Is eCommerce a get rich quick scheme?
Get Rich Quick
As someone who has (I’ll hold my hands up, but I know I’m not alone!) Googled How to get rich quick? I can tell you that there are countless hustlers out there claiming to know the secret of getting rich quick by selling online. If you believed these guys, then anyone can become a successful online entrepreneur – so why aren’t we all enjoying a cocktail on a beach in Bali while Amazonites and eBayers flock to our site to buy our products?
These eCommerce cowboys swear blind that with just a small initial investment, a computer and some internet savvy, we will all be working from the comfort of our own homes and enjoying plenty of down time thanks to our self-sufficient business. Not so much. Here are the facts.
Expect Blood, Sweat and Tears
Successful ecommerce entrepreneurs aren’t focused on getting rich quick – they start with an idea, develop it, and work hard to see it come to fruition. Success isn’t solely dependent upon finding a good product to sell. It takes a long time to study and understand the market and find a niche in which you can compete effectively. It’s a long way to the top and requires enthusiasm and motivation throughout for a business to be successful in ecommerce.
You need to find a niche
Finding a niche is time consuming but necessary evil and although it may not seem essential, it’s important not to just hedge your bets with a wide range of products to get you started. This may seem like a good idea until you know what sells best, but the reality is you risk losing money on unpopular stock.
The broad approach can be tried and tested when the business is up and running profitably and you have a better understanding of your market, but it’s not a good idea to dive straight in with. You can find out what works by surveying your niche market and customers. Don’t be surprised if you wouldn’t have expected to go into selling the category found to be in demand or if you didn’t start out with an interest in it – if it’s popular, get selling.
You won’t have loads of free time
You can’t work part-time hours and expect a full-time income from an online business, it just isn’t feasible. There’s a lot of work which goes into just the day-to-day operation of the business, let alone when you’re starting up. Expect early mornings to package and post orders you got over night, calls to your suppliers and late nights marketing your business online. Setting up and running an online business requires a hands-on approach to get and keep the process successful and entrepreneurs are often surprised at how their to-do list is never quite complete. Long and short of it, don’t be too quick to quit the day job – it takes time.
You have to spend money
Getting your online business up and running will cost money and there’s no way around it. You need to fund stock purchases, shipping costs, pick pack costs, seller fees, marketing costs and try and make a profit at the same time. It’s important to set out a budget early on to limit over-spending and look out for areas to cut costs wherever possible – bulk buying packaging materials and stock can help with this. Invest time in finding cheap but effective solutions to day-to-day problems and tasks so that you can reduce your costs on a daily basis.
Not everything can be automated
Not all aspects of ecommerce business can be automated and certainly not in the early stages. When a business is growing well it can be a good idea to outsource activities (such as storage, shipping, marketing etc.) when it becomes difficult to keep up with demand. Outsourcing has costs associated with it, so it’s not always possible to balance the reward with the cost until the business is running well.
Competition is Fierce
eCommerce is a ruthless world and global competition is fierce. By joining the world of online sales you will be competing against well-established (both financially and in terms of customer feedback) businesses who have refined their business in terms of supply and demand.
One option is finding a niche with both online and physical retailers present, but who are not performing at an outstanding level. If you have created your own product you can be the sole distributor, which is very lucrative. This can be anything as simple as a solution to a common problem, a whole new product or even an extension or variation of an existing product. Another option is to find a manufacturer that is lacking distribution or has a great product that that isn’t already available online. These are all complex approaches and will take a while but the results will be well worth it.
Time is a Factor
It takes time to get an eStore off the ground so it’s important to stay motivated and try to maintain enthusiasm throughout the process. Some phases are going to be long and tedious and difficult, but hard work pays off and success doesn’t happen overnight. Be prepared for the long haul and
You need to promote your business
Targeting is vital to ensuring that your marketing is reaching the right people. Any advertising done on social networking sites or marketplaces themselves (Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay etc.) have options to help you with this and the metrics are very clever. You can choose who sees your adverts on the basis of location, ages, gender, recent posts and likes.
Still want to set up an online business?
If you’re reading this and are still keen to press on with your ecommerce idea, then great! There is money to be made out there for a determined individual with a good plan of action. However, if you’re still looking for that get-rich-quick solution, you’d better keep buying that lottery ticket.
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