In this age of Amazon, Shopify, and WooCommerce, it seems like almost everyone and their grandmothers are getting in on ecommerce. Yet the sheer size of this market, and growing trends of customization and personalization have ensured that there is sufficient pie leftover for all.
The best time to start an ecommerce business was a decade ago, the second best time is now, with a massive ecosystem already in place for the shipping, sourcing, marketing, and the technology.
In this article, we list out a few tried and tested principles that new ecom founders should abide by.
1. Focus On A Niche
Small ecommerce upstarts can hold their ground against giants such as Amazon and Walmart with an unyielding niche focus.
Amazon already contains pretty much every food item, from each and every brand in its specialty foods category, but if you were to start a site focused entirely on keto-compliant foods, with nothing else, buyers might still choose you for the convenience, and added value.
A niche focus helps establish your site as an authority, while allowing for a level of personalization and customization that giants like Amazon can never match.
2. Get The Basics Right
Once you’ve narrowed down on a niche, there are a few fundamentals to start a business that remain common to all. This includes coming with a brandable name, with a domain name available, and a discernible logo to go with the same, followed by the setting up of an LLC.
An LLC, or limited liability corporation comes with a host of benefits for startups apart from the limited liability. This includes the ability to borrow, acquire trade finance, and even make deals with suppliers, marketers, and more.
Being registered as a limited liability corporation goes a long way in instilling trust among buyers, who wouldn’t normally be comfortable dealing with someone operating out of their basement.
3. Source Effectively
The success or failure of any ecommerce endeavor comes down to the sourcing of the right merchandise at competitive prices.
WIth intensifying competition, this is getting more and more difficult to do, but if you choose your niche based on robust research and competitor analysis, there are still plenty of gaps and opportunities in the market for you to pounce on.
Over the years, a broad ecosystem has come into existence focused entirely on helping dropshippers and ecommerce entrepreneurs source products for their audiences. This includes sites such as Alibaba and ChinaExpress, along with forums and communities such as The Supplier Central.
4. Go Big On Content Marketing
Most e-commerce startups straightaway move onto paid shopping ads to quickly start generating leads and sales, when in fact, content marketing stands to generate substantial cheap targeted traffic in the long-run.
Content marketing doesn’t just help in building domain authority over the years, but it can help establish an ecommerce brand that is likely still in nascent stages, with its niche and community.
There are a number of different approaches to content marketing, depending on the niche, target audience, budget, and more. No matter what you choose, the key is to add value, and create memorable experiences for readers, in the hopes of earning their trust and converting them into paying customers.
Contrary to predictions that giants such as Walmart and Amazon would simply roll over the smaller players, and consolidate the retail market between the two, small and independent retailers continue to thrive online, and will likely play an outsized role in the years ahead.
The level of personalization, and the value of curation cannot be understated, and this is something that the larger players can never successfully execute on. It seems David has found Goliath’s weakness, and is all set to take the shot, making it an exciting time for the global ecommerce industry.