If you want to start an online business, there are a few things you need to do, but they can be summarized in three steps. The following is a quick guideline.
Decide on your product
Your choice of a product can mean the difference between success and failure. You can do research online to find out which products are selling the best, but this can be deceiving. Those items that have the best sales are likely to have the most suppliers, so it will be difficult to get a business up and running against those who are already in operation. In addition to this, the profit margins may be low. Your best course of action is to look at smaller markets where there are only a couple of suppliers, and look at the potential profit margins available to you. You will have to get quotes from manufacturers to determine how much the products will cost, and then estimate the expenses you will have in selling the products.
Decide how you will source your product
There are different ways to go about this. You can simply order from a company, and then store and ship the inventory as you make each sale. There is also the option that some companies offer that is called drop shipping. In this situation, the manufacturer keeps the inventory. You simply make the sales and pass on the customer’s shipping information to your vendor. They will pack and ship the sold item to your customer. The advantage of this type of arrangement is that you don’t invest in inventory before it is sold. This doesn’t tie up a lot of your cash. However, you do lose control over the shipping. You may get an order, but the manufacturer could be out of inventory and did not communicate this to you in a timely manner. Selling a product that does not ship is something that, over time, can put you out of business.
Acquire an eCommerce website
You can build your own website for your online business, or you can buy everything you need in one package. This latter option is very attractive. Unless you know a lot about web page design, building a website for an online business is not easy. Knowing how to make a website is not enough. An eCommerce site must have the ability to take orders online, and do so automatically. This program must allow for a customer to select one or more products offered for sale, and then proceed to a checkout just as a customer would in a local retail store. This type of website must also allow for shipping information to be entered and allow for payment to be taken without any manual assistance from the online store owner. In short, you need a website shopping cart. The good news is that everything you need can be purchased for a single monthly price. This makes going into business very easy.
Of course, once you have accomplished the three steps listed above, you will also need to promote your website and the products you are selling, but how you do this will depend upon the exact nature of the product you are selling. One good place to start is with pay-per-click advertising on search engines.