E-commerce is the fastest growing retail market in Europe right now. Sales in the UK are expected to top £60bn in 2016, with shoppers each averaging around £1,372 over the course of the year. With numbers like this, there’s no doubt that moving your business online is the future. With so much competition, though, it might not be as easy as you think. Here’s what you need to know about getting started.
Deciding on What You Should Sell
The first thing any new business owner needs to do is decide what kind of merchandise you’re going to specialise in. Ideally, this will be centered around your own interests and expertise, but you’ll also want to ensure that there’s enough of a market out there for you to be successful. Remember, though, even niche products can be worthwhile businesses. If you want to focus on an area that has a proven track record, more and more people are getting into the habit of buying clothes online, especially younger shoppers. This market will give you the opportunity to earn the loyalty of your buyers as they mature, but you’ll also face lots of competition.
Finding the Platform That’s Right for You
Next is finding the right platform for your business. Selling on your own website is an option, but unless you have a lot to spend on marketing you’ll struggle to build a customer base. Depending on what you sell, you may find that different websites attract an audience more suited to your business. For instance, Etsy has become the go-to destination for those looking to buy vintage clothing while ebuyer.com is popular for those looking for electronics. Sites like eBay and Amazon are ideal for those that sell a wide range of products, as they offer more categories than the smaller websites. However, this often comes at the price of much higher seller fees.
Cutting Costs Without Sacrificing Quality
Finally, like any small business owner you’ll want to know how you can cut the costs without sacrificing on quality. Shipping your products to your customers may be your biggest outlay. Fortunately, the advent of e-commerce over the last few years has caused a number of independent shipping companies like TNT to rise up. This means that there’s a lot of competition between the different vendors. Remember to use this to your advantage, as even small differences can add up to savings when dealing with items in bulk. However, you don’t want to get a negative reputation, especially early on, so choose a supplier that has a track record of providing a reliable and consistent service.