E-commerce stores are an excellent way to get yourself started in online business and can be extremely profitable when done correctly. Here is an easy start-up guide for creating an e-commerce store to sell wholesale goods. It is worth noting that an e-commerce website will require some initial investment for your site as well buying your products. If you are looking to start-up an online business with minimal investment, check out our dropshipping guide.
To start, find a niche which is popular on Facebook. Why Facebook? Facebook advertising allows for extremely targeted ads. This will help us greatly later on. Make sure your niche is simple enough that goods will be manufactured for it. An example of a niche which you can capitalise on would be something like Dogs. In particular, pugs. Everybody seems to love pugs. A quick search of pug-related pages on Facebook will show you what I mean.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Find a website which sells – for our example – pug-related goods. Chinese suppliers are fine for this because we aren’t after branded goods. Find a couple of necklaces – with pugs on in our case – that cost you no more than $1-2 a piece. Maybe find some other goods as well, but ensure they’re cheap and don’t overdo it. Order some. It is up to you how many you order, but remember you will be waiting a few weeks to receive your goods. I’d personally go for a minimum of 25 each. Unlike dropshipping, here we are going to buy the goods upfront.
While you are waiting for your goods to arrive, you build your website. You only need a simple e-commerce site here. Shopify is perfect for the job. You even get a 14 day trial – this is long enough to make sales! Name your site something memorable and related to your goods. Something like “Pugtastic” would work for us. Customise your theme and make your site look great. Invest in a domain if you have the money to spare, although it can wait until you’ve made some sales.
If you want to build from scratch, my recommendation for building and hosting a site is SiteGround. SiteGround is amazing for simplicity – you get a domain, website hosting and a site builder all together. Using them will allow you to set up your site in hours – even with absolutely no previous experience (they even offer 24/7 support for complete newbies).
Once your shop is functioning, add and mark up your products by an amount which leaves you with a healthy profit (Remember you still need to pay for ads!). Offer free shipping (not internationally!). Free shipping always comes across very well to customers, as it seems as though you are giving them something for free. In reality of course you will still be making a huge profit on the items. Remember the key here is to SELL your products – write quality descriptions for them. When they arrive, upload some high quality photos. I would strongly advise against using the suppliers photos unless they are watermark free and high quality – even then its best to use your own. Find a plug-in (in-cart upsell on Shopify does the job here) which allows you to suggest your other items when the customer goes to checkout. This will increase your sales.
Once your site is up and running, and your goods are ready to ship, we begin our advertising campaign. Use Facebook ads to target only women (or men depending on your chosen goods) who like the pug-related pages. Test your ads with a small amount, $5-10 at a time and as soon as you find one that gets results, start investing more into it. If your ads aren’t working keep chopping and changing. Remember you need to SELL your website to this audience, tell them how amazing the jewellery is. Also ensure you target only your own country – foreign customers are put off by the prospect of long and expensive shipping. Ensure your ad is well written and preferably pay-per-click (not always possible though) so you are guaranteed traffic. If somebody who likes pugs sees an advert for pug jewellery and clicks on it, they are probably going to make a purchase! Use your initial profits to improve your site and run more ads.
TIP: For successful Facebook ads, you need consistency across your site and ads. Use the same text and images from your site, if they are different the customer can get confused or feel like they’ve fallen for a bait and switch.
Now we simply wait, rinse and repeat. If your site is up to scratch, then you can expect to make sales. Remember to keep an eye on stock and take into account the delays in receiving your goods. If something isn’t selling, don’t buy more of it. Be smart – if one item is selling far more then buy more, and creep up the price. If it is going well – and if your site and ads are quality then it should be! – expand your store and improve your site. Increase your order sizes when you put more into your ads.
Simple enough – so what are you waiting for?