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The world of e-commerce is no joke. People buy things online. A lot. Some people are still on denial and just don’t understand that the online store is taking over the main Street store as the preferred storefront for many business owners. When people who get the trend get into the business side of online shopping, like myself, it can be shocking to see how many companies involved in e-commerce are unaware of how their distribution channels are shifting.
I remember taking a lot of time with vendors explaining the importance of order picking speed, delivery times, information getting to customers and how it could all be automated. Most of the time I just heard something like, “we’ve been in the business for three generations, if customers don’t like the way we do things, they can buy from someone else.”
That last part could literally signal death to a retailer when the manufacture of your inventory won’t take a customer-first approach. However, it also signals there is a lot of room to get a piece of the $1.9 Trillion e-commerce market this year.
That old-school “manufacturing business” is not a philosophy that I would recommend for any business to adopt for their customer experience. We would have to be the buffer between customers and vendors to save our reputation, to this day, I am shocked at some of the requests and opinions that came through the call center.
These are some of the reasons that caused me to hesitate getting back into e-commerce and typically do not recommend an online store as a place to start with online business. However…
Fast forward to present.
Today, I’m back! Our online store is officially launching and I could not be more excited to be adding this to our business portfolio. The pain points I mentioned above have been solved for this niche store launch with the combination of Shopify and Oberlo. To be perfectly honest, this is a project that my wife is leading and I’m just here to support her behind the scenes, doing what I do best. She’s an amazing mom, very business minded and I know she’s going to do very well!
We’re just getting started, I’m happy to share the progress to launch, and we will be documenting along the way as we learn what works. I’m writing a more comprehensive niche e-commerce startup guide that will be available soon.
We Chose to Start Dropshipping: What’s Dropshipping?
Many online stores work just like retailers and don’t manufacture the products that they sell. I’m sure you’ll can think of the last time you bought something online and it wasn’t direct from the company who made the product. In fact, many of the manufacturers prefer to not handle each order and customer, but they will fulfill the order. This is called Dropshipping and it’s created a big opportunity for people to set up online stores.
Here’s how the drop ship process works.
- Order placed on your website.
- You place (and pay for) the order with the manufacturers or distributor and pass along the shipping address (your customers)
- Shipping information is sent back to you and the manufacturer or distributor sends the order straight to your customer.
That’s right, by dropshipping, you never touch the physical inventory. It’s a huge savings in cost, time and headaches.
By Dropshipping, you can focus on the products you want to sell, building your store’s brand through marketing and making sales. I’m not trying to over simplify the work that’s needed to have a successful online store, but having a drop ship partner takes most of the troubles away.
So, how did we get to launch?
Launch your online store in 3 easy steps!
Here’s the steps needed to get your online store up and running. There’s lots to do afterwards, but being in the position to make a sale is most important. After all, if there’s nothing to sell, it’s like you’ve rented a retail space and never opened the doors!
First, get started with Shopify. You’ll get a free trial that should be plenty of time to complete the following two steps. I’ve worked in e-commerce and compared many options to run your store online and Shopify makes the most sense. It’s easy to set up, includes hosting, and has a huge library of add-ons to customize your site.
One of those Shopify add-ons is Oberlo. They literally coordinate the transactions between wholesalers and your site. What’s awesome is they have built a one click option for you to choose the products you want to sell and add them to your import list for Shopify. Oberlo has a lot of resources for Dropshipping and how to run a successful store. They showcase other entrepreneurs that are using their software and having success. I feel like they are very invested with the users on their platform and I’ve found it really easy to get started.
3) Merchandise your Store
Merchandising is such a crucial part of any shopping experience and I recommend that you take it seriously too. It’s pretty simple:
- Pick a specific niche and audience that you want to focus on
- Choose categories or collections that will appeal to your audience
- Use Oberlo to find products that will be a good fit
- Optimize the products: include all the information on your product page will encourage a sale including dimensions, other specifications, a well written description suited for your audience and pick the best photo(s).
That’s it! Make your store LIVE!
Once you get steps one and two out of the way, you’ll officially have a top platform to get down to business. Over time you’ll want to continue to add products and re-merchandising your products to better refine for your specific audiences needs.
I can’t stress enough how important your potential customers are in your business. The more you take care of them, the bigger and more profitable your online store will be!