If you think that you have the talent for spotting a gap in the market, a career as an online entrepreneur could be right up your alley. Not only will you be solely responsible for choosing the direction of your career, you will have total freedom to choose the type of approach you will take towards establishing your business.
Being your own boss can have a huge pay-off, but you won’t get there without some hard work and a lot of thinking outside of the box. You can expect long hours at first and there might be some times when you find yourself wondering if it’s all worth it. But, with the right application and some perseverance, you can give yourself an excellent chance of success.
To help you get your venture off the ground, we’ve put together our four top tips for launching your career as an online retail entrepreneur. Read on to find out more.
Don’t be afraid to start small
You shouldn’t believe the Hollywood version of starting your own business — it really doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Taking your first steps into the online marketplace doesn’t have to carry a high-level of risk, it can be as simple as testing the water to see if your retail idea will float. Starting slowly, especially when you don’t have a lot of experience, is the best way to begin your new career.
In the early days, established marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy will be your best friend. Sure, they can charge you a fee and take a percentage of your earnings, but they will give you access to a huge customer base, as well as a user-friendly platform to set up your store. They really are the best type of environment for you to see if your products sell with little risk attached.
Neil Parker is Managing Director at DriveDen, an online automotive accessory retailer that he established himself. He said: “I started my retail company on eBay and it allowed me to make a tidy profit at a very early stage. There are 17 million visitors to eBay UK every month, so it really is a market that you can’t ignore when you are just starting out. In addition, the tools that the site provided allowed me to manage my business easily in my free time while I was still working full time.”
Grow your brand with a website
When you reach the point where you are doing a good level of business with some repeat customers, it’s time to grow your brand. One of the first things you should aim to do is to establish your own website to make sales that are entirely your own.
This is something that needs a lot of planning, so it’s worth researching precisely how you are going to go about it. Make sure you don’t commit to something before you know your business can sustain this new adventure. You should look to create a site that doesn’t look cheap, as that’s a sure-fire way to erode potential customers’ trust in your brand — keep it clean, simple, and effective and people will be a lot more comfortable shopping with you. Take a look at this comprehensive guide to building an online brand from Chris Ducker, which is stuffed full of useful advice and is very easy to follow.
Manage multiple markets
As your business grows and you get more sales through your own website, it’s important that you continue to do business on the online marketplaces where you first established your retail brand. These sites have such a large pull that ignoring them would simply be bad for business — even big names that pre-date the rise of e-commerce, like Argos and Halfords, have their own eBay stores. It just shows how much value online marketplaces can offer in sales.
When you begin to deal with orders from multiple markets, it’s important to invest in some solid multi-channel management software, which will help you to keep track of all your orders. With one of these programmes, you can deal with inventory, listings, and warehouse operation all in one place, saving you a lot of time and effort. Trading specialist Tamebay have a five-part guide to multi-channel software that is well worth a read if you are new to the concept.
Prioritise customer experience over price wars
When it comes to boosting your sales, you may be tempted to continuously cut your prices to appeal to shoppers looking for a bargain, but bear in mind that there will always be somebody more than willing to undercut you. Instead of getting suckered into a price war, prioritise delivering a great customer experience and you will be much more likely to build repeat custom.
Just look at a retailer like Amazon, who recently topped the Institute of Customer Service’s league table for customer service for the third time in a row. While they do offer competitive prices, they aren’t always the cheapest on the market, which just goes to show how far their great customer experience goes to securing loyal repeat business. They’re one of the biggest online retailers in the world for a reason after all. So, take a leaf out of their book and focus your efforts on impressing your customer base rather than competing for the lowest prices.
Follow the advice in this article and you could give your budding career as a retail entrepreneur the boost that it needs. You’ll soon be on the road to success.