eCommerce - A Plan


 eCommerce - A Plan

eCommerce is not for the faint of heart. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming either, as long as you have a plan.

If you're taking the plunge into eCommerce, one of the most important things to do is create a business plan. This should include: your start-up costs; your projected revenue; and how many sales you'll need in order for the venture to be profitable.

And don't forget about research and marketing! You'll want to know about what's popular in that niche or industry, as well as popular content formats (blogs, infographics, videos) and types of social media (Twitter chats).

You'll also want to keep track of all of your costs (advertising, website design, staff) as well as revenue. You can track this either with software like QuickBooks or with a spreadsheet.

It can really help to know what the average costs are for a specific eCommerce business type. For example, if you're operating a clothing store on eBay, you'll probably want to know how much money you need to invest before your business starts making a profit. (eBay seller fees are about 10% of the purchase price so your revenue needs to be able to cover that plus any other expenses. You can calculate this based on your projected sales volume, but be sure to add in a buffer.)

What about one-time start-up costs? People will often ask if it's cheaper to start an Amazon store on your own. It depends. As The Grommet points out, a lot of the expense isn't in running it yourself--it's in building that site. So if you have some time, you could try creating a site yourself and seeing how it goes. But if you'd rather hire someone to build your site for you, there are lots of options available online...some of them cost as little as $400 .

As you're building your business, don't forget to keep track of your costs and revenue. You can use QuickBooks for this, or create a spreadsheet.

Although an eCommerce site is typically more expensive to start up than a traditional retail store, it can be more profitable because you don't have the limited space that comes with a storefront. You can also save money by taking advantage of an inexpensive digital format (blogs, social media) for marketing your products and services.

If you're new to eCommerce, it's a good idea to start small. This will allow you to learn about the market and see if your product sells. It will also give you the chance to make adjustments along the way.

Another option is selling on more than one platform, like Amazon and eBay, or Etsy and Facebook. For example, if you sell on Etsy, you can increase your exposure by using social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. You can also use blogs to promote your products...and keep in mind that there are more powerful types of content out there beyond blogs (standalone infographics, videos).


In sum, as your business grows, you'll want to make sure that you have a plan for handling all of the challenges that come up along the way. Whether you start with your savings account or a friend's spare bedroom, eCommerce is a huge opportunity and needs careful planning if it's going to become a profitable venture.


Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Post a Comment