An eCommerce site gives you the ability to sell any type of product you want to customers all over the world. You can sell physical or digital products. You can sell your own products or operate as an affiliate. There are quite a few benefits to this type of business. It allows you to target people who are seeking exactly the type of products you want to sell.
Compared to starting a brick and mortar business, an eCommerce site is quite inexpensive to set up. You don’t have the expenses of paying rent for a retail store. Depending on your particular business model, you may have to stock some merchandise. Even this is not essential, though, as there are other ways to run an online store. Whereas opening a store or buying a franchise requires substantial start-up capital, almost anyone can start an eCommerce business on a shoestring budget.
The Variety of eCommerce Businesses
There are many choices for selling products online. Some of the most popular are:
- Buy wholesale and stock your own products. This is the closest to a traditional retail business model. You can find inexpensive sources of products from all over the world.
- Drop shipping. In this case, you don’t have to stock any merchandise. As orders come in, the drop shipper sends out the order.
- Sell your own products. If you sell digital products, there are no physical items to stock. If you make your own products, such as jewelry, health care products, artwork, furniture, etc. you can work at whatever pace is necessary to keep up with demand. As your business grows, you can hire help.
- Affiliate marketing. With this type of business, you earn a commission selling products made by others. While the profit margin is lower, you are free to focus completely on marketing. Everything else is handled by the product-creator.
Essential Features of eCommerce Sites
eCommerce makes it possible for anyone to start a business that can reach customers all over the world. Some of the most important features needed for a successful site include:
- Products that your customers want. This may seem obvious, but some new marketers don’t do sufficient market research. You want to sell items for which there’s a proven demand.
- Easy to navigate. Customers must be able to find what they’re looking for quickly. Pages should load efficiently. The design should be attractive and user friendly.
- Multiple payment options. The more choices customers have, the better. At the very least, people should be able to purchase items via PayPal, credit card or money order.
- Secure checkout. People are very security conscious, so your site should have a security certificate.
- Customer care options that are easily accessible. Just ask Stormy Simon of Overstock.com, she did a complete overhaul to ensure customers satisfaction.
eCommerce is the Wave of the Future
According to all indicators, eCommerce is the fastest growing sector of the economy. In fact, eCommerce is expected to overtake brick and mortar stores in the next five years. eCommerce allows businesses to offer an almost unlimited selection of products at reasonable prices. With low overhead and most tasks handled by automated systems, this is almost certainly going to be the dominant business model of the future.