content.

Whether it’s social media or paid ads — you’ll need to give your e-commerce website a quick boost in traffic to start collecting data.

#6 Target buyer keywords

Target buyer keywords
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After content research, it’s very imperative that you end up targeting the right keywords to make sure you pull in the right audience.

The main objective of keywords is to help users find the content they need online. And since search engines can only display a handful of posts on SERP, make sure you are able to target low-competition keywords. Here using a keyword research tool can also work wonders by generating hundreds of keyword variations and presenting metrics. As a result, you will be able to gauge their profitability, including the average monthly traffic they garner and their competitiveness rating.

Check out this guide to better keyword research for additional help.

#7 Make a choice- Self-Hosted or Hosted

Make a choice Self Hosted or Hosted
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Time to get one thing straight! Choosing an Ecommerce platform and designing your online store should be the smallest hurdle you face.

Today, almost all eCommerce platforms and websites builders seem to have implemented drag-and-drop functionalities, something that eliminates the learning curve of web design. So the question is whether to go for a fully hosted or self-hosted eCommerce website.

Choosing a fully hosted eCommerce solution means you get comprehensive services featuring a subscription-based pricing model. These platforms will hold your hand through every step of setting up your e-commerce site — from domain registration to product management.

On the other hand, using a self-hosted solution will allow you to piece together your e-commerce ecosystem yourself. All you have to do is register your very own domain and pay for the hosting. After this, you will be able to integrate all the functionalities in your store one by one.

Let’s say, for example, if you are building a WordPress website, a successful one can be only achieved by incorporating plugins, themes, and integrations that let you incorporate the functionalities you need into your site. Right from payment gateways to shopping cart plugins, message boards, or anything that can enrich the experience of your would-be customers.

Lastly,

If you think this journey of building your first E-Commerce business will be easy, then I am sorry to burst your bubble because it is not easy. The strategies covered in this post will help your first E-commerce business take flight, but there is a lot of continued analysis and optimization that will go  into maintaining success.

Are there things that helped you with your first E-commerce business that we left out?

Please share them below!

 

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