Even with a current pandemic, eCommerce continues to grow at a fast rate despite global economic uncertainty. Mainly because of the indisputable expansion of giants like Amazon. This leads us to a legitimate question – Is it still worth opening an eCommerce store, especially if you are just a regular dude from the block.
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Yes, my dear friend! It is still worth it. Just because the market seems saturated at the first blink, it does not mean that there is no space for more.
With the future development of the internet and smart devices, shopping online will become even more convenient than it is now.
According to online portal Statista, retail e-commerce sales worldwide will continue to grow. Online shopping is becoming one of the most popular online activities worldwide. Retail eCommerce revenues are projected to grow to 6.54 trillion US dollars in 2022.
Will e-commerce replace physical stores?
No, at least not in the nearest future, eCommerce will not kill brick and mortar shops. There is even an opposite trend when many online shops are creating brick and mortar branches.
That’s because still exists advantages a physical store offers over its e-commerce counterparts.
Sometimes you need the product right away. This option is not possible even with the famous Amazon express delivery.
Besides, shopping is a social experience, and one of its components is instant gratification. Through generations and countless iterations of retailing formats, one constant has remained in the American consumer’s buying habits: they want it now.
Walking together with all family through an aisle of products in supermarket is a way of life for many in a contemporary consumer society. Thus, shopping my range from a utilitarian task to a form of recreation and entertainment, as well as being an individual or group event.
As I see it, the future is omnichannel sales with both digital and physical presence simultaneously. This is also confirmed with the recent rise of Headless Commerce.
Is eCommerce saturated?
At first glimpse, it might look that eCommerce is already too saturated at this point. However, according to eMarketer.com, despite challenges of the year 2020, worldwide retail eCommerce sales grew 27.6% and reached a total of $4.280 trillion.
The situation may seem hopeless to most startups. On the other side, a saturated market also indicates a huge demand, which eventually gives room for more opportunities.
If you can analyze and identify these opportunities, you certainly have a chance to gain a decent market share.
It is the same as with good ol’ brick and mortar commerce. It might seem to be saturated, but there will always be ways how to succeed. The trick to success is quite simple – you have to offer something different or better.
How can I start my own eCommerce business?
Creating a successful eCommerce business takes time, hard work, and above all, patience. Indeed, the massive downside of the saturated market is the fact that the competition is high. However, there are a couple of simple steps you should follow:
Probably the most essential thing to create any business is an idea. You must have some idea what kind of products or services you want to offer.
This is the step where most new online entrepreneurs fail. Before moving forward, you have to research the eCommerce space and find your niche.
3. Online platform
Next thing you have to decide, how you are going to offer your products or services. You can choose one of the existing marketplaces such as eBay, Etsy, and Amazon or create your own online store. There are advantages and disadvantages to any of these options.
4. Create the legal structure of your business
In my experience, this should be the final step when starting your online venture. You can choose to create a company or to sell as a sole proprietor. When you are not sure yet, you can start simply as a sole proprietor. In fact, many successful Etsy and eBay sellers have started their journey as sole proprietors.
5. Start to make money!
Is it possible to start online business with little or no money from home?
Unlike traditional businesses, to start an online business, you don’t need a huge startup cash to get your enterprise off the ground.
In fact, an online business is that it’s one of the more affordable business options, and for the most part, can be started from home.
If you’re worried about how you can start your own eCommerce business with zero funds, here are a few ideas.
In fact, many entrepreneurs have started their online journey with dropshipping. It is one of the most accessible eCommerce business models that can be started with minimal investment.
Dropshipping or drop shipping is a sales method when the seller never physically handles the products he sells. Rather he only manages the order and collects the payment. Basically, you sell other people’s goods and take a seller’s cut for yourself.
The good thing is that thanks to carefully curated directories like SaleHoo, you can easily find products and manufacturers for your dropshipping business.
SaleHoo is an easy-to-use tool that helps online sellers find profitable products from certified, low-cost suppliers. It offers not only Market Research Labs tool to find ideas for profitable, in-demand products and Directory to find trustworthy, low-cost suppliers who stock your chosen product, but also unlimited training for newbies and award-winning support every step of the way.
So, go ahead and check SaleHoo now!
Print on demand
Another little to no investment online business model is selling your own custom designs in different products. In this business model, the merchant prepares a print image. The rest is done by print on demand service partner. It will make the product and deliver it to the customer.
Thanks to reputable print on demand fulfillment service providers like Printful, everyone can start their own eCommerce business with no investment. The only thing you need is time, creativity, and patience.
For more, read this article: Print On Demand Drop Shipping: What It Is, How It Works And Which Are The Best Platforms For Merchants.
Sell digital products
Digital products like e-books, audio products, downloadable templates, research papers, or online courses are increasingly attractive due to their low creation costs (your primary investment being your time and expertise) and inherently scalable nature.
It might be a perfect and low hustle way how to start your eCommerce business literally without any monetary investment.
These days, you even can sell digital products without having a website. I have covered this in-depth in my article Easy way How to Sell Digital Products Without Website.
What eCommerce platform should I use?
If you want to start your eCommerce store, choosing the best platform can be challenging. According to similartech.com, there are over 239 considerable eCommerce platforms.
Let’s face it – with so many options, you might get lost, so I will give you here only the 10 best platforms for beginners. These you can start to use without a large investment and technical skills.
Etsy is an online marketplace where entrepreneurs can sell jewelry, clothing, home décor, art, toys, digital products, and more. Etsy acts as the middle-man that gives smaller, independent entrepreneurs a platform to find and attract customers.
Although in decline, eBay still is one of the best platforms for online entrepreneurs to start their online businesses. With a huge online audience and relatively low fees, eBay can be an excellent platform to start. Especially if you just want to test your business idea or product.
Amazon Marketplace is currently the largest e-commerce platform owned and operated by Amazon.
It enables third-party sellers to sell new or used products on a fixed-price online marketplace alongside Amazon’s regular offerings.
Although Amazon’s marketplace has a vast audience for small and mid-sized businesses, selling through Amazon Marketplace is a gamble because of stiff competition from fellow entrepreneurs and Amazon itself.
Gumroad is an online platform where you can build your own website or landing page and then display your craft.
Gumroad is mainly used for digital products such as eBooks, software, or audio files, but you can also sell recurring memberships and even physical products, although these are less common.
When you register for an account, you will be able to create a link for what you are selling and then use this link on social media or send it directly to your clients.
WooCommerce is the most popular free eCommerce platform. Today almost one-third of online shops are built with this open-source WordPress plugin.
Due to its low operational costs and enormous online community, WooCommerce is the first choice for many new online entrepreneurs.
It’s possible to run a fully functional WooCommerce store for as little as $5 per month.
If this sparks your interest, read this helpful step-by-step guide on How To Set Up A WooCommerce Store Fast.
Shopify is a commerce platform that allows anyone to set up an online store and sell their products for as little as $29 per month.
It is a powerful eCommerce solution that includes everything you need to create an online store, even without any prior knowledge. The platform has many integrations for dropshipping, so even the most inexperienced users can set up a dropshipping store with relative ease.
Ecwid is a fully hosted eCommerce platform, like Shopify. You can use it as a stand-alone solution or combine it with all significant online content management platforms, such as WordPress, Wix, or Square. With their top tier plans, Ecwid also enables a possibility to sell on social media.
For beginners, the platform has a free plan, so you can start it with no investment. To know more, read this article: Ecwid, is it really worth it?!
OpenCart is a free, open-source shopping cart system that is simple to use. It comes with a wide range of customization options. With a vast number of features, OpenCart provides a professional and reliable foundation for building a successful online store.
With a large and active online community, this platform is suitable for anyone, even if you have very little experience.
Here is a step-by-step guide, How To Set Up OpenCart Store.
Wix is quite a popular website builder with a drag and drop interface for complete beginners. The platform allows users to add full eCommerce functionality for $20 per month.
Although it is not as popular as WooCommerce or Shopify, Wix commerce is still a good option for beginners to start their first eCommerce business.
PrestaShop is another self-hosted open-source eCommerce platform. It is backed by solid history and a large and active community. It is one of the most complete eCommerce platforms out there. For more, read my article PrestaShop, An Honest Opinion About Installation, Configuration, And Usability.
So, is it still worth opening an eCommerce store in 2021?
The answer is yes, and it’s easier than you think. It is the same as with commerce in general! There will be a huge competition, no doubt, but still, there is a place for more. At least for now. As cliché as it may sound – better late than never!
So, think, research, and start working on your first e-business – you’ll see it take you to a whole new level.