Are you intrigued by ecommerce? Why wouldn’t you be? The market is booming and the barriers to entry are easy to overcome. You can work from home, be your own boss, and turn a profit selling products you love. Here’s what you need to know about starting an ecommerce business from the comfort of home.
Picking a Product
What do you want to sell? There are a few ways to make this decision. One way is to do a little digging and find out what’s hot right now. Start by scrolling through the top products and posts on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook. You might notice a trend. Are people obsessed with glitter? Consider selling glittery purses and handbags. Similarly, you could track trending Google searches, news articles, or industry reports to see what’s hot and what’s not.
Another idea is to focus on merchandise with which you are already familiar. Have a passion for cosmetics? Are you simply delighted by colorful lipsticks, flashy eyeliners, and posh nail polish? Why not use a platform like Shopify to sell makeup from home? This will be much easier than scrambling to learn how to sell furniture when you don’t know the difference between a loveseat and a settee.
Figuring Out Storage Requirements
Once you’ve picked your product, you must think about where you are going to store it. If you are running an ecommerce business out of your home, you might consider keeping products in your garage, a spare bedroom, or in a basement.
That’s totally fine, but before you settle on that, think about the amount of space your merchandise will consume. If you are selling handcrafted winter apparel or marble sculptures, things could get crowded rather quickly.
You should also ponder security. The last thing you want is to make your home a target for thieves because they learn you are selling vintage jewelry from your living room.
For these reasons, many self-starters prefer to warehouse merchandise at a storage facility. Admittedly, this is an extra monthly cost. But depending upon your location and space requirements, the cost is usually negligible (a couple hundred dollars a month). If you start to look for self storage in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other cities have plenty of options.
Setting Up a Home Office
Speaking of residential considerations, you’ll also need to set up a home office. Fortunately, this is pretty easy these days. All you really need is a computer, a reliable internet connection, a comfy chair, and a desk. Happily, these items can be declared as business expenses during tax season.
How are you going to get your product from Point-A to Point-B?
Luckily, this is easier today than ever before. The simple answer is to take your delivery boxes down to the local UPS or FedEx office. To save time and money, services like Stamps.com allow you to print your own postage and shipping labels. Similarly, you can bulk order cardboard boxes to your home. But keep in mind this often leads to the same storage issues we touched on above.
For this reason, many ecommerce sellers prefer drop shipping. What is drop shipping? Well, instead of working as a “middleman” between the manufacturers and your customers, drop shipping enables manufacturers to ship directly to buyers.
The obvious drawback here is that you have reduced control when it comes to processing returns and inspecting product quality. Conversely, it’s often cheaper and easier than handling products yourself.
So, we’ll leave the final decision up to you.
Building an Ecommerce Website
You need a website to conduct ecommerce. While you can certainly build one from scratch, it’s really not a good use of your time. Online services such as Shopify offer ecommerce websites with all the necessities already built in.
And there you have it, starting an ecommerce business from the comfort of your own home in a matter of five steps. Of course, there is always more to learn in ecommerce – including marketing, optimization, troubleshooting, scaling your business and the like. So, check out our other articles to learn even more about the wonderful world of ecommerce.
The author of this article is Marcia Williams